Many people want very small dogs because those breeds presumably take up less space. This may be true in the physical sense, but sometimes the littlest dogs have the biggest personalities! So don't let a diminutive dog fool you — there is a range of temperaments within this size category.
When considering getting a dog, size is just one factor. The breed's personality, activity level, and grooming requirements are some important issues to decide, and as always, do your research.
Below are some of the breeds that fit the “smallest” category. Keep in mind that the AKC doesn’t register or endorse “teacup” breeds.
The large amount of love and companionship you’ll get from these dogs will make you forget you’re living with a small breed!
- Brussels Griffon
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Chinese Crested
- English Toy Spaniel
- Italian Greyhound
- Japanese Chin
- Miniature Pinscher
- Norfolk Terrier
- Norwich Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Silky Terrier
- Toy Fox Terrier
- Manchester Terrier
- Poodle (Toy)
- Yorkshire Terrier
During the early 1800's, it was the custom for coachmen to keep small terrier types as ratters in the stables, and such dogs of that period in Belgium were Affenpinscher-like, known as Griffons d'Ecurier (wire-coated stable dogs).
These dogs emanated from the German Affenpinscher and the Belgian street dog. When or why other breeds were introduced can only be conjecture as the stablemen were not detailed record keepers.
It is reasonably well documented that the Pug and the King Charles and the Ruby Spaniels were crossed with the original Belgian dog.
From these crossings, two distinct types of coat emerge, the harsh-coated bewhiskered rough, and the smooth coated Brabancon. (Named in honor of the Belgian national anthem, La Brabonconne.)
Distinctive colors are also attributed to these crosses – the rich red color; the black and tan color, and the solid black color.
The spaniel cross is also largely responsible for the facial characteristics and impression, which is so much a part of our present-day Brussels Griffon.
The Brussels Griffon is a member of the Toy Group and was first recognized by the AKC in 1910.
No longer finding much purpose as a stableworker, the Brussels Griffon is a hearty, intelligent and active companion.
Dogs of the small spaniel-type have existed for centuries and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has documented its place among them.
They have been recorded in paintings and tapestries for centuries together with the aristocratic families who enjoyed their loyal companionship. Cavaliers were obviously a luxury item, for the average person could not afford to keep and feed a dog that did not work.
Today's Cavalier is directly modeled on its royal ancestors but this did not happen without the effort of an American fancier, Roswell Eldridge. Mr. Eldridge traveled to England in the early 1920's hoping to buy two spaniels. He was unsuccessful, finding a diversity of type and none of the “old type”, particularly the head type he desired. Employing Yankee ingenuity and determination, Roswell offered prizes of twenty-five pounds to the best male and best female of the “old type” exhibited at Crufts each year. The motivator worked; interest was generated among breeders to revive the original spaniel.
In 1952, the first Cavaliers were sent to America and a national breed club was formed soon after, but because of the small numbers of Cavaliers they did not gain full breed recognition for 40 years.
January 1, 1996 saw the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel enter American Kennel Club competition as the 140th recognized breed.
Legend and history are rich in tales of the ancestors of the present Chihuahua. He is described as a popular pet, as well as a religious necessity.
The Techichi, companion of the ancient Toltecs, is believed to be the progenitor of the Chihuahua. No records of the Techichi are, so far, available prior to the 9th century, but it is probable his ancestors were present prior to the Mayans. Dogs approximating the Chihuahua are found in materials from the Pyramids of Cholula, predating 1530 and in the ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula.
There is little question the Chihuahua’s principle home was present-day Mexico but the breeds immigration to Europe may be the result of the travels of Christopher Columbus. A historical letter written by Columbus to the King of Spain makes reference to the tiny dog.
The Chihuahua as we know it today is a much more diminutive dog than its predecessor. It is theorized that the Chinese Crested, brought from Asia to Alaska across the Bering Strait, was responsible for the reduction in size.
Modern Chihuahuas are also found in a myriad of colors. The Chihuahua is an older breed by American Kennel Club standards, first registered in 1904.
The Chinese Crested is believed to have evolved from the African hairless dogs. These dogs were traded among merchants and sailors thereby making their way to ancient port cities around the world. The Chinese, who seemed to favor dogs of smaller size, selectively bred the African hairless to a smaller size and continued an active trade.
Explorers, as early as the 1500s, found these dogs in ports throughout Central and South America as well as African and Asian cities.
Chinese Cresteds joined the breeds depicted in European art and architecture in the 19th century. The breed is also represented in photos of English competitions from the era, but no breeding program was evidenced.
The Crested acquired an active and enthusiastic following in the United States in the early 1900’s. Breeders kept an extensive stud book and registry beginning in the 1930’s.
Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous stage personality, acquired a Crested in the 1950’s and became an ardent breeder helping considerably to publicizing the breed. The Chinese Crested was first registered with The American Kennel Club in 1991.
Following the spread of civilization from East to West, it is natural that most of the oldest breeds of dog trace their origin to eastern countries; the history of the English Toy Spaniel follows this path.
Authorities agree the dog's ancestry to be in Japan, and possibly China of ancient times, but the exactness remains a matter of doubt. It is certain the Toy Spaniel did not make its first appearance in England during the reign of King Charles I, for whom the black and tan variety took its name. The Toy Spaniel was present more than a hundred years before.
The black and tan, King Charles, appear to have been the King's favorite and the emphasis in early breeding programs was on this variety. For a long time the varieties were bred without reference to color, producing several varieties in the same litter. Historians have noted that families of privilege had their favorites and breeding programs closely aligned with development of a single variety and purpose.
Although an adornment to many owners desiring a merry, affectionate dog of distinction the English Toy Spaniel was said to be a fine small hunting spaniel, particularly on woodcock.
The English Toy Spaniel achieved breed recognition with The American Kennel Club in 1886.
The Havanese, new to the AKC, is an old breed with title to a colorful history. The Havanese is the National dog of Cuba and its only native breed. The dog's journey to Cuba most likely was aboard the trade ships sailing from the island of Tenerife chronicled in ship's logs of the early sixteenth century.
Cuban trade was highly restricted by the Spanish, for many years allowing Tenerife to be one of the only open ports, and it would appear these little dogs who had found their way into homes of Cuban aristocracy developed without much outside influence.
The tropical environs of their homeland appears to have influenced the Havanese development, specifically their unique coat texture. Once called the Havana Silk Dog, or the Spanish Silk Poodle, the coat is
like raw silk floss, profuse, but extremely light and soft, insulating and protective of harsh tropical rays.
As Colonial Cuba developed and prospered the popularity of the Havanese grew.
As Cuban culture shifted the little dog of Havana, adaptable as always, became a family dog extraordinaire, playmate of children, watchdog, and herder of the family poultry flock.
By the mid-eighteenth century they were trendy in Europe, often exhibited in European dog shows and type was well established.
All the Havanese in the world today, save those from the “iron curtain” countries and those remaining in Cuba, stem from 11 little immigrants.
With the advent of the Cuban revolution, the class of Cubans who owned Havanese was the first to leave.
Remarkably, through all their travels, Havanese type and purpose has remained virtually unchanged for the past hundred and fifty years.
A handful of them found their way to the United States, and by the end of the 70s a gene pool was being rebuilt.
As with many ancient breeds it is their depiction in art and architecture that gives insight into their origin.
Miniature greyhounds appear in ancient decorative arts of the Mediterranean countries dating back 2000 years.
It was during the sixteenth century when this diminutive gazehound was highly sought by Italians and Southern Europeans that it acquired the name Italian Greyhound.
The breed made their way to England in the seventeenth century steadily gaining in popularity.
An Italian Greyhound was registered for the first time with the American Kennel Club in 1886.
Following World War I when the breed was in danger of extinction in Great Britain, fresh stock was imported from the United States, giving evidence of the high quality to be found in America at that time.
The Italian Greyhound Club of America was founded in 1954.
The Italian Greyhound is a true greyhound, his small size the result of selective breeding.
There is debate as to whether he was originally bred for hunting small game or was meant to be simply a companion.
In all likelihood, both are true, as he is adaptable to city and country life.
The Japanese Chin's origin and development in its native land of China is wrapped in royalty and adoration.
They were bred for the sole purpose of accompanying the ladies of the Imperial Palace and warming the laps of Chinese aristocracy.
There are illustrations on ancient pottery and embroideries that are centuries old, and evidence suggests that one could not purchase a Chin – they were kept in the hands of the nobility and frequently given as gifts of esteem to diplomats and to foreigners who rendered some outstanding service to Japan.
In 1853, Commodore Perry brought the first Chins over from Japan to England and a pair of these dogs was given to Queen Victoria.
In time, specimens came to America but there remains no record as to their final destination here.
During World War I, the supply of Japanese Chins to America was cut off to such an extent that breeders were limited to the dogs already here.
Japan, too, suffered losses when earthquakes played havoc among their breeders.
Dogs found in England and Europe have helped to maintain a high level of quality and have since made their way to America to blend with the established lines here.
The breed's compact size, coupled with being naturally clean, intelligent and sensitive, makes this an ideal companion.
The Maltese, the ancient dog of Malta, has been known as an aristocrat of the canine world for more than 28 centuries. Their place in antiquity is well documented.
The Greeks erected tombs to their Maltese, and from the ceramic art dating to the 5th century innumerable paintings of the little dog are evident.
At the time of the Apostle Paul, Publius, the Roman governor of Malta, had a Maltese name Issa of which he was very fond. Issa was the object of the poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial), born in A.D. 40 at Bilbilis in Spain, in one of his celebrated epigrams:
Literary accounts detail Maltese maintaining a place of esteem and privilege in Royal households, a status the Maltese has maintained throughout history.
Issa is more frolicsome than Catulla's sparrow. Issa is purer than a dove's kiss. Issa is gentler than a maiden. Issa is more precious than Indian gems… Lest the last days that she see light should snatch her from him forever, Publius has had her picture painted.
The first Maltese exhibited in the United States was white and listed as a Maltese Lion Dog at Westminster's first show in 1877. The American Kennel Club accepted the Maltese for registration in 1888.
This picture was said to have been so lifelike it was difficult to tell the picture from the living dog.
Perhaps due to the popularity of the Maltese for centuries as household pets of people of culture, wealth, and fastidious taste, the Maltese has remained a dog of refinement, fidelity, and cleanliness.
Many similar accounts in ancient doctrine address the Maltese as an object of beauty and value.
It should be noted that the Maltese is a spaniel possessing a healthy and spirited temperament, even though tiny and artistic in appearance.
The Miniature Pinscher is not a scaled-down, version of anything, especially the much larger Doberman Pinscher, although both are likely descended from the German Standard Pinscher.
Until the early 1900's Miniature Pinscher popularity was primarily contained in Germany and the Scandinavian countries but has gained great popularity in the US since the first one was registered with the AKC in 1925.
The Miniature Pinscher is a distinctly German breed often referred to as the Zwerg or Dwarf Pincher in historical documents. German Kennel Club documents also refer to the Miniature Pinscher as the “reh” Pinscher, but this term is only used for a dog of stag-red color, “reh” referring to a small red deer found in German forests years ago.
Originally in the Terrier Group and reclassified as a Toy in 1930, the official name was changed from Pinscher (Toy) to Miniature Pinscher in 1972.
The one fact remains that the Miniature Pinscher originated several centuries ago as an efficient barnyard ratter, with no relation to the Doberman or the Manchester Terrier.
Historical artifacts and paintings place the Min Pin as a very old breed, but factual documentation began less than 200 years ago, leaving his actual origins to debate.
The Miniature Pinscher is reported to include the Dachshund and Italian Greyhound among its ancestors. Many historians and those who have researched the background of the breed agree that this heritage is most likely, adding the shorthaired German Pinscher to the family tree.
The Norfolk Terrier is small and sturdy, alert and fearless, with sporting instincts and an even temperament. Good natured and gregarious, the Norfolk has proved adaptable under a wide variety of conditions.
In England at the turn of the century, working terriers from stables in Cambridge, Market Harborough, and Norwich, were used by Frank Roughrider Jones to develop a breed recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1932 as the Norwich Terrier.
In the early days there was a diversity in type, size, color, coat, and ear carriage. Correct color and ear carriage were constantly argued. When the Norwich breed standard was drawn up the drop ear and the prick ear terriers remained one breed. The English Kennel Club, in 1964, recognized them as two breeds-the drop ear variety as the Norfolk and the prick ear as the Norwich.
In the United States those who remember the Roaring Twenties still refer to the Norwich as a Jones Terrier; after Frank Jones, from whom many American sportsmen traveling abroad bought their first little red terriers.
In 1936, thanks to the efforts of Gordon Massey (who registered the first Norwich Terrier in this country) and Henry Bixby, then Executive Vice President of the American Kennel Club, the Norwich Terrier was accepted as a breed by the AKC. It remained one breed until 1979 when division by ear carriage became official. The drop ears are now recognized as the Norfolk, while the prick ears remain Norwich.
Visually there appears to be a distinct difference between the two breeds, resulting in two slightly different breed standards. Each breed has developed with success since separation.
Today, although as many live in cities as in foxhunting country, the Norfolk should still conform to the standard. The characteristic coat requires regular grooming but trimming is heavily penalized.
The ears should be neatly dropped, slightly rounded at the tip, carried close to the cheek and not falling lower than the outer corner of the eye.
The Norfolk Terrier is essentially a sporting terrier-not a toy. His chief attributes are gameness, hardiness, loyalty to his master, and great charm. He is affectionate and reasonably obedient.
He must be kept small enough to conform with the standard. Above all, the outstanding personality, characteristic of the breed, must never be subordinated for the sake of appearance and conformation.
The roots of the Norwich were firmly planted in East Anglia, England. By the 1880's owning a small ratting terrier was a fad among the sporting undergraduates of Cambridge University.
A popular strain developed of very small red and black-and-tan working crossbreeds from native, Yorkshire, and Irish den stock.
By the turn of the century one of these Trumpington Terriers moved to a stable near the city of Norwich. “Rags” was sandy colored, short of leg, stocky with cropped ears. A notorious ratter and dominant sire, he is the modern breed's progenitor.
For the next two decades various horsemen bred other game terrier types to Rags and his descendants, including a half-sized brindle Staffordshire. So, from companions and barnyard ratters, there gradually developed a line of excellent fox bolters, and one of these introduced the breed to America in 1914.
Bred in Market Harborough by the noted Frank “Roughrider” Jones, “Willum” became the inseparable companion of a Philadelphia sportsman, Robert Strawbridge. This Jones terrier was also low legged, cropped and docked but his very hard coat had black shadings and his head showed a marked resemblance to a Bull Terrier. Willum proved a charming, muscular 12-pound ambassador, and a prolific sire of M.E H. Hunt Terriers in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
He died at 14 years of age defending his hearth from a vicious canine intruder just a few years before the breed was recognized in England in 1932. Though the AKC made Norwich Terriers official in 1936, there are still some Americans who associate Norwich with Willum's breeder and steadfastly call them Jones Terriers.
In 1964 England recognized the drop ear Norwich as a separate breed, terming them the Norfolk Terrier. The American Kennel Club took the same step effective January 1, 1979.
The recognition of the two varieties as separate breeds is now the rule in all English-speaking countries and in Europe and Scandinavia.
Norwich are hardy, happy-go-lucky, weatherproof companions. Though game on vermin, they are usually gregarious with children, adults, and other domestic animals.
Today they still weigh about 12 pounds, are short legged, sturdy and can be any shade from wheaten to dark red, black-and-tan or grizzle. They are very loyal, alert, and have a sensitive intelligence.
The dwarf spaniel of the 16th century, depicted in many paintings by the Masters of that era, is the dog that became known as the Papillon.
Although the Papillon owes its name and much of its breed development to the French, it was Spain and Italy that gave rise to its popularity.
The Bologna region of Italy probably developed the largest trade, selling many dogs to the court of Louis XIV, transporting the dogs through Spain on the backs of mules.
This breed-type is said to have developed during the days of Louis the Great but the cause of the change remains largely theoretical.
It is noteworthy that both drop-eared and erect-ears occur in the same litter and are judged together in AKC shows.
First represented in the American Kennel Club in 1935, this delightful little dog enjoys great popularity in both conformation and performance competitions.
As ratters, they are extremely useful. Too small to kill a rat outright, they will worry it until it is exhausted then dispatch it quickly.
The legend of the lion that fell in love with a marmoset is at the foundation of Pekingese lore. In order for him to be wedded to his lady-love, the lion begged the patron saint of the animals, Ah Chu, to reduce him to the size of a pigmy, but to let him retain his great lion heart and character.
The offspring of this union are said to be the dog of Fu Lin, or the Lion Dog of China.
The earliest known record of the Lion Dog is traceable to the Tang Dynasty of the 8th century. Breeding of these little dogs, now called Pekingese, reached a zenith during the Tao Kuang period (1821-1851).
However, the oldest strains were kept amazingly pure. Imperial Dog Books, illustrated with pictures of the most admired dogs, were used as the standards.
Though records of pedigrees were not kept, breeding was the subject of much thought and many elaborate theories.
Prenatal impression was the method most in vogue: mothers were taken several times daily to see pictures and sculpture of the most beautiful dogs.
The desired colors for their coats were hung in their sleeping quarters, where they slept on sheepskins to suggest a profuse coat.
The characteristics we seek to retain and perfect today were in evidence in these earliest dogs.
The Dowager Empress is in large part responsible for the appearance of the Pekingese in the United States by giving many of the little dogs as gifts to influential Americans. At one time Americans could probably claim the largest population of authentic palace dogs.
The AKC first registered the Pekingese in 1906. This dog has but one purpose in life, to give understanding companionship and loyalty to his owners.
The Poodle is supposed to have originated in Germany, where it is known as the Pudel or Canis Familiaris Aquatius.
However, for years it has been regarded as the national dog of France, where is was commonly used as a retriever as well as, the Caniche, which is derived from chien canard or duck dog. Doubtless the English word “poodle” comes from the German pudel or pudelin, meaning to splash in the water.
Authorities concede that the large, or Standard, Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties, and that the dog gained special fame as a water worker. So widely was it used as retriever that it was shorn of portions of its coat to further facilitate progress in swimming.
Thence came the custom of clipping to pattern which so enhanced the style and general appearance that its sponsors, particularly in France, were captivated by it.
All of the Poodle's ancestors were acknowledged to be good swimmers, although one member of the family, the truffle dog (it may have been of Toy or Miniature size), it is said, never went near the water.
Truffle hunting was widely practiced in England, and later in Spain and Germany, where the edible fungus has always been considered a delicacy.
For scenting and digging up the fungus, the smaller dogs were favored, since they did less damage to the truffles with their feet than the larger kinds. So it is rumored that a terrier was crossed with the Poodle to produce the ideal truffle hunter.
Despite the Standard Poodle's claim to greater age than the other varieties, there is some evidence to show that the smaller types developed only a short time after the breed assumed the general type by which it is recognized today.
The smallest, or Toy variety, was known in England in the 18th Century, when the White Cuban became popular there. This was a sleeve dog attributed to the West Indies from whence it traveled to Spain and then to England. But the Continent had known the Poodle long before it came to England.
Drawings by the German artist, Albrecht Durer, establish the breed in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was the principal pet dog of the latter 18th century in Spain, as shown by the paintings of the Spanish artist, Goya. And France had Toy Poodles as pampered favorites during the reign of Louis XVI at about the same period.
The Pomeranian descended from the Spitz family of dogs, the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland.
The breed takes its name from the historical region of Pomerania that makes up the southern coast of the Baltic sea (now present day Germany and Poland), not because it originated there, but because this was most likely where it was bred down to size.
In its larger form, the dog served as an able herder of sheep.
When it first came to notice in Britain in the middle of the 19th century, some specimens were said to weigh as much as thirty pounds and to resemble the German wolf spitz in size, coat and color.
In 1870 the Kennel Club (England) recognized the so-called spitz dog. In 1888 a Pomeranian named “Marco” was sent from Florence, Italy to become the beloved companion of Queen Victoria of England.
Because the Queen was a popular monarch, the breed's popularity grew as well. In fact, the Queen is credited for advocating the trend toward the smaller Poms.
Pomeranians were shown in the United States in the Miscellaneous Class as far back as 1892, but regular classification was not provided until 1900 at New York. In 1911 the American Pomeranian Club held its first specialty show.
Early American winners were heavier in bone, larger in ear and usually weighed under six pounds. They had type and good coat texture, although they lacked the profuseness of coat in evidence today.
Diminutive size, docile temper and a vivacious spirit plus sturdiness have made Pomeranians great pets and companions.
The truth of how the Pug came into existence is shrouded in mystery, but he has been true to his breed down through the ages since before 400 B.C. Authorities agree that he is of Oriental origin with some basic similarities to the Pekingese.
China is the earliest known source for the breed, where he was the pet of the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. The breed next appeared in Japan and then in Europe, where it became the favorite for various royal courts.
The Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange after one of the breed saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving alarm at the approach of the Spaniards at Hermingny in 1572.
Later when William II landed at Torbay to be crowned King of England, his cortege included Pugs and they became the fashionable breed for generations.
By 1790 the Pug's popularity has spread to France where Josephine, wife of Napoleon, depended on her Pug “Fortune” to carry secret messaged under his collar to her husband while she was imprisoned at Les Carme
In 1860 British soldiers sacked the Imperial Palace in Peking and dogs of the Pug and Pekingese type were brought back to England. This was the first time since the early 16th century that dogs in any great number had been brought out of China.
Black Pugs were imported from China and exhibited for the first time in England in 1886. One year earlier, in 1885, the Pug had been accepted for registration with the American Kennel Club.
The Pug is well described by the phrase “multum in parvo” which means “a lot of dog in a small space.”
He is small but requires no coddling and his roguish face soon wiggles its way into the hearts of men, women and especially children, for whom this dog seems to have a special affinity.
His great reason for living is to be near his people and to please them. He is comfortable in a small apartment or country home alike, easily adaptable to all situations.
The breed was called Spits or Spitske then; the name Schipperke was given it only after the forming of the specialty club in 1888. The name is Flemish for “little captain”.
The first dog in America was imported in 1888. A specialty club was founded here about 1905, but died out during World War I.
Though called a canalboat dog, the Schipperke was as popular with shoemakers and other workmen as it was on the canals.
There was little interest until, after several years of effort by a few fanciers, the present Schipperke Club of America was founded in 1929.
The exact date of origin of the Shih Tzu is not known, but evidence of its existence has come to us from documents, paintings and objets d'art dating from A. D. 624. During the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 A.D.), the King of Viqur gave the Chinese court a pair of dogs said to have come from the Fu Lin (assumed to be the Byzantine Empire).
Another theory of their introduction to China was recorded in the mid-17th century when dogs were brought from Tibet to the Chinese court. These dogs were bred in the Forbidden City of Peking.
The smallest of these dogs resembled a lion, as represented in Oriental art. “Shih Tzu” means “lion”. The Shih Tzu is reported to be the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs, the lion being associated with the Buddhist deity.
These dogs were bred by the Chinese court and from them the dog we know today as the Shih Tzu developed. They are also called “the chrysanthemum-faced dog” because the hair grows about the face in all directions.
It is known that the Shih Tzu was a house pet during most of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.) and that they were highly favored by the royal family.
Dowager Empress Cixi (T'zu Hsi) kept an important kennel of Pugs, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu. After her death in 1908 the dogs were dispersed and breeding mostly ceased.
When the Communist Revolution occurred in China the breed became almost extinct. Every Shih Tzu today can be traced to fourteen dogs – seven bitches and seven dogs – some of which were imported to England where breeding of the Shih Tzu began in 1930.
There the breed was first classified as “Apsos” but after a ruling by the Kennel Club (England) that Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus were separate breeds, the Shih Tzu Club of England was formed in 1935.
From England members of the breed were exported to other countries in Europe and Australia. American soldiers stationed in these countries brought the breed back to the United States thus introducing them to this country.
The Shih Tzu was admitted to registration in the American Kennel Club Stud Book in March, 1969 and to regular show classification in the Toy Group at AKC shows beginning September 1, 1969.
Developed around the turn of the century in Australia from crossings of native Australian Terriers and imported Yorkshire Terriers, the Silky Terrier encompasses many of the best qualities of both.
There were some discrepancies between these two standards. A revised standard was published in 1926.
The breed was formed when a number of Yorkshire Terriers from England were brought into the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales at the end of the 1800's.
In an effort to protect the Yorkie, the Australian Terrier and the Silky from further crossings, the Kennel Control Council of Victoria introduced canine legislation in 1932.
A few of these Yorkshire Terriers were bred to some Australian Terrier bitches in an attempt to improve coat color in the blue and tan Australian Terrier.
The breed was originally called the Sydney Silky Terrier. In 1955 the official name for the breed in Australia became the Australian Silky Terrier.
The resulting litters produced individuals, some of which were exhibited as Australian Terriers, some as Yorkies and some as Silkys. The Silkys were then bred together until a recognized type was fixed.
In the United States, the first meeting of the Sydney Silky Terrier Club of America was held on March 25, 1955 and in July of that year the club's members voted to change the club name to the Silky Terrier Club of America.
In 1906 a standard was developed for the Silky in Sydney, New South Wales. In 1909 a separate standard for the new breed was drawn up in Victoria.
The Silky Terrier is a true “toy terrier.” His inquisitive nature and joy of life make him an ideal companion
To create this breed, some American fanciers crossed small Smooth Fox Terriers with various toy breeds including Min Pins, Italian Greyhounds, Chihuahuas and Manchester Terriers.
The Toy Fox Terrier is a toy and a terrier, and both have influenced his personality and character. While retaining the terrier gameness, courage and animation.
The resulting dog – the Toy Fox Terrier – retained the gameness from the terriers and a milder, more “livable” disposition from the other breeds used.
The cross-breeding with various toy breeds still a working terrier, and many of them delight in hunting and going to ground.
This truly American creation is a big dog in a small package, possessing intelligence, courage and a take-charge attitude. Today, the Toy Fox Terrier is a well-balanced toy dog of athletic appearance displaying grace and agility in equal measure with strength and stamina.
Given the opportunity, the Toy Fox Terrier will pursue the quarry of the backyard or barnyard with diligence. Known to tree squirrels and flush out rodents, the hunt is always welcome.
From the hunt to the show ring, the Toy Fox Terrier has become a cherished companion dog and excellent show piece.
Flyball or fetch are easily learned and perfected for endless hours of activity.
The Toy Fox Terrier has shown that he is at home in conformation, obedience and agility trials, his favorite spotlight is the center stage of his owner's life.
However, if you enjoy a lap dog, this little companion appears to know the latest in television entertainment of his household. Children especially enjoy the unending energy and zeal for play throughout this dog's life.
The Manchester district of England was a noted center for two “poor men's sports,” rat killing and rabbit coursing. A fancier by the name of John Hulme, with the idea of producing a dog that could be used at both contests, mated a Whippet bitch with a celebrated rat-killing dog, a crossbred terrier dark brown in color. On this basis the roached back, seldom found in a terrier, is explained.
Moreover, his weight leaves nothing to be desired, for there is a medium-sized type weighing over 12 and not exceeding 22 pounds, and a toy weighing 12 pounds or under.
The dogs proved useful, other fanciers took to breeding them, and the Manchester school of terriers was launched.
Up until 1959 the Manchester Terrier and the Toy Manchester Terrier were registered as two separate breeds, although interbreeding between the two breeds was permitted. Since that date they have been registered as a single breed, the Manchester Terrier, with two varieties, the Toy and the Standard, for dog-show purposes.
The name Manchester, however, was regarded as somewhat misleading, for similar dogs were known in many parts of England. Designation of the new breed did not take place until 1860 or thereabouts, at which time the city for which the dog was named had become a breed center.
No longer are extremes of any sort favored or fostered within the breed, for “the gentleman's terrier,” as he was known long ago, has come into his own. He exhibits that true Manchester type, with its flat skull, triangular eyes, accented kiss marks, and sleek ebony coat with clearly delineated markings.
Manchesters soon spread over the British Isles and eventually came to this country in considerable numbers, but years were to pass before the name was stabilized. In 1923, however, the newly formed Manchester Terrier Club of America changed the name back to Manchester Terrier, and there it has remained.
The sole difference between the larger dog and the Toy is concerned with the ears. Both varieties have moderately small, thin ears, narrow at the base and pointed at the tips.
As a sagacious, intelligent house pet and companion, no breed is superior to the well-bred Manchester. There is a sleek, breedy look about him that no other dog presents. His long, clean head, keen expression, glossy coat, whip tail, and smart, wide-awake appearance always command attention, while his clean habits and short coat admit him to homes which might shut out his rough-haired brothers.
They are set high on the skull and quite close together. In the Standard variety, ears may be erect or button; if cropped, they are long and carried straight up. In the Toy variety, however, cropping disqualifies. The Toy ear is carried naturally erect, without sidewise flare.
The Yorkshire Terrier traces to the Waterside Terrier, a small longish-coated dog, bluish-gray in color, weighing between 6 and 20 pounds (most commonly 10 pounds).
The Waterside Terrier was a breed formed by the crossing of the old rough-coated Black-and-Tan English Terrier (common in the Manchester area) and the Paisley and Clydesdale Terriers. It was brought to Yorkshire by weavers who migrated from Scotland to England in the mid-19th century.
The Yorkshire Terrier made its first appearance at a bench show in England in 1861 as a “broken-haired Scotch Terrier.”
It became known as a Yorkshire Terrier in 1870 when, after the Westmoreland show, Angus Sutherland reported in The Field magazine that “they ought no longer be called Scotch Terriers, but Yorkshire Terriers for having been so improved there.”
The earliest record of a Yorkshire Terrier born in the United States dates to 1872. Classes for the breed have been offered at all shows since 1878.
Early shows divided the classes by weight – under 5 pounds and 5 pounds and over. Size, however, soon settled down to an average of between 3 and 7 pounds, resulting in only one class being offered in later shows.
While a Toy, and at various times a greatly pampered one, the Yorkshire is a spirited dog that definitely shows its terrier strain.
The show dog's length of coat makes constant care necessary to protect it from damage, but the breed is glad to engage in all the roistering activities of the larger terrier breeds.