Dog Conformation: The Toy Dog Group

Learn more about the Toy Group’s history, its top dogs, how the breeds are handled in the ring and much more.

Some dog breeds in the Toy Group, including Maltese and Havanese, were bred to be companions, but others, such as the Italian Greyhound and Toy Poodle, are miniature versions of other breeds. These breeds are affectionate and social dogs, and they can adapt to many living conditions. At conformation shows, Toy breeds are most often judged on a table, and judges generally should not bend down to physically examine a competing dog.


Top Toy Dogs

Top Dogs of the Toy Group from the present back to the year 2000. For more information about a specific dog (if it is available), click on its name:

2013: Miniature Pinscher GCh. Marlex Classie Red Glare
2012: Affenpinscher GCh. Banana Joe V. Tani Kazari
2011: Pekingese Ch. Palacegarden Malachy
2010: Pekingese Ch. Palacegarden Malachy
2009: Toy Poodle Ch. Smash JP Moon Walk
2008: Affenpinscher Ch. Tamarin Tug
2007: Toy Poodle Ch. Smash JP Win A Victory (Top Dog of All Breeds in 2007)
2006: Toy Poodle Ch. Smash JP Win A Victory
2005: Pekingese Ch. Yakee If Only (Top Dog of All Breeds in 2005)
2004: Toy Poodle Ch. North Well Chako JP Platina King (Top Dog of All Breeds in 2004)
2003: Pekingese Ch. Yakee Leaving Me Breathless at Franshaw
2002: Shih Tzu Ch. Hallmark Jolei Raggedy Andy
2001: Affenpinscher Ch. Yarrow’s Supernova
2000: Shih Tzu Ch. Charing Cross Ragtime Cowboy

See a breed list with the National Breed Clubs for the Toy Group. Click to continue>>

See the Toy Group Top Sires and Dams of 2011. Click to continue>>

See upcoming All-Breed and Group Shows so you can see the Toy Group breeds in action or enter your dog. Click to continue>>



Westminster Best in Show Winners

2013 Westminster Winner. Not only was Affenpinscher GCh. Banana Joe V. Tani Kazari top Toy dog of 2012, he was Best in Show at the 137th (2013) Westminster Kennel Club dog show. He bested more than 2,500 other dogs and six other Group 1, including American Foxhound Ch. Kiarry’s Pandora’s Box in the Hound Group; Bichon Frise GCh. Vogelflight’s Honor To Pillowtalk in the Non-Sporting Group; Old English Sheepdog Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect in the Herding Group; German Wirehaired Pointer GCh. Mt View’s Ripsnortersilvercharm in the Sporting Group; Portuguese Water Dog GCh. Claircreek Impression De Matisse; and Smooth Fox Terrier GCh. Slyfox Sneak’s A Peek in the Terrier Group.





2012 Westminster Winner. Top Toy dog of 2010 and 2011, Pekingese GCh. Palacegarden Malachy took Best in Show at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2012. Best in Show judge Cindy Vogels said, “His magnificent head sits atop a proper big body, slung between heavy legs. He’s a small dog who ‘picks up heavy.’ He has an outstanding topline — short-coupled with a wonderful tailset. His carriage and character are all Pekingese, regal and alluring.”

‘Malachy’ bested more than 2,000 other dogs at the show and beat six outher Group 1 winners, including Wirehaired Dachshund GCh. Raydachs Playing With Fire V Gleishorbach SW in the Hound Group; Dalmatian GCh. Spotlights Ruffian in the Non-Sporting Group; German Shepherd Dog GCh. Babheim’s Captain Crunch in the Herding Group;  Irish Setter GCh. Shadagee Caught Red Handed in the Sporting Group; Doberman Pinscher GCh. Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici in the Working Group; and Kerry Blue Terrier GCh. Perrisblu Kennislain’s Chelsey in the Terrier Group.


1988 Westminster Winner. Pomeranian Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II was Best in Show under judge Michele Billings in 1988. Judge Billings said, “He has a wonderful carriage and was put down in flawless condition. I have judged him once before, and I gave him a Group.” Ch. Great Elms Prince Charming II (Ch. Cedarwood’s Image Of Diamond X Great Elm’s Sweet Candy) was born on December 28, 1984. He is the only Pomeranian to ever take Best in Show at Westminster. He is also the last Pomeranian to win a Group 1st at Westminster.

To get Best in Show, this Pomeranian bested more than 2,600 other dogs and six Group 1 dogs, including Bloodhound Ch. Viking’s Thor in the Hound Group; Standard Poodle Ch. Alekai Airy in the Non-Sporting Group; Shetland Sheepdog Ch. Rockwoods Gold Strike in the Herding Group; German Shorthaired Pointer Ch. NMK’s Brittania V Sibelstein in the Sporting Group; Doberman Pinscher Ch. Royal Tudor’s Wild As The Wind, CD in the Working Group; Cairn Terrier Ch. Tidewater Master Gold in the Terrier Group.


Grooming Trends Over the Decades

Whenever conformation judges gather to discuss how dog shows have changed over the decades, it doesn’t take long before the subject of “today’s overgroomed dogs” takes center stage. Flip through the magazines of the 1960s and ’70s, and the show photos speak volumes: Whatever the breed, we see sparser head and leg furnishings, a less tailored look and little evidence of the “P” word (product).

So what’s happened? Are exhibitors and handlers feeling less constrained by the individual edicts of breed standards and eager to put their artistry on display? Are judges more accepting of a generic (big coat, big movement, big everything) show dog? Is it the smorgasbord of shampoos, lotions and potions available for purchase at dog-show vendors and online? Probably a combination of all three. Read more about the presentation and grooming changes in the Toy Group>>


Watch Toy Breeds in the Ring

Watch the breed judging at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Click on a Toy Breed to proceed to the video.

Brussels Griffon
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Chihuahua, Long Coat
Chihuahua, Smooth Coat
Chinese Crested
English Toy Spaniel, Blenheim and Prince Charles
English Toy Spaneil, King Charles and Ruby
Italian Greyhound
Japanese Chin
Miniature Pinscher
Poodle, Toy
Shih Tzu
Silky Terrier
Toy Fox Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

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