Home Articles The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 5: The Toy Group

The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 5: The Toy Group


Part 5 of 7 – The Toy Group

In part 5 of this series we look into those wonderful companions, the Toy dogs. Previously we explored the rarest breeds found in the Sporting Group, the Hound Group, the Working Group and the Terrier Group.

We have looked at the individual registration numbers for years 2016, 2017 & 2018 and combined those three years to come up with the numbers for the rarest breeds. As a point of interest we have also looked at data from the Kennel Club (UK) for these same breeds when available.

The write up for each group and breed copied from the CKC.

The Toy Group

Breeds: A few Toys were bred with a particular purpose in mind, such as the Brussels Griffon and Toy Manchester, which were initially designed to decimate the rodent population of stables and other afflicted abodes. Most of the others were primarily pampered lap dogs, meant mainly to look as appealing as possible and to sop up all the excess adoration available.
Activity level: Perky, playful and cuddlesome, most of the Toy breeds are lively, upbeat characters. A few, such as the Pekingese, can be more sedate.
Size: This is the most uniform group when it comes to size. Think “small,” from the tiniest Chihuahua barely tipping the scales at less than three kilograms (six pounds) to the solidly built Pug that should not exceed eight kilograms (18 pounds).
Trainability: Primarily house pets, Toys tend to live very closely with their owners and most are eager to please them. The majority of Toy breeds readily take to training, if you don’t mind bending over a lot.
Characteristics: Charming characters concocted to capture hearts, Toys can worm their way into your affections as well as your bed.

5th Rarest Toy Breed


The Affenpinscher is the 5th rarest breed in the Toy Group, with a three year total of 71 individual registrations (15 in 2016, 37 in 2017 and 19 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK nearly on par with the numbers here in Canada, with 89 registrations in 2018.

“A Toy breed that originated in Germany, the Affenpinscher has been documented in works of art dating back to the 15th century. The name means “monkey terrier” and well describes the appearance presented by the foreshortened, bewhiskered face. A true terrier in spirit, the breed was once utilized to dispatch vermin from stables. Affenpinschers are generally quiet but may be spunky and fearless in the face of aggression. Though the breed enjoys activity, its exercise needs are minimal. Small but sturdy in build, the Affenpinscher has a shoulder height of 9-11-1/2 in (24-28 cm), with 10-1/4 in (26 cm) being the ideal. The hard and wiry coat is short and dense on the body but shaggy and longer on the legs, as well as around the eyes, nose and chin, giving it a monkey-like expression. The most common colour is black; however, black with tan markings, red, grey and other mixtures are acceptable. The breed requires only minimal brushing to keep the coat neat.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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4th Rarest Toy Breed

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin comes in at number 4, with a three year culmination of only 56 individual registrations (25 in 2016, 22 in 2017 and 9 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK for 2018 is 162, significantly higher than here in Canada.

“The Japanese Chin shares its ancestry with the Pug and Pekingese. It’s thought the small dogs were brought to Japan around 500 BC as gifts to the Mikado. There, they underwent further development as special pampered pets of the Imperial family and were reputedly given ‘sake,’ a wine made from rice, to stunt their growth. Some were so small they were kept in hanging cages like birds. In 1853, when Commodore Perry was visiting Japan on a trade mission, he was presented with a pair of Japanese Chins that he presented to Queen Victoria on his return. The breed was first exhibited under the name Japanese Pug in 1862 and soon found its way into public favour. Playful, agile and friendly, the Japanese Chin is responsive and affectionate. This lively, high-bred little dog fits well into small living spaces and needs minimum exercise. The breed varies in size but the rule of thumb is “the smaller, the better.” They measure about 12 in (30 cm) at the shoulder and for show purposes they are divided into under and over 7 lb (3 kg). The coat is profuse, long, straight and rather silky. Rather than lying flat, it has a tendency to stand out, particularly at the neck to give the appearance of a mane. It also carries substantial feathering on the thighs and tail. The coat may be black and white or red and white. The silky coat should be brushed and combed frequently. The large, prominent eyes should be examined regularly and gently cleansed if needed.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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3rd Rarest Toy Breed

Toy Fox Terrier

The Toy Fox Terrier comes in at number 3, with a three year culmination of only 49 individual registrations (17 in 2016, 13 in 2017 and 19 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK are unknown as they aren’t a recognized breed.

“A breed that enjoys worldwide popularity, the Fox Terrier began in England. It remained for American fanciers to breed the Fox Terrier down to Toy dimensions and popularize the breed, which is sometimes known as the Amertoy, the shortened form of American Toy Fox Terrier. The Toy Fox Terrier is truly a Toy and a Terrier and both have influenced his personality and character. As a Terrier, the TFT possesses keen intelligence, courage and animation. As a Toy he is diminutive, and devoted with an endless abiding love for his master. The Toy Fox Terrier is intelligent, alert and friendly, and completely loyal to their owners and protective of them. Like other terriers, he is spirited, determined and not easily intimidated. Happy, spunky and outgoing, the Toy Fox Terrier is a charming companion, requiring minimal exercise to stay fit. The Toy Fox Terrier packs all its personality into a package that ideally stands nine to 11 in (23-28 cm) tall. The coat is short, satiny, shiny, fine in texture and smooth to the touch. It is slightly longer at the ruff, uniformly covering the body. The permissible colours include tricolour; white, chocolate and tan; white and tan; and white and black. Some hand-stripping may be necessary to keep the coat fitting neatly for the show ring. Otherwise, grooming is minimal.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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2nd Rarest Toy Breed

English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel is the second rarest Toy breed in Canada. The English Toy Spaniel has a three year culmination of only 34 individual registration (7 in 2016, 18 in 2017 and 9 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK (where they are known as the King Charles Spaniel) are higher than here in Canada, with 106 registrations in 2018.

“Dog historians tend to believe the English Toy Spaniel originated in Japan, was taken to Spain and then to England. The breed caught the fancy of nobility there. Mary, Queen of Scots, kept a number of them and one hid beneath her skirts at the time of her execution. King Charles II was the most famous patron of the breed and it reached the peak of its popularity during his reign (1660-1685). After that, oriental breeds became fashion’s darlings and breeders crossed the small spaniels with Pugs, Pekingese and Japanese Spaniels. The result was a smaller dog with a round skull, short muzzle and upturned nose. In Britain, the breed is still known as the King Charles Spaniel. Charming in temperament, the breed has a merry and affectionate demeanour. Bred primarily as lapdogs, the English Toy Spaniel fits well in apartment or city living. Its exercise needs are easily met. Adult dogs weigh from 9-12 lb (4-5.5 kg). The coat is long, soft, silky and wavy with a profuse mane extending down over the chest. The colour variations in this breed are: King Charles (black-and-tan), Ruby (solid chestnut red), Blenheim (red-and-white) and Prince Charles (tri-colour). Regular brushing keeps the English Toy Spaniel looking tidy.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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The Rarest Toy Breed

Toy Manchester Terrier

The Toy Manchester Terrier comes in at number 1, the rarest Toy breed in Canada, with a three year registration culmination of 0 (0 in 2016, 0 in 2017 and 0 in 2018).

“Like the Manchester Terrier, the Toy version was developed from the old English Black and Tan Terrier, known in Britain for some 400 years. Like his larger relative, the Toy triumphed as a ratter. Despite his small stature, he was formidable to vermin as was demonstrated in 1848 when a proud owner bet his dog could kill 300 rats in three hours. The match, held in the Queen’s Hotel Tavern in London, pitted Tiny The Wonder against the vermin. The 5-1/2-pounder did in the entire lot in just 54 minutes and 50 seconds! The Toy Manchester breed suffered a setback toward the mid-19th century, when breeders became more concerned with small size than health and soundness. Fortunately, there were enough caring breeders to correct the problems and put the Toy Manchester back on its feet. A middle-of-the road sort of temperament is displayed by the Toy Manchester that is neither aggressive nor shy. He’s devoted, discerning and observant of all that’s happening around him. The breed is generally friendly with other dogs. The Toy Manchester exhibits a great deal of power and agility packed into the sleek muscular body. Being small means he adapts well to any environment and fits into the smallest accommodations. His exercise needs are minimal. Weight should not exceed 12 lb (5.5 kg). The coat is short, smooth, thick, dense, close and glossy. The Toy Manchester is jet black in colour with particular markings in rich mahogany tan. Grooming is quick and simple.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Honorable Mention

Silky Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier had 111 individual registrations in Canada over a 3 year period (46 in 2016, 42 in 2017 and 23 in 2018), compared to only 16 individual registrations in the UK in 2018.

“Primarily a blend of the Australian and Yorkshire Terriers, the Silky was developed in Australia in the early 1900s. Differing opinions led to two separate standards being drawn up – one in Sydney and the other in Victoria. In the first instance, the breed was known as the Sydney Silky Terrier and in the latter it was called the Victorian Silky. In 1959, the Australian National Kennel Council adopted a single standard and renamed the breed as the Australian Silky Terrier. The breed’s sole purpose has been to serve as an attractive and delightful household pet. Quick, friendly, inquisitive and responsive, the Silky retains the keenly alert air of the terrier. His joy of life makes him an ideal companion for any size accommodation. Neither as active as a terrier nor needing as much care as the more diminutive Toy breeds, the Silky is a happy medium. His exercise needs are easily met. It is the lustrous coat that gives the breed its name. Fine in texture, the flat-lying coat is glossy and silky. The body coat ranges from 5-6 in (13-15 cm) in length and the Silky wears a rather profuse topknot on the top of the head. The Silky is blue in colour with tan markings.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Stay tuned as next week we will bring you Canada’s rarest Non-Sporting Breeds!

Previous articleSeptember 4th, 2019 ~ Front Cover
Next articleBlast from the Past – September 4th, 2019
Rob is a long time purebred dog enthusiast. Starting out in obedience sports, his main interests morphed into conformation and breeding. Rob is a breeder and exhibitor of Golden Retrievers under the Conquerer prefix.


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