Size differentiates the Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles, who are otherwise similar. These elegant dogs have Einstein-like smarts and they make excellent family dogs. Most of them don’t have the runway styling of a show dog, but they do need professional grooming unless you are prepared to learn to use clippers.
The Poodle, also known as the Caniche and the Pudle, is a breed of dog that comes in three sizes. The Standard and Miniature Poodles are in the Non Sporting Group, and the Toy Poodles are in the Toy Group. This is one of the most popular house pet breeds known, and poodles are famous for their companionable temperaments and extremely high degree of intelligence. The Poodle was recognized by the AKC in 1887 and AKC approved in 1984.
When groomed to show dog standards the body is meant to give off a square appearance. It is approximately the same length as the height at the withers. The skull is moderately rounded with a slight but definite stop. It has a long, straight muzzle. The dark, oval-shaped eyes are set somewhat far apart and are black or brown. The ears hang close to the head and are long and flat. Both the front and back legs are in proportion with the size of the dog. The topline is level. The tail is set and carried high. It is sometimes docked to half its length or less to make the dog look more balanced. Dewclaws may be removed. The oval-shaped feet are rather small and the toes are arched. The coat is either curly or corded. It comes in all solid colors including black, blue, silver, gray, cream, apricot, red, white, brown or café-au-lait. While it does not make the written show standard, some breeders are breeding parti-colored Poodles.
Other Quick Facts
- Poodles are canine scholars. Their intelligence combined with their desire to please makes it easy to train them.
- The original purpose of the Standard Poodle was to retrieve waterfowl for hunters, and he is still capable of performing that task today.
- Poodles need regular mental stimulation and physical exercise.
- Poodles are not prissy and are just as likely as other dogs to enjoy wet or muddy fun.
- A Poodle’s grooming needs are considerable. Clipping must be done regularly, typically about every 6 to 8 weeks, or that fine curly coat will mat into gnarly knots.
- Poodles can be one of the best family dogs possible. For the tiny dog’s safety, though, most breeders won’t place Toy Poodles in homes with children younger than 10 years.
AKC group: Toy
UKC group: Companion Dogs
Average lifespan: 14 to 18 years
Average size: 5 to 10 pounds
Coat appearance: Corded, Dense, and Harsh and Rough
Coloration: It comes in all solid colors including black, blue, silver, gray, cream, apricot, red, white, brown or café-au-lait
Best Suited For: Families with children, singles, seniors, houses with yards
Temperament: Intelligent, easy to train, obedient, playful
Poodles are thought to have originated in Germany, where they were called Pudel, meaning “splash in the water,” a reference to their work as water retrievers. The exaggerated show cut seen today began as a practical way to keep the dog’s joints and torso warm in cold water.
The Standard is the oldest of the three Poodle varieties. The Miniature and the Toy were created by selecting for smaller size. They, too, were working dogs. Miniatures are said to have sniffed out truffles, a type of edible mushroom that grows underground, and Toys and Miniatures were popular circus dogs because of their intelligence, love of performing and ability to learn tricks.
The curly-coated dogs became popular in England and Spain, but in France they were adored. King Louis XVI was besotted with Toy Poodles and the breed became thought of as France’s national dog. It was in France that the breed achieved status as companions, and Poodles still enjoy that status today. They are beloved around the world and are consistently ranked among the most popular breeds. Today the Miniature is the most popular of the three sizes, and the three varieties together are ranked ninth in popularity among the breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.
Poodles have a reputation for being “sissies.” They way their hair is cut for shows probably doesn’t help that image, but Poodles are by no means fragile, shrinking violets. They are outgoing, friendly dogs who love to run and romp, and interestingly, they were originally used to assist hunters of water fowl. They are true family dogs who can play hard with children all afternoon, then curl up in the living room for an evening of relaxation. Toy Poodles make excellent watchdogs, they are alert and curious and will sound the alarm that a person or animal is approaching. They make an excellent choice for families of all sizes and ages, and are great for first time dog owners.
This dog has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years and may suffer from minor diseases like trichiasis, entropion, cataract and lacrimal duct atresia, and major aliments like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, and epilepsy. Urolithiasis and intervertebral disk degeneration are sometimes noticed in the breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, knee, and eye exams on the dog.
The Toy Poodle is not meant for outdoor living, but it enjoys moving to and from the yard. Its coat requires it to be brushed on alternate days. When hair sheds, it does not fall off easily, but gets tangled, thus causing matting. Clipping is recommended four times annually, while the feet and face require monthly clipping. Most Poodles need professional groomers, but owners of the dogs can also learn the grooming procedure. Poodles require plenty of physical and mental exercise – indoor games, short walks, etc. -as well as lots of interaction with humans.
Toy Poodles are good for city life as well as country living. Given enough exercise, they are not active indoors. They will lie right next to you and are more sedate when indoors, although they love to play outdoors and are a highly intelligent breed, so they do like lots of thoughtful activities to stimulate their mentality. They will do okay without a yard.
Poodles are highly trainable dogs. They catch on very quickly to patterns and don’t require much motivation beyond praise and a couple of treats. Poodles should never be treated harshly as they will simply stop listening to you. They are natural learners, however, so they shouldn’t test your patience too far during training sessions.
Once basic obedience has been mastered, Poodles should graduate on to advanced obedience, trick training, or the agility course. They are thinking dogs and will appreciate the opportunity to learn new things.
Toy Poodles can live as happily in and apartment as they can in a large home with a yard. Wherever they dwell, they do need daily walks and several chances to run every week. Poodles who aren’t exercised enough can become high strung and bark excessively.
They are a smart breed who need to use their minds as much as their bodies, so it is important to give your Poodle lots of interesting activities to do during the day.
Grooming is a significant consideration in Poodles. The fine, curly coat that works well in the water needs to be clipped regularly, typically about every six to eight weeks, depending on your preferences. It mats easily, and requires regular brushing at home, even with professional grooming care. Left untrimmed, the coat will naturally curl into cords. Some people want the coat to cord because they prefer the look.
Dental care is an issue, particularly for the Toy and Miniature Poodle. Those small mouths full of teeth can cause problems. Keep on top of it by brushing the teeth regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and having regular dental checks when you go to the veterinarian.
Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Don’t let them get so long that you can hear them clicking on the floor.
Is the Toy Poodle the Right Breed for you?
High Maintenance: Grooming should be performed often to keep the dog’s coat in good shape. Professional trimming or stripping needed.
Minimal Shedding: Recommended for owners who do not want to deal with hair in their cars and homes.
Difficult Training: The Toy Poodle isn’t deal for a first time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are required to adequately train it.
Slightly Active: Not much exercise is required to keep this dog in shape. Owners who are frequently away or busy might find this breed suitable for their lifestyle.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.
Did You Know?
Toy Poodles have been popular pets for centuries, including in the court of Louis XVI. Poodles didn’t originate in France, but they are often referred to as French Poodles because they were so popular in that country.