The Miniature Poodle is a beautiful, curly-coated dog breed. Originally bred as a hunting companion, they now make loyal pets and intelligent agility dogs. They weigh up to 15 pounds and reach up to 15 inches tall. A generally healthy breed, they live an average of 12 years.
In this guide, we’ll take you through everything that you need to know about the Mini Poodle.
We will cover expected size, temperament, grooming requirements, suitability as a pet, common health concerns and how to find your very own Poodle puppy.
What’s in This Guide
- Miniature Poodle at A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Miniature Poodle Training and Care
- Pros and Cons of Getting A Miniature Poodle
Breed at A Glance
The Miniature Poodle may be slight in size, but they have big personality!
- Popularity: Consistently one of the most popular breeds worldwide
- Purpose: Retrieving water dog
- Weight: 10-15 inches
- Temperament: Friendly, intelligent and eager to please
Miniature Poodle Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Miniature Poodle
- Fun facts about Miniature Poodle
- Miniature Poodle appearance
- Miniature Poodle temperament
- Training and exercising your Miniature Poodle
- Miniature Poodle health and care
- Do Miniature Poodle make good family pets
- Rescuing a Miniature Poodle
- Finding a Miniature Poodle puppy
- Raising a Miniature Poodle puppy
- Popular Miniature Poodle breed mixes
- Miniature Poodle products and accessories
History and Original Purpose of the Miniature Poodle
The Miniature Poodle is a beautiful, curly-coated dog breed. Originally bred as a hunting companion, they now make loyal pets and intelligent agility dogs.
Some may think of Poodles as divas who would rather sit pretty on a cushion than get dirty, but au contraire!
Poodles began as duck-hunting dogs nearly 400 years ago. Contrary to what some may think, these hunting dogs were bred in Germany, not France.
That’s right, there’s no such thing as a French Poodle.
Even though their luxurious coats look ready for a show, they kept the water-loving dogs warm as they retrieved game for their masters.
The Poodle’s ancestors rose in popularity across Europe, but not just as duck hunters. Poodles became known for their success as truffle hunters, military dogs and even circus dogs!
Changes in Purpose
Eventually, these talented dogs caught the eyes of nobles who wished for a particularly regal-looking animal that was small enough to be a lap dog. Thus, the Miniature Poodle was born.
If you’re curious about the Toy Poodle vs Miniature Poodle, check out our review of the Toy Poodle.
Fun Facts about the Miniature Poodle
The French name for the Poodle is Caniche, which is a derivative of the French word for female duck.
The English word Poodle is derived from the German, Pudel, which is derived from another German word meaning “splash in water.”
After decades away from the hunting field, the breed is making a resurgence there as more and more Poodles are being used in hunting.
Miniature Poodle Appearance
You don’t have to be a dog expert to know a Mini Poodle when you see one. Their curly coat is often clipped in distinctive patterns. Even unclipped, they’re easy to identify.
How big is a fully grown Miniature Poodle? A better question might be, how small is an adult Miniature Poodle?
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a Miniature Poodle may reach anywhere from 10 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder. Miniature Poodle weight ranges between 10 and 15 pounds.
Miniature Poodle Coat and Shedding
Their long and thick curly or wavy coat is iconic.
Sometimes, you’ll see a Poodle with his hair clipped short. He may be only partially clipped, with only a few parts (typically the head, ears, chest, and legs) fully furred.
While this clip may seem like a fashion statement, it served a purpose back in the day. It protected the hunting dog’s vulnerable parts from cold and aided in swimming.
Today, clipping makes grooming easier for owners as their medium length coat requires regular attention.
Regardless of how you keep his coat, a Miniature Poodle will bless you with a dramatic lack of shedding.
He will still shed, but minimally: Every dog sheds at least a little (refer to our article on hypoallergenic dogs).
Miniature Poodle Coat Colors
Miniature Poodles are typically a single solid color, with several beautiful shades that highlight their beautiful curls.
Here are the coat colors that the AKC recognizes for show-quality Miniature Poodles (those who meet registration requirements):
- Silver Beige
If a breeder tries to sell you a bicolored Miniature Poodle as show-quality, know that the AKC does not accept bicolored Miniature Poodles or any color other than those listed above.Sometimes, the color names used are more fun, such as mini chocolate Poodle for a brown pup.
Miniature Poodle Temperament
Poodles are generally friendly, and the Mini Poodle is no exception. However, they can be a little shy and leery of strangers.
That, combined with their love and loyalty to their owners, means that some may growl at strangers. In extreme cases, they may bite.
Therefore, it’s important that you socialize a Miniature Poodle with new people and animals from puppyhood onward.
Other than a possible distrust of strangers, Poodles are very intelligent dogs who are eager to please.
Training and Exercising Your Miniature Poodle
Because they are so intelligent and eager to please, training is relatively easy. However, that intelligence requires that you are consistent and positive in your training efforts.
As mentioned previously, early socialization is critical for this breed to avoid fear and aggression around strangers.
These dogs can be rather rambunctious little critters who enjoy about an hour of daily play time and plenty of interaction with their owners.
A bored Miniature Poodle will be an unhappy one, so this breed is best suited for a household that will keep them entertained, even if in short spurts.
Since their descendants were bred as working dogs, it’s natural that they prefer something to occupy their bodies and minds! Toss a toy around for a Mini Poodle, and he’ll be happy to continuously fetch it for you.
Miniature Poodle Health and Care
Like any purebred dog, Miniature Poodles are susceptible to several inherited health conditions. You can read about a few health conditions that are over-represented in Poodles in our article on Standard Poodles.
In addition to the health conditions found in those articles, they may also be prone to the following:
Generally found in small and older dogs, it’s caused by tumors on the adrenal gland.
Once Cushing’s has been diagnosed, the dog may require lifelong medication, surgery to remove the tumor(s) and/or radiation therapy.
According to a 2002 study, Miniature Poodles seem prone to inherited diabetes. As with humans, diabetes in a dog requires lifelong insulin therapy.
Mitral Valve Disease
A malfunction of a heart valve causing blood to leak from one chamber in the heart to another, often referred to as leaky valve disease.
This progressive condition is exactly what it sounds like. This makes the dog unable to breathe normally and may cause coughing.
Medication is required to help the dog breathe normally, and surgery is a last resort to correct the deformity.
This is an inherited, allergic or secondary inflammation of the eyelid that closely resembles conjunctivitis (pink eye), in which the eyelid is red, swollen and itchy, sometimes with a clear or yellow discharge.
Constant drainage can lead to loss of pigment or fur around the eye.
Degenerative Disc Disease
This is the spontaneous slippage or rupture of the discs that reside between the spinal vertebrae due to trauma or degeneration due to age. This is painful and can lead to hind-end paralysis.
In some instances, genetic testing can identify dogs that carry the genes responsible for health problems. Dogs who are known carriers of these genes should not be used for breeding.
Miniature Poodle Lifespan
As a smaller dog, Miniature Poodles typically enjoy a longer life expectancy. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 18 years. Most Mini Poodles live about 14 years and some make it all the way to 18!
Miniature Poodle Weight
A balanced diet appropriate to your dog’s age is important. You’ll want to monitor your dog’s caloric intake and weight. Don’t forget to include treats in that calculation.
Any dog will become overweight if fed too much or not given enough exercise. Because excess weight will exacerbate some of the health issues facing Miniature Poodles, it’s important to avoid it.
Your veterinarian can recommend the best, balanced diet for your pup based on her age, health and activity level. The appropriate diet will change over the course of your dog’s life to maintain a healthy weight for your pup.
Miniature Poodle Grooming
How you keep a Miniature Poodle’s coat determines how much maintenance is needed.
If you keep your pup fully furred and unclipped, her curls or waves will require daily brushing. The fur closest to her skin will quickly become matted if not carefully groomed.
Because of their high-maintenance coat, most owners opt to clip their pup. There are several popular cuts that require varying degrees of maintenance.
If you keep her coat clipped short overall, you may be able to get away with less brushing and combing.
You’ll need to plan for visits to the groomer every four to six weeks to maintain the cut and trim her nails.
If you keep her coat partially clipped and partially long, then you’ll still need to maintain her long hair with daily brushing/combing. The clipped areas will need re-clipping every four to six weeks.
For additional information about keeping a Poodle’s coat looking and feeling its healthiest, check out our article on Poodle grooming!
Do Miniature Poodles Make Good Family Pets
A Mini Poodle makes a great addition to a household who will spend plenty of time with their dog.
Poodles of all kinds are known to be great with kids (especially those socialized from a young age). We recommend this breed to a family with children.
They thrive on the love, hugs and play time children will give them. Both the kids and the pup will get plenty of exercise while they’re at it!
Just remember that if your house already has a pet or has lots of visitors, that you’ll need to socialize a Miniature Poodle with other dogs and new faces. A hasty introduction to a new animal or person may not go well with a dog who is distrusting of strangers.
If you think this is the dog for you, consider giving a home to a rescue.
Rescuing a Miniature Poodle
Purebred dogs are occasionally relinquished to shelters and rescues for a variety of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the dog. So, don’t discount these sources when searching for a pup.
In some cases, you may come across Miniature Poodle puppies who have been rescued from a bad situation, such as a puppy mill. It’s a wonderful feeling to give a needy dog a loving home, but it’s not without some uncertainty.
A shelter dog’s health history may be questionable or unknown, so this could add a layer of complexity when it comes to the dog’s future care.
However, a more likely source is a Miniature Poodle rescue organization. We’ve included rescue links for some of the most popular ones later in this article.
Finding a Miniature Poodle Puppy
Anyone can breed a dog and sell the puppies. In most countries, there are no laws restricting or regulating dog breeding. That means that there are good dog breeders and there are bad dog breeders.
The worst breeders don’t care about the animals other than how much money they can make. So, you need to pick your puppy supplier very carefully indeed. Be sure to do your research on breeders before selecting a Miniature Poodle puppy.
Use our guide to select a puppy for your best chance at avoiding a dog with serious health or behavioral issues.
As mentioned, show-quality Poodles are one color, so be wary of any breeders who advertise “show-quality” bicolored puppies.
Select a breeder who uses genetic testing to prevent passing on undesired traits to help ensure the health of your puppy. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Good breeders will appreciate your diligence.
A good breeder will keep their breeding stock and puppies healthy, at a good weight and in clean and spacious living conditions. Avoid any breeder whose dogs appear in poor health and/or dirty quarters.
These breeders may not want to let you see all their dogs. You should ask to see the mother with her pups. If the father is available, it’s good to meet him too.
Miniature Poodle Prices
So, what is the going rate for this breed?
Prices for Miniature Poodle puppies depend on how many are available, how much the breeder has invested in the puppies’ health and how valuable the parent dogs are to the breeder.
Additionally, some colors are more popular than others (hello, gorgeous apricot Poodles!). Therefore, you may pay more for a pup with a highly desired coat color.
Show-quality Miniature Poodle puppies will cost more than non-show-quality puppies.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from several hundred dollars to roughly $2,000 for a purebred Miniature Poodle puppy.
Of course, you should understand what’s involved in raising a puppy before you bring one home.
Raising a Miniature Poodle Puppy
Caring for a vulnerable Miniature Poodle puppy is a big responsibility. There are some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training.
Popular Miniature Poodle breed mixes
Like any other breed, Miniature Poodles can be mixed with other dog breeds. Poodles are popular components of designer dogs.
Keep in mind that if you decide to get a mix puppy, additional factors will play into the personality, looks and health of your pet. So, be sure to investigate the other breed as well.
Here are some popular Miniature Poodle breed mixes:
Pros and Cons of Getting a Miniature Poodle
It’s important to know the pros and cons so that you can choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. Careful selection helps ensure you can create a lasting bond and have a cherished companion for years. Keep these things in mind as you consider whether a Mini Poodle is the right dog for you.
- High-maintenance coat
- May be shy around strangers
- Several potential health issues
- Highly intelligent
- Easy to train
- Friendly, happy dogs
Keep these factors in mind and look for the pros and cons of any other breeds you might be considering to make a fair comparison.
Once you decide on the right pup for you, the right products and accessories will help you prepare for your new pup’s homecoming.
Miniature Poodle Products and Accessories
- A Complete Guide to the Best Wet Food for Your Dog
- Dog Grooming Supplies for Keeping Their Fur Looking Fabulous
- Noisy Toys for Active Dogs
- Dog Training Treats for a Super Successful Training Session
Miniature Poodle Breed Rescues
If you think this is the right dog for you, consider giving a home to a dog in need. A good place to start looking for Miniature Poodles for adoption is a breed-specific rescue organization.
Any rescue organization should be interested in how well suited a dog is to you and your family. You should make your decision based upon the dog’s character and current health.
There are no Miniature Poodle rescue organizations, instead Poodle rescue organizations works with all three sizes of Poodles.
Below is a list of Poodle rescue organizations in the USA and UK. We were unable to find any in Canada or Australia, which we hope is because there is no need!
We’d love to Hear From You!
You may also find Miniature Poodles at rescue organizations that don’t focus on a specific breed.
If you know of a Poodle rescue not already listed, please share it in the comments.
Do you have a Miniature Poodle? If so, tell us about your pup in the comments.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
References and Resources
- Adams VJ. et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- American Kennel Club
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Leaky Valve Disease of Older Dogs.“
- Duffy D. et al. 2008. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
- Galac, S. 2015. “Selecting the Best Treatment Option for a Dog with Cushing’s Syndrome,” Acta Veterinaria-Beograd.
- Gough A. et al. 2018. Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hoenig, M. 2002. “Comparative aspects of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats,” Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.
- The Kennel Club
- O’Neill, et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Dogs Owned in England. The Veterinary Journal.
- Payne, J. et al. 2006. “Tracheal Collapse,” Compendium.
- Summers, J.F. et al. 2010. “Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 2: Disorders that are not related to breed standards“
- Ward, E. 2008. “Degenerative Disc Disease in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospital.
- Yuill, C. 2010. “Blepharitis in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospital.