The Toy Poodle is the smallest version of the Poodle breed. Toy Poodle puppies are an intelligent, active and social. They require regular exercise and grooming. Today we’ll be sharing all the information you need for finding and raising Toy Poodle puppies, as well as caring for your full grown Toy Poodle as an adult dog.
- The breed at a glance
- History & origins of the Poodle breed
- Fun facts about Poodles!
- Toy Poodle size
- When is a Toy Poodle full grown?
- Toy Poodle lifespan
- Finding reputable breeders
We’ll also talk about the controversial teacup Toy Poodle and bring you lots of fun facts about this smart and surprising breed. In temperament it’s similar to the larger poodles, but there are health differences between them. Let’s find out how this breed compare to their standard and miniature sized counterparts, enjoy some lovely pictures of Toy Poodles, and discover how to tell if they’re the perfect pet-match for you!
Here are some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions about this popular breed.
- Are they good family dogs
- Do Toy Poodles shed?
- What health problems do they have?
- Are they affectionate?
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: 7 out of 193 Breeds on AKC Website
- Purpose: Non-Sporting
- Weight: 4 – 6 pounds – vulnerable to accidental injury
- Temperament: Intelligent, energetic, and outgoing
PROS: Intelligent, long-lived, fun and easy to train. CONS: Coat is high maintenance, vulnerable to injury
History and original purpose
So let’s start at the beginning – where did this breed originate? The first thing you need to know about the Toy Poodle breed is… it isn’t a breed!
In the USA, the UK and Australia, the debonair Poodle comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature and Toy. In the UK these are separate breeds each with their own register. But in the USA, the different Poodle sizes are all categories of the same breed – the Poodle – rather than distinct breeds in their own right. To find the history of the Toy sized poodle, we need to look at the breed as a whole.
Poodles are often thought of as a quintessentially French dog, but they actually originate from Germany. There they were originally bred as retrievers for fetching ducks and other waterfowl from the water.
Poodles are derived from Barbets – water dogs which are still around today. Barbets are pretty big, so unsurprisingly the Standard Poodle was the first size of Poodle to be recognized in it’s own right. A modern American Toy sized Poodle is actually an historic German dog in a little Poodle body!
Miniature and Toy Poodles were created by gradually scaling down the Standard Poodle. This was first done for specific hunting tasks. But changed to breed them for companionship. These very small Poodles aren’t a recent development, in fact they’re widely documented as far back as the 18th Century!
Poodles are loved by everyone throughout history. In fact they’ve even been a popular pet for celebrities and royalty!
Elvis was one of these well known Poodle lovers! He adored Poodles so much he often gave them as gifts to his loved ones. He gave one called Little Bit to an early girlfriend, gave one named Duke to his mother, and gave his wife Priscilla Presley a Toy Poodle called Honey!
Toy Poodle Size
The key difference between the toy variety and the larger poodle breeds is their size. So just how big is a Toy Poodle?
Poodles in the toy category grow to a maximum of 10 inches at the shoulder. After that a dog would be categorized as a Miniature or Standard Poodle depending on how much bigger they grew. Miniature Poodles can measure up to 15 inches. That puts our curly toy breed on the same scale as other toy dog favorites, Pugs and Shih Tzus.
In the show ring, where two of these tiny toy poodles are equal in all other respects, the smaller dog will take the rosette. So what is the magic tipping point when a Miniature Poodle becomes a Toy? It’s that 10 inch height!
Toy Poodle Weight
We’ve looked at size, but how much should such a small breed weigh? Generally, a healthy Toy Poodle fully grown will weigh between 4 and 6 pounds. This, again, is less than a Miniature Poodle, who should weigh in between 10 and 15 pounds.
The toy poodle adult is a very small dog. And their puppies are very tiny indeed. This tiny size makes this small Poodle dog breed vulnerable to injury at any time but especially when they are puppies, and this is something to consider when deciding between a puppy and a rescue dog.
When do Toy Poodles stop growing?
Like many other smaller dogs, this small poodle breed reaches maturity sooner than their larger cousins, and your Toy Poodle dog will be fully grown by their first birthday. So it’s important to make the most of those few months with your cute fluffy puppy, as they will soon be all grown up!
How long do Toy Poodles live?
This is a breed with a relatively good life expectancy. A small sample of owners in the UK who were willing to complete a survey for the Kennel Club including details of how their pets had died (20 dogs in total), found that the average lifespan of those Poodles in the toy group had been 14 years and eight months. And it is not that unusual to hear of a 17 or 18 year old Toy Poodle.
Fourteen is a respectable age for any dog. It also reflects the general rule that small dogs tend to live longer than large dogs (the average age for Standard Poodles in the same survey was 12 years). And pleasingly, the leading cause of death when the time came was simple old age.
Generally your little Poodle should appear squarely built and well proportioned. They have dark, oval eyes and their ears hang close to their heads. Poodles have long, straight muzzles, and of course a very distinctive coat. Let’s take a look at their coat in more detail.
Toy Poodle Tail
In the USA the toy poodle tail is usually docked, which means that the tip of the tail has been cut off. This is a procedure that is carried out when puppies are just 2 or 3 days old.
Tail docking is illegal in much of Europe and in England and Wales is only permitted for working dogs such as terriers, retrievers, and spaniels. Toy dogs and companion dogs generally are no longer docked there. Toy Poodle tail length after docking is about half to two thirds the original length of the natural tail
Does A Toy Poodle Shed Hair?
Poodle coats don’t shed, in the sense of leaving hair all over your carpets and furniture. But their coats do keep growing throughout a dog’s lifetime. Left to their own devices, they will eventually “cord” – the canine equivalent of dreadlocks. That means some form of grooming is a must.
Toy Poodle Coat Care
Poodles have earned their reputation for being high maintenance in just one crucial area: and that’s grooming.
Your dog’s coat will need brushing every day to keep on top of tangles and sweep away dirt and debris before it can accumulate. It will also need trimming every six to eight weeks. For most Poodle parents, this is as straightforward as an all-over haircut, known as a pet clip or a puppy clip.
If you’re planning to enter your pride and joy into dog shows (or even if you just fancy the aesthetic of pom-poms at the ankles), then you’ll need to find a dog groomer with specific experience of looking after Poodles. They will initiate you into the fascinating and (dare I say it?) bewildering world of continental clips, English saddle clips and bikini clips.
They’ll be able to advise you on the different types of ‘cut’. The Toy Poodle puppy cut for example, is a short ‘all-over’ cut that gives your puppy and easy to manage coat of 1-2 inches in length. A teddy bear Toy Poodle is one that has been given a teddy bear cut which leaves more hair on the face and paws, giving a puppyish look.
Groomers can also help you identify which you’re allowed to choose from according to your chosen breed registry, and then choose which would be best for your dog. And if all this makes you think the that a corded coat might be the way to go, bear in mind they are the highest maintenance coat of all to keep clean.
But, before you despair, remind yourself that the time spent grooming your Poodle would otherwise be spent hoovering up dog hairs and lint-rolling the furniture if you’d chosen a different breed of dog that sheds!
Are Toy Poodles Hypoallergenic?
When it comes to fur, color isn’t the only factor you may be considering. One defining feature that all poodles have in common is those glorious curls! And an important feature of tight curls in any dog is that when the dog sheds, as all dogs do, the shed hair remains trapped in the curls rather than ending up on your clothes and furniture.
Because shedding is reduced in Poodles some people with allergies are able to tolerate being around them when they are not able to tolerate dogs with coats that shed freely.
However, it’s important to remember that no dog is truly hypoallergenic and if you suffer from allergies it’s important you spend some time with these dogs to make sure that their fur does not trigger respiratory problems.
There are a staggering ten Poodle colors. Some of them incredibly vibrant – a full grown red toy poodle, for example is a very striking sight! Other shades are more muted and subtle. There really is a color to suit every taste. You can also get tan Poodles, a pale version of the brown.
- silver beige
- and white!
In addition, they list an astonishing eighteen acceptable two-tone coat combinations in their breed standard. Including the toy parti poodle, with their striking black and white patches. And if that’s not enough already, whilst looking for a Toy Poodle puppy you’ll probably encounter even more colors, which aren’t recognized by the breed registries, but look just as sharp. So no matter what color Poodle you picture having, with a little patience and perseverance you’ve got a good chance of finding them.
What you won’t find is a lot of difference between the colors. The silver Poodle temperament is likely to be much the same as the black Poodle’s personality!
Toy Poodle Temperament
These tiny dog really do bear the brunt of two unfair stereotypes. That Poodles are fussy and high maintenance, and that small dogs are, well, even more fussy and high maintenance. In fact, a properly-raised small Poodle should have a similar disposition to a Standard Poodle, and the Standard Poodle was bred to work happily and productively alongside humans.
Toy Poodles personality should be active, proud and very smart, and gay-spirited and good-tempered. If they’ve been given a good amount of exercise, they should also be happy to be a bit of a lap dog at home. A Toy sized Poodle should be like a best friend who thinks all your ideas are excellent and wants to join in without fuss.
This small Poodle breed are popular companion dogs because they reciprocate our love of company. But the flip side of this is that they don’t take kindly to being left out.
Training and Exercising your Toy Poodle
Many people think small dogs don’t have many requirements when it comes to training and exercise. However, they’re mistaken! Even smaller dogs need consistent training and regular exercise!
Don’t let their small size fool you – these dogs are smart, energetic, and love to join in with days out. You’ll need to provide plenty of opportunities for exercise. An hour a day is the absolute minimum. You’ll also need to keep them engaged with plenty of training and fun games at home.
Historically Standard and even Miniature Poodles were prized for their quick intelligence and trainability as hunting companions.
The smallest Poodles don’t share their older cousins’ working roots to the same extent, but they do share their intelligence. With patience and practice, channeling those smarts into a well-trained and well-behaved dog should be an achievable and rewarding way to bond with your new dog.
Like all toy dogs, your little Poodle mustn’t be allowed to skip socializing or obedience training just because they’re small enough to scoop out of trouble. Lots of socialization as a puppy will be vital to instill them with the confidence they need around people as adults.
If your tiny friend will be visiting or visited by children, arranging a fun and rewarding introduction while they’re still a puppy will set them up for a happy relationship in the future. Even if you don’t have many children in your life, it’s still a good idea to get your puppy to be comfortable around kids, under supervision of course. The last thing you want is a little dog that is scared of children and snappy as a consequence.
Do Toy Poodles make good family pets
Toy Poodles are intelligent breeds that suit families who can spend a lot of time with them. They don’t do well being left alone. And really benefit from time spend bonding whilst training or playing. They suit families who have the time to exercise them regularly. They don’t have too many severe health problems, which means they’re a relatively good choice for most families!
Are Toy Poodles Good with Children?
Standard and Miniature Poodles are a popular breed choice for families with children because they’re typically confident and relaxed around humans, and relatively easy to train. Among Poodle owners, Toy Poodles are generally reported to be more nervous than their bigger cousins, which means kids will have to be older before they can be left unsupervised with a Toy Poodle.
You’ll also need to consider how likely it is that your tiny pup could accidentally get hurt. Most children will easily outweigh a Toy Poodle by their second birthday, but toddlers (through not fault of their own) are still clumsy, and if they fall onto your dog, the dog is likely to end up injured.
Toy Poodle Health and Care
Through genetic good fortune and the wisdom and prudence of Toy Poodle breeders, there are lots of healthy puppies being born. However, like any breed, there are some health problems which they tend to be vulnerable to. Without further ado, they are:
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative condition which causes the retina at the back of the eye to gradually degenerate. It eventually results in loss of sight. PRA can be acquired through plain old bad luck. But it can also be caused by faulty genes which are inherited through some breeding lines.
Luckily, the faulty gene has been found, and carriers can be identified by a straightforward and easily obtainable DNA test. When you visit a Toy Poodle puppy, their breeder should be able to show you certificates for both parents confirming they don’t carry the faulty gene which causes Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
A huge retrospective study of dogs diagnosed with cataracts between 1964 and 2003 found that just over 10% of Poodles in the toy group have cataracts, compared to just over 3% of the dog population overall. This strongly suggests there is an underlying genetic link between being a Toy Poodle and suffering with cataracts. However, unlike Progressive Retinal Atrophy there is no definitive DNA test for identifying at-risk dogs.
So to screen for cataracts, all Poodles used for breeding should have had a complete eye exam by a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist within the last year.
Patella luxation is a malformation of the knee joint which allows the top of the shin bone to slip in and out of position, causing lameness.
Luxating patellas are a problem for many small dog breeds, including Poodles. There are different degrees of patella luxation, depending on whether it was present from birth or developed in adulthood, and how severely it affects the dog.
Toy Poodles used for breeding should have certificates issued by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals describing the condition of their knee joints. The breeder should be happy to share these with you and discuss any concerns they throw up.
von Willebrand’s Disease
von Willebrand’s Disease, more commonly abbreviated to vWD, is an inherited blood disorder. Dogs (and humans!) with vWD don’t produce enough of a protein in the blood plasma called von Willebrand factor (vWF).
vWF plays an important role in blood clotting when the skin is broken. Dogs with vWD are prone to nosebleeds and bleeding gums, and bleed excessively from cuts or wounds in the skin.
The condition is caused by a mutation in the gene which would normally code for vWF. This means it can be inherited by puppies of Toy Poodles who carry the faulty gene. Luckily, a DNA test for von Willebrand’s disease is readily available. When you visit a puppy their breeder should be able to show you certificates to confirm neither parent carries the vWD mutation.
And finally, all sizes of Poodle are more than averagely vulnerable to thyroid problems. This is a rather umbrella term which can refer to a broad spectrum of conditions and symptoms. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- weight gain
- digestive problems
- greasy skin, dry skin or skin infections
- hair loss or a lank, greasy coat
- and more.
When you’re searching for your puppy, ask breeders if any of the dogs in their puppies’ family tree have been diagnosed with thyroid problems.
Toy Poodle Care
As with any breed, you should check your Poodles ears for excess wax regularly. Also make sure to keep his nails trimmed. You’ll want to find a high quality dog food to ensure he grows into a happy and healthy adult!
Pros And Cons of Getting A Toy Poodle
These tiny dogs make wonderful pets if you have an active lifestyle, and you’re looking for an intelligent dog you can take out and about and build a real rapport with. Let’s quickly summarize what we know, to see if it’s the best breed for you.
- Their coat is very high maintenance.
- Toy Poodles require a lot of time and attention.
- If left alone too long, boredom can result in destructive behaviors.
- Toy Poodles can be easily hurt by children who don’t know how to handle dogs.
- Their smaller size means Toy Poodles take up less room than other Poodle sizes. This can be useful if you live in a smaller house or apartment!
- They are smaller all over, which means less fur to groom than their larger counterparts!
- Toy Poodles are very intelligent and take well to training.
- They are social dogs that love spending time with their family.
Rescuing a Toy Poodle
If you’re eager to welcome a tiny Poodle into your home, you can also consider rescue dogs. Although you might not be able to find a puppy, choosing to go to a rescue is a great way to give a dog a second chance.
Toy Poodles end up in shelters or foster homes for all kind of reasons. Some may have been given up for behavioral issues which an experienced dog owner is best-placed to rectify. But others were much loved pets who have fallen on hard times, for example because their owner has died or become too ill to look after them. Could you be the right person to give them a second shot at a happy home?
Finding Toy Poodle breeders
If you have set your heart on a Toy Poodle puppy you’ll need to find a reputable breeder? Most Poodle breeders specialize in one chosen size of Poodle, and the AKC and The Poodle Club of America both keep extensive details of breeders. In the UK the Kennel Club is a good starting place to find a breeder in your area.
Poodles of all sizes are commonly mistaken for being hypoallergenic because they don’t shed. This means they’re a favorite of puppy farms. It’s important to avoid puppy farms and pet stores, as these puppies and the dogs they’re bred from are not treated well. Always take every precaution possible to make sure you buy your puppy from a responsible breeder.
Finding the Best Breeder
A responsible breeder will be happy to answer all these questions when you approach them, and arrange for you to meet both parents before you take home your puppy.
Your prospective puppy should be with mum when you go to meet them, and it should be obvious she is a beloved family pet. She should know her name, and their should be obvious affection between her and the breeder (she has recently given birth after all!).
Worried that a pedigree Toy Poodle breeder is the wrong place to find a family pet? Don’t be! In reality only one or two puppies from a litter will be show standard, but the rest will still be happy, healthy, well-treated “pet puppies”.
Toy Poodle price
Bringing a litter of healthy puppies into the world is not a cheap business. A Poodle puppy can cost anything from several hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars.
Part of the cost might reflect that they are an unusual or sought-after color, or their parents have performed well in the show ring. But the steep price tag is far from profiteering.
Their parents needed to be health tested before the mating took place, the mum needed veterinary care throughout her pregnancy, the puppies needed feeding, worming and flea-treating… it all adds up.
When considering how much a toy Poodle is going to cost you, it’s also worth remember that the price you pay for your puppy is only a very small part of the overall lifetime cost of raising and caring for your dog. Your biggest outgoing by far, is likely to be health insurance.
Cheaper Toy Poodles
If a Poodle puppy price sounds too good to be true, their welfare is likely to have been compromised at some point to make that possible. So it’s important not to buy a pet shop toy poodle, or a puppy from a puppy mill which is how pet stores are supplied with puppies. Also bear in mind that even though a puppy seems expensive, the upfront cost is just a tiny fraction of how much you’ll have to pay to keep them over their lifetime.
Raising a Toy Poodle puppy
You can find out about the different puppy development stages in this article. Caring for a vulnerable puppy is a big responsibility. There are some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training.
Check out our list of puppy training guides here.
Popular Toy Poodle breed mixes
If you love small Poodles, you might want to check out these Toy Poodle mixes!
Which one is your favorite? Take a look at this guide for more Poodle mixes.
Miniature Toy Poodle
Before we go, we should probably just mention the mini toy poodle, sometimes know as the teacup toy poodle.
When small dogs are so cute, it can be a small step to assume that even smaller is better. However, extreme miniaturization often comes with serious health issues.
So do take care when aiming for the smaller varieties of this breed. Teacup Poodle breeders are likely to be compromising the welfare of their dogs in order to achieve those smaller sizes. You can read more on this topic here: Teacup Toy Poodles but if you are undecided between mini vs Toy Poodle, it’s best to go for the toy puppy, every time.
Toy Poodle products and accessories
There are several accessories that are vital when getting your first Toy Poodle. Check out our recommended products.
Toy Poodle Breed Rescues
No matter where you’re from, you can rescue a Poodle. Here are some rescue centers we’ve found.
- Carolina Poodle Rescue
- Poodle Club of America Rescue Foundation Inc
- Boston Toy Poodle Rescue
- Picket Poodles
If you know any other great Toy Poodle rescues, let us know in the comments so we can add them to this list. Trouble naming your pint-sized pup? Click here to find the very best small dog names!
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