The Toy Poodle dog breed is the smallest version of the Poodle dog. These curious puppies are intelligent, active, social, friendly and might just be the perfect apartment pet, lapdog or sporting companion. They have curly fur in lots of colors, with droopy ears and dark eyes. Although not a guarding breed, they will bark like a watch dog when visitors arrive. Toy Poodles need regular exercise, training and grooming to stay happy and healthy.
PROS: Intelligent, long-lived and easy to train. CONS: High maintenance, vulnerable to injury
What Were Poodles Bred For?
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.
Toy Poodle Origins
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 big Poodle dog. 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
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
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 new puppies, and this is something to consider when deciding between a puppy and a rescue dog.
When Do They 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.
A Distinctive Appearance
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. Generally toy dogs and companion dogs 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.
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.
Grooming A Toy Poodle
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 Poodle 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 They 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 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 Poodle puppy.
- 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 be free from behavioral problems and 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!
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.
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.
Toy Poodle Puppy Socialization
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 They 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:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Patella Luxation
- von Willebrand’s disease
- Thyroid problems
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!
Rescuing a Toy Poodle
If you’re eager to welcome a tiny Poodle into your home, you can also consider looking for Toy Poodles for adoption. 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?
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!).
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.
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 Toy Poodle cost 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.
Miniature Toy Poodles
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 mini puppies. 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.