Breed Group: Toy
A Poodle of any size is one of the smartest, most easily trained, and sensitive of all breeds. With his superior intellect and above average energy level inside, Poodles are both amusing and clever. But the Toy Poodle is so small and fragile they are ill-suited to families with children. To keep their mind occupied they need a daily mental challenge which can include advanced training or mentally stimulating games. Although not “velcro” dogs, they also need daily companionship. These two traits make them poor candidates for a backyard dog that is ignored by their family. Most are at least sociable with other pets, with many enjoying the company of other canines. Most also enjoy the company of visitors but still make excellent watchdogs by announcing the stranger's arrival. Many bark more than they should. But Toy Poodles their size and temperament make them poor guard dogs. Extremely playful and active both inside and out, the Toy Poodle is both elegant and athletic. Their tiny size and reduced exercise needs make them an ideal candidate for seniors. A short walk and a good play session either inside or out suffices. Some lines are dainty and high strung while others are confident and extroverted. Originally bred as wetland retrievers, some Toy Poodles enjoy water.
The Toy Poodle is a tiny dog. They stand between 6 and 10 inches tall and weigh 4-7 pounds. Like all Poodles, the Toy has dense, curly, wiry coat that sheds little if at all and is generally recognized as ideal for people with allergies. Coats have a wide range of colors including blue, gray silver, brown, black, white, café au lait, apricot or cream. Although they shed little, a Poodle’s coat requires extensive care and grooming. Their coat grows quickly and requires regular brushing to avoid tangles. They must be bathed on a regular basis and clipped every four to six weeks. With their small size, they do better in warm temperatures than extreme cold where a sweater should be used.
Most Toy Poodles require no more than an average amount of socialization to reduce any tendency to be timid. The highly intelligent and eminently trainable Toy Poodle pays close attention during training sessions, learns very quickly, and responds enthusiastically to positive training methods. A skilled reader of his trainer’s body language, he is capable of learning anything and is often a skilled obedience or agility competitor. Toy Poodles make a good choice for first-time dog owners, seniors, or those living in apartments or small homes.
Although their life expectancy is up to 16 years, Toy Poodles are subject to an array of genetic diseases including Legg-Perthes a skeletal problem that typically causes lamness, Luxating Patella a problem with their kneecap sliding out of position, epileptic seizures, PRA which causes blindness and Cataracts which can reduce vision up to the point of being blind. Less often seen and less severe an issue are a number of other problems with their eyes including Trichiasis and Entropion both problems with their eyelashes and problems with tear ducts that are missing or sealed. Rarely they have back problems or Urolithiasis.
The Poodle is one of the world’s most loved dogs and has remained one of the most popular breeds in the U. S. for many years. Poodles are currently ranked 8th in popularity by the AKC with between 31,000 and 32,000 annual registrations.
Although its great popularity in France has resulted in the breed’s more common name, “French Poodle,” the Poodle may have originated in Germany. The Poodle descended from a now nearly extinct French water dog and its name is probably a variation on the German word “Pudel,” meaning one who plays in water. These dogs were originally bred in Germany and France to retrieve waterfowl shot by hunters, although the French utilized their intelligence and trainability to turn them into circus performers. Smaller varieties became the pampered pet of royal families. Although Poodles are now primarily companion and show dogs, they are capable of much more.
Although the official breed standard specifies the only difference between Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodles is size, many believe Standards are more stable and docile than his smaller cousins and is a good choice for families with small children who want a sturdy pet. Standards make exceptional watch dogs, and a passable guard dog. Miniatures need less space and do well in families with older children. They have no ability as a guard dog. Toys are too small and fragile for families with children and are a good choice for older, less active people or those with limited living space. The National (US) Breed Club is the Poodle Club of America.