The Toy Poodle is a dedicated, smart, eager-to-please breed. Equal parts playmate, protector, and cuddle buddy, the Toy Poodle proves once and for all that good things come in small packages.
Toy Poodle History
The Toy Poodle is a small version of the Standard Poodle. So, the Toy Poodle's history actually begins with that of the original Poodle breed.
Despite their strong association with the country, Poodles didn't originate in France. And no one really knows the full story behind the breed's origins. Poodles are likely related to the Portguese Water Dog and Irish Water Spaniel. Some experts believe they originated in Central Europe or Russia, while others think they got their start in Spain or Portugal. Another common theory is that German soldiers brought the Poodle to France during the 1400s.
Regardless of the breed's exact beginnings, everyone agrees that Poodles were bred for bird hunting and water retrieval. And their love of water is how they got their name. "Poodle" has its roots in an old German word meaning "to splash about."
What's the deal with the famous Poodle haircut? Hunters knew that Poodles would be more efficient swimmers if they had less hair. But less hair would leave them more vulnerable to the cold water. So, creative Poodle owners had an idea. They shaved most of the dog's body but strategically left puffs of hair to protect joints and vital organs from the cold. Problem solved.
In the 1700s, owners bred Standard Poodles down to smaller sizes, creating the Miniature Poodle. Then in the early in the 20th century, people were looking for a petite dog that would be well-suited for city life. And the Mini Poodle gave way to the Toy Poodle.
All Poodle sizes share the same breed standard. Another thing they all share? Popularity. Poodles have held a place on lists of the most-loved dog breeds for decades.
Toy Poodle Traits
The Toy Poodle is an elegant, well-proportioned, breed with a frizzy and curly coat.
Coat and Coloring
The Toy Poodle's dense coat can be curly (frizzy curls over the whole body) or corded (even cords that hang in varying lengths). Poodle owners often give their pups stylized haircuts or a "puppy clip" that trims hair to an even length over the whole body.
Toy Poodles come in a wide range of colors—including solid blacks, grays, silvers, browns, apricots, creams, and shading variations.
Distinctive Physical Traits
The Toy Poodle has dark, oval-shaped eyes that offer an alert, intelligent expression. Covered in long, wavy hair, the ears are long enough to reach the corner of the lip when pulled forward.
Toy Poodle Temperament
The Toy Poodle is an incredibly smart, playful breed that is perfect for people who want a "big dog" personality but don't have a lot of space to spare. Toy Poodles make great apartment dogs (and purse dogs) and get along well with kids, dogs, and other pets.
Toy Poodles love people and form tight bonds with their families. And because of their sensitive nature, they even pick up on the moods of people they're close to. This intuitive nature—coupled with their willingness to please—make Toy Poodles great assistance and therapy dogs.
Toy Poodles may tend to bark, and some are reserved around strangers. Early socialization can help prevent these and other undesirable behaviors.
Toy Poodle Care
Tiny dogs like Toy Poodles have little stomachs that don't allow them to eat big meals. So, it's best to break their food up into several small meals throughout the day.
Toy Poodles need a dog food formulated for their specific life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior). A diet created for small-breed dogs will have the appropriate blend of nutrients and a smaller kibble size that helps them properly chew and digest their food. Foods developed specifically for Poodles are also a great option to consider.
To prevent your Toy Poodle from becoming overweight, monitor how much they eat. And be sure to take treats into account when tracking their daily calorie intake. Even a couple treats can add up to a lot of extra calories for a Toy Poodle. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog's calories.
Toy Poodles have hair instead of fur. That means—unlike fur coats that grow to a point and then shed—a Poodle's hair keeps growing. Similar to human hair, their hair does still fall out. But it usually falls back into their coats (instead of all over the house). Because of this minimal shedding, Toy Poodles are an excellent breed for people with allergies.
Though Toy Poodles don't shed a lot, their coats still need regular grooming. To keep their hair free from mats and tangles, brush a few times a week. And because their hair grows continuously, plan on haircuts every month or so.
Toy Poodles are particularly at risk for dental issues due to their small mouths and crowded teeth. All dogs require regular dental care—including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings. But Toy Poodles may require more frequent cleanings beginning at an earlier age.
The Toy Poodle is a very active breed that enjoys all the same activities as other dogs in the Sporting group. Long walks, jogs, agility, retrieving, rally, and swimming are fun ways for a Poodle to burn off energy. Or for something a little different, try musical canine freestyle—a mix of obedience training, dance, and tricks.
Toy Poodles are very bright dogs, and therefore easy to train. Because they're so responsive and eager to please, reward-based training using treats or favorite toys is the best approach with these pups.
Toy Poodle Genetic Health Conditions
Osteochondrodysplasia is a disorder of bone and cartilage development resulting in stunted growth, misshapen limbs, and abnormal movement.
von Willebrand's Disease, type 1
von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) type 1 is a clotting disorder that usually causes mild bleeding tendencies in affected dogs though some may have more severe signs. The low level of von Willebrand's factor impacts the bloods clotting ability.
GM2 Gangliosidosis (Discovered in the Toy Poodle)
GM2 Gangliosidosis, is a disorder of progressive nervous system degeneration, with signs including incoordination of movements and tremors.
Knowing if your Toy Poodle is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM