Height: 10 inches and under
Weight: 6 – 9 lbs
Life Span: 12 – 15 yrs
Coloring: Solid colors: black, blue, grey, brown, apricot, red, cream, silver – varying shades of these colors can be found in one coat, usually on the tips of the ears and the ruff of the neck.
Area of Origin: England (The Poodle breed in general – Germany and France)
Similar Breeds: Standard Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Havanese
History and Origin:
Originally used as a duck retrieving dog across continental Europe, the Poodle is the descendant of the extinct French Water Dog, Barbet, and Hungarian Water Dog. Bred down in size through selective breeding of the Standard Poodle, the Toy Poodle was developed in England in the eighteenth century, and became known as a superb circus performer and companion for nobility across Europe. King Louis XVI of France and his aristocracy held the little dog in the highest regard, and Spanish artist Goya depicts tiny Poodle dogs accompanying the Spanish nobility around the same time. Its popularity in France gave it the name “French Poodle”, although the French maintained the Poodle’ heritage as a hunting dog by calling it the “Caniche”, or, “duck dog”. Queen Anne of England popularized the Toy Poodle in England, where it became associated with the breed known as the “White Cuban” (which later became the Havanese), and accessorized the dress of most noble English women. Even though it was a preferred companion and circus dog, the Toy Poodle maintained its working roots and was used to find truffles – a rare mushroom considered to be a delicacy. The Poodle’s keen sense of smell and high level of intelligence allowed the Toy to excel at this job, and while larger Poodles were also employed to sniff out truffles, the Toy Poodle’s tinier stature allowed it to unearth the mushrooms with little to no damage done. Today, the Toy Poodle is among the most popular of dogs in the United States; the Poodle ranks ninth in overall registrations with the American Kennel Club.
Personality and Temperament:
A tiny dog with a large personality, the Toy Poodle is an intelligent, loving, comical, and active dog. Despite its size, it maintains the hunting instinct of the Poodle breed, and loves to swim. The Poodle does have a tendency to be timid and wary of strangers, and should be socialized well as a puppy to avoid behavior problems as an adult. It is an alert and intuitive dog, and can make a good watch dog. While playful and energetic, the Toy Poodle is not an ideal companion for children due to its fragile body. It nevertheless loves to play and perform, and is happiest when it can be active both mentally and physically. The Toy Poodle can develop Small Dog Syndrome as owners have a tendency to treat it as a small human. Calm but confident leadership is necessary to prevent this from happening. The Toy Poodle can do well with a self-assured first-time owner, however it is not suitable for the nervous owner as its timidity can amplify and cause behavior problems.
Exercise & Training:
The Toy Poodle is extremely energetic, and loves to take daily walks. It adores playing and swimming, and despite its size, will thrive in an active household. The Poodle excels in dog sports such as agility, flyball, and competitive obedience: an area in which the Toy Poodle particularly shines. Due to its size, the Toy Poodle will adjust well to apartment living, however it does have a tendency to be yappy. Proper attention and exercise will help to curb this habit. The Toy Poodle is a breeze to train as it retains commands with ease, and is suited for a life of learning. It adores entertaining, and training it special tricks will satisfy both its desire to learn and its audience!
The Toy Poodle has a dense, double coat that sheds little. It needs extensive care to prevent matting if allowed to grow out. Show dogs need to be clipped, shaped, and bathed constantly to maintain breed standards; companion dogs are typically kept in a shorter, “puppy” clip for ease of care; a trip to the groomers every few months and daily brushing will maintain this short clip style. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
The Toy Poodle is not a distinct breed; it is a size designation of the Poodle breed, along with the Standard and Miniature types. The Poodle is likely related to the Portuguese Water Dog, and a recent theory suggests that the two breeds share a common ancestor that arrived in Europe from Asia close to two thousand years ago. The Toy Poodle was also used in the development of other toy breeds, such as the Havanese.
Interesting Facts about the Toy Poodle:
1. The Toy Poodle continues to be a favorite of the rich and famous; Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Streisand, and Natalie Wood are among classic actors who owned Toy Poodles.
2. Toy Poodles have appeared in many movies, such as Interview with a Vampire (1994), Little Women (1994), and Zoolander (2001).
3. The Toy Poodle became known as both “hand warmers” and “sleeve dogs”, referring to the fact that noble owners would carry the little dogs around with them everywhere.
4. The Toy Poodle is the most popular breed used in the development of “designer dogs”, such as the Yorkipoo, Shihpoo, Bichpoo, among others.