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Toy Poodle

Home »  Dog Breeds »  The Littlest, but Not the Least

Poodles come in three distinct sizes—Standard, Miniature and Toy—and none of them can be mistaken for anything but Poodles. They look like Poodles, they act like Poodles, and they all share a sense of being dignified, special animals. The Toy is the smallest of the lot, and even though it is tiny, it is all dog.

Here is the Toy Poodle at a Glance
Name Toy Poodle
Other Names None
Nicknames None
Origin Germany, then standardized in France
Average size Small
Average weight 6-9 pounds
Average height Under 10 inches
Life span 14-15 years
Coat type Single coat, dense and very curly
Hypoallergenic For most people, yes
Color Various solid colors
Popularity High
Intelligence Extremely high
Tolerance to heat Okay
Tolerance to cold Poor
Shedding Low
Drooling Not droolers
Obesity Can be an issue
Grooming/brushing Needs frequently
Barking They bark
Exercise needs High
Trainability Very easy to train
Friendliness High
Good first dog Yes
Good family pet Yes
Good with children Better with older kids
Good with other dogs Okay
Good with other pets Okay
Good with strangers Okay
Good apartment dog Yes
Handles alone time well No
Health issues Cushing’s disease, ear and eye infections, diabetes, epilepsy, bladder stones, tracheal collapse, cataracts
Medical expenses $330 annual average
Food expenses $55 annual average
Miscellaneous expenses $100 annual average
Average annual expense $485
Cost to purchase $1,000-$1,500
Biting Statistics Attacks on people: 4 Maimings: 1 Child Victims: 2

The Toy Poodle’s Beginnings

The Toy’s immediate ancestor, the Standard Poodle, has along history as a hard-working game dog. Dogs that carry the Poodle’s distinctive looks can be found in first century BC tombs and other art work in Rome and Greece. By the fourteenth century or earlier it had settled into Germany, where it was referred to as a Pudelhund—a dog that splashes in the water. Next it moved to France, where it is known as a Caniche. That name comes from the French chien canard—duck dog. In France, the Poodle was so popular that it became essentially the French national dog; and today when we speak of Poodles, “French” is understood.

New Lease on Life

The original Poodle, which we refer to as a Standard Poodle, is a decent-sized dog that can weigh up to seventy pounds. The French, however, began an extended period of downsizing. The result was two smaller dogs, the Miniature and the Toy Poodle, which began to be developed by the sixteenth century. They represent two different approaches to breeding. In the Miniature’s case, breeders selected the smallest of two litters and mated them, then repeated the process multiple times. The Toy Poodle, on the other hand, was a crossbreed, probably a mix of Poodle, Spanish spaniel, and a tiny dog called the Maltese, which has been around since at least the fifth century B.C. The Toy was bred strictly to be a pet, and was in fact the most popular dog in France and Spain during the late eighteenth century. King Louis XVI of France was a big Toy Poodle fan, as was Queen Anne of England.

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean did nothing to lessen the Toy Poodle’s appeal; if anything, it grew. The Toy has consistently been ranked in the top ten by the American Kennel Club. It has done quite well in Hollywood, too. Movie stars like Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe had Toy Poodles, and the little dogs have made guest appearances in more than one film. In “The ‘Burbs” a Toy Poodle named Queenie harasses the neighbors by refusing to poop in her own yard. In “Zoolander” Will Ferrell goes nowhere without his Toy; and in “Interview with a Vampire” Brad Pitt seems to prefer Toy Poodle blood to the human variety.

The Dog You See Today

A Toy Poodle weighs six to nine pounds and typically stands under ten inches high. Like its cousins, the Toy Poodle has a squared off appearance, with its length and height at the withers about the same, and stands very erect, almost at attention. There is a variant that is not so squared off; the body is noticeably longer than it is high, although the back is still quite level. This variant is not considered acceptable if you plan on having a show dog, bit it is still recognized as a Poodle. It also has the disadvantage of being vulnerable to disk disease.

The Toy’s skull is somewhat rounded, the muzzle is long and straight, and the feet are small and oval shaped, with arched toes. The tail is carried high. The eyes are dark, usually black or brown. Like all Poodles, the Toy has a single coat, instead of the double coat more typical of most dogs. The hair is extremely curly, and tends to get easily matted and tangled, which makes grooming and combing important. The coat is a solid color, but that color can be almost anything—black, brown, white, apricot, you name it.

The Inner Toy Poodle


First of all, all Poodles are very smart, probably one of the most intelligent canines around.

They need a lot of attention and time with their people. This dog is no Greta Garbo—it does not want to be alone. Your Toy Poodle will demand to be included in everything you do and go everywhere you go. Fortunately, their size makes it easy to take them with you, assuming that they have been properly trained and socialized so that they don’t cause problems.

Toy Poodles love everybody, and take it on faith that everybody loves them back, which is why they do not make good guard dogs, although they can be protective, and will bark at strangers. They will usually learn to warm up to new people over time, but if those people are then out of the picture for an extended period, they are strangers again and have to be reacquainted. Toy Poodles also love learning things, and are easy and fun to train. They are nimble and fast, which has made them popular circus dogs, but the same thing applies to any skills you care to teach them. And once again, it applies to skills you might not want them to learn, because once they learn, they don’t forget. Early obedience training will be a good thing.

Living with A Toy Poodle

Training needs

Toy Poodles are smart. They learn things quickly and easily, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, because they learn bad habits just as well as desirable ones. This means you need to work with them actively and not let them get away with behaviors that will be troublesome down the road. They will follow your lead, but if you don’t provide that leadership they will make their own decisions, and you might not like the result.

This is a dog that will be happy to be spoiled if you allow it. There is actually a name for what happens with a poorly socialized and disciplined Toy Poodle—Small Dog Syndrome. These dogs are easy to recognize. They are snippy and snappy. They bark and growl at everything and everyone. Sometimes they bite. Worse, once this syndrome develops, it is almost impossible to cure. The answer is prevention, consistent training and discipline from day one, so that the Toy learns early on that the owner is the boss, and that the human critters in the family have priority.

How active is the Toy Poodle?

Toy Poodles are good apartment dogs. They don’t need a lot of space, and as long as they get a reasonable amount of exercise to burn off energy, they will be calm and easy to be around. They are not among nature’s chewers, scratchers and diggers, and they don’t feel confined by lack of space.

Toy Poodles can be good first pets for people who have not had a dog before. They are adaptable, and so they can deal with different personalities and life styles. They learn quickly what things are important to their owners, as long as they owners teach them with consistent and gentle training. Their need for exercise is reasonable. On the other hand they do have very active minds, which they need to keep occupied. You will want to spend at least a little time everyday helping them learn a new trick or practice some skill.

Caring for the Toy Poodle

Grooming needs

The Toy Poodle has a lot of needs when it comes to maintenance and grooming so needs an owner able to spend the time and money on such things. The coat is low shedding and considered suitable for most people with allergies but it will need brushing daily as it mats and tangles easily. As the Poodle has a wiry coat it will need stripping and perhaps clipping on a regular basis. This can be done by yourself with the right equipment and with knowledge but most Poodle owners use a professional groomer. When the Toy Poodle is really dirty you can give it a bath but avoid bathing too regularly as that will impact on the natural oils in its skin leading to skin problems.

Other things that will need to be taken care of include brushing its teeth at least twice a week, wiping clean its eats and doing a check for signs of infection, wiping under the eyes daily to prevent tear stains and keeping its nails trimmed. Nails on dogs are not like ours. You cut too low and you will have bleeding and cause it pain. Have a professional groomer take care of those on one of the times you go in for the coat if you are not familiar with trimming dog nails.

Feeding time

Toy Poodles need attention to their diet, or they are prone to getting fat. Measure out the food and split it into two amounts for two meals a day. They will likely need between ¼ to ½ cup total of good quality food a day. How much exactly may vary as it depends on their size, activity levels and metabolism amongst other things. Watch out for begging for table scraps, small dogs especially are quite successful at getting you to feed them from the table and this is not always good for them.

Interacting with kids and other pets

Toy Poodles generally get along well with children and other pets, so they are excellent family dogs. They do not tend to be jealous types, and they feel no need to be competitive with other critters, human or otherwise, because they already know that they are the top dog, so to speak. On the other hand, Toys are very sensitive to some things. They don’t do well with loud noises, sudden moves, and intense negative emotions. They are great with older kids, but maybe not the best dogs for families with very small children.

What Might Go Wrong

Health Concerns

As with many purebreds, Toy Poodles have some inborn medical vulnerabilities that may crop up with time.

Disorders they are vulnerable to include diabetes, epilepsy, cataracts, bladder stones, and infections of the ears and eyes.

More serious disorders include Cushing’s Disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and tracheal collapse. Cushing’s Disease is caused by excessive levels of cortisol, which shows up in excessive water drinking and urination. Retinal atrophy is a progressive disease that causes poor vision and eventual blindness. Tracheal collapse is caused by weakness in the larynx, and can be triggered by allowing the Toy to jerk and tug excessively against the collar.

Biting Statistics

When examining reports that date back 34 years covering dog attacks on people the Poodle can be identified as being involved in 4 attacks on people, 2 of whom were children. The data does not clarify whether the Poodle is toy, miniature or standard sized. But as mentioned Toy Poodles are known to be biters when they are over spoiled and not properly trained and socialized. Out of those attacks there was one maiming, but a Pit Bull was also involved in that attack.

No matter the size any dog has the potential to become aggressive. Make sure your dog is being properly raised, knows their place and is socialized and trained. Give it the mental and physical activity it needs and ensure it does not feel neglected.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

Starting with the purchase price, a Toy Poodlewill run somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500. It you can find a Toy Poodle at an animal shelter the price will go way down, but Toy Poodles don’t show up very often at shelters. Another possibility is a rescue organization. The main one for all Poodles is the Poodle Club of America.


Once you bring the Toy Poodle home, the next step is usually it spaying (female) or neutering (male) your pet. This typically costs about $220. There are also things like puppy shots and deworming, for about another $70. Then there are things like a license, and leash and collar. Unless you have the skill, time and patience to do it yourself, you are going to want to take your Toy in for at least some initial sessions of obedience training, which will probably cost about $110.

After that there are the ongoing expenses through the year. Toy Poodles average about $260 a year in ongoing veterinary expenses. If you decide to obtain doggie insurance, you are looking at $225 a year or possibly more.

And of course, your pet needs to eat. The average food cost for good quality food for a Toy Poodle is about $55 a year.

Overall the average expectable expense to keep a Toy Poodle in way it wants and expects to be kept will run about $485 a year. None of these figures includes veterinary insurance.


Looking for a Toy Poodle Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

  • Male Toy Poodle Good Names
  • Female Toy Poodle Good Names
  • Toy Poodles are the smallest of the three Poodle varieties, standing less than ten inches at the withers and usually weighing less than nine pounds. Where the Standard and Miniature Poodles started out their careers as working dogs, Toys were always pampered pets, and perennial favorites among pet owners for a good reason. They are good looking, even elegant. They are smart and love to learn things. They love people.They like attention, but aren’t jealous or excessively demanding of your time. They are prone to a few more medical problems than some breeds, but that has not stopped them from being one of the most popular dogs going. Most of all, they are never boring.

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