Poodle, Toy

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Fast Facts

Country of Origin:Germany
AKC Group:Toy Group
Use today:Companion
Life Span:12 to 14 years
Color:All solid colors are acceptable.
Coat:Dense, harsh and frizzy.
Grooming:Regular grooming. Brush daily.
Size:Small Dog Breed
Height:10 inches or under at the shoulder
Weight:Proportionate to height

The Toy Poodle was developed from the larger (European gun dog) poodle. Popular with royalty, the lively Toy Poodle today is well-liked by any owner wanting an intelligent but compact companion dog. A small and sensitive dog, the Toy Poodle unexpectedly is also an athletic breed, often performing well in agility. Quick to sound the alarm if newcomers approach, the Toy Poodle is a capable watchdog. A smart breed, the Toy Poodle can be taught to minimize indiscriminate barking (negating any “yappy dog” stereotypes). Typically gentle with children, the Toy Poodle needs gentleness in return; his structure is not meant for rough play or accidental falls. Generally accepting of dogs and cats, the Toy Poodle can also thrive in a small home, as long as he’s exercised and walked regularly. Highly intelligent and easy to train, the Toy Poodle needs mental stimulation along with human interaction. Bred for circus performances, the poodle has a history of perfecting tricks; a basic “down” or “sit” is simple for this keen breed. .

Toy Poodle


The Toy Poodle

  • Natural Learner
  • Perky    
  • Sensitive

Should I get an Toy Poodle?

Terrific for a person who:

  • Enjoys a dog lacking in size, not trainability.
  • Plans on active dog games as well as parlor games.
  • Wants a full-spirited easy-to-transport 4-legged travel companion.

Think twice if you’re a person who:

  • Is annoyed by (and doesn’t know how to minimize) barking.
  • Reacts with impatience to emotional sensitivity or skittishness.
  • Has no time to extensively socialize a dog to sights and sounds.

Toy Poodle Care and Maintenance

The Toy Poodle requires regular clipping and grooming.

While show dogs are limited to two acceptable clips, the pet Poodle may be trimmed in a variety of styles according to the owner's preference. Ears should be cleaned as necessary and dusted with antiseptic powder to prevent infection. Toenails should be trimmed or filed short enough to keep the toes from spreading, and hair between the pads should be trimmed to prevent matting. The Toy Poodle isn't fragile, but neither is it robust enough to be a small child's pet.

Toy Poodle Look

The tiniest member of the Poodle trio, the Toy Poodle measures 10 inches or under at the shoulder. Its coat is dense, harsh and frizzy, in all solid colors. 

Possible Toy Poodle Health Concerns 

Dental issues

Toy Poodle Video

Meet the dog's featured on the cover of DOG FANCY magazine and see an exclusive behind the scenes as they primp and pose. See photos and video from the shoot including interviews with the dogs and their owners. Watch this month's video featuring fluffy Toy Poodles and learn all about this intelligent and tiny dog breed. Must have tips for adding a Toy Poodle to your life.



The tiniest member of the Poodle trio, the Toy Poodle measures 10 inches or under at the shoulder. Bright, amusing, good-natured and clever, the Toy Poodle makes an ideal companion for the less active and those with limited space. The breed makes a fine little watchdog, protective of its home but not given to senseless barking. For those who need a little dog to pamper, this breed seems made to order. 


More Than Just Fluff

The Toy Poodle combines an air of dignity with an intelligent, active nature.

By Lynn M. Hayner

Like most puppies, Toy Poodle puppies love to chew anything and everything they find. "To mitigate chewing damage, I taught my Toy Poodle Abby to exchange things she found on the floor for treats from me,” says longtime Toy Poodle owner Carol Ely, founder of Canine Team Training in DeSoto, Ill., and a member of the Poodle Club of America.

Ely kept her floors spotless to minimize treat exchanges, but the leaves dropping off houseplants encouraged Abby’s ingenuity. "Abby would hide to break fallen leaves in pieces, then trot out to swap each tiny leaf bit for a treat,” Ely says. Abby then learned to nudge the plant’s yellowing leaves off with her nose to hurry the natural cycle and speed up her treat intake. "We were initially slow to catch on to Abby’s antics, but soon learned to both applaud and plan for Abby’s classic Toy Poodle creativity,” Ely adds.

For centuries, Toy Poodles have provided families with pint-sized companionship, warmth, and possibly some truffle-hunting help. "The Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodle varieties were only grouped together in the mid-20th century,” explains longtime Toy Poodle breeder and trainer Joann Neal of Lubbock, Texas, a member of the PCA and columnist for the club’s newsletter. "The Toy Poodle may actually be the oldest of the three Poodle varieties.


Toy Poodle


Tiny frame, Big Talent 

The adaptable Toy Poodle can thrive in diverse living environments. "While apartment living can suit the Toy Poodle and parlor games can suffice on rainy days, the breed’s also quick to excel in outdoor sports,” Ely says. Abby, now 10 years old, has mastered agility, rally, obedience, and is a certified therapy dog. "In a recent K9 Nose Work program, Abby may have been the smallest participant, but she ranked at the head of the class finding the scents,” Ely says.

Tracking stands out as a little-known natural talent of the Toy Poodle. "It’s fun to take a pocket-size dog to a tracking test, where owners of bigger dogs scoff until seeing the Toy Poodle ply his craft,” Neal says. The Poodle nose is renowned for accuracy, at times exposing the "secrets” of the hardworking tracklayers, who walk a mapped-out path before a tracking test, dropping articles such as their gloves for the dogs to find. "At one tracking test, 4-year-old Latte ‘tattled’ on a tracklayer who had briefly left the plotted track to follow nature’s call behind some trees,” Neal says. "Not fooled by the tracklayer’s attempt to retrace his steps, Latte followed his exact steps around the trees, much to the onlookers’ amusement.”

Top Student

A natural learner, the Toy Poodle takes to training easily and excels in formal and informal obedience. The breed’s intelligence and food motivation combine for successful training, and also may lead to inventive food-procurement plans. Neal’s young son once carefully wrapped a hamburger for lunch, zippered the lunch bag in his backpack, and left the room to finish getting ready for school. Five-year-old Toy Poodle Dusty seized the moment. "Coming back in the room, my son found the zipper undone, the bag and burger unwrapped, and a now-overstuffed Dusty sitting on a similarly overstuffed chair,” Neal says.

Without consistent training, Toy Poodles may bark frequently in their enthusiasm for keeping watch. "Luckily, the biddable Toy Poodle can be taught to curtail barking,” Ely says. "Ten-year-old Mandy controls her barking unless needed to alert my hearing-impaired mother of newcomers at the door, or stove buzzers going off.”

Affection and activity requirements go hand in hand with this social, energetic breed. "Abby loves fishing with us all day and celebrates our catches with jumpy dances on the pier,” Ely says. Indoors, Abby shows equal enthusiasm for snuggle time. "When asked if she’s ready for bed, Abby runs into the bedroom, scurries up the ramp, and dives under the blankets,” Ely says.

Poodle Practicalities

The gentle Toy Poodle needs gentleness in return. "Although sociable with children of all ages, Toy Poodles are typically better matched to families with older children,” Neal says. "The breed’s small frame isn’t suited for rough play or accidental falls.”

When socialized early and consistently, Toy Poodles generally accept other dogs and cats. "Good sense must prevail, however, for a 5-pound dog may be bold as brass, but he can’t play safely with boisterous big dogs,” Neal says.

Toy Poodles enjoy both indoor and safely fenced yard time; the common denominator is companionship. "Once at bedtime, 3-year-old Feather slipped out my garage door into the front yard, and I accidentally presumed she was sleeping with my son,” Neal says. In the wee hours, Neal was awakened by a dog barking in her backyard. "Feather had burrowed under my back fence to sit at my bedroom window and howl her plight,” Neal says. "Many dogs dig out of a fenced yard, but Feather dug into a fenced yard to reach us.”

The grooming needs of a Toy Poodle involve time and expense. "A relatively low-shedding breed, Toy Poodles need trims every four to six weeks or so,” Neal says. "Owners should keep the area around the eyes clean, and the eyes free of hair.” Toy Poodles tend to have teary eyes. "Daily wiping with a wet cloth helps avoid tear stains and matting from watery eyes,” Ely adds.

Although a long-lived breed, often reaching the age of 14 or older, the Toy Poodle’s possible health issues include eye diseases and luxating patellas, or slipping kneecaps.

The precocious Toy Poodle keeps his family and friends entertained. "When I taught Latte to pick up pens rolling off my desk at work, she grew dissatisfied with the rate of pen-dropping,” Neal says. Latte began charming the office staff by retrieving everything around the office, from old mail to paper clips. "Latte enjoyed both the treats and the accolades that came with her busy job,” Neal says. "After all, the spirited Toy Poodle rarely misses the opportunity to debunk any ‘lap -dog’ stereotype.”


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