- AKC recognized in 1870
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Size: Small
- Energy: High
- Recommended Crate Size: 24” dog crate*
Return to main Dog Crate Size Breed Chart.
The Toy Poodle is oodles and gobs of cuteness all in one pint-sized package. He weighs in at no more than 10 pounds, soaking wet. And, speaking of wet, Toy Poodles are bred from Standard Poodles who were originally designed to be Working Water Dogs. No wonder their so sharp...and this tiny tot is super smart too.
This Toy is a joy! Happy, friendly, intelligent, and playful, he knows no bounds. He hasn’t a clue that he’s so petite, or perhaps it’s simply that he doesn’t care. As far as he’s concerned, he’s a power-Poodle...ten feet tall and able to conquer all.
Despite the lofty self-esteem and independent tendencies he shares with rest of the Poodle families, he’s a real lover and a lap lounger when he wants to be (which is any time after he gets his rolling energy out enough to relax).
For those who suffer from allergies, this dog is a dream. He barely sheds at all and dander production is next to nil. He’s very portable too. This stowaway can slip right into your purse or can ride in a small size travel pooch pouch.
He’s mini but he’s mighty. The Toy Poodle is an all-around talented tiny breed that has perched in the laps of royalty in palaces and has served as military dogs, seeing-eye dogs, guardian dogs, guide dogs, and circus performers. If you think this beautiful bounding ball of fur might hold your heart, read on to find out more about him so you can make an informed decision on if he’s a good fit...or a misfit for you.
The Toy Poodle was “invented” in England the 18th-century witch companionship and cuteness in mind. It was, as you can probably guess, a distinct shoot off the Standard Poodle which has always been wildly popular. During this time, there were three versions of Poodles - the Standard, the Medium, the Dwarf, and then, the newcomer arrived...the Toy.
The pint-sized Poodle had a surprise in store though. He was an amazing mushroom hunter, truffles in particular. Truffles (and still are) a treasured type of mushroom that fetch a high price when sold for their delicate flavor. Due to the fact that it is almost impossible to cultivate them, they are hunted in forests and other fertile growing grounds. The Toy Poodle had the natural knack for sniffing them out, as did most other Poodle varieties which made him all the more beloved and sought after.
They had strong roots. Even though many assume the Poodle came from France, that is not so. Their ancestors are believed to have hailed from Central Asia where curly-coated dogs where they were employed as herders and given various other jobs. They accompanied their owners to various areas in Europe. Other rough-coated water dogs appear to have played into the picture too. The name Poodle is from the German word “pudel” which translate to “to splash or puddle” that directly denotes the amazing water abilities this breed possesses.
They were called “Chien Canard” in France because they were primarily used as duck hunting water retrievers there. The French embraced the Poodle and made it their national dog. The dogs, which were then only available in the larger sizes, were a status symbol and became domesticated to serve as companions in the lap of luxury, literally.
When the Toy version was created, they became even more beloved in France and elsewhere. Along with mushroom hunting, there was another talent the Toy possessed. He as quite the performer. Since it was the rich and famous who mostly owned them, they were delighted to have their little dogs put on shows for them. The craze soon spread and the Toy Poodle joined the circus and other entertainment industries.
Toys made their way to the United States where they were welcomed with open arms as lap dogs as well as performers. Through the years, in the Mother Country, America, and other places, they joined the ranks of the larger Poodles and did such things as working in the military, helped the handicapped, and provided cheerful therapy to those who were depressed.
In 1870, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Toy Poodle into their exclusive organization in the Toy sector of the group. Toy dogs are classified as non-working luxury dogs because of their size but, on the contrary, Toy Poodles, like their larger ancestors, the Standard Poodles, are very hardworking. Poodles were bred to be waterborne workers who swam to fetch fallen fowl and other duties that required them to swim. Their buoyancy, physical abilities, and intelligence made them excellent in their line of work and those qualities splashed over to the Toy group as well.
Toy Poodles were show dogs in the late 18th century. They excelled in that field as they had as workers of the water. Their intelligence and uncanny sense of humor made them naturals at entertaining.
Sometimes their coats were corded in long, thin tresses but that trend ceased because of the level of difficulty in taking care of the style. The bouffant Poodle-do became the fashion for Poodles of all varieties, Standard, Toy, and Teacup. Originally, the Poodle was designed to have curly hair for optimization of his buoyancy and swimming skills. Even his hair was evident that much had changed with the breed. He had gone from hunting ducks and other fallen fowl to being a show stopper and a lap warmer.
The energetic tiny Toy dogs were also called French Toys and Teddy Poodles. They were coveted by the wealthy from their very beginning and were often called “Ladies Pets” because rich women loved having them in their laps. In the United States, the small fry dogs were also a fashion statement for people of means but were also owned by common folk.
During this time, the Toy version of Poodle surpassed the popularity of the Standard and the Mini. White ones were the ultimate as far as Toy Poodle fans were concerned.
The actual Toy sector of Poodles didn’t make it into the AKC studbook until 1912 when they were formally recognized as a category all their own. It wasn’t until 1928 that the Toy Poodle actually had a standard in the club.
By the 1920s, the popularity of the Toy Poodle subsided, especially in places like the United States. But in the 1980s, there was a huge resurgence when small dogs became the trend again. Both the Tea Cup and the Toy versions of Poodles were in high demand.
In 2008, the American Kennel Club set about to emphasize the fact that Toy dogs are real live dogs, not toys or stuffed animals. They proposed that the name “Toy” be changed to “Companion”. The Toy Poodle, is a proud member of the Teddy Bear Club (dogs that resemble Teddybears), was one of the prime types of dogs the push hoped to protect. But, the initiation was met by so much resistance, it never came to pass.
The Toy Poodle is one of the most favored companion dogs in the United States and across the globe now. He comes with a personality all his own. Not willing to settle for being a “foo foo” lap dog, he is versatile, athletic, and oh-so-smart. He’s known for being funny, grabbing attention whenever and wherever he can. He’s by no means a wimp. He has no concept of his tiny size and is not only not going to back down if challenged, but he’s also likely to be the one initiating the challenge.
This feisty breed usually feels they are humans and demand the full respect of being treated as such. It is common for their pet parents to take that characteristic to heart. They are often groomed to the hilt, complete with adornments of bows and fingernail polish (for the females) and bandanas for the beaus. It is not unusual for a Toy Poodle to be dressed to the nines in all the latest in doggie fashion-ware. Still, the owners have cautioned time and time again that while a little fluff never hurt any Toy Poodle, this dog is not a toy...they just look one.
Fun and funny, smart, and easy to train, the Toy Poodle is friendly and fantastic. It’s no wonder they are so beloved by many and that their popularity is growing stronger every day.
The Toy Poodle has a surprisingly athletic and refined build for such a pint-sized package. He’s fairly muscular under his mound of curly hair. His body is square in shape and he sports a proud and sturdy carriage. His overall appearance is elegant but not fragile and he holds himself up with great pride. There is a confident air about this breed and the Toy seems to have a double dose of it. His springy gait is evidence of his perky personality.
He typically stands about 10 inches high with females being a tad shorter. He should not be any taller or else he will be in the Miniature group of Poodles. He weighs in around 6 pounds on average.
The TP’s head is triangular and his skull is rounded with a slight stop. He has a long muzzle with wide, dropped ears that hang close to his face. His teeth are scissor-like. His nose is black like the rims of his eyes with the exception of apricot colored dogs who have liver tinted noses and eye rims.
His eyes are alert and expressive, oval in shape. They are usually brown in all colored Toy Poodles except for the brown, café-au-lait, and some apricot colored varieties that have amber eyes instead.
The coat of a Toy Poodle is curly, coarse, and dense. It is wiry-like and can border on being harsh even. Even though the TP does require some grooming, they are appreciated by those who suffer from allergies for being non-shedders. Their coats can be styled in a number of fashions.
Coat colors are seen in varieties of black, apricot, cream, white, gray, cafe-au-lait, brown, blue, and silver. All of the solid colors are permissible for registration and for showing.
The topline is of this dog is level except for the fact that there is a slight depression just behind the withers. Customarily, his tail is customarily docked to be about half its original length.
The appearance of the Toy Poodle, like that of the Standard and all other varieties, is very distinguished. He’s a fine and unique mix of sophistication, cuteness, and athleticism that is unmatched.
It is recommended to provide feed formulated to Toy-sized breeds. His little tummy can’t hold a lot so you want to be sure what he does get is the most optimal, high-quality small breed food available. It is highly advised to discuss your dog’s feeding regime with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals so he has the best possible shot at a long and healthy life.
With Toy breeds, it is usually suggested that you feed him multiple small meals throughout the day since he can’t handle much at one given time. This may change as he grows but then again, he may continue to require more than one feeding in order to meet his nutritional requirements. As he does mature, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with a professional concerning this.
As mentioned before, this little guy has no concern about his size. As far as he’s concerned, he’s as big or bigger than any other dog. This is true where snacking is concerned too. He loves his treats and has been known to be a little piggy when allowed to do so. It’s best to limit his treats and in between meal snacking of any kind so that he will eat more of his nutritional dog food for maximized health.
It’s not uncommon for the Toy Poodle to overeat. It doesn’t take much for him to become obese with a poorly balanced fat to muscle ratio. Such a situation is dangerous to his health, especially since he’s a Toy breed. It can open the door for medical woes like heart disease, Diabetes, and even joint problems. Speak to his veterinarian if you are worried he’s gaining too much weight for his small size.
As with pets of all types, it is also important to make sure that plenty of clean, fresh water is always available.
Grooming for Poodles is needed on a regular basis and there is no way around it. He’ll get very depressed, not to mention shaggy looking, if left unmaintained.
They have a fine curly coat which should be trimmed regularly, around every six to eight weeks. This is because the coat will get matted easily and form into cords. Even though he doesn’t shed, brushing him every day is recommended to keep his hair and skin healthy. His hair is constantly growing so this type of care is a must.
The Toy Poodle also requires regular bathing at home or by a professional groomer. A hypoallergenic shampoo with a conditioning agent in it is best so his hair and skin don’t dry out. There are distinct grooming styles for this little breed. You can choose between an English saddle or Continental if showing him or if you just fancy one of those styles. Otherwise, his curly hair can be fashioned in many other ways by clipping, trimming, and/or shaving. If you want to save money and keep from having to hire a groomer, you can look into doing it yourself. He’s a very cooperative pup.
It is also important to regularly check the ears, especially since they hang low and can easily trap dirt, debris, and bacteria. Cleaning with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser is ideal. If he paws at his ears or if you notice them becoming red, swollen, or irritated in any way, be sure to have them checked out. This breed is prone to ear infections and leaving one untreated can lead to the need for surgical action or can even result in deafness.
Be sure to be vigilant about the Toy’s dental health. His small mouth can cause a serious problem if it is not cleaned properly. Plus, his breath can get pretty rank. Regular brushing with doggie toothpaste and toothbrush, at least once per week, is imperative. You’ll also need to take him in for regular dental check-ups.
This dog won’t be outside long enough to wear his toenails down naturally so you’ll want to take care of trimming them for him. Watch for chipping, splitting, or cracking so you can tend to any issues immediately to avoid complications.
Poodles of all sizes tend to get tear stains on their fur. Washing around his eyes with a clean, warm cloth on a regular basis is very helpful. Dry the area after wiping them.
Toy Poodles are active dogs who require daily walks of at least 30 to 45 minutes per day. You can divide the time up into two sessions if you’d like. Remember, this character is very busy but he is still very small so when you walk at a brisk pace, he’s running. So, don’t overdo it.
Playing interactively with him in between his formal walks is advised. He loves to play and have fun and prefers doing so with his family. But, there are also times he’ll occupy himself with great toys. Fetch is one of his favorite games and he loves to chase things (and people) too.
When taking this guy for a walk, there are some things to keep in mind. He is small but he’s very independent at times. In fact, he can be very headstrong. For this reason, it is imperative to establish your role as the dominant one, his leader. Otherwise, he’ll assume that he’s in charge. Always have him walk beside or behind you but never in front or he’ll think he’s leading the way and...he would be right. It’s up to you to be the one who orchestrates each and every walk and to determine exactly how it will go down.
Be sure that you don’t pull hard on his leash which could snap his little neck. Don’t allow him to tug or pull either. A harness may be helpful for this dog if he does tend to pull.
When other animals or people cross this dog’s path on an outing, be it on his walk, accompanying you in an activity, or even at a dog park, you’ll need to remain aware of the potential for problems. He might dart out after another animal or a kid on a bike. He might even chase a cat or a car.
Another scenario is that he may encounter an aggressive dog and because he is so small and not given to back down, you’ll want to scoop him up if need be.
Don’t forget to give the Toy Poodle some brain exercise too. He’s very intelligent and can easily get bored if you don’t provide some mental stimulation for him. Being bored spells trouble and he’s bound to find something to get into unless you fully stretch his noggin’.
A good rule of thumb is that when you go to do something active, you might as well take your little bff along if it’s something he might enjoy that would be safe for him to join in. He loves hiking, swimming, and doing practically anything you do.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 24” dog crates for most adult Toy Poodles.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
Toy Poodles are highly trainable and are eager to please. They have plenty of mental capacity to catch on quickly to whatever it is you are wanting him to do. He has the energy to follow through as well. You’ll need to capture his attention and encourage him to focus though.
Positive strokes will get you far in your training endeavors. The Toy Poodle loves his humans and loves to make them happy. That’s why he was such a good performer and...still is, for that matter. He will respond to lots of pats, attention, and praise but on the other hand, negativity, like scolding him, will get you nowhere and, in fact, will send training time into a tailspin. He will shut down totally. He’s much too sensitive for things like such.
It’s a good idea to take him out for some exercise prior to his training session in order to release some pent up energy. Poodles, in general, can be a bit on the stubborn side and this little fellow is no exception to the rule. Establishing yourself as the pack leader is a must. Be sure to reiterate the hierarchy during his exercise and then carry it over into his training class.
Housebreaking is usually the first type of training you’ll implement. The initial days of potty training will give you a good idea of the exact kind of personality your little one has because not all Toy Poodles are created the same. Remember how tiny his bladder (and other parts) are and take him to his designated potty area often. Having a back-up plan like a potty pad or kitty litter box is a wise idea. Consistency and patients and all things positive will help you win this game.
Socialization is imperative. Without it, this dog can go either way. He can become extremely introverted and be fearful of people, places, and things, or he can do the opposite and become way too big (and loud) for his britches, barking at everything that comes his way and instigating stand-offs with other pets and people - even the mailman and those he feels are threats who really aren’t.
Taking him to a good variety of places is a must. Be sure he goes to loud and busy places as well as to spots where he is not allowed to be vocal. Expose him to a number of people of all ages and personalities and to other pets as well. Do be ready to rescue him in situations that may turn dangerous for he’s just a little fellow.
Obedience training is for his safety and for the well-being of pets and people around him. He will need to master the basics like sit, stay, and come. Be sure he is able and willing to follow through with the main commands before moving forward. He can handle a good amount on his plate so don’t stop with just a few, keep going. He needs to do all you ask of him without bribing with a treat. You never know when a situation will warrant the need for him to obey immediately, without a treat in hand, for his safety. If he only responds for a cookie, he has you trained, not vice versa.
Agility training is awesome for this pint-size athlete. Do keep in mind how small he is and, even though he is bounding with energy, he’ll tire easily because it takes much more effort to do anything when you’re so tiny. You can build a mini agility course in your own backyard if you have a good mind to do so. This will help him stay fit, active, and engaged.
Crate training is a good idea when it comes to the TP. Crates, in modern days, serve as makeshift dens to provide safety and security to dogs. During training, they help your dog focus on his lesson at hand but should never be used for punishment, especially with a sensitive breed like the Toy Poodle. He does have intense separation anxiety so read up on crate training and use the device constructively for the very best results in your pup’s training.
This little charmer is fun to teach tricks to. He’ll dance, play dead, and do most anything else you ask him to do. The more praise you give him, the better he’ll do. He’s designed for delighting you.
Mental training is an absolute blast with the TP. He’s smart as a whip and so cute when he shows off his smarts. He can problem solve, like doing doggie puzzles, and he has a great recall too so you can teach him to collect his toys by name. This guy is a natural performer so the sky is the limit where brain games are concerned. He’ll love showing off for you.
The Toy Poodle is exceptionally healthy for a Toy breed. He’s a hardy little guy who generally enjoys a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and sometimes even longer. But, there are some medical woes that are common to the breed, some of which his genes are prone to. Keeping a watchful eye out for the problems will help ensure you get prompt treatment should any signs surface.
Some of the maladies to look for are:
Hip Dysplasia is basically a deformity of the hip which occurs during the dog’s growth. It is usually a birth defect which is the root cause but can also be due to (or aggravated by) environmental factors such as jumping from high places or running on rough terrain. The hip joint fits into a joint with a “ball and socket’ set up and when this condition is present, the fit is not secure so the hip basically pops in and out of joint, causing pain, limping and sometimes, lameness. If your dog is having trouble with his hip, have him checked out immediately. His vet will take a series of x-rays and in the event he has the problem, can go over some treatments with you.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (or, PRA) is a grouping of genetic diseases that are found in certain animals like dogs and sometimes cats. PRA is very similar to the human Retinitis Pigmentosa disease. This condition involves the bilateral degeneration of the retina of the eye which eventually progresses into blindness. The rate of the progression and the dog’s age has a lot to do with if he will live long enough to experience full blindness but, if he does, dogs are very resilient and adaptable. Many dogs live happy lives with the loving help of their pet parents. If you have the suspicion that your dog is having issues seeing, such as if he is constantly bumping into furniture and/or not looking at an object you hold up for him to look at, have him check for the problem and for other sight issues.
Canine Hypoglycemia is also termed “low blood sugar”. The condition involves a deficiency of sugar in the blood. Since sugar is energy, a drop in activity is usually noted right away. He may start sleeping a lot through the day. Loss of focus is another sign. If the condition becomes extreme, he can lose consciousness, have a diminished appetite, begin to tremble, have muscle twitches, go blind, or even die. There are a number of causes for Hypoglycemia but the most important thing is to have him checked and if he does have it, to implement treatment. Oral or intravenous glucose supplements will most likely be part of the solution. Then, once he is safe, his vet can investigate the root cause. Making sure you give your Toy Poodle a high-quality dog food, never giving him human food, limiting treats, and making sure he gets ample exercise can help prevent Hypoglycemia.
Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilation, GDV, and Volvulus, is a mystery illness in many ways in that even veterinarians don’t quite understand why it happens. But, regardless of how or why it creeps in, the fact is that bloat is a serious threat to dogs. It occurs when a dog, or a horse or other animal, has gas and the stomach becomes distended which puts undue pressure upon the diaphragm. This can lead to breathing problems that are so severe in nature, death can occur. GDV, or bloat, comes with extreme stomach distress and usually with breathing difficulties. If you suspect your TP has signs that are consistent with this issue, get in touch with your vet immediately or, better yet, don’t waste time...take him straight in.
Allergies are common to the Toy Poodle family. They can be very sensitive to new foods so if you give him a treat or food he’s never had before, pay close attention to make sure he doesn’t have a reaction to it. Breathing problems and skin irritations are two common signs of food allergies. He may also suffer from contact allergies. Being on the carpet, playing in the grass, or even laying on his bedding that has laundry soap residue can instigate a skin break out, redness, itchiness, or hives. In the event that your pup does experience allergies, from food or from skin contact, your vet can help you narrow down the cause and can recommend a solution.
Collapsed Trachea is caused by a weak link within the trachea and is common to small dogs, like the Toy Poodle. It is not known the exact origin of the problem but, somewhere in the lineage, the structure of the trachea has weakened and therefore, at some point in the dog’s life, it gives way and cannot properly support the weight of the trachea which is a very important part of breathing that is also known as the windpipe which is made out of membrane tissue and transmits air from the mouth and nose into the lungs. Signs you may notice are a persistent cough, especially occurring when your dog gets excited or engages in strenuous exercise. The cough usually sounds like a goose honk. If your dog is coughing, especially if it is a dry honking cough, get him right in for an exam.
Addison’s Disease in dogs is a hormonal disorder that can be quite serious in nature. It involves a deficiency of a hormone, like cortisol, which can disrupt the entire body. The adrenals are found near the kidneys and are responsible for regulating a number of functions such as appetite, energy levels, and growth. This disease can occur in all ages but is prominent in young puppies and middle-aged female dogs.
Thyroid issues are common for this breed. The thyroid performs functions like regulating growth, appetite control, and energy levels. If your dog is lethargic or is losing hair, he very well may have a thyroid problem. His vet can run a blood test and in the event that he does suffer from an issue, will recommend a treatment which is usually a very simple solution to get him back on track.
Epilepsy is another serious condition which can plague this breed. It involves a seizure. It is very scary to find your tiny dog flopping on the floor but the reaction isn’t painful, but the complications can be fatal, especially given the Toy Poodle’s size. If a seizure occurs, you should consult his vet right away.
Just because the potential for these problems are in this pup’s genetics certainly doesn’t mean he’ll be affected by any of them, and hopefully, he won’t be. But, in the event that he manifests any of the warning signs, with prompt treatment, he’s got the best chance for a full recovery and a long, healthy and happy life.
Is a Toy Poodle Right for Me?
The Toy Poodle is one of the most popular pint-sized pups on the planet. And rightly so. He is absolutely adorable. He’s an energetic package of joy, love, and all things good. If you have decided this creature is one you simply must add to your life, it’s time to search your heart with some serious questions so you can be sure he’s the right star for your show and, that you are a good fit for him too.
The Toy Poodle is a tiny one. Even though he could care less how small he is, there are still added measures the pet parent of a Toy breed must put into place to ensure the safety of the dog. If you have small, rambunctious children in your household, the addition of this small breed might not be wise. The same is true if you have rowdy, very large, or aggressive dogs in the house.
You’ll need to give this little ball of energy plenty of exercise time. This will entail taking walks with him each and every day and lots of playtimes too. Are you willing and able to provide this necessity for him?
The TP lives for human companionship. He was designed for that purpose and he cannot thrive without being near you much of the time. If your schedule keeps you away a good bit of the time and there is no one else in your family who will be home with him, unless you can let him tag along, he’s not a good fit for you and...you are not a good fit for him either. He’s far too social for being left alone.
Toy Poodles look a lot like Teddy bears. They are fun to cuddle, dress up, and tote around for all to admire. But, they aren’t a stuffed animal or a toy. They are far more than just a fashion statement too. These little guys are dogs, man’s best friend, and deserved to be treated as such. Realizing this pup will require a good bit of your attention is important when accessing if he’s a good fit for you.
If, after taking a look at the entire package, you feel the perky personality of the TP is perfect for you, then you are in for miles of smiles and a marvelous show that will never end.