Toy Poodle: Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

A cream-colored toy poodle looking at the camera.

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What they lack in size, Toy Poodles make up for in beauty and grace. Toy Poodles, along with Standard Poodles and Miniature Poodles, are famously known for their proven excellence in shows. Their curly and voluminous coat in combination with a confident strut always seems to steal the show. To boot, the breed is intelligent, athletic, and loyal.

Breed Overview

Group: Toy

Height: 9 to 11 inches

Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Coat: Curly and dense

Coat Color: Apricot, black, blue, brown, cafe au lait, cream, gray, red

Life Expectancy: 14 to 17 years

Characteristics of the Toy Poodle

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Low
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level Medium
Amount of Shedding Low
Social Needs High

History of the Toy Poodle

The Poodle was bred to be a duck hunting dog in Germany over 400 years ago where its thick curly coat came in handy to protect itself against the cold. Their athletic skills and eagerness to please made them perfect retrievers.

The exaggerated show cut that they are often recognized for today stemmed from their historic days retrieving. Hunters would cut the dogs’ coat to ensure they had free range of movement while also had adequate protection from the elements. So, hunters would shave their Poodle’s legs, neck, and tail. Their chest, hips, and leg joints would still be covered with curly hair in rounded tufts.

Poodles have three variations—Standard, Miniature, and Toy. The Standard Poodle is the oldest of these varieties and the Miniature and Toy variations were eventually created for those who desired smaller dogs. But despite their small size, Toy and Miniature Poodles were working dogs. Toy Poodles, specifically, have historically been desired for circuses due to their high intelligence and athleticism.

The Toy Poodle was first bred in America in the early 20th century as a companion dog, especially great for those living in apartments or smaller spaces. The Poodle was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886 and the Poodle Club of America was founded ten years later.

Today, Poodles are exceedingly popular among French pet owners. In fact, the Poodle is the national dog of France.

A woman with a toy poodle near a car outside of a hotel in France in 1955.
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A white Toy Poodle getting a hair cut.
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A brown Poodle jumping in the grass.
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Toy Poodle Care

Due to the Poodle’s thick and curly coat, owners will need to brush their dogs daily from root to end to prevent any matting. If their coat develops mats, Poodles may need to be shaved quite short to give their hair a chance to grow back nicely. Fine-toothed combs with sturdy teeth are great options to keep in your Toy Poodle grooming kit as they get the job done well without causing a significant amount of discomfort for the dog.

Toy Poodles don’t shed, making them a great pet for people with allergies. Still, some owners prefer to keep their Toy Poodle’s coat cut short to reduce the chance of matting and to make clean-up after a muddy play session a little easier. Owners may opt to do the trimming themselves with a pair of clippers or head to a pro every six weeks for a cut, bath, and nail trim. Luckily, it’s easy to train a Toy Poodle to behave at the groomer. 

They’re an intelligent breed and Toy Poodles absolutely love to please their owner. As active and graceful dogs, they excel at sporting activities. This may come as a shock to those who believe Poodles are prissy or feminine—a common misconception. Toy Poodles are great at learning and performing tricks.

While larger Standard Poodles need plenty of room and exercise to thrive, smaller Toy Poodles do not. However, they are an active breed and they love going for daily walks with their loved ones. They also love swimming, retrieving, and performing tricks to burn off energy.

But the Toy Poodle’s small size means they can be happy in small spaces without overwhelming amounts of strenuous activity. Because of that, Toy Poodles make great pets for apartment dwellers and dog lovers without the ability to commit to an exceedingly high-energy breed. 

A tiny dark brown Toy Poodle puppy next to a curb.
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Light brown Toy Poodle puppy laying on the ground outside with its tongue out.
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Grey Toy Poodle doing a trick.
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Common Health Problems

Purebred Toy Poodles are generally healthy, but as with any pet, there are health risks. Always make sure to get your Toy Poodle from a reputable breeder who tests their puppies for common health problems and can provide you with medical paperwork before you commit.

Some health problems to watch out for in Toy Poodles include:

Diet and Nutrition

The best food for your dog will depend on its size and activity level. Because Toy Poodles are small in size, they don’t require a large amount of calories each day. If they are fed above their ideal caloric level, they may become overweight or even obese without proper exercise to burn it off. It’s important to work with your vet to find the right food for your pet and the portion control required to keep them healthy.

Whether you choose wet, raw, or dry food, you should go for something relatively high in protein and fiber, but without too many fillers like corn bran or oat hulls. The ideal dog food should contain mostly whole foods and quality sources of protein, including things like real meat and vegetables.

Pros
  • Suitable for small spaces

  • Smart and eager to please

  • Low shedding

Cons
  • High grooming needs

  • Can bark loudly

  • Prone to dental issues

Where to Adopt or Buy a Toy Poodle

If you decide to purchase your Toy Poodle from a breeder, make sure that they are reputable. Top-notch breeders may have certifications or awards and they are always honest about health concerns and can provide their customers with health information for their puppies.

Toy Poodle rescues often cannot provide that level of information on their puppies. But the heartwarming thing about adopting is that you know you are giving a dog a happier and healthier life than they had before.To buy or adopt a Toy Poodle puppy, check out:

Be sure to check out options local to you, too. There are reputable breeders across the country and local rescues, even if they aren’t breed-specific, often have Toy Poodles up for adoption.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Is a Toy Poodle Poodle the right fit for you? Either way, more research is always better. Check out these profiles if you’re interested in learning more about similar breeds:

Perhaps the best part about dogs is that there are so many breeds out there. Become an expert on your favorites by browsing our dog breed profiles.