37 Crucial Things to Know About Toy Poodles
Toy poodles are one of those dog breeds that are perfect for a large variety of different lifestyles and people. Very similar to standard poodles and much healthier than other toy breeds, these mini poodles make for phenomenal pets.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be well-prepared for owning such a dog, however. Research is important for all pets and this breed is no exception. So, are toy poodles the right dogs for you and are you the right human for them? Below we’ll go over the 37 crucial things to know about toy poodles.
20 things to consider before buying a toy poodle for a pet
- How small exactly is this breed? Out of the five types of poodles – standard, miniature, toy, klein (moyen), and teacup – toy poodles are actually the “mid-sized” ones. Males usually grow up to a weight of 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 to 2.7 kg) and females – 3 to 5 pounds (1.3 to 2.3 kg). Height-wise, these pups usually get as high as 10 inches (25 cm) or a bit more. So, they aren’t really that small.
Color patterns include grey, brown, blue, cream, red, black, and shades in between. As with standard poodles, red and black (or variations of them) are the most common coat types but all are pretty popular.
This is a very social and mild-mannered breed. All poodles are exceptionally social animals and the toy sub-breed is the same. This dog lives to be around people. While some poodles will form an extra-strong connection to one family member, these pups still have lots of love to give to everyone even in a large family. They love to meet new people too (as long as they are properly socialized, of course – more on that below) and they can make as many friends as there are people around them.
Toy poodles are great with kids and other pets. Unlike some dog breeds, toy poodles really don’t mind playing and living with other animals and even with other dogs. Neither their prey drive nor their hierarchical dog aggression is too strong to cause problems in a multi-pet family.
Does this mean that your poodle is 100% guaranteed to live well with other dogs? There are no 100% guarantees, of course – getting a second pet is always tricky and requires an experienced owner. But toy poodles will make it work much more easily than many other breeds.
The same can be said for kids too – poodles of all sizes love children and are perfectly safe for them. Unfortunately, the opposite can’t always be said but we’ll touch on that below.
This mini breed behaves exactly like a standard poodle – it just comes in a smaller package. If you’ve had a standard poodle before and you’re wondering what the behavioral differences here are – there aren’t any. Toy poodles are essentially just standard poodles in smaller bodies.
Toy poodles are exceptionally agile and energetic. This isn’t really a “handbag dog” (although you can, of course, carry a toy poodle that way). More prominently, however, the toy poodle is an exceptionally fast, energetic, and agile dog. This can feel a bit surprising, given their size, but toy poodles are phenomenal athletes and often perform great and even win agility competitions. Check out this awesome video for some inspiration.
Does this mean that you’ll need to ensure a ton of exercise for your poodle? Yes and no. Toy poodles are surprisingly energetic for their size but compared to larger hound breeds they have “moderate” exercise needs. Add their small size and a toy poodle can satisfy most of its exercise requirements indoors by just playing with you and its toys. A couple of brisk walks outside per day are usually all these dogs need to stay healthy.
Minimal shedding is another thing that might surprise some people given how wonderfully hair all poodles are. But, indeed, like standard poodles, toy ones also don’t shed that much. Of course, they do shed a bit, they are dogs after all, but a bit of brushing every other day and a bit of grooming will help keep almost all of their dog hair from flying around.
Yes, toy poodles are hypoallergenic too, just like standard poodles. This is phenomenal if you have a family member or you yourself are allergic to dogs and yet you want a puppy.
Of course, keep in mind that no dog breed is “100% hypoallergenic” or, as the Mayo Clinic puts it - “there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed" . What people mean when they say that a dog breed is hypoallergenic is that it causes fewer and sometimes no allergic symptoms. So, it’s always important to first meet a dog personally and spend some time with it before buying/adopting.
Still, toy poodles are still one of the best breeds for people with allergies as they do indeed often cause no allergic reactions whatsoever.
While we’re on the subject of dog hair, don’t forget that brushing and grooming is still crucial. Toy poodles’ gorgeous hair is prone to getting matted which can easily lead to some very nasty skin infections. So, proper baths every week are important as is regular brushing. Many experts recommend grooming once every 4 to 6 weeks but that depends on the dog’s lifestyle too.
How smart are toy poodles, exactly? If you’re looking for a clever little dog, this breed is a great choice. Toy poodles can learn a myriad of tricks and commands which makes them exceptionally fun to play with.
They are very easy to train too. This isn’t actually that common for intelligent dog breeds since the smarter the dog is, the more stubborn and self-driven it usually is. However, toy poodles are one of those rare breeds that are both incredibly smart and very eager to please. This makes them very trainable, especially with the right approach and lots of positive reinforcement.
One key drawback of this breed is that they are prone to barking. This can make them unsuitable for apartment living so you’d do well to teach your pup not to bark from early on.
Separation anxiety is a huge issue for toy poodles. They are not unique in that regard, however, as all social and intelligent dogs have trouble with being left alone for extended periods of time. This can make the toy poodle unsuitable for people who work away from home.
Toy poodles can get destructive when distressed. This usually happens if the poodle gets anxious when left alone. So, if you want your couch and pillows to stay in good shape, you’d do well to take care of your dog’s mental health.
This is not the best breed for families with young children or large dogs. Why is that the case given that we just said that toy poodles are very social and love to play with kids and other dogs? It’s simple actually – it’s very easy to hurt these little pups. So, if you are to take a toy poodle in your home you’ll need to make sure that everyone else in your household is grown up and smart enough to know that they have to protect these little pups.
Toy poodles are surprisingly healthy. We’re used to thinking that toy breeds are overly sick and unwell but this dog is actually quite healthy. Some of the things you’ll need to watch out for include:
Protect your toy poodle from these and it will likely have a very long, healthy, and happy life.
To be more specific – the expected lifespan of a toy poodle can be as high as 18 years with the right care. That’s much longer than the average lifespan of most other breeds and twice as long as that of most giant dog breeds. And a lucky toy poodle can live even longer than that with some reports talking about 24 r even 26-year-old toy poodles!
Toy breeds are usually more expensive than average and toy poodles go in line with that trend. You’ll often have to shell out somewhere between $1,200 and $2,000 for a toy poodle pup so be prepared for this expenditure. Still, even that price tag is insignificant compared to the overall long-term expenses of looking for a dog but it’s something to keep in mind.
Besides, you can always look to adopt a puppy instead. That’s right – even this gorgeous and awesome toy breed can often be found in shelters and rescues.
If you insist on buying, we’d urge you to never work with a pet store or a puppy mill. Instead, buying from a reputable dog breeder is crucial – these breeders always often healthy pups with health certificates, and they abide by the widely accepted ethical breeding practices of most kennel clubs.
- Is a toy poodle the right pet for you? Toy poodles are fantastic for many people, whether you live in a house or an apartment, alone or with other animals and people. They do need someone to keep them company almost 24/7, however, so this is the main thing you should consider.
The 6 things you should do to prepare for a toy poodle
Arrange your schedule so that separation anxiety isn’t an issue. Working from home is arguably the best lifestyle for a social breed such as the toy poodle. If that’s not an option, it’s ideal that a family member or relative is home when you’re not.
Hire a dog walker or a dog sitter if neither you nor another family member can be with the dog during the day. This doesn’t need to be a particularly significant expense either – many dog walkers are quite affordable. What’s more, you can always arrange for a fellow dog owner to look after each other’s pets when you’re at work.
Get plenty of toys – this is very much a must if you have to leave your toy poodle alone for extended periods of time. Getting new toys for your toy pup from time to time is also important – as a highly intelligent dog, the poodle can get bored with some toys very quickly.
Dog clothes are no joke. Toy poodles are small and fragile dogs. If you live in a northern climate you will need to keep them safe from the cold. Vice versa, if you live in a hot climate, keeping your pup from the heat and high humidity is literally life-saving.
Get a nice set of brushes to brush your pup’s coat as effectively as possible. A visit to the groomer will likely still be necessary from time to time but this doesn’t make up for regular brushing your dog’s coat.
Find a vet who has experience with toy breeds. Almost all vets have experience with poodles, however, toy breeds can be new for some of them. Toy poodles aren’t more prone to sickness and conditions than standard poodles but it’s still worth it to find the best possible vet near you.
How successfully look after a toy poodle – 11 key tips
A toy poodle will need lots of playtime to stay both physically and mentally healthy. Fortunately, this can be done almost entirely at home and toy poodles don’t need that much outdoor time.
Lots of social contacts are also important for this social breed. Keeping a poodle home with no significant contact with the outside world can create a very antisocial and unhappy dog.
Just because poodles are eager to please and easy to train, that doesn’t mean that obedience training isn’t important for them. It just means that it’s easier to do than it is with other breeds.
Likewise, socializing your animal is also key even if it’s going to be easier with a poodle than with other dogs. You want to do this both for people and other dogs/pets as that will guarantee that your toy poodle will always get along with everyone.
House training is also always a must for toy breeds. Even though you still want to walk your toy buddy every day, house training can save you a lot of trouble too.
Anti-bark training is especially important if you live in an apartment. Toy poodles are very prone to becoming loud barkers and that’s one of their few big drawbacks.
Whatever you do, you should always make sure that your toy poodle is safe from physical harm. While very energetic and active, these dogs are still quite fragile. This doesn’t mean that you should shelter them and keep them in a box. However, instructing all family members (and training other pets) to be gentle with your toy poodle is crucial.
Keep it safe from temperatures and the environment. Toy poodles aren’t as prone to overheating as brachycephalic ( short-faced) breeds but with the average temperatures rising every year, they are very much at risk. Be especially careful if you are a car owner and you expect to have to drive places with your toy poodle in the car.
Be careful with treats too as toy poodles are prone to becoming overweight. This feels almost counter-intuitive given how energetic these dogs are but the problem is that they are also very small. So, every biscuit given to a toy poodle is as significant as 10 biscuits given to a larger breed.
This is also why you should use specialized kibble and wet food when feeding your toy poodle. This means food that has less fat and carbohydrates in it. A standard toy poodle diet will include about 400 calories or 1 cup per day.
No table scraps – that’s a big one. We know feeding your little pup dinner leftovers is very cute but it can also wreak massive havoc on your dog’s health as most experts point out. Besides, it’s just not a cool habit to establish and it’s very difficult to teach a dog to stop begging for food once it has started doing so.
So, how do you feel about all that? Are you up to adopting/getting a toy poodle? Do you think this breed is right for you? Or, did we miss anything important?