If you’re looking for a small dog breed that’s both adorable and intelligent, you can’t go wrong with a toy poodle. These dogs have been a popular choice for pet owners for decades, thanks to their playful personalities and low-shedding coats. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this beloved breed, covering everything from their history to their health concerns.

What is a Toy Poodle?

The toy poodle is a beloved breed of dog that is recognized for its small size, standing no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 6 and 9 pounds. They are highly intelligent, loyal, and affectionate, making them a popular choice for families and individuals alike.

One of the most distinctive features of the toy poodle is its curly, hypoallergenic coat. This coat comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, apricot, and silver. Their curly coat is low-shedding, which makes them a great option for people with allergies.

Toy poodles are also known for their elegant appearance and graceful movements. They have a regal bearing and a proud gait, which adds to their charm and appeal. Despite their small size, they are a confident breed and are not afraid to take charge in social situations.

Due to their intelligence and eagerness to please, toy poodles are highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions. They also make great therapy dogs due to their gentle nature and ability to provide comfort and companionship to those in need.

Toy Poodle History

The history of the toy poodle breed dates back to Germany in the 15th century when they were originally bred as water retrievers for hunting. Their intelligence, agility, and ability to swim in water made them an ideal choice for hunters. Eventually, the French took a liking to the breed and began breeding them for their smaller size and good looks.

During the 18th century, toy poodles were first bred in France and quickly gained popularity among the French aristocracy as lap dogs and companions. They were often seen accompanying their wealthy owners to social events and were even used as symbols of luxury and affluence.

In the early 20th century, toy poodles were imported to the United States and quickly became a popular breed among dog enthusiasts. Their intelligence, affectionate nature, and hypoallergenic coat made them an ideal choice for families living in small spaces or with allergies.

Today, the toy poodle remains one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world. They are known for their playful and loving nature, intelligence, and versatility, making them suitable for a wide range of lifestyles and living arrangements. Whether as a companion for a single person, a family, or a senior, the toy poodle continues to charm and captivate dog lovers everywhere.

Toy Poodle Appearance

The toy poodle is a charming breed of dog that is recognized for its distinctive and elegant appearance. They have a square-shaped head with a well-proportioned muzzle and long, droopy ears that add to their adorable and friendly expression.

One of the most distinctive features of the toy poodle is its curly, fluffy coat. The coat is soft, dense, and hypoallergenic, which makes them an ideal pet for individuals with allergies. The coat comes in a wide range of colors, including black, white, apricot, silver, and more.

Despite their small size, toy poodles have a sturdy and compact build that is both athletic and graceful. They have a straight, level back and a deep chest, which gives them a regal appearance.

To maintain their elegant appearance, toy poodles require regular grooming to keep their coat clean, healthy, and free of tangles. Regular trimming, brushing, and clipping is necessary to keep their coat looking its best.

Toy Poodle Temperament

The toy poodle is a breed known for its friendly and cheerful temperament, which makes them a delightful companion for families of all ages. They are highly intelligent dogs that are eager to learn and excel in obedience and agility training. They thrive on mental stimulation and physical activity, which makes them ideal pets for active individuals.

One of the most endearing traits of toy poodles is their playful nature. They have a lively and energetic personality and love to play and interact with their owners. They are always up for a game of fetch or a walk in the park and are never too tired to have fun.

Despite their small size, toy poodles have a big heart and are extremely affectionate and loyal to their families. They form strong bonds with their owners and love nothing more than spending time with them. They are happiest when they are by their owner’s side and will follow them wherever they go.

The toy poodle’s friendly and outgoing temperament makes them an excellent pet for families with children. They are patient and gentle with kids and are always up for some fun and games. They are also great with other pets and get along well with dogs and cats.

Training and Exercise Needs

When it comes to training, toy poodles are a delight to work with. They are intelligent, quick learners, and are known for their eagerness to please their owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, such as praise, treats, and playtime, and can easily be taught new tricks and commands.

In addition to mental stimulation through training, toy poodles also require daily physical exercise to keep them healthy and happy. While they don’t need a lot of exercise, regular walks and playtime are essential to their well-being. Interactive toys and games, such as fetch or tug-of-war, can also provide a fun way for toy poodles to get some exercise.

It’s important to note that toy poodles are a small breed, which means they may be more prone to weight gain and joint issues if they don’t get enough exercise. Owners should monitor their toy poodle’s weight and adjust their exercise routine accordingly.

Here are some easy training exercises for toy poodles:

  • Sit command: This is one of the most basic commands you can teach your toy poodle. Hold a treat above their head and say “sit” while gently pushing down on their hindquarters. As soon as they sit, reward them with the treat and praise.
  • Come command: Start by calling your toy poodle’s name and saying “come” in a happy tone. When they come to you, reward them with a treat and lots of praise. Repeat this exercise several times a day until they respond reliably.
  • Stay command: Once your toy poodle has mastered the sit command, you can start teaching them to stay. Begin by having them sit, then put your hand in front of them and say “stay”. Step back a few feet, then immediately return to them and reward them with a treat and praise.
  • Leave it command: This command is helpful when you need to prevent your toy poodle from picking up or eating something they shouldn’t. Hold a treat in your closed hand and say “leave it”. When your toy poodle ignores your hand, reward them with the treat and praise.
  • Shake command: This is a fun trick that’s easy to teach. Hold out your hand and say “shake”. When your toy poodle lifts their paw, take it gently and shake it, then reward them with a treat and praise.

Grooming a Toy Poodle

Grooming a Toy Poodle is crucial to maintaining their health and appearance. This breed has a curly, low-shedding coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Additionally, regular haircuts are essential to keep their coat at a manageable length, and to avoid discomfort and hygiene issues.

Apart from regular brushing and haircuts, there are some other grooming tasks that should be performed regularly for your Toy Poodle. These include nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. Keeping their nails trimmed will prevent overgrowth and discomfort, while cleaning their ears and teeth regularly will help maintain their overall hygiene and prevent infections.

It is essential to use appropriate grooming tools and techniques when grooming your Toy Poodle. Using a slicker brush and a comb is recommended to ensure that the coat is tangle-free and free of mats. It is also essential to use appropriate scissors or clippers to trim their coat evenly and safely.

Health Concerns for Toy Poodles

Toy poodles, like any other dog breed, are susceptible to certain health problems. Owners should be aware of these health concerns to ensure that their toy poodles live healthy and happy life. Some of the most common health issues that affect toy poodles are:

  • Dental problems: Toy poodles are prone to dental issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Regular brushing, dental cleanings, and providing appropriate chew toys can help prevent these problems.
  • Eye problems: Toy poodles can suffer from various eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and glaucoma. Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist can help detect these problems early and prevent vision loss.
  • Skin allergies: Toy poodles can develop skin allergies to certain foods, environmental factors, or parasites such as fleas. It’s important to keep their coat clean and dry, and to regularly check for signs of skin irritation or rash.
  • Ear infections: Toy poodles are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and excessive hair in the ear canal. Owners should regularly clean their toy poodle’s ears and check for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or discharge.

Owners should also be aware of other potential health issues such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and liver shunt. It’s important to take your toy poodle to regular vet checkups to catch any potential health problems early on and to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Toy Poodle Nutrition and Feeding

Toy poodles have specific nutritional needs that require a balanced and nutritious diet. Due to their small size, they have small stomachs and require frequent, small meals throughout the day. It’s important to choose a high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.

Toy poodles require a diet that is high in protein, as this helps to maintain their muscle mass and supports their overall health. It’s important to choose a dog food that contains real meat as the first ingredient, as this provides the essential amino acids that toy poodles need to thrive.

It’s also essential to provide toy poodles with fresh, clean drinking water at all times, as they are prone to dehydration. This is especially important during hot weather or after exercise when they may need to replenish fluids.

When feeding toy poodles, it’s important to measure their portions carefully and avoid overfeeding. Toy poodles are prone to obesity, which can lead to a range of health issues. It’s important to follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging or consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion sizes for your toy poodle.

In addition to a well-balanced diet, toy poodles may benefit from nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can support their skin and coat health. However, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before adding any supplements to your toy poodle’s diet.

Foods that should not be given to toy poodles:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Nuts, especially macadamia nuts
  • Bones from meat or fish (as they can splinter and cause internal damage)

Foods that can be given to toy poodles in moderation:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef
  • Fish
  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, and blueberries
  • Vegetables such as carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes
  • Cooked grains such as rice and quinoa
  • Dairy products such as cheese and yogurt (in small amounts)

It’s important to remember that toy poodles have specific nutritional needs and any dietary changes should be made gradually and with the guidance of a veterinarian.

Toy Poodle Lifespan

Toy poodles have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, but with exceptional care and attention, they can live even longer. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine vet visits can all contribute to a healthier and longer life for your toy poodle. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of any potential health concerns and to take preventative measures to ensure the best possible quality of life for your furry companion. Providing a safe and loving environment can also promote longevity and happiness for your toy poodle.

Toy Poodle Breeding

Breeding toy poodles requires careful consideration and planning to ensure the health and well-being of both the parents and the resulting puppies. Ethical breeding practices should always be followed, which includes proper care and socialization of the parents and their offspring.

When selecting a breeder, it’s important to research and choose one that is reputable and knowledgeable about the breed. They should also be able to provide information on the health and temperament of both the sire and the dam. The breeder should be willing to share their breeding practices and provide evidence of genetic testing to ensure that the puppies are not at risk for any hereditary health issues.

Breeding toy poodles also involves proper care and nutrition for the pregnant dam, as well as providing a safe and comfortable environment for the puppies to grow and develop. The puppies should be socialized from a young age to ensure that they are well-adjusted and friendly when they are ready to go to their forever homes.

It’s also important to note that overbreeding can lead to health issues and reduced lifespan in toy poodles, so breeding should only be done responsibly and with the best interest of the breed in mind.

Toy Poodles as Therapy Dogs

Toy poodles are often used as therapy dogs due to their gentle and loving nature. They can provide emotional support and comfort to people in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. As therapy dogs, toy poodles can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression in individuals.

Their small size and friendly demeanor make them ideal for therapy work, as they can easily sit on laps or be held by those they are visiting. Additionally, toy poodles are highly intelligent and can be trained to perform specific tasks, such as retrieving items, opening doors, or alerting their owners to potential danger.

To become a therapy dog, toy poodles must undergo special training and certification to ensure they are suitable for the role. This includes obedience training, socialization with people and other animals, and exposure to different environments and situations.

Therapy dog work can be rewarding for both the dog and the owner, as they are able to bring comfort and joy to those in need. It’s important for owners to understand the responsibilities and commitment required for therapy work, and to ensure their dog is well-trained, healthy, and happy.

Toy Poodle Myths

Toy poodles have been subjected to various myths over the years. One of the most common misconceptions is that they are high-maintenance dogs that require a lot of effort and time to maintain.

However, this is not true. Toy poodles are low-maintenance dogs that only require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and shiny. Additionally, many people believe that toy poodles are difficult to train, but the reality is that they are intelligent and trainable dogs that can easily pick up new commands and tricks.

Another myth surrounding toy poodles is that they are not suitable for families with children, but in fact, they are great companions for people of all ages and make excellent family pets.


Toy poodles are a beloved small dog breed that make great companions for families and individuals alike. With their friendly personalities, low-shedding coats, and intelligence, they’re a popular choice for pet owners around the world. However, it’s important to be aware of their grooming needs and potential health issues to ensure that they stay happy and healthy throughout their lives.

FAQs about Toy Poodles

Are toy poodles good with children?

Yes, toy poodles are generally good with children. They are playful and affectionate, and they love to be around people. However, like all dogs, it’s important to supervise interactions between children and dogs to ensure that everyone stays safe.

How often do toy poodles need to be groomed?

Toy poodles need to be groomed regularly to keep their coat in good condition. This includes regular brushing to prevent matting, as well as regular baths and trims to keep their coat clean and tidy. Many toy poodle owners take their dogs to a professional groomer every 4-6 weeks.

Do toy poodles shed?

Toy poodles have a low-shedding coat, which means that they produce less dander and are often a good choice for people with allergies. However, their coat still requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and free from matting.

How much exercise do toy poodles need?

Toy poodles are an active breed, but their exercise needs are relatively low compared to other breeds. They enjoy short walks and indoor playtime, and they can often get enough exercise just by playing in the house. However, it’s still important to provide them with daily exercise to keep them healthy and prevent obesity.

What health issues are toy poodles prone to?

Toy poodles are generally a healthy breed, but they are prone to certain health issues. These include dental problems, allergies, and ear infections. They are also prone to some genetic conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. It’s important to work with a reputable breeder and to take your toy poodle to the vet regularly to prevent and treat any health issues.