25 Reasons Why Toy Poodles Are the Best
What's cute, fluffy and will make you want to run out and adopt a puppy? Every toy poodle in the world.
Toy poodles are one of the most well-loved, cutest dog breeds ever. For good reason. They pack serious big dog energy into an apartment-sized package.
And they're so photogenic it's a crime. Before you run out and get one, learn everything you need to know about this beautiful breed.
Toy Poodles Started Out as Working Dogs.
Toy poodles look nothing like today's retrievers, but they were originally part of the same tribe. Standard poodles were bred to be water retrievers from the start, retrieving game from lakes, rivers and ponds.
While toy poodles are better suited to lapdog life, some standard poodles are still trained as waterfowl retrievers today.
The Signature Poodle Look Had a Purpose.
The signature poodle hairdo looks unnecessarily fancy by today's standards. Some might consider it downright silly.
Back when the breed was new, however, the poodle cut wasn't about looks at all. Since poodles were working dogs who often needed to traverse streams and rivers, having a full, fluffy coat wasn't practical.
Too little fur, however, would leave the dogs with little protection in chilly waters. The poodle cut's round puffs of fur are situated around joints and important organs to provide insulation in the areas it matters the most.
Toy Poodles Aren't Actually French.
Shocking, isn't it? Pink, perfectly coiffed poodles seem like such a France thing, but poodles never actually came from France.
The breed actually began in Germany, where poodles were called "pudel." Pudel means exactly what it sounds like: puddle.
The dogs got their name by how good they were at swimming.
Toy Poodles Are Remarkably Bright.
Don't let their adorably poofy exteriors fool you. Toy poodles might look like living stuffed animals, but their heads aren't full of fluff. Most dogs can learn about 165 different words, and poodles of all sizes can learn up to 400. They're also excellent problem solvers.
As retrievers, their intelligence served them well. Today, it gives them the upper hand in agility competitions and makes them prime candidates for becoming service dogs.
If you get a poodle, make sure to challenge them mentally with dog puzzle toys like this one.
Toy Poodles Are the Smallest Official Poodle Variation.
Standard poodles were made for hunting, so they're actually quite large. The average standard poodle weighs between 45 and 70 pounds, with males leaning toward the larger end of the scale. When poodles became sought after for their intelligence rather than their hunting abilities, breeders worked to reduce their size to appeal to more diverse pet owners.
Eventually, the breed was divided into three different sizes: standard, miniature and toy. Miniature poodles weigh about 15-17 pounds, while the tiny toy poodle weighs just six to nine pounds.
Toy Poodles Don't Have Fur.
To get technical about it, poodles are fluffy, but they're not actually furry. Their fluff is hair similar to ours. Unlike fur, it doesn't shed. Instead, it will continue growing until it's trimmed.
While this means much less fur laying around the house, it also means that toy poodles need frequent grooming. If owners opt to leave their dog's coat long, daily brushing is part of the deal.
Poodles Are Hypoallergenic.
The intense grooming requirements are offset by some major puppy benefits. All poodles are considered hypoallergenic, meaning they're less likely to trigger allergy symptoms in people. But what does it actually mean?
In addition to hardly shedding at all, the toy poodle produces very little dander. Dander is really just harmless, loose flakes of skin, and it's completely natural, but dogs that produce a lot of it can be a problem for allergy sufferers.
People can also be allergic to dog saliva, so the poodle's lack of slobber is another check in the hypoallergenic chart.
There Isn't Only One Poodle Cut.
There's not one but three official poodle cuts. Adult show dogs have to wear one of three styles: the Continental Clip, the Modified Continental Clip, or the English Saddle. Each cut features a different layout and of the poodle's fluffy pompoms.
Puppies in competition get to wear the Puppy Clip in which the fur is cut evenly across the entire body. Lots of pet owners keep their adult toy poodles groomed like this too, just because it's so cute.
They're People Dogs.
Are you a people person? Well, poodles are people dogs. They naturally gravitate toward humans more than other dogs. Just take one to a dog park and observe their behavior. They may frolic with the other dogs for a while, but then they're likely to return to their favorite human's side.
That's not to say that they're bad with other dogs, but human companionship is more important to them than having a bustling canine social life. Interestingly, in group play settings, poodles tend to gravitate to other poodles if they are present.
They Come in More Than 12 Different Colors.
Lots of dog breeds just come in one or two colors, but not the poodle. There are red toy poodles, black toy poodles, white toy poodles and everything in between.
There are even multicolored toy poodles. The majority of these colors are recognized by the AKC, but some are more rare (and expensive) than others.
Poodles Need Strong Leadership.
Like we said, poodles are smart. This is a double-edged sword, because smart dogs tend to need lots of intellectual stimulation and direction to keep them engaged and out of trouble. This applies to toy poodles just as much as it does to larger dogs.
If their owner doesn't take the lead early on, poodles will take up the reins themselves. This often leads to unwanted behavior, so make sure to read up about dog training before picking out a toy poodle puppy.
Toy Poodles Are a Breeze to Train.
While it's true that poodles need confident owners, they respond readily to training. They're typically eager to please, and with consistent training sessions, they can become model pups with relative ease.
They're easy to housebreak and love learning new tricks. While every dog has its own personality, poodles are generally loving, affectionate and eager to please.
Some Poodles Have Been Trained as Truffle Hunters.
Truffles, a fungi often found growing around oak and hazelnut trees in France, are delicious but expensive. To earn extra money or collect truffles for their own culinary enjoyment, some dog owners train their dogs to sniff them out.
The Lagotto Romagnolo was the original truffle-hunting breed, but lots of breeds have been used for the job, including poodles.
Poodles Are One of the Healthiest Dog Breeds.
Purebred dogs get a bad rap for health issues. Years of selective breeding can cause predispositions to certain diseases, but responsibly bred poodles have very few genetic concerns. Their life expectancy is around 12-18 years, with at least one toy poodle on record living into its 20s.
Some poodles can be predisposed to developing Addison's disease, a malfunction of the adrenal gland, but good breeders run tests to prevent the genes from being passed onto puppies. Poodles also can develop hip dysplasia, but that's fairly common in many breeds.
Fortunately, it's also manageable.
They Need More Exercise Than People Realize.
Toy poodles are small, but they're descendants of working dogs. They still have the energy of their predecessors, requiring daily walks to keep them fit, healthy and happy.
Toy poodles that don't get enough exercise are more likely to engage in annoying behavior, like getting into the trash can or barking.
Luckily, their little legs mean that it's easier to tire them out than it would be a larger breed. Two leisurely walks and some playtime should do the trick.
Poodles Love the Water.
They might look prissy and perfect, but they're not. True to their roots, toy poodles love the water. If you let them off the leash on the beach, you'll likely be taking home a wet, sandy fur ball.
Might as well get the bath supplies prepped at home, because they're also known to roll around in piles of seaweed or on dead crabs.
How can a dog so cute be so gross at the same time?
Poodles Have Been One of America's Favorite Dogs for Decades.
Poodles have been in the top 10 dog breeds in the United States for years on end. The rankings change yearly, but poodles are one of the classics. They're currently ranked number six, right up there with labs, golden retrievers, French bulldogs, and German shepherds.
Lots of celebs have been fans of poodles as well. Elvis Presley famously gifted them to girlfriends. Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball and Walt Disney also owned poodles.
Toy Poodles Are Great Companions for Felines.
Whoever said dogs and cats can't be friends haven't met toy poodles. While the playful antics of a puppy can be an annoyance for even the most patient of cats, toy poodles generally get along well with feline members of the household.
Older, calmer poodles often become buddies with their cat siblings, sharing their love of cuddling and naps.
Even Smaller Poodles Exist, Just Not According to the American Kennel Club.
When we mentioned poodle sizes, you may have noticed that teacup poodles weren't mentioned. That's because the American Kennel Club, or AKC, doesn't recognize them as an official breed. Teacup poodles are toy poodles bred to be even smaller.
There are no official breed standards, but toy poodles are usually considered to be "teacups" when they're less than six pounds. Breeders have come up with even smaller poodles, sprinkling them with names like "micro-minis."
But none of these are officially recognized and are partly a marketing gimmick.
There Once Was a Poodle Dog Sled Team.
Yes, this really happened, and not as long ago as you'd think. In 1988, a dog sled pro named John Suter entered the annual race with a team of all poodles. Unsurprisingly, they didn't fare too well. Several of the dogs dropped out of the race at checkpoints due to dangerously cold paws and wet, matted fur.
Because of this failed racing experiment, the Alaskan Iditarod Trail race now only allows breeds built for the cold to enter, like Alaskan malamutes and huskies.
Hopefully, the poodles didn't feel too bad about the defeat. They're still winners to us.
The Smallest Toy Poodle Ever Weighed Less Than an Ounce at Birth.
While the verdict is out on how small is too small, one toy poodle broke records. A miniscule toy poodle named Hope was born with dwarfism. At birth, she weighed only 31 grams, and only 11 ounces at 4 months old.
But dogs with dwarfism rarely thrive. Most don't live longer than a few days. Hope passed away when she was only around 5 months old.
Still, her tiny, rambunctious spirit lives on.
There Are Tons of Mixed Toy Poodle Breeds.
This isn't breaking news, but poodles have become the go-to dog breed to mix with other breeds. It's not an accident. Poodles have so many desirable characteristics that they bring to new, mixed breeds. There are labradoodles, goldendoodles, pugapoos. You name it.
Since poodles come in all sizes, they also can be used to make popular large dog breeds into smaller, hypoallergenic hybrid versions.
Poodles Often Choose a Favorite Person.
Some dogs (heck, some people) love whoever feeds them. Toy poodles are more refined than that. Often, toy poodles connect with one special person in the house and stick with them for life.
They're still sweet with the rest of the family, of course, but poodles tend to pick one human to be their official "person."
If a poodle picks you, you've officially passed the vibe check.
Toy Poodles Are Kid Friendly (Kind Of).
Toy poodles have wonderful personalities. They make great family dogs and are patient with kids. The bigger question is not whether toy poodles are kid friendly, but whether young kids are toy poodle friendly.
Being a small breed, toy poodles can't take as much rough handling as a larger dog. While they're sturdy for their size, supervise interactions with small children until they're old enough to respect the dog's boundaries and play gently.
They Make Excellent Pets for First-Time Dog Owners.
When it comes to getting your first dog, it's hard to beat a toy poodle. They're intelligent, easy to train, affectionate, hypoallergenic and adorable. What more can you ask for?
To get started, learn how to easily potty train a puppy, or check out these awesome tricks toy poodles can learn