Complete Guide To The Toy Poodle: Health, Grooming, Feeding and More

The Toy Poodle is one of America’s most beloved dogs, but forget the fancy stereotype. Smart, sassy and surprisingly athletic, they’re lively, down-to-earth companions with joy in their hearts and eyes for adventure.

Toy Poodles are a staple in any veterinary practice and that’s been true about mine as well. A wide variety of owners from little old ladies to tough guys will carry these little ones through my door. You can tell just how precious these little dogs are to their owners and I get it. Toy Poodles are a fantastic little dog!

How Big Do Toy Poodles Get?

Averaging 4-6 pounds and less than 10 inches tall, Toy Poodles are downright Lilliputian.

What Can Toy Poodles Look Like?

Curly-coated, they come in ten solid hues:

• Black
• Blue
• Brown
• Cream
• Red
• Silver
• Silver Beige
• Gray
• Apricot

Hair color should be solid close to the skin but may vary in shade as it grows, appearing highlighted.

Eyes are preferably dark, but amber is acceptable in Apricot dogs. Ears are wide, feathered and fall just below the eye, framing a long, straight muzzle that gives them an aristocratic air. Tails are docked for a balanced silhouette.

Toy Poodles are typically trimmed in one of a dozen adorable cuts — the conspicuous puffs, bracelets, topknots and pompons, not pom-poms, are unmistakable. But white dogs with a natural coat or puppy cut may be confused with the larger but equally dapper Bichon Frise.

What Is The Personality Of A Toy Poodle?

Toy Poodles have a reputation for being spoiled and sensitive, but nothing could be further from the truth. Eager to please, they’ll cheerfully be pampered, but they’re equally happy to rough it as long as they’re doing it with you — they’re enthusiastic and courteous travel companions.

Ranked 2nd on the list of most intelligent breeds, Poodles are quick studies. Energetic, they need plenty of regular exercise and excel at canine sports — they enjoy the spotlight.

Excellent with children, they need some protection from rough-and-tumble play — they can’t help their fragile size. Perfect for apartments, they’re known to nuisance bark if not trained, so start lessons early and repeat them often.

How Much Grooming Do Toy Poodles Need?

Most Poodles are professionally trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Puppy and sporting cuts are popular for their simplicity, and they’re easy to maintain. But their ample coats give groomers plenty to work with, so why not have fun with it?

It’s possible to keep their natural coats, but they’re long, unruly and need constant attention. Without thorough daily combing, mats form near the skin almost instantaneously and have to be clipped — think of Toy Poodles as dogs in sheep’s clothing. You can learn how to trim them at home, but a spa day every few months saves time and comes with extras, including a bath, ear cleaning and nail trim — it’s a great value.

Upkeep between cuts is a breeze. A quick brushing every few days with a slicker removes debris and discourages matting — the long metal bristles thin the undercoat and massage the skin.

Red Toy Puppies!!

How Much Exercise Does A Toy Poodle Need?

Contrary to what you might think, the Toy Poodle is a very active little dog! Don’t expect them to sit on a pillow and watch tv with you all day!

These little ones need to be walked daily with a few play sessions tossed in throughout the day to feel physically and mentally sated. The Toy Poodle is also incredibly intelligent and would make an excellent candidate for many advanced canine activities such as agility and advanced tricks.

I do recommend that the Toy Poodle wear a harness when they are outside on a leash. Their small necks can be a bit fragile if pulled sharply by a collar. Harnesses allow for easy picking up of the dog as well.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Toy Poodle?

Most small kibble dry dog foods will be suitable for a Toy Poodle. These little dogs have a pretty small mouth so large kibble will be a lot more difficult to chew. If your Toy Poodle has issues with chewing kibble, you can always try and crush it or put it in a blender to make the pieces even smaller.

If you choose to feed your dog canned or semi-moist food only, you will have more dental issues. However, the off-set is a dog that is getting more nutrition and hydration than they otherwise would with a dry dog food only that they don’t like too much.

Grain-free diets are a myth. Please do not feed your dog a grain-free diet unless there are specific food allergies that would benefit from a grain-free diet. Always consult your veterinarian before you decide to make any major diet changes.

Some good dry brands that I recommend include:

I usually tend to go with the bigger dog food companies because of the amount of time and money they have to research and test their products. They also have a stronger history of safe foods (very rarely will they have recalls) over the newer, more boutique-style dog foods.

It is important always to give your dog high-quality dog food. Monitor the number of treats and “people food” you give your dog to keep him healthy and fit. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is the best and easiest way to extend the life of your Toy Poodle. 

How Long Does A Toy Poodle Live?

A healthy Toy Poodle should live 15-18 years old, making them one of the oldest-lived dog breeds

What Health Problems Can Toy Poodles Have?

Toy Poodles live long lives but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some health concerns that you need to watch out for. The most common of these include:

  • Dental Disease
  • Luxating Patella

Where Can I Find Out More About The Toy Poodle?

Poodle Club of America

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find A Toy Poodle?

Breeder Referral from the Poodle Club of America

AKC Puppy Marketplace

Looking for a Rescue? Start with the Poodle Club of the America Rescue Foundation!

Interesting Facts About Toy Poodles

There’s a lot to learn about the Toy Poodle. Did you know?

• Poodles Are a Single Breed in Three Different Sizes

Dogs like the Schnauzer come in different sizes that look alike but are distinct breeds. Poodles, however, are a single breed with three recognized sizes — Standard, Miniature and Toy.

The Standard was bred down to the Miniature. The Toy Poodle was developed in the late 1900s as demand for apartment-friendly dogs increased. Klein and Teacup Poodles are variations of existing types and not officially recognized.

• They’re Not French

Poodles are the national dog of France. Yet despite their association with all things French, they hail from Germany where they were developed as retrievers. Soft-mouthed, they’re dependable duck hunters — their name was derived from the German word “pudelin,” meaning puddle.

• They’re Allergy-friendly

No dog is completely hypoallergenic — they all shed at least some hair and skin cells. But among the breeds that are best for allergy sufferers, few beat the Poodle. They produce so little dander that they’ve been crossbred with other popular dogs to create low-allergen hybrids, such as the Goldendoodle and Cavapoo.

• Poodles Succeed at Almost Everything

From hunting to agility, Poodles are champions. Intelligent, they can be trained to do almost anything. But whether they can or should are two different stories.

Take the first all-Poodle Iditarod sled team, for example. Their spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak. Matted fur and frozen paws were their undoing, leading to new rules that only snow-acclimated breeds can participate.

• The King of Dogs

Elvis Presley loved dogs — more than a few breeds called Graceland home. But few captured the King’s heart like his Toy Poodles. In 1962, he surprised his girlfriend with a puppy tucked in a music box. The dog’s name was Honey, and the girl, of course, was Priscilla Presley.

Their ‘Dos Have a Purpose

If you ever wondered why Poodles have such unusual haircuts, it’s not for good looks. Water dogs, their heavy fur weighed them down when wet, so hunters developed novel ‘dos to insulate their vital organs from the cold while reducing their overall weight and improving their mobility. The tradition stuck.

Poodles that aren’t trimmed eventually developed corded coats like the Puli. Similar to dreadlocks, cords are heavy, rope-like strands entwined with the undercoat that are impossible to comb out and impractical to shampoo. They trap dirt and odor and take hours per week to maintain, making them unpopular among owners.