The Toy Poodle may be small, but it is mighty. Very similar to the Standard Poodle, only in the toy category, this dog has a long muzzle which houses a mouth with strong jaws and a scissor bite. Its eyes are slightly oval in shape with a dark gaze brimming with intelligence and exuberance. While the overall body of the Toy Poodle may seem delicate, its shoulder and neck are powerful for its small size and it can prance with its head held high.
The body has a slightly boxy appearance but is strong for its size. From the base of its tail to the shoulder blades, the back is quite level and its chest is wide and deep. The ribs are quite expansive and the front and hind legs are proportional with its body with their muscles and heft of bone. The long tail is often docked to create a more balanced Toy Poodle. The feet appear roundly dainty with arched toes which belie the tough foot pads perfect for cushioning their step.
As with other poodle breeds, the Toy Poodle has a soft, curly coat which is non-shedding. Grooming is necessary to trim and maintain desired lengths. The color of the Toy Poodle's coat can come in a variety of colors such as white, black, russet, apricot, silver and more.
Germany claims the Toy Poodle can trace its roots to this country but France also lays claim as well. The word poodle is derived from the German word "pudel" which means "to splash in the water." This is definitely characteristic of the poodle dog several hundred years ago when it was bred and raised as hunting and water retrieval dogs.
The poodle's coat is what makes this canine unique and is why the dog has been depicted in many paintings, some appearing as early as the 1400s. Indeed, for several hundred years in the 1700s and 1800s, the Toy Poodle as well as other sizes entertained in circuses because they learned quickly and put on a humorous performance. Today, the Toy Poodle is a smart and lovable companion and is also one of the most popular breeds today.
The Toy Poodle is smart as a whip and can easily be taught a variety of tricks. They are bright, affectionate, and enthusiastic and love to please their owners. Due to their diminutive size, the Toy Poodle may be slightly reserved but no less fun-loving than its standard and miniature counterparts.
Early socialization in training and at home can help the Toy Poodle integrate well with the family as well as other pets and strangers. They are not typical barkers, reserving that action when defending their home or alerting their owner to strangers. Left by themselves, toy poodles are not very destructive but do require daily exercise to stave off boredom. Companionship is also helpful whether another poodle or human. The great thing about the Toy Poodle is that they are happy creatures who are devoted to their families and even love children.
The Toy Poodle can contract diseases and health problems just as much as other breeds. Their size does not contribute to disease nor does it make them any more susceptible to illness. They do occasionally contract some eye disease such as glaucoma, cataracts or even disease of the retina.
Older Toy Poodles may end up getting a degenerative bone disease that affects the hip joint and even disc displacement in the back. Parasites are a problem unless the owner is diligent in grooming and health care. Heart disease could occur if dental care is neglected. There is also the change of gastric torsion which is a type of bloating where the stomach twists and can be life-threatening. Ear infections are a fact of life with poodles but are easily treated with medications obtained from a veterinarian.
Looks are everything with the Toy Poodle. As their coat does not shed, it needs to be trimmed and shaped periodically. In addition, regular brushing is important to prevent matting and knots in the coat. Bathing is important as well and should be done at least every month and a half or so.
In regards to trimming their coat, there are a variety of styles that Toy Poodle owners can choose from such as the puppy clip, continental clip, sporting clip and the English saddle clip. With the puppy clip, the coat is closely shorn. The continental clip requires the tail's base along with the face, feet and throat to be shaved but leaving fluffy areas called pom-poms on the hips, end of the tail and toward the bottom of the front and hind legs.
The English saddle clip is similar to the continental clip in that the same areas are shaved but pom-poms are on the end of the tail as well as the forelegs with the rest of the body fluffy. The sports clip also has the throat, feet, face and tail's base shaved but there is a cap of fluffy hair left at the top of the head as well as a pom-pom at the end of the tail.
Because of their faintly webbed feet, the Toy Poodle can get its exercise from swimming since water retrieval is in its genetic history. Playing games like tug of war and ball are proper as well as daily walking. The Toy Poodle is active and requires interaction. To keep them in check, teaching them tricks and integrating daily exercise is important. It stimulates their brain, something they need to prevent boredom.
Toy Poodles are highly trainable and have been for hundreds of years. They were once stars on the circus circuit. Early socialization is important so this dog can adapt to younger members of the family as well as other animals. In addition, training at a young age will help them curb their barking so they only reserve it for alerting owners of possible dangers and strangers.
Positive praise through treats, toys and kind words are the best way to train a Toy Poodle. When motivation is positively rewarding, they will strive to learn even more advanced tricks. They enjoy learning and want to show off for their owners.