Black Toy Poodle Full Grown
Poodles have a reputation for being effete, aristocratic dogs. Toy poodles double down on the froofroo rep with their tiny size and by sometimes sporting those fancy haircuts. But trust us, poodles are more than happy to get down and dirty. In fact, poodles started life as hunting dogs for the rich and famous in Europe. What made them so popular, however, is their incredible intelligence. Generally regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds, poodles are highly trainable, extremely eager to please people, and love being the center of attention through tricks and activities. None of that has changed over the years: The poodle consistently ranks as one of the 10 most popular breeds in the world.
Toy, miniature, and standard poodles are all the same breed of dog, so they'll look more or less the same—except for their size. Toy poodles are the smallest of the three, standing no more than 10 inches tall and generally weighing right around 5 pounds.
All three classifications of poodle have squarish bodies, generally about as long as they are tall. Poodles have a proud bearing, with heads kept high and their large, dark-colored eyes looking alert. Poodle coats come in a stunning array of colors from black, through the browns and yellow colors all the way to white. Bi-colored coats are also seen, though not hugely common.
two white toy poodles with teddy bear haircuts standing next to each other outside
Look at that 'do! Toy poodles can rock a variety of stylish haircuts.| CREDIT: ZHAO HUI / GETTY
Easily the most recognizable part of poodles' appearance is their curly fur coat. Poodles don't shed much, making them great for owners with allergies. While there aren't technically any hypoallergenic dogs, most people will find toy poodles close enough to not really quibble over it. Additionally, groomers can style a poodle's fur many different ways, and the breed has become famous for its outlandish show cuts.
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Poodles are incredibly smart. They tend to consider themselves a vital part of the family, have strong personalities, and learn things in a flash. They will get legitimately disgruntled if they think they're being left out of family activities.
Of course, this temperament is kind of a double-edged sword. Toy poodles are devoted family pets who love to be the center of attention, learn tricks, and take walks. They're excellent in agility and obedience training and will play with children for hours. Because of their extreme intelligence, poodles are even quick to learn how to engage in more complex games such as hide and seek. On the flip side, poodles can develop common stress behaviors associated with separation anxiety. If you leave them alone for too long or don't give them the attention they deserve, these pups can be passive aggressive and do things they know you don't like—while you're there to watch.
"Toys are funny and loving," says Pam Nichols, DVM, president of the American Animal Hospital Association. "[They are] very gentle and very quiet, if that is what you require. … They have a funny personality and they are very affectionate."
tiny golden toy poodle puppy held in owner's hands
Toy poodle puppies fit right in with any household. But, like with all breeds, make sure small kiddos know how to properly interact with pets before bringing these small babies home.| CREDIT: YIH CHANG CHEW / EYEEM / GETTY
People who own a toy poodle should not baby him. The toy poodle's teensy-tiny size makes it tempting to carry him everywhere, and he's so cute that it's no surprise owners are tempted to spoil him rotten. But, again, poodles are brilliant. A toy poodle who is carried everywhere will start to expect to be carried everywhere. As a result, every poodle owner should take full advantage of the breed's brilliance and eagerness to please, and obedience train their pet as quickly as possible.
Here is where the toy poodle's aptitude as an ideal family pet really shines. While poodles can be active dogs and will require some kind of daily exercise, toy poodles can get all their needs taken care of right there on the living room floor. Nichols says these little dogs will be happy with whatever type and amount of exercise their owner provides.
"They are extremely athletic, but not particularly hardy or fast," she says.
Their tiny size makes them marvelous apartment-dwellers, and their innate desire to be lapdogs makes them great for seniors and people with mobility issues. Poodles of all sizes make great therapy dogs, and toy poodles in particular will love sitting near you for hours at a time.
Toy poodles do great in households with other dogs, and the breed's lower prey drive, high intelligence, and friendly attitude make them ideal for houses with cats as well. Poodles love children and are eager to play, but most vets and breeders will steer households with children under the age of 10 toward the miniature or standard varieties, simply because the toy poodles are so small. They can be easily hurt by a falling child or by being handled too roughly. Always supervise children when they play with any dog and teach them how to properly interact with pets.