As an owner or pack leader of a Toy Poodle called Ralph, I may be a little biased but I will try to stick to the facts of owning Toy Poodles here.
The Toy Poodle is part of the group of dogs called Utility, which means it was bred for a purpose. In their case the purpose was to herd and to lead their owners, mainly through water. Hence, the name Poodle which comes from the German word Pudel which means to “splash or puddle.” It’s coat was sheared to help with swimming.
The French adopted the Poodle as a companion for trendy ladies helping the French aristocracy to favour it, which in turn helped it become France’s national dog. We can see how stylish and trendy, even celebrity ladies still favour it today. The first thing many think of when picturing a Toy poodle is the dog’s characteristic clip, favoured by the Kennel Club. But they don’t have to be cut this way and I as an owner prefer the “I’m a dog not a handbag accessory” cut.
The Standard Poodle was the original size but over time the Poodle was successfully bred to be smaller creating both the Toy and Miniature Poodle.
Breed Group: UtilityDogs (UK) Companion dogs (USA)
Height: Up to 10 inches, measured up to shoulder
Weight: 6 to 9 pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
As a Utility breed the Poodle’s body is a reflection of its athletic background. This square-proportioned dog has an elegant appearance and a proud carriage. It moves with springy, light strides.
Its coat is dense and curly, surprisingly soft to the touch. The Toy Poodle’s conventional clips (or hairstyles) originally served to insulate and protect the dog’s chest and joints. But it is your dog and however you wish to have his hair cut is up to you.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
This breed is very dedicated to its family. Some dogs can be shy in front of strangers and some may bark too much. But these characteristics can be re trained through socialisation. As an owner I can say that Ralph thinks everyone should say hello to him and whilst I have had some funny moments with him barking to warn me of perceived dangers, it is kept to a minimum and he certainly doesn’t bark every time someone knocks at the door. He also does not join in with the neighborhood dog cacophony that sometimes occurs. He is more likely look at me as if to say “what is their problem?”
They love being around their pack leader and can suffer from loneliness and separation anxiety if left alone too much. Ralph does fit into this pattern and got quite distressed when I went to go out without him in the early days but with short trips out he gradually got used to it. But is still also over pleased to see me when I come home.
The Toy Poodle is not meant for outdoor living, but loves the great outdoors as much as any dog. I have read that the Toy Poodle is good for apartment living. Well it better be a big apartment as even from a pup, Ralph let everyone know that he has energy to use by charging from one end of the house to the other, passing through several rooms and do the same over and over. He loves the garden, playing ball or plant pots or any water bottles he can find.
This is not to say he’s always on the move, a half hour walk, morning and night, with some play around lunchtime is enough to wear him out.
The Toy Poodles coat requires it to be brushed on alternate days. When hair sheds, it does not fall off easily, but can get tangled, causing matting. Clipping is recommended four times annually.
Personally I take Ralph to the groomers every 6 to 8 weeks where he gets a good wash and blow dry. Nails clipped, ears cleaned and cut to my specifications. I don’t need to brush him as me running my fingers through his coat whilst petting him does the job. However, I did groom him regularly as a small pup, just to get him used to being groomed when needs be.
Poodles also have the advantage of being the lightest-shedding and therefore the most hypoallergenic of all the coated breeds of dog.