The Toy Poodle dog is a noble-looking dog with a slender muzzle and long neck. The coat is profuse, curly and is often styled, and comes in a variety of shades, including blues, greys, silvers, browns, apricots and creams – see the breed standard for full details. The adult should be below 28cm in height and weighs no more than 4.5kg.
This small Poodle size was known to exist at least 500 years ago. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Poodle dog breed became a favourite with the nobility, who wanted dogs smaller than the miniature variety and so the Toy Poodle dog was developed. The name 'Poodle' came from the German for 'pudel' (meaning 'to splash in water', as the Standard (from which the Mini and Toy Poodles descended) was a highly regarded water-retriever.
This is a lively and affectionate dog, who can make the most wonderful companion. He can be a good guard dog, announcing visitors, but is generally good-tempered. Toy Poodles are unusually sensitive to vocal intonation, and respond well to training. Children should be trained to handle these small, delicate dogs carefully, though.
Like many small breeds, the Toy Poodle can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). They are also prone to a hip condition and an inherited eye disorder that should be tested for.
This is a fairly active breed that likes to get out on walks and particularly enjoys games. It is a good idea to enrol in some sort of activity so that the mind is stimulated along with the body. Poodles can do well in obedience, agility and most dog sports.
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Toy Poodles do not shed and are often (though not always) tolerated by allergic people. Their coats do take a great deal of care, though, generally requiring professional grooming, as well as regular combing and brushing at home. The poodle should be taken to a groomer about every six weeks to be clipped, or you can learn how to do it yourself.