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There’s probably nothing cuter than a basket full of puppies, even if they are Toy Poodle puppies! Regular readers know that I’m not exactly a fan of small dogs, since Boxers own my heart, but it can’t be disputed that all puppies are just beyond adorable
Regular readers also know that I’m not a big fan of the “free to good home” approach to placing puppies. I talked about this in 3 Things You Need to Consider Before You Bring Your New Puppy Home, in which I recounted my yard sale adventure with my friend Jill. I had to drag Jill away from a basket of puppies because I knew (and with the genius of hindsight, she also knew) that she wasn’t ready for a dog.
Fast forward to this Saturday. I went (solo this time) to another yard sale, and encountered – you guessed it – a person with a basket full of puppies. I was all set to give her a hard time, but as it turns out, I didn’t need to. She wasn’t giving her puppies away – she was seriously vetting potential adopters, taking names and addresses, arranging home visits, and demanding references. I asked her about the contents of the basket of cuteness, and she said, “They’re Toy Poodle puppies.”
Of course, being a bit of a mouthpiece, I said “Toy Poodle puppies, huh? Well, they’re cute, but I don’t think I’d want one.” I can’t recall exactly how the conversation went, but I think I used terms like “scatterbrained,” “anklebiter,” “diva,” and other pejoratives. The owner used words along the lines of “gorgeous,” “intelligent” and “loving.” Ultimately, I learned a lot about Toy Poodle puppies (and adults), and I’m going to share my new insights with you.
The first thing I learned about the Toy Poodle is that it’s actually not a breed. The Poodle is a breed, and it comes in Standard, Miniature and Toy. The Standard Poodle is actually a sizable dog, and I’m at a loss to understand why anyone would have thought that scaling it down would be a good idea, but to each their own, I suppose.
So how do Toy Poodle puppies and adults compare with their larger counterparts? Favorably, it would seem. The only difference, really is in the size. The temperament and physical characteristics are essentially the same. Temperament has always been my issue with this type of dog, since I’ve known more than a few that are yappy and obnoxious. From what I’ve been able to learn, though, both from the breeder I talked with and from my online research, I was probably just meeting Toy Poodles that are the exception, not the rule – they were likely badly bred and/or poorly trained (more on bad breeding in a bit).
A Standard Poodle weighs anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds, and stands 15 to 24 inches at the shoulder. A Miniature Poodle weighs 15 to 17 pounds, and stands 11 to 15 inches at the shoulder. A Toy Poodle weighs6 to 9 pounds, and stands up to 10 inches at the shoulder.
Where I became troubled learning about Toy Poodle puppies and adults, though, was when I learned that when it comes to showing, the smaller the Toy Poodle is, the more desirable it’s considered to be. My opinion is that this can lead to some very bad breeding practices.
As I’ve suggested before, in posts like Why You Should Walk Away From Teacup Dogs, smaller is not always better. In fact, smaller can be very bad indeed. As my mother, who had a platitude for just about everything, used to say, “All things in moderation.”
The trouble with “downsizing” dogs is that it’s not always done in moderation. Frequently, very small dogs are the result of breeding runts together. As I pointed out in So, You Got the Runt of the Litter, the runt is not the smallest dog in the litter – since puppies can be conceived several times when a bitch is in heat, the smaller puppies are often just the ones that were fertilized last, but born at the same time as those who were fertilized first. They generally catch up, and sometimes even surpass their older siblings when it comes to size.
So the smallest dog in any given litter, be it Toy Poodle puppies or any other breed, isn’t usually what you could properly term a “runt.” A runt is a dog that is abnormally small and possibly malformed, and often a very small litter of dogs is created by breeding these poor little creatures that should have been culled. When runts are bred, yes, you will get an adorable-looking, tiny puppy. You will probably also end up with an adult with serious health problems.
In a nutshell, small isn’t necessarily bad. Abnormally small, though, indisputably is. So if you’re considering adopting a small Poodle, stick with the toys or minis and avoid the teacup varieties – they’re not meant to be bred, and you might even find that your veterinarian will refuse to treat your dog if he needs surgery, since the organs are abnormally small and very difficult to work on.
Getting back on track, let’s talk about healthy Toy Poodle puppies. Where did the Toy Poodle originate?
If you think that Poodles come from France, you’re wrong – the term “French Poodle” is actually a misnomer, since the breed originated in Germany. And if you think a Poodle is just a pretty “foo foo” dog, you’re wrong again – Poodles were bred for retrieving waterfowl. They were working dogs originally, and only really became considered companion animals when breeders started scaling them down.
Let’s talk about stereotypes. I was so wrong, according to the woman who had the Toy Poodle puppies at the yard sale. I thought that Toy Poodles were horrid, yappy little things that would grab your ankles just for the pure pleasure of sinking their sharp little teeth into you. I also thought that they were high-maintenance, spoiled little divas. I couldn’t have been more misled.
The reality is that if Toy Poodle puppies are properly raised, their disposition should be no different from that of the noble, stable, intelligent Standard Poodle. The Toy Poodle is also highly energetic, and makes a great companion for athletic owners. In fact, you should expect your Toy Poodle to need about an hour of vigorous exercise in any given day.
Toy Poodles are also very loving, and make great companion dogs. There’s a down side to this, though – if you don’t have a lot of time to spend with your Toy Poodle, he could become bored and irritable. Toy Poodle puppies need a lot of attention, and so do adults – they only become obnoxious if their needs aren’t met, so make sure that you have lots of time to spend with your little guy. An hour a day is the absolute minimum.
Good Family Dogs
Standard Poodles and Minis are great choices for people who have kids. They’re usually relaxed and confident, and easily trained. Toy Poodle puppies are also easy to train, and very sociable, but might not be the best choice for families with young children, simply because of the size of the dog. Toy Poodle puppies can be easily injured during vigorous play, so if you have toddlers, it might be best to wait until the kids are older before thinking about introducing a Toy Poodle into the family unit.
Toy Poodle puppies benefit from early training. You can’t start early enough when it comes to basic obedience and socialization, since they share the affinity of the larger Poodle types when it comes to wanting to learn and please their humans. Even though the Toys aren’t working dogs, they’re very smart and willing to do whatever you ask of them.
When it comes to training, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have a dog that can easily be scooped up if he’s confronted by a larger dog, you don’t have to worry about training. A poorly trained Toy Poodle will have little difficulty squirming out of your arms and trying to confront a much bigger dog – and I shouldn’t have to tell you that the outcome might not be all that good for your Toy Poodle.
Puppies need early training if they’re going to grow up to be good canine citizens, and this is the case with any breed. Don’t skip the early training and socialization.
Well, what do you want? Toy Poodle puppies come in a huge range of colors, including black, brown, cream, apricot, gray, blue, red, silver, beige, red, white and more! They also come in no fewer than 18 color combinations that are considered to be acceptable under AKC standards.
You may have heard that Toy Poodle puppies and adults don’t shed, and that’s true. However, if not groomed, your Toy Poodle’s coat will end up “cording,” which is pretty much the doggie equivalent of dreadlocks. So you’re going to want to groom regularly, and trim your Toy Poodle’s coat every couple of months.
You can take your Toy Poodle to a groomer if you like, but you can also groom at home. You’ll need a good set of clippers, scissors and a comb. If you’re planning to show your dog, you’d probably be best advised to consult a groomer that is experienced with the breed.
Even if you take your dog to a groomer prior to shows, don’t neglect grooming at home. This is time that you spend with your dog, bonding.
Toy Poodles are typically healthy dogs, but as is the case with any breed, there are some problems. Toy Poodles can be prone to progressive retinal atrophy, which is a condition in which the eye’s retina deteriorates. Toy Poodles are also prone to cataracts, which can lead to blindness. Patella luxation is another problem that is common to the breed – it’s a malformation of the knee joint which can cause the shin bone to slip out of alignment and result in lameness. Von Willebrand’s disease is a clotting disorder that can be present in Toy Poodles. And finally, Poodles of any size can be susceptible to thyroid problems.
I hope I haven’t scared you – the reality is that your Toy Poodle may never develop any of these conditions, but when you’re shopping for Toy Poodle puppies, you should ask for clearances from the breeder indicating that the parent dogs are free from these conditions.
Toy Poodle puppies have a great start in life, in that the Toy Poodle is a typically long-lived breed. On average, you can expect your Toy Poodle to live for about 14 years, and when it comes time to say goodbye and send your best buddy to the Rainbow Bridge, the cause of death is likely to be old age rather than disease or disability.
Finding a Breeder
Generally speaking, you’ll find that most Poodle breeders will specialize in one specific size. So if you’re looking for breeders of Toy Poodle puppies, a simple Google search should yield results in your area.
Of course, when you’re looking for a breeder of any type of dog, you want to be careful. There are plenty of scams out there, so be sure that you can visit the litter and at least the mother, if not the father. Keep in mind, too, that any responsible breeder will not only invite you to visit the litter, they’ll insist on it. The kennel should be clean, and the dogs should appear to be happy and well-adjusted.
Keep in mind, too, that a pedigree is nothing more than a piece of paper. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Toy Poodle puppies you’re looking at are bred from good stock, or well cared for. It just means that they’re registered. Often, you can get better Toy Poodle puppies from a loving, caring, supposedly “back yard” breeder than you will get from owners of purebred, pedigreed stock.
Toy Poodle puppies don’t typically come cheap – good Toy Poodle puppies can cost several hundred dollars, and even more than a thousand dollars. If they’re of a particularly unusual coloration, or if their parents have shown well, this will be reflected in the price.
If you find Toy Poodle puppies at a ridiculously low price, then it’s “buyer beware.” I’ve talked about scams in 9 Ways to Avoid Dog Scams, and 3 of the Most Common Ones. Everything that I said in that post holds true when it comes to Toy Poodle puppies, and puppies of any other breed. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Are Toy Poodle Puppies more than just cuteness? You bet! Is a Toy Poodle puppy right for you? Well, if you want an intelligent dog and you have an active lifestyle, you could do a lot worse. Just keep in mind that Toy Poodles need a lot of attention – they don’t do well if you leave them alone. If you’re ready to make the commitment, though, a Toy Poodle might be just the right fit for you and your family.