Toy Poodle

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Introduction


The Toy Poodle is the smallest of all Poodles and over the years these charming little dogs have proved to be among the most popular companions not only in the UK, but in many other countries of the world too. Like the Standard and the Miniature, Toy Poodles don't shed and this paired to the fact they are highly intelligent has seen these charming little dogs find their way into the hearts and homes of many people, they are also always well received in the show ring.


History


The Toy Poodle like the Standard and Miniature, is thought to have originated in Germany with the breed having been taken to France by German soldiers during the war. As such France is listed as their country of origin, although it’s more likely that the breed first appeared on the scene in Germany. It is also thought that Poodles were bred to work the marshlands of Germany where they were highly prized as water retrievers. In France, they were renowned for being excellent "duck dogs" with the Toy Poodle being used to find highly prized and expensive truffles. In times long past, they were sometimes referred to a "Sleeve Poodles" because owners kept them as hand warmers when the weather was cold.



The breed is thought to be an ancient one, with Poodles existing 500 years ago. Toy Poodles became popular with European Royals during the 17th and 18th century when they were kept as pets and companions along with the Miniature Poodle. When they were first exhibited, they were shown with long corded coats. It's thought their name Poodle comes from the German word 'pudeln' which translated means "to plash in water". However, the actual origins of the breed remain a bit of a mystery, but it's thought the breed's ancestors originally came from the East or from Africa and that these charming dogs found their way to Europe via Portugal.



In France, Toy Poodles were used as circus dogs because they love to entertain and show off their skills. Being such intelligent dogs, they learn new things extremely quickly and are therefore easy to train to do all sorts of things, which includes some quite complicated and challenging circus acts. Poodles have remained a popular breed throughout the centuries and for good reason. They are highly intelligent, extremely loyal and real clowns of the dog world which are just some of the reasons why they are such a pleasure to be around. Today, the Toy Poodle is also one of the most popular breeds in the show ring.


Appearance


Height at the withers: Males 24 - 28 cm, Females 24 - 28 cm at the withers



Average weight: Males 3 - 6 kg, Females 3 - 6 kg



The Toy Poodle has a proud and noble look about them, although they can be real clowns of the dog world by nature. They are elegant and move gracefully with a prancing gait. Like the Standard and Miniature, they boast having lovely even textured, curly single, non-shedding coats which makes them a good choice for people who suffer from pet related allergies. They have fine, long heads with a slight peak and moderate stop. Their forefaces are well chiselled and strong with dogs having tight lips and well defined chins.



Their eyes are dark in colour and almond shaped being set nicely on a dog's face with Toy Poodles always having a very keen and intelligent look about them. Their ears are set low and hang close to a dog's face having long and wide leathers. The Toy Poodle has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are well proportioned in relation to the rest of their bodies, being strong and a nice length which allows dogs to carry their heads proudly.



They have well laid back, muscular and strong shoulders with their legs being well muscled and straight. Chests are deep and quite wide with dogs having well sprung, nicely rounded ribs. They have short, strong and gently hollowed backs. Their loins are muscular and broad which adds to a dog's overall well balanced appearance. They have strong back legs with well-developed thighs and their feet are small, oval shaped with nicely arched toes and thick, firm well cushioned pads and strong nails. Tails are thicker at the root being set high which dogs carry well away from their bodies and very straight.



When it comes to their coat, the Toy Poodle boasts having a profuse single coat that consists of short, close lying, thick and curly hair that covers their entire bodies. All solid colours are acceptable as a breed standard with the following being the most commonly seen:




  • Apricot

  • Black

  • Blue

  • Brown

  • Cream

  • Red

  • Silver

  • White


Temperament


Toy Poodles are high-spirited, intelligent little dogs that boast having a happy outlook on life. They thrive in a home environment, loving nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on around them which makes them the ideal companion. They are real clowns and love to entertain and be entertained becoming totally devoted to their owners. They are best suited to households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house so they always have company. They are a good choice for first time owners as long as they have the time needed to dedicate to their canine companion and their specific grooming needs.



Because they are so smart they are just as quick to pick up bad habits and behaviours which is why a puppy's training has to begin as soon as they arrive in their new home by teaching them the "basics" and boundaries. Their training can start in earnest once they've been fully vaccinated. They form extremely strong ties with their owners which although endearing can turn into a bit of a problem if a dog is left on their own for any length of time. Toy Poodles often suffer from separation anxiety if they find themselves alone and if not kept occupied and given enough exercise and things to do, they can become neurotic and destructive around the home.



It's really important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life so they understand what is expected of them. A Toy Poodle is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.



Because they are so charming and small, it's all too easy to let a Toy Poodle get away with things that larger dogs would never be allowed to do. This can lead to dogs developing a condition known as "Small Dog Syndrome" which can make it challenging to live with them. As such, it's best to always treat a Toy Poodle with a firm, yet gentle and fair hand making sure they are not allowed to do anything that could lead to them becoming spoilt and unruly.



Although affectionate and loyal to their owners, the Toy Poodle can be a little aloof around people they have never met before, but rarely would they show any sort of aggression towards strangers, preferring to keep their distance and bark until they get to know someone.


Intelligence / Trainability


Toy Poodles like their Miniature and Standard cousins are highly intelligent dogs and extremely fast learners. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. They are also extremely sensitive to a person's voice and the way they say things which is one of the reasons why they are probably so easy to train. As such, in the right hands and environment, these little dogs are extremely easy to train and love nothing more than to please.



Their training has to start early and it has to be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what owners expect of them. Toy Poodles are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things. They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball and agility because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact when competing with their handlers.



The key to successfully training a Toy Poodle is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions short which helps dogs stay more focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored and that Toy Poodles are extremely smart, little dogs.



They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved.


Children and Other Pets


Toy Poodles are normally good around children although due to their small size, they are best suited to households where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around small dogs and more especially know how to handle them and play with them.



When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Toy Poodle would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. They are usually good around other smaller pets in a household especially if they have grown up with them around. However, care has to be taken when they are around smaller animals they don't already know just to be on the safe side.


Health


The average life expectancy of a Toy Poodle is between 14 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.



The Toy Poodle is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these small, energetic and intelligent dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:




Caring for a Toy Poodle


As with any other breed, Toy Poodles need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


Grooming


Toy Poodles boast having a profuse single coat that consists of masses of curls that cover their entire bodies. They shed very little, but this does not mean they are easy maintenance because just the opposite is true. Toy Poodles are high maintenance on the grooming front because their coats need to be brushed every day to prevent any tangles and matts from forming. Their coats also need to be professionally clipped every six to eight weeks to keep things tidy and nicely shaped depending on the type of clip they have.



Their ears also need to be plucked on a regular basis which is best left up to a professional groomer. Toy Poodles often have tear stains under their eyes which need to be gently wiped with soft, damp and clean cloth. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.



They shed very little throughout the year which makes these charming dogs a good choice for people who suffer from pet related allergies, although it is also a dog's dander that could trigger an attack.


Exercise


Toy Poodles may be small in stature, but they are energetic, intelligent dogs and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 40 to 60-minutes a day with as much off the lead time as possible, but only in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Toy Poodle would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.



A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy little dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.



With this said, Toy Poodle puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.


Feeding


If you get a Toy Poodle puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.



Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Toy Poodle


If you are looking to buy a Toy Poodle, you would need to pay anything from £400 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Toy Poodle in northern England would be £18.08 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £38.83 a month (quote as of August 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.



When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Toy Poodle and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.



As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Toy Poodle would be between £35 to £60 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.


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