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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Miniature Poodle
Average Cost to keep/care for a Miniature Poodle
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Miniature Poodles are larger than their Toy Poodle counterparts, but smaller than the Miniature Poodle. Over the years, they have remained a popular choice as both companions and family pets in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to their charming looks and kind, loyal natures. They don't shed which is another bonus of sharing a home with a Miniature Poodle, although their coats do need quite a lot of attention when it comes to keeping them looking good and in top condition which adds to the cost of owning one of these delightful little dogs.
They form extremely strong bonds with their owners and families, never liking to be left on their own for any length of time which can lead to separation anxiety and why Miniature Poodles are better suited to people who work from home or to households where one person stays around when everyone else is out.
Although the Poodle is listed as being native to France, there are some who believe the breed has its origins in Germany and that they were taken to France by German soldiers and it is thought that Poodles worked in Germany's marshlands retrieving game for hunters. In France, they were used to retrieve ducks with the smaller dogs being highly prized for their ability to sniff out truffles, a type of mushroom and highly prized commodity.
The Miniature Poodle was developed to be smaller so the cost of their upkeep was lower than for their larger counterparts and as such more people could afford to own one. There are records of them being around for around 500 years and over the centuries Poodles remained a firm favourite with circuses not only because of their charming looks, but also for their intelligence which meant they could be taught all sorts of tricks that were part of circus routines. Because Poodles, including the Miniature proved so versatile, the two smaller sizes soon became popular with the nobility and royal courts of Europe.
Miniature Poodles came into their own during the fifties and sixties when they were one of the most popular dogs both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. However, this led to many genetic health issues occurring in the breed because not enough care was taken when choosing which Poodles to use as stud dogs. However, thanks to the efforts and hard work of dedicated breeders and through careful and selective breeding, many of the health issues seen in the breed were resolved so that Poodles today are less at risk of developing hereditary disorders that at one time affected them.
Today, the Miniature Poodle is among one of the most popular dogs in the show ring although when they were first exhibited they had corded coats, but they have also remained a firm favourite both as companions as well as family pets in the UK and elsewhere in the world thanks to their charming natures and delightful looks.
Height at the withers: Males 28 - 38 cm, Females 28 - 38 cm
Average weight: Males 7 - 8 kg, Females 7 - 8 kg
Miniature Poodles are medium sized dogs being that much bigger than the Toy Poodle, but a lot smaller than the Standard. Their heads are long and fine, but nicely in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Heads have a slight peak and a moderate stop. Their forefaces are well chiseled and their lips are tight with dogs having a well-defined chin. They have almond-shaped, dark eyes which are set nicely on a dog's face and which have an alert, fiery expression in them with their eye colour matching a dog's coat.
A Miniature Poodle's ears are long being set quite low on their heads and they hang close to a dog's face. They have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Necks are nicely proportioned and strong, allowing dogs to carry their heads proudly. Their shoulders are well laid back, muscular and strong with front legs being straight and nicely muscled.
Their chests are quite wide and deep with dogs having well sprung nicely rounded ribs. Backs are short and slightly hollowed, but strong with Miniature Poodles having muscular, broad loins. Back legs are well developed with muscular thighs. Their feet are small and oval shaped with well arched toes and thick, hard, well cushioned pads. Their tails are thicker at the root and set quite high which dogs carry away from their bodies.
When it comes to their coat, the Miniature Poodle, like the Toy and the Standard, has a very dense, profuse coat that's harsh to the touch. The hair is extremely curly, thick and close-lying to a dog's body. The accepted Kennel Club registration colours are as follows:
When a Miniature Poodle moves, they do so with a light and free movement showing lots of drive.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge any faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Male Miniature Poodles should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that the breed can be slightly shorter or taller as well as a little lighter or heavier than stated in the breed standard which is given as a guideline only.
Miniature Poodles are known to be fun-loving small dogs. They are high-spirited, friendly and enjoy nothing more than being in a home environment and part of a family. They thrive on human contact and being included in everything that goes on in a household which is just one of the reasons they make such ideal family pets and companion dogs. It's in their nature to clown around and because they are always so eager and willing to please which when paired to their intelligence, it makes these charming dogs extremely easy to train. However, they are also very quick to pick up any bad behaviours if they are allowed which in short, means they need to he trained with a firm yet gentle hand.
Because Miniature Poodles are so intelligent, they need to be trained from an early age so they understand their place in the "pack" and who is alpha dog in a household. They may be small in stature, but Miniature Poodles are never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance. If allowed to get away with too much or are pampered a little too often, a Miniature Poodle may start to show a more dominant and wilful side to their nature which can lead to all sorts of problems around the home which includes excessive barking and being destructive. It's also important for puppies to be well socialised from a young age so they mature into more confident and well-rounded dogs. Their socialisation must include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated.
Over the years the Miniature Poodle has proved themselves to be reliable and trustworthy and as such they are a good choice for first time owners, not only because they are highly intelligent and therefore easy to train, but also because they form extremely strong bonds with their families making them extremely amenable. With this said, they can be a little reserved and stand-offish around people they do not know, but rarely would a Miniature Poodle show any sort of aggression towards a stranger, preferring to keep their distance until they get to know someone. They are also very quick to let an owner know when there are strangers about.
Miniature Poodles are an ideal choice for first time dog owners who are looking for a loving and loyal companion or devoted family pet, bearing in mind that these little dogs never like to be left on their own for any length of time. With this said, they are better suited to families with older children rather than toddlers.
Miniature Poodles like their larger cousins do not have a high prey drive because over time, the trait has been bred out of them as they became popular family pets and show dogs rather than working dogs.
Miniature Poodles are known to be extremely playful by nature and they thoroughly enjoy playing interactive games. Being so intelligent, they pick up new things extremely quickly and can be taught to do all sorts of tricks, something that over the centuries the breed has always been renowned for.
Miniature Poodles are highly adaptable little dogs being just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are in a house in the country, providing they are given enough mental stimulation and daily physical exercise to keep them fit and occupied.
Because Miniature Poodles form such strong ties with their owners, they never like to be left on their own for any length of time which often sees them suffering separation anxiety. This can lead to dogs being destructive around the home with incessant barking becoming a problem, bearing in mind that dogs bark when they are unhappy about the situation.
Miniature Poodles are known to like the sound of their own voices a little too much which can lead to excessive and incessant barking at the slightest noise. This trait can be gently curbed when a dog is still young, but there is never any guarantee that a Miniature Poodle won't start barking for no reason when the mood takes them anyway.
Most Miniature Poodles like water and will happily take a swim to cool down when the weather is hot. However, some dogs don't like to get their feet wet and it would be a big mistake to force them into the water which could end up frightening a dog even more. Anyone who shares a home with a dog that loves swimming should take extra care when walking their pets off the lead anywhere near more dangerous water courses just in case their four-legged companion decides to leap in.
Miniature Poodles may be small in stature, but they are totally unaware of their actual size and therefore they make very effective watchdogs. The fact they are known to be "barkers" means they are always quick to let an owner know when strangers are about or when something they don't like is going on in their environment although false alarms can be frequent as a result.
The Miniature Poodle is one of the most intelligent dogs around, this paired to the fact they are always willing and eager to please means they are one of the easiest dogs to train. They are extremely sensitive to "voice" which is one of the reasons they learn things so quickly, but this does have a downside because voice commands must be given correctly to really get the best out of a Miniature Poodle. As such, it's important to use the right intonation and to always be very consistent when training them. In the right hands and with the correct sort and amount of training, Miniature Poodles excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience trials all of which are things they thoroughly enjoy.
With this said, it's very important not to spoil a puppy just because they are cute. The reason being that they could grow up to be wilful and unruly making it harder to handle and live with a dog. As such, Miniature Poodle puppies must be taught the limits and boundaries right from the word go so they understand what an owner expects of them. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
Miniature Poodles have a reputation for being good around children and they thrive in a home environment loving nothing more than to be involved in things that go on around them which includes playing interactive games with the kids. But as with any dog, it's best for any playtime between children and their pet to be supervised by an adult to make sure things don't get too boisterous which could end up with someone getting hurt or scared.
They are also known to be very tolerant of other dogs and family pets, more especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. If they have grown up with a family cat in the home, they usually get on well together although a Miniature Poodle might choose to chase the neighbour's cat if they ever get the chance. Care should be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets, just in case although if they’ve grown up in the home, a Miniature Poodle would more than likely choose to ignore them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Miniature Poodle is between 13 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Miniature 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 charming and energetic small dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Miniature Poodles like their larger counterparts are predisposed to suffering from Addison's disease which is also known as Hypoadrenocorticism. When a dog develops the disorder, there are specific symptoms they show which can be extremely worrying. Dogs vomit and regurgitate their food which leads to a loss of weight. A dog suffering from the condition will be depressed, they shiver and shake while at the same time having an increased thirst which means they need to urinate a lot more too. They also have extreme pain in their abdomens.
The problem is that the symptoms can be sudden or they may gradually come or before disappearing again which makes it very challenging for owners to recognise there is something seriously wrong with them. A vet would need to carry out an ACTH blood test to confirm a diagnosis, but the good news is that many Miniature Poodles do recover once they are treated in a timely manner.
Miniature Poodles can now be DNA screened for Von Willebrand's Disease through the Kennel Club with Vetgen offering to screen dogs for Neonatal Encephalopathy using the same sample. The results will be kept by the Kennel Club in their Breeds Records Supplement and the details would also be added to a dog's registration documents as well as any of their puppies' certificates.
All Miniature Poodle puppies would have been given their first vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to the new owners to ensure they are given their follow-up shots in a timely manner. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
These days, many vets recommend waiting until a dog is that much older before spaying or neutering them. As such, they prefer to wait until a dog is anything between 6 to 9 months old when they are physically more mature before they undergo the procedures. With this said, some vets advise neutering and spaying a dog a little earlier when they are 6 months old, but never any younger than this unless there are medical reasons for doing so.
When a Miniature Poodles are spayed and neutered, they can put on weight which is why it is very important to keep an eye on a dog's weight and to adjust their calorie intake and the amount of daily exercise they are given accordingly. Older Miniature Poodles can also gain weight and it's essential to adjust their food intake to avoid them becoming obese. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years because it puts a lot of pressure on their heart and other vital organs.
Some Miniatures are prone to skin allergies and finding out what triggers a reaction can often prove challenging which is why it is essential for a dog to be seen by a vet sooner rather than later when an allergy flares up. The typical triggers for allergies include the following:
All reputable Miniature Poodle breeders would have their stud dogs tested for specific health issues that are known to affect the breed because it is the only way of reducing the risks of any puppies inheriting the disorders from their parents. The schemes available for Miniature Poodles are as follows:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions set in place by the Kennel Club for all recognised breeds, currently there are no further breed specific breeding restrictions in place for Miniature Poodles.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club Assured Breeders to have stud dogs tested using the following schemes and other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club also recommends that all Assured Breeders and other breeders should use the following schemes on stud dogs:
As with any other breed, Miniature 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.
Getting a puppy is a big decision because sharing a home with a dog is a lifelong commitment. The timing of when a puppy is introduced to a new environment is all-important and it's best to do this when people are going to be around for the first week or so because no matter how confident a puppy is the chances are they would be feeling quite anxious having just their littermates and mother. As such, a puppy needs to know they are not alone in a strange place which could stress them out even more.
Puppies are notorious for chewing on things which is why it is so important to puppy-proof a home and garden well in advance of their arrival. All electric wires and cables should be put out of harm's way and anything breakable put away to avoid breakages. Garden tools and implements should be stored away to prevent a boisterous and playful puppy injuring themselves.
Investing in child gates to fit on doors helps limit the amount of space a puppy can roam around in which helps keep them safe, but another option is to buy a good quality child's playpen which also keeps young puppies safely out of harm's way and reduces the risk of stepping or tripping over them. Puppies need to sleep a lot during the first weeks of their lives and this can be anything up to 21 hours a day. In short, puppies need a nice quiet area they can retreat to when they want a nap. The area should not be too out of the way because puppies need to know someone is around and it's also important to be able to keep an ear out for them should they get themselves into any sort of trouble.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home and it's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy can roam in. This is especially true when they can't be constantly watched, bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous and can get up to all sorts of mischief. Investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a Miniature Poodle puppy the room to express themselves while at the same time keeping them safe are well worth considering. Other items needed for a new puppy are as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Miniature Poodle puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, all puppies would have had their first vaccinations before being sold, but they must have their second shots in a timely manner and the schedule is as follows:
Older Miniature Poodles need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a Miniature Poodle will start to have a greying muzzle, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Miniature Poodle in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Miniature Poodles need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older Miniature Poodles is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Miniature Poodles don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
Although Miniature Poodles do not shed their coats, they are high maintenance in the grooming department which means their coats need a daily brush to keep things tidy and tangle-free. On top of this they need to be professionally groomed and clipped every 6 - 8 weeks or so. Most owners opt for a "lamb" trim for their Miniature Poodles although there are many other types to choose from.
Because they are prone to dental issues, it's important to keep a close eye on their teeth and to have any excess tartar removed by a vet when necessary. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Miniature Poodles are high energy, very smart dogs which means they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and a ton of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of one hour's exercise every day and more if possible. Like many other dogs, they also like to have as much off the lead time as possible, but this must always be in a secure, safe place.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Miniature 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 problems later in their lives.
If you get a Miniature 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 or finicky eaters although some Miniature Poodles can get a bit picky from time to time. However, this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet or pander too much to them because it could just make the situation worse. 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.
Once a puppy is 11 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Adult Miniature Poodles need to be fed a high quality nutritious diet for them to remain fit and healthy. As a rough guide, an adult dog can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Miniature 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 Miniature Poodle in northern England would be £19.99 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £42.92 a month (quote as of January 2018). 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 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, to feed your dog making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Miniature 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 £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Miniature Poodle would be between £50 to £80 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 pedigree Miniature Poodle puppy.