Breed Type

Non-sporting or Utility Dog 


Poodles are one of the oldest dog breeds known, with their ancestors being traced back to the first century A.D. By the 15th and 16th centuries, large Poodles (similar to today's Standard Poodles) were well established throughout Europe, and were popular as hunting and retrieving dogs for waterfowl. Poodle ancestors were known to be good swimmers, and possibly included links to the Portuguese Water Dog, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Barbet (a French water dog), and the Hungarian Water Hound. Due to its widespread popularity, many countries across Europe had a hand in developing the breed, and although the Poodle probably didn't originate in France, they arguably had the greatest influence in their more modern development. Toy and Miniature Poodles are the same breed as Standards, and were created by simply selectively breeding down from the larger dogs during the 17th and 18th centuries largely in response to a greater demand for companion animals. 


Elegant, but sturdily built small dog with a somewhat long and narrow head and muzzle, and long, wide ears that hang close to the face. They have a light springy movement, and generally come in one solid colour only, which may be a shade of black, blue, grey, silver, brown, café-au-lait, apricot, red, white or cream. 


In the UK, a Miniature will be at least 28 cm (11 inches) at the shoulder, but less than 38cm (15 inches), and in Canada and the USA the standard is for it to measure greater than 25 cm (10 inches) at the shoulder, up to a maximum of 38cm (15 inches). A Miniature may weigh 7-8 kg (15-17 pounds). 


Non-allergenic, curly or wavy coat which grows continually, moults very little, and requires regular grooming and clipping. Regular brushing (perhaps weekly) is required to reduce matting and tangling, and clipping is required every 6-8 weeks to keep the length manageable. 


Good natured, friendly, versatile, highly intelligent dog with a bright, lively disposition. Poodles are great characters - they almost seem to have a sense of humour, can learn almost anything, and delight in showing off. Toys and Miniatures occasionally have a slight tendency to be overly sensitive or highly strung, which may make them nervous and snappy. Check with breeders regarding this temperament tendency. 


15 years or more 


Quite a sound breed, although a number of problems can develop without regular maintenance. If grooming is neglected, there could be vision impairment, grass-seeds and abscesses between the toes, fly-strike and even drowning when an excessively long coat gets wet. They are also prone to ear infections and dental problems. Poodles are people-oriented dogs and their bright, effervescent personality will disappear if they are deprived of company.  

Possible Genetic Disorders

Miniature Poodles are particularly prone to Luxating Patellas and a cardiac disease known as Mitral Valve Dysplasia (MVD). They are also somewhat prone to Hip Dysplasia, Sebaceous Adenitis (SA), Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) and the eye diseases Entropion and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Health screening for these disorders is available, and should form part of any discussion when considering purchase.  

Best Suited

  • Apartment, house or country
  • Household with older children
  • Household with plenty of human contact
  • Household with retirees
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Service work - assistance dogs, therapy dogs, sniffer dogs, truffle hunters 

Worst Suited

  • Households where the dog will be left alone for long periods 

Gifts for Poodle Lovers

Recommended Reading  Miniature Poodle

Getting to Know Poodles:

A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Poodleby Cathy Lambert

Getting to Know Poodles