Group: Non-Sporting Group
*(As indicated in the FCI Standard. Please see the Brief History of the Poodle section for further details.)
Height: Over 10 in (25 cm) and under 15 in (38 cm) at the shoulder.
Also Known As: French Poodle; Caniche
The Poodle is well known as an intelligent, amusing, good natured and eager-to-please dog that makes a wonderful companion. Throughout the Poodle’s history, he has worked in several capacities, from cart pulling to circus dog, from sled-dog to therapy dog, from truffle dog to hand-warmer, from water retriever to gun dog, the Poodle can excel at just about any task given to him. Today, the Poodle is often seen competing in the show ring, in obedience, agility and in field trials.
The Miniature and Toy varieties of Poodle were bred down from the larger Standard Poodles and all three exhibit the same general characteristics. In temperament, the Poodle is calm and steady and should never appear shy or sharp. He carries himself proudly with an air of distinction and nobility. The Poodle is an active breed and requires regular exercise.
The Poodle’s coat is non-shedding, dense and of a harsh texture. Two distinct coat types exist — the Corded and Curly. The coat of a corded Poodle will normally start to cord between the ages of 9 to 18 months. Coat colour is any solid colour: black, brown, gray, apricot, cream or white.
A Brief History of the Miniature Poodle
There are several theories of the Poodle’s origins and, while it is regarded as the National Dog of France, the breed’s actual roots may have come from Germany where he is known as the Pudel or Canis Familiaris Aquatius. The breed is also known as the “French Poodle” and the “Caniche.” The Standard Poodle‘s original popularity was largely due to his fame as a Water Retriever. Ancient Egyptian and Roman artefacts depict the Poodle’s ancestors assisting their masters as game nets are brought in, retrieving various game from marshes, and herding animals. The Poodle is said to be related to the Portuguese Water Dog and the Irish Water Spaniel.
The Standard Poodle is known to be the oldest of the three varieties, however, there is evidence that indicates the smaller types, the Miniature and Toy, were developed shortly after the Standard breed was established as he is recognized today.
The Miniature and Toy varieties were developed as companion dogs and the Toys were said to serve as “hand-warmers” within the large sleeves of nobility during the Rennaissance period and from this, these and other small dogs, came to be known as “sleeve dogs.” From as far back as the early 1700s, Miniature and Toy Poodles became popular circus performers and, during the 19th century, Poodles were often seen working with gypsies and other travelling performers who trained them to perform tricks.
Poodles were first brought to North America at the end of the 19th century but the breed did not become popular until after the second World War. By the mid 1950’s, and for about 20 years thereafter, the Poodle was the most popular breed in the United States.
The clipping of the Poodle goes back to their working and sporting days when certain areas of the coat were shaved for added mobility when swimming as well as to prevent snagging and other areas were left covered for warmth. The wearing of a ribbon on the topknot is believed to have originated as a means to identify the dog when he was working in water. The travelling gypsies also added to the styles of clips for the performing Poodles who were often dressed in various costumes. Soon, it was discovered that the Poodle could be clipped, dyed and decorated in an endless number of styles.
To learn more about the History of the Poodle, see:
Like all breeds of dogs, the Poodle is susceptible to certain health problems, with some being of a hereditary nature. The following is a list of some of the health issues which are of concern for the Miniature Poodle breed:
- Epilepsy — A common cause of seizures in all three varieties of Poodles is “idiopathic epilepsy” which is commonly inherited. However, many factors can cause seizures besides idiopathic epilepsy and it is very important to have the dog diagnosed if seizures begin.
- Hip Dysplasia — Hip Dysplasia is a conditon in which the head of the femur fits improperly into the hip joint socket and is a common hereditary disorder found in many large breeds. Hip Dysplasia has also been seen in the Miniature Poodle and screening is recommended for breeding stock.
- Hypothyroidism — This is a condition resulting from an inadequate production of thyroid hormone and treated with medication. Symptoms include lethargy, obesity, excessive hunger, a coarse coat texture. Testing for thyroid malfunction is done through blood sample.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes — This disorder results when the blood supply to the femoral head is interrupted resulting in vascular necrosis. The OFA recommends that dogs affected with LCPD not be used in breeding programs as it is believed to have a genetic mode of inheritance. A new OFA health database specific to Legg-Calve-Perthes is available.
- Patellar Luxation — This is the dislocation or slipping of the patella (kneecap). Signs include difficulty in straightening the kenn, pain in the stifle, limping, or the tip of the hock points outward while the toes point inward.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — This is a genetic eye disorder which progresses gradually, resulting in blindness. The onset in the Poodle is between 5 and 6 years of age. The presence of PRA can be detected by ophthalmoscopic examination and screening by the CERF is strongly advised. Screening must be done annually.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) — vWD is a blood disorder — a deficiency in clotting factor VIII antigen. Similar to hemophilia in humans, dogs affected by the disease do not effectively utilize their platelets for blood clotting and therefore are more likely to have excessive bleeding episodes upon injury. vWD is a common inherited disorder. A DNA test to detect vWD is available from VetGen.
If you are considering the adoption of a Miniature Poodle puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- Health Issues in Poodles — From the Poodle Club of America
- The Poodle Health Registry (PHR) — “The nonprofit PHR is a permanent international open registry for all diseases affecting Poodles, living and dead, of all varieties everywhere in the world. Whether you are a puppy buyer looking for a new Poodle to join your family or a breeder searching for a good match, the PHR will help you make an informed decision.”
- VetGen DNA CHROMAGENE Coat Color Testing
- Canine Inherited Disorders Database — Poodle (Standard, Miniature, Toy
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
To keep the coat free of mats, frequent brushing and regular clipping is a must. Special care should be taken to keep the Poodle’s long, thickly feathered ears clean and free from infection. Ears should be cleaned weekly and the long hairs in the ear canal should also be gently pulled out regularly. The ear canal should also be swabbed with your finger wrapped in cotton moistened with Groomer or Veterinarian recommended ear cleaner on a regular basis.
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
- Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- Is That A Labradoodle? — A must read article regarding the mixed-breed “Doodles” and “Poos”. These are not exotic new breeds!
- Versatility In Poodles, Inc — VIP is an organization devoted to Poodles with its primary purpose being to improve the health and promote the many talents of this remarkable breed.
- Poodle Is As Poodle Does by Walt Day
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.