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Miniature poodles are intelligent, athletic dogs who love companionship and are easy to get along with. Although they are occasionally characterized as a finicky breed, miniature poodles are actually wonderful family dogs thanks to their smarts, their eager-to-please attitude, and their gentle demeanor with kids and other pets. They're an easy breed to train, low-allergen, and low-odor, so they fit in well with most homes and families. Though their low-shedding curly coats have the benefit of being nearly hypoallergenic, they do require lots of care and grooming. If you have the time and resources to dedicate to these peaceful pups, they make loving and loyal companions.
The average miniature poodle puppy costs around $900, but you can expect to spend more than double that price for a miniature poodle with superior pedigree.
There are three sizes of poodles—standard, miniature, and toy—recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Miniatures fall into the middle of the pack; standard poodles are the largest and toy poodles are the smallest. Some breed enthusiasts argue that there are actually five poodle classes, though the Klein or medium poodle and the teacup poodle have yet to be recognized by the AKC.
Miniature poodles stand about 10–15 inches tall, and they typically weigh between 10–15 pounds. Like their standard and toy-size cousins, miniature poodles have athletic, muscly bodies thanks to their origins as water retrieval dogs for duck hunters.
Like their breed siblings, mini poodles have curly coats, lively faces, and dark eyes. While the elaborate continental hairdo, with its curling pom-poms carefully shaped and clipped around the joints and chest, is popular with show poodles, most miniature poodle owners prefer the low-key sporting clip, a short, one-length cut that looks a bit less like a topiary.
Have a particular love of dogs of a certain color? No problem. The miniature poodle comes in an array of hues, including black, white, apricot, grey, silver, and brown. The breed tends to shed only minimally, so you won't need to stock up on lint rollers with a mini poodle around. And, while no dog is truly hypoallergenic, poodles of all sizes can be a good fit for people with allergies.
When compared to their breed siblings, miniature poodles fall in the middle of the pack in terms of temperament, too. Tiny toy poodles tend to be a little more hyper, while the standard is the calmest of the three. All poodle types can be anxious and timid at times and do best in a peaceful living arrangement with lots of attention and care.
Miniature poodles are smart, active, and playful. They love to romp and play nearly non-stop as puppies and young dogs. Their activity levels do change with maturity, but you can expect your miniature poodle to stay pretty active even as an adult dog.
"In the past 45 years, I've seen that miniature poodles are just happy and intelligent dogs," Joel Silverman, a Hollywood animal trainer, says. "They possess a naturally fun and content personality."
People-pleasing poodles are easy to train and love delighting their human companions. When they meet someone new, their reactions can range from friendly and polite to shy and timid. Their sensitive nature sometimes results in hypersensitivity and anxiety; help your mini out by socializing them early and providing them a stable, conflict-free living arrangement.
"The good news is that most miniature poodles naturally have a great temperament. That can actually be a reflection of a number of things, but the most prominent variable is socialization, either the implementation of it or lack thereof," Silverman says.
These little athletes love space to run and burn off their extra energy, so a big fenced-in yard or frequent trips to the dog park is a plus. Their small size means they can live well in an apartment as long as they get their exercise needs met, says Chyrle Bonk, DVM at Pet Keen.
"They are going to need lots of activity," she says. "Daily walks or runs along with games and interaction are required."
Your miniature needs lots of physical and mental stimulation in the form of play, games, and training, so expect to spend plenty of one-on-one time with your pooch. Miniature poodles are peaceful dogs who know how to play nice with children, Bonk says. And, with proper socialization, poodles can be friendly with other pets.
But because they can be anxious, a poodle might not thrive if you have a revolving door of visitors or a noisy, chaotic living situation. Early socialization will keep your miniature poodle from being overly watchful and timid. Spending time with their owners is important to minis—they can become lonely or experience separation anxiety if left alone too often. As Bonk says, poodles "require a lot of attention and mental stimulation to fill their hours. They aren't going to like being left alone without something to do."
Miniature poodles' non-shedding coats often make them a great fit for people with allergies. But lack of shedding doesn't mean it's a no-maintenance coat. Bonk says your mini needs daily brushing to prevent matting. Even when they're given a simple one-length-all-over sporting clip, miniature poodles require regular grooming appointments—or an owner who is seriously skilled with clippers.
Miniature poodles are active, athletic dogs who need plenty of daily exercise and long daily strolls. They're up for adventure and love to stay busy, so it won't be hard to keep them moving. Miniature poodles love to swim, and swimming can be an excellent workout for these curly cuties. Minis also love playing fetch and can burn off some of their abundant energy chasing after balls and sticks in the backyard. These tiny athletes also excel in obedience training and agility.
"Poodles are incredibly smart dogs and like to jump up on things. Because of this, I would recommend starting by teaching them to jump up on something elevated, like a low chair, couch or bed," Silverman says.
Super-smart, miniature poodles are fairly easy to train and enjoy making their humans happy. Bonk recommends keeping training upbeat, fun, and not repetitive. Encouraging your pup with lots of praise and consistency will get your eager-to-please mini in his zone. Thanks to their people-pleasing nature, miniature poodles are typically easy to potty train.
As a breed, poodles don't have any specific dietary issues. Just make sure they have a healthy diet of high-quality dog food and plenty of fresh, clean water available. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend a food with the right nutrients for your dog's age and nutritional needs.
Miniature poodles usually live long lives of 10–18 years and are generally healthy dogs. Reputable poodle breeders routinely test their dogs for health conditions miniature poodles are prone to, including hip dysplasia, eye problems, and orthopedic issues such as luxating patella. Bonk says miniature poodles are also prone to Von Willebrand's Disease and Legg-Calve-Perthes.
Miniature poodles are also prone to dental disease. Tartar build up can lead to more serious issues including infection, tooth loss, and organ damage, so regular teeth cleanings—either at home or through your veterinarian—are a must. Keeping regularly scheduled veterinary appointments will help you stay up-to-date on your individual miniature poodle's health and well-being.
Poodles originated in Germany as duck-hunting dogs—the name poodle coming from the word pudelin, a German-language reference to the breed's fondness for water, the AKC says. Their intelligence, swimming abilities, and protective coat made them ideal workers for water retrieval. While standard poodles were historically the dominant breed size used for hunting, many sporting clubs now use their smaller kin to assist with flushing fowl from brush.
The intricate continental clip most people associate the poodle with is for more than just a style choice. The distinctive cut was originally designed to keep dogs being used for water retrieval comfortable and buoyant in icy waters. By cutting the hair short on the limbs, they gave the dogs the freedom of movement they needed to swim while protecting their organs and joints by leaving the hair longer in those areas, according to the AKC.
Their friendly temperament and lovable looks eventually caught the attention of France's elite and the breed soon became popular throughout Europe. The poodle's natural elegance and trainability made poodles of all sizes the stars of many European circus acts. It's believed that the standard poodle was the first of the breed and that miniature and toy varieties were developed later.
- The poodle is the national dog of France despite its German origins, per the AKC. The French are largely believed to have evolved the original continental cut into the style it is today, making the remaining hair more round and adding the distinctive tail pom.
- Winston Churchill had two miniature poodles named Rufus and Rufus II.
- Miniature poodles appear in many movies including Jaws, Bingo!, and The Pink Panther.
- Poodles are the sixth-most popular dog breed in the United States.