Your Guide to the 3 Types of Poodles: Toy, Miniature, & Standard
Before we go into detail about types of poodles, let's just get this out of the way: Awww! These doggos are gorgeous grand marshals of the floof parade. And encased in all that fluff are bright minds and devoted hearts, qualities which are just the tip of the pom-pom-tailed iceberg as to how wonderful these dogs will be with your kids or as active companions. But which poodle size is right for you?
Jamie Freyer, DVM, is an expert at Veterinarians.org. She tells Daily Paws that poodles can be a great, loving addition to most homes, regardless of size. Let's gaze into those sweet poodle puppy dog eyes a little closer to see what she means.
Wait—Just How Many Types of Poodles Are There?
A few, as it turns out, but some are more recognized than others. Although considered the national dog of France, a poodle's extensive lineage begins in Germany. The root definition of this pup's name is pudelin, defined in German as "to splash about". Long ago, larger animals known as pudelhunds worked as exceptional duck hunting and water retrieval dogs.
The Poodle Club of America follows guidelines established by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for three primary types of poodles, listed smallest to largest:
Another poodle breed slightly smaller than the standard is the moyen (French for 'medium') or Klein poodle, which currently isn't recognized by kennel clubs in Canada, Great Britain, or the U.S., but is an official breed in Europe. Additionally, teacup poodles, which are teensy—sometimes barely weighing 2 pounds!—aren't on breed registry lists yet.
Finally, you might be familiar with doodle dogs, which are hybrid breeds that have one of the top three types of poodles as a parent. These include dogs like the goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Maltipoo, and many others.
But to best help you compare key characteristics between types of poodles, we'll focus on the top three recognized by the AKC.
From the 18th century courts of French aristocracy straight into our hearts, the smart toy poodle is an adorable version of this classic breed. They're perfect cuddle companions for seniors and children, and frisky playmates with cats and other small dogs as well. At only 10 inches tall, Freyer says toy poodles may have more trouble keeping up, but will still be happy being out and about with their owners, so short walks are always welcome! Some toy poodles might experience separation anxiety, but instead of making them pocket pets, engage them at home with interactive games that spark their curiosity and encourage stronger bonding between you both.
Although they need a tad more exercise than toy poodles (kayaking could be a fun adventure, and don't hesitate to take them hiking), Freyer says miniature poodles are just as content on your lap, too! Like most poodles, in addition to their charm, quick wit, and people-pleasing qualities, they offer hope for animal allergy sufferers who desire a low-shedding, slightly more hypoallergenic pup pal. The AKC notes that poodles are also the sixth most popular dog breed in the U.S. With all that floof and personality to match, it's no wonder why so many adore them.
Believed to be the first type of poodle (and perhaps related to ancient Barbets), Freyer says in general, intelligent standard poodles tend to be quite athletic and are easy to train. They also enjoy vigorous activity, so if you don't have need for fowl retrieval services, consider other cool activities such as swimming, dock diving, or agility training. In all categories, a larger poodle like this means they have twice as much to share as their smaller cousins. But, those fancy poodle haircuts—once designed centuries ago to give them freedom of movement while in the water—also require you to spend more time grooming them to stay spiffy.
Differences Among Toy vs. Miniature vs. Standard Poodles
All this talk about poodle sizes—how much or how little poof is there? Let's take a peek!
So much poof it's hard to choose which type of poodle is best for your lifestyle. (It's so easy to want one of each, honestly.) Yet a particular version might be a better fuzzy friend for your family, so here's what you should know.
- Toy poodle sizes are between 4–6 pounds and they're no more than 10 inches high. Will they fit into a bike basket? Absolutely, and look positively darling peering over the edge.
- A miniature poodle's size is approximately 10–15 inches tall and coincidentally, he weighs about 10–15 pounds. Might need to secure him in a booster seat on the way to the dog park.
- Standard poodle sizes vary considerably, ranging between 50–70 pounds and 18–24 inches high. Here are some handy tips for choosing the right cozy crate for her special spot.
Toy poodles have soft, curly, medium-length fur, but miniature and standard pups really amp up the floof, featuring silky waves that are long, medium, or short. And the fashionable types of poodle colors are truly enviable. From ink black and smoke gray, to warm chocolate and deep liver, as well as apricot, fawn, cream, and white, poodles present both style and substance.
Freyer offers some essential wellness information on the different types of poodles so during the research process, you can consult both a breeder and veterinarian for more details.
- Toy poodles, who live 10–18 years, are prone to patellar luxation. "Another disorder more common in the toy is Legg-Calve Perthes disease. This affects the hip joint, and signs of lameness usually begin early in life in affected dogs," Freyer says. They might also suffer from collapsing trachea, where the windpipe flattens during inhalation, making breathing difficult.
- Miniature poodles, also with a lifespan of 10–18 years, are predisposed to epilepsy, as well as progressive retinal atrophy. "This is an eye disorder causing degeneration of the rod and cone cells (photoreceptors) in the eye, leading to blindness," Freyer says. They also have a higher likelihood of developing Cushing's disease.
- Standard poodles, who live 12–15 years, might have trouble with hip dysplasia or Addison's disease. Freyer says as deep-chested dogs, they could also develop gastric dilatation and volvulus, or GDV (also known as bloat). "Talk to your vet about a 'gastropexy', where they can attach the stomach to the abdominal wall. This can be performed during the spay/neuter surgery and may help to prevent GDV later in life," she adds.
Far be it for us to tell you which poodle breed will be your absolute BFF (best floofy friend!) but Freyer extends some lifestyle pointers that might help you pick a favorite:
- If you have a large yard and an active lifestyle, or you want a companion for hunting and retrieving, a standard poodle may be best for you.
- If you're looking more for a house companion, or have less space, a mini or a toy poodle might be a better option. "These varieties still enjoy outdoor activities with their pet parents, but often don't have quite the drive of the standard," she says.
Now that you're a poodle expert, test your knowledge of other canine look-alikes!