Choosing a Miniature Poodle

Choosing a Miniature Poodle

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For centuries, the poodle has been one of the most popular breeds in the world and a symbol of elegance and opulent luxury. The poodle is associated with France, but many countries have laid claim to the breed. Available in three different sizes and many different colors, there is a poodle for every taste.

In February 2002, a miniature poodle named Surrey Spice Girl won the 2002 Westminster Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden. In addition, the poodle was one of the American Kennel Club’s top 10 breeds for the year 2006. Click here for the complete story on Top Dog Breeds of the Year 2006.

History and Origin

Paintings representing the poodle date as far back as the 13th century. The exact country of origin is not known, but many people feel the breed may have come from Germany. The name “poodle” comes from the German “pudeln” which roughly translates to “splash about in the water”; the original purpose of the breed was a water retriever.

Soon after development in Germany, the poodle quickly became very popular in France and was known as the caniche, or duck dog. The breed is considered their national dog.

The poodle comes in three different varieties; standard, miniature and toy; however, the only difference is the size. The miniature poodle is classified in the non-sporting group by the American Kennel Club.

The standard poodle is the oldest of the three sizes and was originally used to retrieve ducks in cold water. Soon after, the miniature and toy were developed. The toy poodle, the smallest variety, was well established in England by the 18th century and was commonly used in circuses and floor shows as dancing dogs. The miniature and toy poodle were also used for hunting and digging for truffles in French forests.


Although they come in different sizes, the shape and appearance of the breed is the same. The poodle has a long head and muzzle with long, flat and wide hanging ears. The chest is deep and the tail is set high. Typically, the tail is docked when young.

The hair coat of the poodle is curly and dense with a fine woolly texture and requires daily grooming. There are four common hair clips for the poodle. The most common cut is the “puppy” cut, which is given to all ages of poodles. Another cut is the “sporting” cut, for the active poodle. For the show ring, the “English Saddle” or “Continental” version is typically performed.


The miniature poodle stands 10 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 20 pounds.


The poodle is a pleasant dog that loves constant company. This dog hates to be alone and prefers the company of people instead of other dogs. The breed also hates to be ignored and does not like being thought of or treated as “just a dog.”

Home & Family Relations

Despite being excellent water dogs, poodles also do well as family protectors and companions. They make excellent pets for children as well as the elderly and can adapt to a variety of environments.


The poodle is an excellent swimmer and also does well on land. The breed is very intelligent and thought by many to be the most intelligent of all breeds. They learn quickly and readily, although some dogs tend to enjoy pleasing people by doing tricks instead of learning commands. Poodles have been trained successfully in obedience, hunting and even as guard dogs.

Special Concerns

The hair coat of the poodle requires daily care and grooming. The intelligent nature of the dog leads some to mischief if left alone for an extended period of time.


Health Concerns

  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Progressive retinal degeneration (PRD) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Epilepsy is a seizure disorder which develops between the ages of 2 to 5 years.
  • Cataracts are opacities within the lens of the eye that affect vision.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism is a disorder affecting the adrenal glands. When overactive, the adrenal glands secrete excessive cortisol, resulting in illness.
  • Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase which can cause blindness.
  • Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is a disorder that affects the spinal disks resulting in pain, difficulty walking and possibly paralysis.
  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas related to insufficient amounts of insulin production.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that results in a large, thin walled heart muscle.
  • Anal sac disease is an abnormality of the anal glands that can be caused by inflammation, impaction, infection or tumors.
  • Medial patella luxation (MPL) is a condition in which the patella (knee-cap) no longer glides within its natural groove in the femur. Lameness can vary from an occasional hitch of the leg, like an intermittent skipping, to a persistent weight bearing lameness.
  • Tracheal collapse is a weakening of the rings of the windpipe which can cause irritation and coughing.
  • Aseptic necrosis of the femoral head is a progressive deterioration and collapse of the femoral head.
  • Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) a congenital birth defect caused by a blood vessel that normally closes after birth but remains open resulting in the passage of extra volumes of blood into the lungs.
  • Chronic valvular disease is a progressive deterioration of the valves of the heart, which can lead to heart murmurs and heart failure.
  • Drug Reaction to “Glucocorticoids” may occur in some dogs. Subcutaneous injections may cause local hair loss in this breed.
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a disease syndrome seen in dogs, characterized by the acute (sudden) onset of bloody diarrhea.
  • Immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a disease in which the body’s immune system, which is designed to attack and kill germs, attacks and kills the body’s own red blood cells.
  • von Willebrand’s disease is caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand’s factor (vWF), one of the elements that allow blood to form clots.
  • Hypoglycemia is a disorder associated with dangerously low blood sugar levels.
  • Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME) is a sporadic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.
  • Ectopic ureter is an abnormality present at birth in which one or both of the ureters that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder fail to open into the bladder in the normal way. The affected animal is born with this problem and the resulting urinary incontinence usually begins at birth.

    Poodles are also prone to hair loss, ear infections, bladder stones, allergies, cryptorchidism and deafness.

  • Life Span

    The life span of the miniature is 15 to 18 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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