A ball of poodle power weighing in at around 13lbs, the Miniature Poodle packs all the benefits of the noble breed and enjoys great popularity. It's hardly surprising, since these smart dogs aren't just intelligent, but real all-rounders that love accompanying their family everywhere.
The Miniature Poodle look
Regardless of whether it's a Miniature or Standard Poodle, there's no doubt that a poodle remains a poodle in essence. The typical frizzy poodle fur is common to all members of the breed, with a differentiation being made between wool and fleece poodles. The fur of wool poodles has a fine, woolly texture, is highly frizzy and barely yields at all when the hand applies gentle pressure. Fleece poodles also have luxuriant fur, but it forms the eponymous fleeces that are at least 20cm long. Miniature Poodles come in seven colours: black, brown, silver, white and reddish fawn, as well as in a special black-and-tan pattern and with black-and-white checked markings, also called “Harlequin”. At up to 35cm in height and maximum 6kg in weight, the Miniature Poodle is the medium breed size. Along with the Miniature Poodle, there are somewhat larger Medium Poodles weighing up to 10kg, the Standard Poodle, often known as the “King Poodle”, reaching 45cm in height and up to 25kg in weight, as well as the Toy Poodle, which is the smallest member of the breed with a maximum weight of 4kg.
From hunting to companion dog
The name says it all: The German word “Pudel” comes from the verb “pudeln”, meaning to “splash about” and indicating the origins of the Miniature Poodle in old water dogs. Written sources attest to the presence of water-loving dogs with curly fur as early as the 14th century, although the classic poodle fleece is even older. Indeed, in Ancient Greece there were illustrations of dogs whose fur had been sheared to give them the typical lion look. These curly-haired canines already enjoyed great popularity in Europe in the 17th century. However, the ancestors of today's Miniature Poodles were much bigger and weighed between 10 to 20kg, therefore were classed as medium-sized dogs.
Thanks to their docility and good retrieval ability, poodles excelled as popular hunting dogs that were mainly deployed for catching water fowl. The classic poodle fleece had a practical benefit here too, because the fur protected their forehead, chest, shoulders and ankle joints, whilst the fleece on the rest of the body improved their swimming ability. In the 18th century, the breed was very popular amongst the nobility, whereas short-haired dogs that were easier to care for replaced their frizzy-haired counterparts as hunting dogs. Clever poodles hereby evolved more and more into society dogs and made their way into the salons of ladies of the nobility. At the beginning of the 20th century, these docile dogs with curly hair could often be found in circus performances showing off tricks. Crossing the British and French bloodlines during this period led to important developments in poodle breeding, which helped the breed gain renewed popularity. There are of course numerous renowned individuals who were unable to resist these four-legged all-rounders, such as Sir Winston Churchill. The British statesman was a big fan of poodles and lived with a brown Miniature Poodle called Rufus II for 15 years. Rufus II was buried in Churchill's garden after a long and fulfilling life.
The high point of the breed's popularity came in the 1960s. The evolution of the poodle from hunting to companion dog in the 20th century correlated with it little by little being bred in several sizes. Standard and Medium Poodles marked the beginning. In 1936, the Miniature Poodle was recognised as an additional size, and the poodle standard also came into existence this same year. The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) established France as the poodle's land of origin at the same time, although Germany also made a substantial contribution to poodle breeding. In the 1990s, the Toy Poodle was ultimately recognised as the smallest of the four poodle sizes.
Nature lovers rather than fashion dogs
Unfortunately the breed frequently has the image of being pampered due to the often highly extravagant looks sported by exhibition dogs. In addition, the stereotype of Miniature Poodles being purely “old lady dogs” tends to stick quickly. It's a real shame, because many dog lovers are put off by these clichéd poodle stereotypes. What's more, Miniature Poodles are cheerful, intelligent and real nature-loving dogs that lovingly stick with their family through thick and thin. They mainly get on well with dogs they do not know, whereas they are rather indifferent to human strangers. Miniature Poodles are vigilant but not aggressive. In contrast to larger poodles, they are somewhat more lively in nature, but are less demanding in terms of daily activity and possess hardly any hunting instinct.
Grooming: one breed, many looks
Meticulously coiffed exhibition poodles give the impression that breeding is going to be a challenging process. However, it isn't time-consuming at all for a Miniature Poodle with short-cut fur. In addition, the breed has the significant advantage of not shedding fur or having an undercoat, which is sure to please individuals who don't want to be picking hairs off their clothing and furnishings on a daily basis. The fur does require regular brushing and combing though, because otherwise loose Miniature Poodle hairs end up trapped inside. Your Miniature Poodle should go to a professional groomer's on average every two or at most three months. You could even do this yourself if you own high-quality clippers and take guidance at the beginning. There are numerous potential shearing options, including, for instance, the lamb cut, where the fur is cut to one length but the legs, paws and face are left untouched. Miniature Poodles owners who wish to exhibit their dog of course do thorough prior research on the range of dog groomers for poodles. All others are free to decide based on their own taste – the main thing is that they like it and that the poodle feels comfortable. You should regularly check the lop ears for parasites or loose hairs to prevent inflammation.
When it comes to a healthy diet for Miniature Poodles, a dog food with high meat content and little grain – or even better, none at all – is key. This always applies regardless of whether you choose dry food, wet food or raw food (also known as “BARF”). Get your Miniature Poodle used to a fixed feeding spot with no distractions. Up to the age of six months, you're best off giving it a portion of food three to four times a day. Two portions spread over the course of the day are sufficient in the end. As a tip, don't always feed your dog at exactly the same time in order to prevent it from barking to demand its serving. Always take account of snacks in your dog's daily food intake to avoid obesity. Natural chews such as cattle ears, special dental cleaning snacks or occasional chunks of raw bovine meat are suitable for dental care. On the contrary, pork is absolutely taboo for dogs. Your curly-haired companion should always have plenty of drinking water on hand.
Precaution leads to happy poodles
Although Miniature Poodles are fundamentally robust dogs, the breed does have a tendency to develop some illnesses – for instance, ocular diseases such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Both can lead to complete blindness, but PRA can now be excluded from the breed via genetic tests. As for the hereditary form of cataracts, affected dogs are not allowed to be deployed for breeding, though there is also a non-hereditary variation which can be triggered by diabetes or injuries, for instance. Miniature Poodles have a tendency to develop luxating patella, whereby the kneecap is shifted out of its original position. A healthy Miniature Poodle has a life expectancy of up to 17 years.
Training for smart curly heads
It's generally the case that larger poodles are easier to train, but a Miniature Poodle doesn't have to prove too great a challenge if you apply the basic principles of dog training. All members of the breed are very cooperative and willing to learn, therefore all Miniature Poodles are easy to train with patience and consistency. Start by playfully practising sound signs with puppies and praise them enthusiastically when they are obedient. It's better to do training in short but more regular periods, because long sessions will quickly over-challenge playful Miniature Poodles.
Activity: all-rounder Miniature Poodles
Miniature Poodles are real all-rounders and just like King Poodles, their development from hunting to society dog flows through their veins, They are suitable for long walks, agility for small dogs and as riding companions over short distances. Likewise, they highly value spending cosy afternoons with you, as just being there is everything to them! In any case, it's important that you provide these clever little dogs with regular mental stimulation. Miniature Poodles are fond of learning little tricks that you can interpret into day-to-day life every now and then. Dog dancing can also be great fun for both of you and involves you rehearsing tricks as fluent movement to create gracious choreography.
Is a Miniature Poodle right for me?
Multitalented Miniature Poodles are a good fit for many dog fans. Since they always love to be at the heart of the pack, they are well-suited for families or singletons who have the time and inclination to share a great deal with their dog. It's often said that they make ideal dogs for allergy sufferers as they do not shed hair, but this isn't wholly true. Allergy sufferers can react to saliva as well as skin flakes, meaning that those who are only allergic to skin flakes benefit, because Miniature Poodles hardly shed any skin due to them not moulting. Nevertheless, you should tread carefully and insist that your family members undergo tests for allergies to dog hair before any canine enters the home. Since Miniature Poodles always love to be with their family, a long period of separation is a cause of great distress for them. It's therefore best to check potential holiday solutions beforehand. Nowadays, it's pretty straightforward for dogs to come along too and there are lots of suitable holiday destinations. Another good option would be for the Miniature Poodle to stay with people who it already knows, such as close family members or fellow dog owners from walks.
Make sure to plan basic equipment for your future housemate, including water and food bowls, puppy food – it's best to wait for your breeder's recommendation, since you should serve the usual food from the beginning – collar, chest harness and leash, dog bed or blanket, grooming equipment such as comb, brush, a mild dog shampoo and ideally special tick tweezers, accessories for car journeys and of course toys. You should also find out about liability insurance for dogs, as well as dog taxes applicable in your region. Along with ongoing costs for high-quality food and annual veterinary checks, take into consideration potential costs that could be incurred should your new family member fall ill.
How to find your Miniature Poodle
If you have made the decision to make a Miniature Poodle part of your life, you can start searching for a suitable breeder. As a puppy buyer, you make your contribution to keeping the breed healthy. Hence, you should only buy from breeders who offer extensive healthcare provision and can prove it with appropriate reproductivity assessments of the parent animals. You should be allowed to visit your trusted breeder at their home to meet the parent animals and also to familiarise yourself with the puppies' environment. Here you also have the opportunity to ask questions and to get an idea of the demeanour and socialisation of Miniature Poodles. Since the highly intensive conditioning phase takes place until the age of nine weeks, loving socialisation is very important for the puppies in this timeframe. A breeder who takes the wellbeing of their charges seriously should be registered with an association and should only sell their puppies with a pedigree certificate and vaccination record after they have been dewormed several times. They will certainly ask you a few questions about your experience with dogs and the living environment that you can offer a Miniature Poodle. Don't be taken in by offers where Miniature Poodles are being sold at a cheap price and without a pedigree certificate. When it comes to such bargain buys, those who suffer are mainly the animals and the buyers, because the healthcare provision and loving socialisation that young puppies so desperately need are missing, and the breed animals have probably not been sensibly chosen. Even the parent animals frequently suffer, since intervals between litters are only short in order to increase profits. Beware too of private litters if you're interested in a genuine Miniature Poodle, because competent breeding requires much expertise and based on this, a suitable selection of permitted animals.
If you're also open to considering an older Miniature Poodle, you can ask around in local animal homes or get searching online for your new canine housemate. Here there are numerous Miniature Poodles or mixed Miniature Poodles looking for a new home, since the breed is very popular and in addition has a very high life expectancy.