The Poodle has been around since at least 400 years. In the 18th century, the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle were bred in England. The smaller varieties of the breed became popular with royalty and the Miniature and Toy Poodles were bred from the larger Standard Poodles. The three sizes of Poodle are all considered to be one breed and judged by the same standard, the only difference is the size requirements.
In spite of the fact that the Poodle breed has now existed in Europe for centuries, the actual origin of the breed is still unknown. Some claims refer to Germany as the country of origin, with the name “Poodle” coming from a German word “pudel” meaning splash in the water. However, some agree that France was the more likely origin of the breed, others say that the breed was standardised in France. Poodles are one of the most loved breeds in France. Of all the claims regarding the Poodle’s origin, one thing remains certain; it is known to descend from a dog breed with excellent swimming capabilities.
Poodles are known for being excellent swimmers and are used to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. They are also used for hunting truffles underground. They are one of the most intelligent and highly trainable dog breeds. It is for this reason that Poodles have been used to perform in circuses for centuries.
Although there are claims that Standard Poodles have existed far longer than other varieties, there is evidence that asserts the smaller Toy and Miniature versions were developed shortly after.
Miniature Poodles are known for their cute, curly and at times ribbed or corded coats. Coat colours are usually solid silver, black, grey, cream, white, brown, red, apricot or café-au-lait. Some breeders breed parti-coloured ones, but these are not acceptable for shows. Big patches of colours that are distinctly different in colouring from the main colour of the body characterise parti-coloured poodles.
Miniature Poodles exude grace with their small to medium frames. Their height should be no less than 28 centimetres and no more than 38 centimetres. They normally weigh around 7 to 8 kilograms however, weight is not provided by the breed standard. Miniature Poodles have an elongated head and long, pendant shaped ears, which lie flat on the sides of the face. Eyes are either black or brown and are extremely expressive. For their size, their legs look too long. The tail is carried high and sometimes docked to half its length or less.
Miniature Poodles are a bundle of energy. They’re smart and make for energetic companions. They adapt well to their environment and are highly trainable. When it comes to intelligence, Poodles are ranked second only to Border Collies. For their size, Miniature Poodles make amazing watchdogs. They will bark at unfamiliar sounds and faces.
Miniature Poodles are happiest when active. If there is one thing a Miniature Poodle will love the most, it is frolicking in the water. They enjoy outdoor play and daily walks. Without all these, it is easy for them to get bored and ultimately get in trouble. When not given sufficient playtime, activity or attention, they can become destructive. They like being the centre of attention and are able to bond with every member of the family instead of just one. They have no problems getting along with other dogs and pets, they do like company and dislike to be left alone for a long time.
Like any other breed, it is important for this dog to recognise humans as the alpha. Otherwise, there are a lot of potential behavioural problems that may arise. Some of these are oversensitivity, nervousness and excessive barking.
Grooming is essential for Miniature Poodles. Regular clipping and bathing is important. There are various grooming styles available – Continental clip, pet clip and English saddle clip. Each one is different in terms of the part of the body hair that is shaved or clipped. There are certain clips which must be used for shows, the Continental clip being the most popular. Show clips are extremely high maintenance and take a lot of grooming. Poodles’ coats are considered hypoallergenic, while they’re not entirely allergen free, they are considered suitable for allergy suffers as they only have a single coat and shedding is minimal.
Miniature Poodles are prone to cataracts, heart disease, epilepsy, diabetes, skin allergies and ear infections. The average lifespan of Miniature Poodles is around 12 to 15 years.