Like its larger cousins, the toy poodle – a version of the breed reaching only 10 inches – is an intelligent, elegant, and appealing dog, with a distinct wooly coat. The toy poodle is extremely attractive with its long, wide, flat ears that lay down close to its head, and its wide, happy, alert almond-shaped eyes. The breed maintains the webbed, arched toes, which are good for swimming, though the feet are quite small in relation to its body.
There are three primary grooming styles that are used for the toy poodle. The first is the “pet clip” also referred to as the “puppy clip”, which leaves the hair short throughout the body of the animal.
The second style is the “English saddle” clip, which clips the throat and face, as well as the feet and forelegs, and the base of the tail (not the end, where a puff shaped like a pompom is shaped). Puffs remain in the center of the shaved forelegs. The hind end of the English saddle clip allows for a short even coat except for two bands shaved into the hind legs and an area clipped from each flank. The feet should be clearly visible below the puffs on the legs. The rest of the body’s coat is left “naturally”, but it can be clipped into shapes for a balanced overall appearance.
The third style is the “Continental” clip, which shaves the entire rear half of the dog, leaving only thin fur bracelets around the dog’s hind ankles, and pompoms on its tail and even on its hips.
The gait of the toy poodle is light and springy to go with its buoyant personality. It is a very sensitive dog, and is startlingly intelligent. They are among the most trainable breeds, even though many owners of toy dogs don’t give as much attention to training as their larger sized counterparts. They are quite demanding for attention and play time, but they are delightful and happy overall.
Toy poodles can be quite reserved with strangers, so they should be socialized form an early age as much as is possible. This trait does, however, make them particularly good watch dogs, as they are always watching out for the ones they love, while they can be suspicious of every other person who approaches.
It is not uncommon for a toy poodle to be timid and rather high strung, so owners need to make an effort to teach then not to snap when they are startled or teased. A toy poodle is therefore a great dog for families with older children who understand how to be considerate of dogs, or simply no children at all.