Miniature poodles are a result of selective breeding of standard or large poodles to breed a smaller poodle.
Ideal size is approximately 15" tall and 12-15 lbs., with an extremely dense, curly coat. They can range in color from white to black and all shades of grey, as well as beige or apricot. Purebred miniature poodles will be solid color or mingled, but not spotted. Most purebred puppies will have their tails docked, giving it a distinctive, powder-puff appearance. An ungroomed poodle will resemble a great shaggy dog, with the eyes completely concealed and may be hard to identify. The clipped and shaped image of a poodle most commonly seen in the media is achieved by a professional clipping at a groomer and can be altered into many styles to suit your personal taste and lifestyle and your pet's personality.
Miniature poodles make good,relatively clean house pets as they do not shed and do not have a particularly strong odor. They are particularly desirable as pets for asthmatics, as they are considered to be almost hypo-allergenic. They do, however, require regular professional grooming, approximately every 4-6 weeks, to keep them in top condition. Their coats tend to grow very fast and become extremely matted, so frequent bathing and brushing are required. If the mats are not regularly brushed out, soap and other contaminants can get trapped near the skin and cause painful skin irritations. Other grooming needs particular to this breed are that the hair in their ears will grow down into the ear canal and can become infected if not pulled out regularly. Their feet should also be trimmed quite closely to keep them clean.
Miniature poodles are not by nature placid animals. They tend to be hyperactive and noisy, and retain that playful "puppy" personality well into adulthood, which can be a mixed blessing. They will require a good deal of entertainment in the form of playing and if ignored may chew up their owner's possessions. Traditional "doggy" chew toys often do not survive a day with an active miniature poodle, even adult dogs will chew it to pieces, creating a choking hazard. A miniature poodle is not a good pet to be left alone much of the day, as they need frequent interaction with people or other animals. They are very affectionate, loving pets, but are not known for lying quietly on your lap.
Miniature poodles enjoy the outdoors, but also make excellent apartment dwellers if they are exercised regularly. They can be exercised indoors if necessary.
Miniature poodles are ferocious protectors of their humans and will bark loudly, so they make excellent watch dogs. They also make very good walking or jogging companions, but, since they have a strong watch-dog tendency, they may over-react to other animals who may approach and put themselves in danger. Good training will be well worth your investment in time and money.
As with many small breeds, miniature poodles tend to be nervous and excitable and may not be suitable for homes with small children. This is not a rule, however. If a miniature poodle is raised in a home with small children, he can learn to be quite protective of them. He also adapts well to other pets in the home, if introduced properly.
Miniature poodles are relatively easy to house-break and are a very intelligent breed, easily trained to do tricks. Common health problems may include obesity, blindness, ear and digestive problems. They are shameless, charming beggars and can easily upset their digestive systems with the wrong foods.
Because of their small size and adorable appearance, they are very attractive to prospective pet owners, and are often bought on impulse. Since they have an average lifespan of 12-20 years, a commitment to this pet must be long-term.. Careful thought and consideration of their needs should be taken before making a decision to bring home a miniature poodle. Some very fine miniature poodles may find themselves homeless when their new owners get tired of their playfulness or the regular expense of keeping them groomed.
If you do decide you want to own a miniature poodle, choose a reputable breeder, not a pet shop. Also, don't forget to check out your local newspaper, purebred rescue, or animal shelter for unwanted pets. Sometimes you can find an excellent, purebred animal free with the proper research. If you are considering an adult dog, take time to get to know him, have him interact with your family, and find out as much as you can about his habits, likes and dislikes before taking him home. It will make his adjustment easier and yours, too.
Lastly, always spay or neuter your pet. He will be healthier and you will be happier.