Miniature Poodle: Smart and Quirky Dogs

Miniature Poodle sitting on red coach
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

Finding the perfect toy or miniature dog is an important and complex task. Different miniature breeds can vary a lot in their personality traits and health characteristics. Some are easier to house train, while others can be quite annoying to deal with. To that end, here’s a breed that excels as a companion apartment dog: the Miniature Poodle.

The Miniature Poodle is famous for their loving and loyal nature, as well as for their playfulness and high intelligence. These dogs are easy to train and love to play with children or other pets.

In this article, we’ll go over all the details surrounding this curious breed. We’ll see exactly what possible health issues you should keep an eye out for and how to take care of a Mini Poodle properly. We’ll also take a look at their surprisingly long history and examine their personality to make sure that this is the perfect dog for your family.

Breed Characteristics

Miniature Poodles wearing clothes

  • Adaptability: Very Good

  • Trainability: Good

  • Health and Grooming: Moderate

  • All Around Friendliness: Moderate; suspicious of strangers

  • Exercise Needs: Moderate

Dog Breed GroupCompanion Dogs
Height11 – 15 inches (28 - 38 cm) at the withers
Weight15.5 – 17.5 pounds (7 - 8 kg)
Lifespan13 – 15 years

They are a bit shy around strangers, however. If you want your Mini Poodle pal to deal well with other people and dogs, you should train and raise them properly.The Miniature Poodle is a small variation of the Standard Poodle breed. These are very loyal and loving dogs that love their entire families. The breed is great with children and can also work well with other dogs and pets if introduced and socialized properly.

Obedience training is important for Miniature Poodles because their high intelligence and playful nature can get them into a lot of unexpected situations.

Main Highlights

Miniature Poodles walking on grass

  • Miniature Poodles are unaware of their small size and can easily reach the conclusion that they are the Alpha in the family if you spoil them too much. Love and care for your dog, but also be firm in training.

  • Miniature Poodles, just like their bigger brethren, don’t shed too much but still require mindful grooming.

  • This breed requires a fair bit of exercise which may be surprising to some new Poodle owners, considering the breed’s small size. Don’t think that you won’t have to frequently play with and exercise your dog just because they’re so small in size.

Breed History

Miniature Poodles lying

They may not look like it today, but the Miniature Poodle is an old and proud breed. France is recognized as their “country of origin,” but the ancestors of all Poodle breeds are easily traced back to Central Asia. What’s more, the German variety of the Poodle breed has probably influenced the modern Poodle breeds more than any other (‘Poodle’ is German for ‘splash’ or ‘puddle’).

Various Poodle breeds were used for a large variety of purposes all around Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Whether it was for duck hunting, guiding, or circus performing, Poodles were quite popular in Europe at that time. It’s believed that their role as circus performers is what gave them their signature grooming style.

Together with Toy Poodles, Miniature ones were also used as truffle hunters; their good sense of smell was excellent for finding the valuable delicacy, and their small and soft feet ensured that the dogs wouldn’t damage it. That’s why the Miniature and other types of Poodles became beloved by the French aristocracy and were adopted as France’s national dog breed.

Poodles were imported to the States in the 20th century. Once in the States, Poodles slowly but surely started rising in popularity there as well. Eventually, the breed became one of the most popular dog breeds across the Atlantic and in the world as a whole; in the last several years, Poodles’ popularity places them between the 5th and 10th position in the world.

All three sub-breeds of the Poodle group—the Miniature Poodle, the Standard Poodle, and the Toy Poodle—are a favorite of so many people around the globe that their uncertain ancestry doesn’t really matter.

Whether they are descendants of the German Water Dogs or an old French Barbet breed, Poodles are and will continue to be universally beloved.


Miniature Poodles sitting near the flower

Standing at 11 – 15 inches (28 — 38 cm) at the withers and weighing just around 15.5 – 17.5 pounds (7 — 8 kg), these dogs are so small that there is no noticeable difference between males and females.

Aside from their size, there are few other significant differences in the appearance of Miniature Poodles and their bigger counterparts.

Poodles have signature dark, oval eyes that make for an alert and intelligent expression. Their ears fold downward, close to their head. They have slim and athletic bodies, covered with a very curly and gorgeous coat.

Personality and Character

Miniature Poodle lying on grass

Probably the one personality trait that all Poodles are known for is their snappiness toward strangers. And there’s some merit to that; Poodles are very loyal and loving to their owners but are typically shy and withdrawn dogs, which makes them uneasy around people they don’t know.

If you have a Poodle that you haven’t socialized well enough, especially during their puppy months, the dog will be highly likely to mistrust unknown people. Anything from growling and barking to full-on biting and attacks is possible if a Poodle is anti-social and provoked. Proper socialization is important for all dogs but is especially vital for breeds like the Poodles, including miniature ones.

That being said, if you’ve taken good care of your Miniature Poodle and have socialized him or her properly, you can expect no such trouble. Being a Poodle, they’ll still prefer your company to that of strangers, but no unpleasantries should occur.

See Also: How to Stop Aggressive Behavior and Socialize Your Dog

Poodles’ shyness has a benefit as well, in that it makes them good watchdogs. The small size of the Miniature Poodle obviously means that they can’t be guard dogs, but being a watchdog comes easily to them. Keep in mind, however, that if you don’t want a watchdog and especially if you live in an apartment, you might want to train your Miniature Poodle against barking.

Training against barking should be done at the earliest possible age and is generally a time-consuming and annoying endeavor, but your neighbors will certainly be grateful.

Aside from their shyness, Miniature Poodles shine with their intelligence. Expert retriever dogs, Poodles love to play fetch as well as to solve all kinds of toy puzzles and food puzzles, play with balls and toys on strings, and much more.

Scavenger hunts for toys or treats around the house are also a great pastime for a Mini Poodle as they test the dog’s intelligence and sense of smell, while also satisfying their hunting instincts.

Additionally, the high intelligence of Miniature Poodles means that they are very easy to train. You can teach such a dog a myriad of tricks and commands, as well as to more easily manage their behavior.

The training against barking we mentioned above, as well as other important training like obedience training, house training, anti-leash-pulling training, anti-jumping training and others, are easy to do with a Miniature Poodle if you know what you’re doing.

As with all highly intelligent breeds, however, Miniature Poodles can get easily bored if they are left alone for too long. Several hours of being home alone shouldn’t be a problem most of the time, but leaving your Mini Poodle alone and bored for too long can easily lead to things such as separation anxiety, depression, destructive behavior, disobedience, or escape attempts.

To prevent such things from happening, you can consider hiring a dog walker or a dog sitter, exhausting your Mini Poodle before leaving the house, arranging a scavenging hunt for while you’re away, or leaving enough toys and puzzles for your dog to play with.

Compared to other Poodles, the Miniature Poodle is considered the most anxious sub-breed. If you raise and train your Mini pal improperly, they can grow to be tireless and aggressive. When adequately raised, however, Miniature Poodles are well-mannered and elegant, just like their larger brethren.

Unaware of their small size, Miniature Poodles can often believe themselves to be leaders or even royals, but that doesn’t stop them from showering you with love whenever you’re around. When Mini Poodles are in an especially good mood, they are quite clownish in their playfulness.

All in all, Miniature Poodles are highly intelligent, loyal, and loving dogs that make for excellent companions when raised and trained properly.

Health and Potential Problems

Despite being considered the same breed, Miniature, Standard, and Toy Poodles have different health risks. With a Miniature Poodle, you should be wary of things such as epilepsy, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, Sebaceous Adenitis, luxating patella, Legg-Calve Perthes, von Willebrand’s disease, and PRA.

To make sure that your future Miniature Poodle will be as healthy as possible, only purchase pups from reputable dog breeders. Such a breeder will offer you health certificates for the pup, as well as for the parents, thus ensuring his or her future good health.

That, together with giving your Poodle good care and a bit of luck, should make for a long and happy life for your canine pal.

Care Features

brown Miniature Poodles sitting

Despite their small size, Miniature Poodles should be cared for like any other dog, only with a more delicate touch. Young puppies are susceptible to hypoglycemia due to their size, but aside from that, you should follow the general guidelines of taking care of a dog.

Proper ear and eye hygiene are important for any dog and Miniature Poodles are no exception. Frequently check your pup’s eyes and ears for dirt or discharge and clean them with a damp cloth. Remember to clean the eyes of your Mini pal with different cloths (or different ends of a cloth piece) to prevent the spread of an eventual infection.

Dental hygiene is also important and frequently ignored by dog owners. Dogs, just like cats, tend to hide their tooth pain because their instincts tell them that it would be a sign of weakness to display it. Millions of adult domesticated dogs live for years with tooth pain because of their owners’ neglect.

To prevent that, you should brush your dog’s teeth daily or at least weekly. If you are worried that it would be too much of a hassle, remember that you can easily train a smart dog like the Mini Poodle to enjoy having their teeth brushed with the help of some treats and some petting.

See Also: Dog Dental Cleaning

Keeping your dog’s nails short and trimmed is also important, especially during the winter months when your Poodle stays at home for too long; they might not get the opportunity to maintain their claws outside so the claws might become too long.

In terms of exercise, a Miniature Poodle will require at least an hour of extensive playtime per day, both indoors and outdoors. They are quite rambunctious, so don’t be fooled by their small size and think that they won’t need you to play too much with them.

Feeding Schedule

Miniature Poodles lying with a bone

Feeding a Miniature Poodle boils down to what feeding any dog boils down to high-quality food and properly measured portions.

It’s easy to overfeed a Miniature Poodle as they are very small in size and like to eat. You’ll need to get the dosage right and give your pooch enough exercise to maintain a good physical shape. Alternating high-quality dry food with high-quality wet food is also important for your dog’s health.

As for the schedule itself, most people feed their dogs once or twice per day. While a dog is certainly capable of eating less frequently, if you want a healthy and happy dog you should feed your Mini Poodle 3 or 4 times per day, on smaller portions.

If you are worried that your own work schedule doesn’t allow for feeding every 8 or 6 hours, remember that a 3-meals-per-day schedule doesn’t need to be separated at equal 8-hour intervals.

You can just as well feed your dog on a 10/7/7-hour schedule or on an 11/7/6-hour schedule if that’s more comfortable for you. It’s still going to be preferable than a 12/12-hour feeding schedule.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Miniature Poodle: Smart and Quirky Dogs

The coat is certainly one of the key features of the Poodle breed. They have long, thick, and curly or wavy coats that make them stand out from any other dog breed on the planet. Miniature Poodles are no different and are just as easily distinguishable.

In terms of color, their coats can be white, black, brown, blue, apricot, cream, gray, red, silver, or beige. Some owners clip their Poodles’ coat, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Whether clipped or not, Poodles don’t shed too much, so that’s another big plus in their favor. Grooming a Poodle is quite easy as a result of that and requires minimum efforts. The only more significant annoyance is that their curly coat can gather quite a bit of dirt after an outdoors play session.

See Also: Best Dog Brush

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Miniature Poodles are exceptional with children, which further cements their status as excellent companion and family dogs. They are very loving and gentle with kids, and they love to play.

Keep in mind, however, that you will need to teach your children how to properly play with the Poodle to not harm the dog. Especially when they are small pups, Miniature Poodles are very easy to harm.

As far as other dogs and pets are concerned, Miniature Poodles can get along well enough with other animals if they’ve grown together with them. If your adult Miniature Poodle has been your family’s only pet, however, he or she may be unhappy with new pets; some careful socialization and introduction will be needed.

Wrap Up

red Miniature Poodle

In short, Miniature Poodles make for excellent family companion pets. They can thrive in an apartment. They are gentle, loving, and loyal. They are great with kids, as well as with other pets (if introduced properly), and they are highly intelligent and energetic.

Some anti-barking training and socialization will be required, as well as proper health care, but the Poodles’ friendly and playful nature makes it worth it.

Do you think you’ll be able to be best buds with a Miniature Poodle? Which trait of the Miniature Poodle’s makes you arrive at that conclusion? If you will be adopting a Miniature Poodle, check out our list of literature dog names—these are perfect for your smart dog.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.