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  • Temperament: Active, Proud, Very Smart
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 7 of 191
  • Height: 10-15 inches
  • Weight: 10-15 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Miniature Poodle with a black coat standing sideways facing left, head turned forward
Miniature Poodle sitting in three-quarter view on a white background.
Miniature Poodle laying in three-quarter view on a white background.
Miniature Poodle coat detail
Miniature Poodle running outdoors.
Miniature Poodle puppies.

Find a Puppy: Poodle (Miniature)

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Carriage and Condition: That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.
Size: The Miniature Poodle is 15 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders, with a minimum height in excess of 10 inches. Any Poodle which is over 15 inches or is 10 inches or less at the highest point of the shoulders shall be disqualified from competition as a Miniature Poodle.
Proportion: To insure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of body measured from the breastbone to the point of the rump approximates the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the ground.
Substance: Bone and muscle of both forelegs and hindlegs are in proportion to size of dog.

HEAD

Eyes: very dark, oval in shape and set far enough apart and positioned to create an alert intelligent expression. Major fault: eyes round, protruding, large or very light. Ears: hanging close to the head, set at or slightly below eye level. The ear leather is long, wide and thickly feathered; however, the ear fringe should not be of excessive length. Skull: moderately rounded, with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle. Muzzle: long, straight and fine, with slight chiseling under the eyes. Strong without lippiness. The chin definite enough to preclude snipiness. Major fault: lack of chin. Teeth: white, strong and with a scissors bite. Major fault: undershot, overshot, wry mouth.

BODY

Neck: well proportioned, strong and long enough to permit the head to be carried high and with dignity. Skin snug at throat. The neck rises from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. Major fault: ewe neck. The topline is level, neither sloping nor roached, from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the base of the tail, with the exception of a slight hollow just behind the shoulder. Body: (a) Chest deep and moderately wide with well sprung ribs. (b)The loin is short, broad and muscular. (c) Tail straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline. Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. The shoulder blade is well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper foreleg. Major fault – steep shoulder. Forelegs: Straight and parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder. The pasterns are strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet: The feet are rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads. Nails short but not excessively shortened. The feet turn neither in nor out. Major fault – paper or splay foot.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hindlegs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Muscular with width in the region of the stifles which are well bent; femur and tibia are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Major fault – cow-hocks.

COAT

Coat: (a) Quality – (1) Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons. (b) Clip – A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy” clip. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the “English Saddle” or “Continental” clip. In the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and in a non-competitive Parade of Champions, Poodles may be shown in the “Sporting” clip. A Poodle shown in any other type of clip shall be disqualified. (1) “Puppy” – A Poodle under a year old may be shown in the “Puppy” clip with the coat long. The face, throat, feet and base of the tail are shaved. The entire shaven foot is visible. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. In order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the coat is permissible. (2) “English Saddle” – In the “English Saddle” clip, the face, throat, feet, forelegs and base of the tail are shaved, leaving puffs on the forelegs and a pompon on the end of the tail. The hindquarters are covered with a short blanket of hair except for a curved shaved area on each flank and two shaved bands on each hindleg. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven leg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (3) “Continental” – In the “Continental” clip, the face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The hindquarters are shaved with pompons (optional) on the hips. The legs are shaved, leaving bracelets on the hindlegs and puffs on the forelegs. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (4) “Sporting” – In the “Sporting” clip, a Poodle shall be shown with face, feet, throat, and base of tail shaved, leaving a scissored cap on the top of the head and a pompon on the end of the tail. The rest of the body, and legs are clipped or scissored to follow the outline of the dog leaving a short blanket of coat no longer than one inch in length. The hair on the legs may be slightly longer than that on the body.

In all clips the hair of the topknot may be left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair is only of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. “Topknot” refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used.
Color: The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au- laits, apricots and creams the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are definitely preferred, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and cafe-au-lait Poodles have liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream and white Poodles have black noses, eye-rims and lips, black or self colored toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots while the foregoing coloring is preferred, liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted but are not desirable. Major fault: color of nose, lips and eye-rims incomplete, or of wrong color for color of dog. Parti-colored dogs shall be disqualified. The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but is of two or more colors.

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Miniature Poodle illustration.

About the Poodle (Miniature)

Poodles come in three size varieties: Standards should be more than 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniatures are 15 inches or under; Toys stand no more than 10 inches. All three varieties have the same build and proportions. At dog shows, Poodles are usually seen in the elaborate Continental Clip. Most pet owners prefer the simpler Sporting Clip, in which the coat is shorn to follow the outline of the squarely built, smoothly muscled body.

Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as sissy dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility. The Standard, with his greater size and strength, is the best all-around athlete of the family, but all Poodles can be trained with great success.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Miniature Poodle puppies.

Find a Puppy: Poodle (Miniature)

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.

Care

NUTRITION

No matter which size Poodle has stolen your heart, he should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Unless you plan to keep your Poodle clipped in a short trim, you will need to learn how to brush him daily to keep his coat from matting. If you do not brush and comb a full-coated Poodle completely to the skin, the hair will mat near the roots and will have to be shaved off to start all over with new growth. Most pet owners opt to keep the Poodle in a shorter trim. Some owners learn to do this clipping and trimming themselves, while others choose to take their dog to a professional dog groomer every four to six weeks for a bath, grooming, and nail trim. The breed’s relatively non-shedding coat makes the breed a good choice for people with allergies.

EXERCISE

Poodles of any size are very active dogs who require good exercise every day to suit their high energy level. Poodles are eager for all kinds of activity, and they enjoy keeping busy. Swimming is great exercise for them, and most Poodles love to get in the water. Bred as hunting dogs, their impulse is to retrieve, so tossing toys, sticks, or balls for them will exercise both their mind and body. They also thrive on going for jogs or long walks with their human.

TRAINING

Poodles are extremely intelligent and are easily trained. They are agile and graceful as well as smart, and they enjoy and excel in a variety of canine sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking. They are excellent water retrievers and also compete in dock diving and retriever hunt tests. Poodles are very people oriented, and if your training routines are fun and positive, they are quick to please you. Just be sure that you are being consistent with what you ask.

HEALTH

Most Poodles live long, happy, healthy lives thanks to the efforts of dedicated, responsible breeders who routinely test all breeding stock for health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye disorders, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, von Willebrand’s disease, and immune-mediated disorders. Two orthopedic problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes and luxating patellas, are more likely to occur in Toy and Miniature Poodles than in Standards. The Standard variety is more at risk for gastric dilatation with volvulus (bloat) and sebaceous adenitis.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation (Miniature and Standard)
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation (Miniature, Standard, and Toy)
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test (Miniature and Toy)
  • Patella Evaluation (Miniature and Toy)

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Miniature Poodle standing facing left.
Miniature Poodle
Miniature Poodle
Miniature Poodle
Miniature Poodle

History

The Poodle is the national dog of France, and the French sure do love their Poodles. There is, however, no such breed as the “French Poodle.” In France, Poodles are known as the Caniche, or “duck dog.”

Despite the Poodle’s association with France, the breed originated as a duck hunter in Germany, where the word “pudelin” refers to splashing in water. The Standard Poodle began its development as a retrieving water dog more than 400 years ago. With a crisp, curly coat as protection against the elements, superlative swimming ability, and off-the-charts intelligence, the Poodle was, and still is, a magnificent retriever. (The Standard is the only breed classified as a non-sporting dog that is eligible for AKC Retriever Hunting Tests.)

The flamboyant Poodle show coat served a practical purpose in the breed’s early years. Hunters wanted their dogs to have free range of movement in the water, but they also wished to protect vital areas of the anatomy from the cold. They shaved the legs, neck, and tail but left the chest, hips, and leg joints coated. The rounded tufts on the legs, hips, and tail tip are called pompons. (Note the spelling: Cheerleaders have pom-poms; Poodles have pompons.)

The Poodle’s many fine qualities allowed it to move from the lake to the lap of luxury. Elegant Poodles of the Standard and Miniature varieties found favor among the nobles of France and, eventually, all of Europe. The breed’s showy looks and trainability made it a natural entertainer, and Poodles have long been associated with the European circus tradition. An excellent nose brought the Poodle additional work as a truffle hunter.

The Standard was bred down to the Miniature. The Toy was first bred in America, in the early 20th century, as a city-dwelling companion dog. Well-bred specimens of each variety are exact replicas of each other and are bred to the same standard.

Did You Know?

The Poodle is known for superior intelligence and exceptional learning ability.
The Poodle clip is not merely decorative (though it may seem that way now); it is in fact a necessary clip meant to protect the joints and vital organs in cold water.
The Poodle possesses wonderful swimming ability; the coat is adapted to water, and will cord if left to grow naturally.
Grover Cleveland owned a Poodle (although some reports say it was a Pekingese).

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Carriage and Condition: That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.
Size: The Miniature Poodle is 15 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders, with a minimum height in excess of 10 inches. Any Poodle which is over 15 inches or is 10 inches or less at the highest point of the shoulders shall be disqualified from competition as a Miniature Poodle.
Proportion: To insure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of body measured from the breastbone to the point of the rump approximates the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the ground.
Substance: Bone and muscle of both forelegs and hindlegs are in proportion to size of dog.

HEAD

Eyes: very dark, oval in shape and set far enough apart and positioned to create an alert intelligent expression. Major fault: eyes round, protruding, large or very light. Ears: hanging close to the head, set at or slightly below eye level. The ear leather is long, wide and thickly feathered; however, the ear fringe should not be of excessive length. Skull: moderately rounded, with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle. Muzzle: long, straight and fine, with slight chiseling under the eyes. Strong without lippiness. The chin definite enough to preclude snipiness. Major fault: lack of chin. Teeth: white, strong and with a scissors bite. Major fault: undershot, overshot, wry mouth.

BODY

Neck: well proportioned, strong and long enough to permit the head to be carried high and with dignity. Skin snug at throat. The neck rises from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. Major fault: ewe neck. The topline is level, neither sloping nor roached, from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the base of the tail, with the exception of a slight hollow just behind the shoulder. Body: (a) Chest deep and moderately wide with well sprung ribs. (b)The loin is short, broad and muscular. (c) Tail straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline. Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. The shoulder blade is well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper foreleg. Major fault – steep shoulder. Forelegs: Straight and parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder. The pasterns are strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet: The feet are rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads. Nails short but not excessively shortened. The feet turn neither in nor out. Major fault – paper or splay foot.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hindlegs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Muscular with width in the region of the stifles which are well bent; femur and tibia are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Major fault – cow-hocks.

COAT

Coat: (a) Quality – (1) Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons. (b) Clip – A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy” clip. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the “English Saddle” or “Continental” clip. In the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and in a non-competitive Parade of Champions, Poodles may be shown in the “Sporting” clip. A Poodle shown in any other type of clip shall be disqualified. (1) “Puppy” – A Poodle under a year old may be shown in the “Puppy” clip with the coat long. The face, throat, feet and base of the tail are shaved. The entire shaven foot is visible. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. In order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the coat is permissible. (2) “English Saddle” – In the “English Saddle” clip, the face, throat, feet, forelegs and base of the tail are shaved, leaving puffs on the forelegs and a pompon on the end of the tail. The hindquarters are covered with a short blanket of hair except for a curved shaved area on each flank and two shaved bands on each hindleg. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven leg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (3) “Continental” – In the “Continental” clip, the face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The hindquarters are shaved with pompons (optional) on the hips. The legs are shaved, leaving bracelets on the hindlegs and puffs on the forelegs. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (4) “Sporting” – In the “Sporting” clip, a Poodle shall be shown with face, feet, throat, and base of tail shaved, leaving a scissored cap on the top of the head and a pompon on the end of the tail. The rest of the body, and legs are clipped or scissored to follow the outline of the dog leaving a short blanket of coat no longer than one inch in length. The hair on the legs may be slightly longer than that on the body.

In all clips the hair of the topknot may be left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair is only of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. “Topknot” refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used.
Color: The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au- laits, apricots and creams the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are definitely preferred, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and cafe-au-lait Poodles have liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream and white Poodles have black noses, eye-rims and lips, black or self colored toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots while the foregoing coloring is preferred, liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted but are not desirable. Major fault: color of nose, lips and eye-rims incomplete, or of wrong color for color of dog. Parti-colored dogs shall be disqualified. The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but is of two or more colors.

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Miniature Poodle illustration.

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Apricot Check Mark For Standard Color 002
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Brown Check Mark For Standard Color 061
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 100
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Silver Check Mark For Standard Color 176
Silver Beige Check Mark For Standard Color 183
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Black & Apricot 246
Black & Brown 009
Black & Cream 010
Black & Gray 012
Black & Red 014
Black & Silver 016
Black & Tan 018
Black & White 019
Blue & White 045
Brown & Apricot 247
Brown & White 063
Cafe Au Lait 069
Cream & White 077
Gray & White 105
Red & Apricot 157
Red & White 146
White & Apricot 200
White & Silver 216
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