Toy Poodles are small, elegant but always lively dogs with an alert expression and an athletic build. The coat is thick, curly and wiry in texture and may be worn in a variety of clips. The muzzle is long, the skull is rounded and there is a slight stop. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The wide-set ears hang close to the head. The eyes are oval in shape and are dark in color, except for brown, cafe-au-lait and some apricot colored Poodles, who have dark amber eyes. The topline is level, though there is a slight depression behind the withers. The tail is customarily docked to half its original length. All solid colors are permissible including, black, blue gray, silver, white, brown, cafe-au-lait and apricot. Toy Poodles should have a springy gait and carry themselves with pride at all times.
Size and Weight
Toy Poodles should stand 10 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulder. Dogs who stand more than 10 inches will be disqualified from competing in the show ring in the Toy category. While there is no specific weight requirement, Toy Poodles typically weigh around 6 pounds.
Coat and Color
Toy Poodles wear a dense coat of curly, wiry-textured hair. They do not shed, which makes the breed an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies. They may come in colors of black, blue, white, gray, silver, cafe-au-lait, brown, apricot or cream. Black, blue, white, silver or gray dogs will have black noses and eye rims, while cafe-au-lait, brown or apricot dogs have liver noses and eye rims.
Show Toy Poodles are allowed a few distinct grooming styles, including puppy, English saddle and Continental, but household Poodles can be clipped, trimmed or shaved in just about any style imaginable. Regardless of the style, a Poodle needs to be brushed regularly. While they do not shed, the hair grows constantly, so loose hair and tangles need to be prevented and removed so that mats do not form. Bathing and trimming is required every three weeks. Many owners prefer to use the services of a professional groomer, while others learn to use the clippers themselves, in order to save money.
Check the ears on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection, as dogs with drop ears are prone to painful earaches. Clean the ears with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. This is especially important in small breeds, who often experience dental problems as they grow old. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.