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New Zealand Poodle Standard

Group: Non sporting
Size: small
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Exercise: low
Grooming: very high
Trainability: very high
Watchdog ability: very high
Protection ability: very low
Area of Origin: Central Europe
Date of Origin: 1500's
Other Names: Caniche
Original Function: lap dog


The Toy Poodle is the smallest of the three sizes of Poodles. The breed shares the same ancestry as the Standard and Miniature Poodles whose relatives have been known in Europe as capable water dogs since the 16th Century. The modern Toy Poodle was primarily developed last century by breeders who recognised the international success of the Miniature Poodle and saw that an even smaller dog would be just as popular. Smaller Miniatures were mated, and it is also suggested that a cross with the Bichon Frise or the Maltese helped speed up the miniaturisation process. By the late 40's and early 50's, the Toy Poodle was well established and was officially granted a separate breed status. This breed makes a good companion for the less active set and fits easily in smaller living quarters.


Toy Poodles are a good tempered breed and are devoted to their families. Affectionate with their owners, Toy Poodles can be timid around strangers.


Poodles need a lot of interaction with people. They also need mental and physical exercise. The toy Poodle’s exercise needs can be met with a short walk or even indoor games. This is not a breed that should ever live outside, although it enjoys access to a yard. Its coat should be brushed every day or two. Poodle hair, when shed, does not fall out but becomes caught in the surrounding hair, which can cause matting if not removed. Clipping should be done at least four times a year, with the face and feet clipped monthly. Although most poodles are professionally groomed, owners can learn to groom their own dog.

Official Breed Standard

The Poodle (Toy) should be in every respect a replica, in miniature, of the Poodle (Standard) and Poodle (Miniature). Height at shoulder should be under 28 cm (11 in).
Characteristics and General Appearance - That of a very active, intelligent, well balanced and elegant looking dog with good temperament, carrying himself very proudly.

Gait - Sound, free movement and light gait are essential.

Head and Skull - Long and fine with slight peak at the back. The skull not broad and with a moderate stop. Foreface strong and well chiselled, not falling away under the eyes; bones and muscle flat. Lips tight fitting. Chin well defined, but not protruding. The whole head must be in proportion to the size of the dog.

Eyes - Almond shaped, dark, not set too close together, full of fire and intelligence.

Ears - The leather long and wide, low set on, hanging close to the face.

Mouth - Teeth - white, strong, even, with scissor bite. A full set of 42 teeth is desirable.

Neck - Well proportioned, of good length and strong to admit of the head being carried high and with dignity. Skin fitting tightly at the throat.

Forequarters - Shoulders - strong and muscular, sloping well to the back, legs set straight from the shoulders, well muscled.

Body - Chest - deep and moderately wide. Ribs - well sprung and rounded. Back - short, strong, slightly hollowed, loins broad and muscular.

Hindquarters - Thighs well developed and muscular, well bent stifles, well let down hocks, hind legs turning neither in nor out.

Feet - Pasterns strong, tight feet proportionately small, oval in shape, turning neither in nor out, toes arched, pads thick and hard, well cushioned.

Tail - Set on rather high, well carried at a slight angle away from the body, never curled or carried over the back, thick at the root.

Coat - Very profuse and dense of good harsh texture without knots or tangles. All short hair close, thick and curly. It is strongly recommended that the traditional lion clip be adhered to.

Colour - All solid colours. White and cream poodles to have black nose, lips and eyerims, black toenails desirable; brown poodles to have dark amber eyes, dark liver nose, lips, eyerims and toenails, apricot poodles to have dark eyes with black points or deep amber eyes with liver points. Black, silver and blue poodles to have black nose, lips, eyerims and toenails. Cream, apricot, brown, silver and blue poodles may show varying shades of the same colour up to 18 months. Clear colours preferred.

Size (Toy) - Under 28 cm (11 in).

Faults - Heavy build, clumsiness, long back, snipy in foreface, light or round or prominent eyes, lippiness, bad carriage, heavy gait, coarse head, over or undershot or pincer mouth, flesh coloured nose, coarse legs and feet, long flat toes, open soft coats with no curl, parti-colours - white markings on black or coloured poodles, lemon or other markings on white poodles, vicious temperament.

Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.