The Pluses and the Minuses


Envision a toy poodle, no more than 12 weeks old, weighing a mere 2 pounds and 2 ounces, and it’s easy to understand the allure that has captured the hearts of celebrities like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or Rihanna. These pups, with their adorable puppy cuts, are the spitting image of a cuddly living teddy bear.

Three years ago, a reputable breeder was the source of a toy poodle for a family. The experiences since then have been enlightening, and they are eager to share their knowledge to assist prospective owners in making a well-informed decision.

Their cherished companion, Wally, has been a delightful addition to their lives, and they harbor no regrets about this decision. Toy breeds are specifically cultivated to provide companionship, and they thrive on human interaction. If left alone, they may experience distress. For those seeking a more independent canine, other breeds might be more suitable.

Wally’s affectionate nature is undeniable. When his advances are gently declined, he can often be seen walking away, a picture of dejection. The thought of turning away such an endearing creature is almost unthinkable.

While toy poodles are among the most hypoallergenic dogs, they do require consistent grooming, which can cost around $70 per session in their area. Wally’s owner has taken on the task of trimming his fur, becoming quite adept at it over time. However, not everyone may be ready to undertake this task themselves.

For those with a creative flair, toy poodles offer a canvas for experimenting with various grooming styles, including playful dyes and innovative cuts. But be prepared, as these aesthetic indulgences can come with a price tag.

One unexpected expense was dental care. Toy dogs often struggle with dental issues due to their small jaws, leading to rapid plaque buildup. Wally’s teeth receive diligent brushing every few days to manage this problem. Additionally, retained deciduous teeth, where baby teeth fail to fall out, is another issue common among toy breeds. This particular complication resulted in a $2400 expense for Wally’s owners to have the teeth removed.

Toy poodles are not the ravenous eaters some dogs are known to be; they can be quite selective with their food. Wally, for instance, was initially resistant to the raw food diet provided by the breeder. His owners have since learned to entice him with boiled chicken, honey, or peanut butter, and they avoid serving him cold food. They’ve adapted to his preferences, cooking ground meat for him twice daily.

Toy poodles, sophisticated and delicate, are more suited to adults than children. They are sensitive and not ideal for rough play. While poodles are often touted for their intelligence and ease of housebreaking, Wally’s owners found that fully house training him was not as straightforward as suggested, despite their constant availability to let him outside.

Concerning barking, it’s possible Wally picked up the habit from their older, more vigilant rescue dog, Mabel. Toy poodles can be vocal, but Wally is responsive to commands to cease barking. He’s an intelligent and attentive dog, enjoying playtime with toys and fetch indoors. He’s also an avid walker, having completed a 10-mile hike in Michigan, and enjoys beach trips in the summer.

Extra caution is exercised around larger dogs due to Wally’s small and fragile stature. Toy poodles are not recommended for dog parks for this reason. Photos of Wally often depict him comfortably nestled in a lap, indicating that toy poodles typically seek close physical contact with their owners.

With this information, the hope is to aid others in determining if a toy poodle is the right addition to their home. These special canines have unique needs but embody the essence of a living teddy bear for adults.

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