I went in very prepared and got my first poodle (second dog in my life) from a reputable breeder with full health testing. Thanks to this forum, I'd say I learned everything I needed to go before and during Vegas's growing up!
I guess I wish I'd known to introduce him to water much earlier than I did.
Agree with Sapphire. Toys are adorable, but not as sturdy as minis because of their size. They have some issues with low blood sugar when they are puppies and many have teeth problems because of their tiny size. That said, a nicely bred toy is a sparkly, adorable thing. They also live a long time and are healthy as long as they are not those teeny weeny toys (those have issues). You need to decide if you can keep them safe from injury. Minis are able to keep up with the most active family and make great pets for children. You still have to be careful when they're puppies, but they are not as delicate. My sister in law has a large mini and he is a wonderful size. He's still a small dog, but does terrific in agility and all things athletic.
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Ruso is my first toy poodle, but I had a yorkshire terrier for 16 years, so little dogs aren't new for me. I think that the bigger, the better (for a toy, or for any breed prone to be "small") If breed properly, there are no problems and they don't have to be "delicate"; my yorkie weighted 3 kilos/6,5 pounds more or less and he hadn't a single health issue in 15 years. None. He had a very active life, he adapted to a lot of different situations. His last year he suffered from an enlarged heart, but he was 16 y.o. so it was normal that something appeared, I guess.
Ruso is now 4 months old, and he weighs 2,300 k/5 pounds, and for the moment he had no issues with sugar blood or whatever. He's healthy and happy all the time. I would have liked him to be bigger, or more properly, to be a mini or "dwarf" (the standard is different in Europe, I think) but in Spain there aren't almost any breeders of bigger poodle sizes. So I chose the biggest boy in the litter, although the vet told me the other day that he isn't going to grow much more (he's now 25 cm more or less) Ilove him anyway, but I hope he'll grow a bit! :-)
So if you like a toy, you have to choose carefully the breeder (health tests etc) and, if I were you, I'd choose a "big toy".
I have toys - a poodle and a papillon - and I would go along with bigger is better. Around 10 - 12 inches toy merges into miniature - the two registers were separated in the 1970s in the UK, but I believe in the US poodles are registered by their own size, rather than by their parents' size. But it really depends upon your family - with very young children or other boisterous dogs a larger, more robust pup may be advisable; if you live 10 floors up and want to litter train a small dog might be easier; etc, etc. There may be variations in grooming and food costs, if those are a consideration. Either way, it's important to ensure that all the necessary health testing has been done, and that you choose your puppy's breeder with care. If you are rescuing, I would look at both toys and minis, and move swiftly if a dog looks like a possible match!
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Names of dogs: Omar, Maggie, Nicholas, Penelope, Kensi
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I agree with being very careful with toys and you are better off with a mini if you have children. That being said, I grew up with a mini and I now have 3 tiny toys and 1 teacup and the teacup is my favorite. She is tiny and bubbly and sparkling with huge personality and has no health issues. She knows to move so she does not get stepped on. I stick her in my purse and off we go. A lot depends on your lifestyle, other pets, your house and kids.
I wish I'd known more about groomers and their services prior to getting a poodle. I did have a well-recommended and experienced poodle groomer lined up before bringing my pup home, and she was great. But I didn't like having to drop my mpoo off in the morning and leave him there for the entire day. I learned via the forum you can make other arrangements. Though the shop I initially took my poodle didn't allow for it, I did find another where the groomer worked straight through on my poodle and got him ready in under three hours. I now home groom for the most part, but have a special groomer I turn on occasion who takes one dog at a time and finishes my mpoo in two hours! (Takes me closer to four.)
Having read your intro thread and knowing you have other dogs, I would be inclined to "go mini," but I am so biased in favor of the variety, it's almost not fair for me to weigh in. A larger toy would no doubt bring you much joy too.
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I also have a mini and they are a great size dog. I was surprised by two things with my poodle: first is the incredible amount of energy that they have and second how attached the become to there families.