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Thanks, Johanna! I agree that the fact that none of them were well-groomed raises a red flag.

May I ask how you tell an oversize toy from a small mini? Do they actually look different? Some websites say the difference between toys and minis is simply the size and I'm confused.
Most toy poodles have rounder eyes and a wider skull than most miniatures. The standard of the breed for poodles indicates that all poodles should look the same regardless of size. For very well-bred poodles that's close to truth, but I have never seen a show quality toy poodle that has quite as long and lean a head as a show miniature poodle. People breeding toys and miniatures for show try to get them as close to the top of the height limit as possible (10 inches for toys in the US and 15 for miniatures). I can tell you from personal experience that it's very hard to win with a miniature who is under 14 inches!
 

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Why the oversize can happen is, of course, genetics. There have been times in the past 100 and some years when intervariety breedings happened between toys and mini's, and mini's and standards. This was done for specific purposes, to improve features, and was ended when the desired features were set in the new generations. Sometimes, oversize still crops up.
Yes, miniatures were bred down from standards and toys were bred down from miniatures although poodles have existed in a wide size range for at least 200 years. There are many paintings from the 1700s on that show poodles in various sizes. The little ones were mostly used as truffle hunters. Since the middle of the 1900s there have been very few inter-variety breedings done by responsible breeders, although certainly there may be some that were done to help prevent certain diseases.
 

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Sounds great! I have actually got in touch with Clarion, but their waitlist is super long. I recall that you got your puppy from Donnchada. I am in touch with Betty Brown, too, who told me she has two upcoming litters. How was your experience with Donnchada? Should I wait on Clarion or is Donnchada equally great? Thanks!
Betty and I have been friends for about 50 years, so when I decided to get a miniature poodle I asked her first and she happened to have one available. I would have been just as pleased to have a Clarion puppy. I first met Betty when she was Bobby Peebles assistant - and Bobby was handling my standard poodle. This was in the 1970s - Betty was just a teenager!
 
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