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I know, I know, this topic has been covered a million times, but bear with me. I currently have a working line German shepherd (18 months) who will likely fully mature between 80-85lbs. I also have a golden retriever that’s about to turn 10, but I won’t be bringing home another dog until she passes, so for the sake of this discussion, I won’t have to consider her.

While I absolutely adore shepherds and will always have one, I’d like my next dog to be smaller and preferably non-shedding. I still want an extremely trainable, athletic, sturdy dog, so that’s where poodles come in. I’ve heard that minis are more hyper-active and bark-y than standards, and I’ve also heard that it totally depends on the dog, not the size. Anyone have comments on that? Would a mini be robust enough to handle playing with an 80ish pound shepherd? I also hike with my shepherd daily, but I already know mini poodles can handle that. I’m just wondering if a standard would actually be a better choice for my current dog and lifestyle.
I’d love to be able to meet more purebred poodles of all sizes, but in my area there are only doodles. It’s unfortunate!
 

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My last girl Gracie was half mini (about 12 lbs for much of her life) and she was almost badly injured when our neighbour's 70 lb doodle pounced on her. He seriously could have killed her, and I had no warning. It all happened in a split second.

That said, I understand the desire for a smaller second dog. Peggy's 45 lbs and I'd love to have a papillon someday. Lots of people on Poodle Forum have dogs with a similar size difference. But there's no ignoring the risk. It's very real.

You'd probably really enjoy a spoo on the smaller end. Yes, temperament is a big factor. But just speaking anecdotally, Peggy is a massive couch potato compared to Gracie. It's pretty amazing, actually, as she's extremely athletic. She outruns every dog she meets. But then she comes home and is very content to just curl up.
 

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I have a minipoo and I would get a spoo in your circumstances. They will be a better match in size so they can play with less risk of injury.

My daughter has a rough collie. When we visit both dogs want to play together but it’s a problem because of size. Outside they run and my dog runs circles around the slower collie. Indoors the collie loves to wrestle with her best friend, a goldendoodle. She can’t wrestle play with my minipoo. They tried several times but it didn’t work so they don’t even bother now. Both dogs just snooze on the couch indoors.
 

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I would say in general, yes a larger full grown mini can play with big dogs. BUT it depends on the dogs. And age. And the mini's comfort level. Misha plays with big dogs all the time, but does not care for those that are overly physical with him and rough. He actively avoids them and will run to me and ask for me to pick him up. He has learned over time which big dogs he feels safe with. When he was a puppy he wanted to play with everybody but slowly realized it didn't always feel nice. Now that he is an adult he is sturdy enough that I trust his judgement. Some of his best friends are very large dogs. He plays with great danes, retrievers, etc. Some big dogs are naturally very considerate and careful of smaller dogs and others are not.

I would say that I would not let him play with big dogs when he was very little. He was too fragile and too easily injured. If the big dog was very placid it was fine, but no energetic adolescents. A mini puppy is very tiny even if an adult is sturdy. He did play with my friend's doberman when he was itty bitty, but that dobe is 10 years old and shy so I was not worried about him doing damage.
 

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My mini is the dominant dog in our home. She weighs 11 lbs. She reminds the 60+ lb Lab (also female) several times a day that she is number 1. Size has nothing to do with it. The mini and the Lab play some pretty rough games.

The most extreme size relationship between dogs that I ever had was a very big male greyhound and a tiny Chihuahua puppy. The greyhound would let that puppy crawl all over him, bit his ears, and generally be a pest. That greyhound loved puppies - I can still remember a day when he ended up in the middle of a pack of 8-9 week old standard poodle puppies. He wanted to back up out of the mob, but he first looked around very carefully to be sure he was not going to step on one. Sweet dog.
 

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We have a roughly 100 pound GSD. I think you need a spoo. When younger (both now 12) Lily and Peeves played pretty energetically with each other. She weighs about 37 pounds and she actually liked him trying to herd her. She would run right into being body blocked by him. My mother has an mpoo who is fine boned. Peeves would never hurt that dog with malice, but I am very mindful that the mpoo could get crushed like a bug by my big guy.

As to who is the dominant dog in our house it is Lily, the self annointed queen of all dogs who is deferred to by both of our boys.
 
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I have a standard, and my other dog is a Cane Corso. The Corso is about 100lbs, and my poodle maybe 55. While the poodle is lanky and fairly tall, he really 'feels' like a much smaller dog than my Corso. They are a good match for each other as far as playing etc.
Don't forget that standards can easily range from 40-80lbs, so you could look for one on the smaller side.
Standard poodles are not terribly common where I am (lots of doodles!), but minis are even less so. Lots of what I think are considered toys, the short stubby kind. I have heard that minis are quite hard to find.
I do adore how athletic Raffi is, and he is a great hiking partner, but calm in the house. I don't have enough experience with minis to compare though!
 

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I have a standard, and my other dog is a Cane Corso. The Corso is about 100lbs, and my poodle maybe 55. While the poodle is lanky and fairly tall, he really 'feels' like a much smaller dog than my Corso. They are a good match for each other as far as playing etc.
Don't forget that standards can easily range from 40-80lbs, so you could look for one on the smaller side.
Standard poodles are not terribly common where I am (lots of doodles!), but minis are even less so. Lots of what I think are considered toys, the short stubby kind. I have heard that minis are quite hard to find.
I do adore how athletic Raffi is, and he is a great hiking partner, but calm in the house. I don't have enough experience with minis to compare though!
Yes, well bred minis are exceedingly rare. I have only ever seen one (other than Misha) that I would consider well bred, and I still don't think he's from a breeder I would buy from. Some I see do vaguely resemble true miniature poodles, but most you would never guess they are the same breed. People are always asking me if Misha is a show dog, though he's never in show clips. He just carries himself very well and almost always moves in a flying trot.
 

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Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. Maybe I’ll try to find a smaller standard. I would just love a dog that can be a lap dog (that doesn’t crush you), a dog that doesn’t go through a 40lb bag of food in three weeks, and needs smaller chews and treats than my two big dogs. Smaller dogs are so much less expensive! I could easily feed a small dog raw, but with my current dogs? Forget it.

That said, just because I’m curious, what do you guys think of this miniature poodle breeder? They show and appear to do appropriate health tests. They breed irregularly. They are close to me.

 

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I've had only minis and as expressed above, it definitely depends on the dogs, but very generally, I'd be cautious of the size disparity.

Breeders who show pretty regularly will be trying for smaller standards. They just seem to do better with the judging. Girls are usually smaller than boys.

Two of our members have beautiful girls in the 20-21 inch height, weight in the 35lb range.

This is a list of breeders by location. Health resources are above the breeder listings and multistate listings are above the individual listings.


Harmony looks like one I'd follow up with. I'm not seeing listings on OFA yet but only just started poking around. I do see a lot of activity in show rings so they're breeding to the standard, and I see a lot of well reputed kennel names in their lines. Again, that's just a quick peek.

Mini's can go oversize occasionally, from the variety upper limit of 15" to as tall as 17" so when you contact a mini breeder, tell them you might be looking for an oversize.
 
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