Are Toy Poodles Healthy? [Poodle Experts Answer]

By Nancy Williams •  Updated: 07/21/22 •  14 min read

The toy poodle is one of the most popular dogs in the United States, but are they healthy?

Toy poodles are known to be very healthy and have a lifespan of twelve to eighteen years. However, toy poodles are prone to certain diseases such as Legg-Calve-Perthes, Hydrocephalus, Patellar Luxation, Sebaceous Adenitis, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Hypothyroidism, Epilepsy, Skin Tumors, and Tracheal Collapse.

Toy poodles are generally a very healthy breed of dogs. However, that does not mean that they are immune to diseases and illnesses.

With proper care, regular exercise, proper nutrition, and a stable environment your toy poodle can live a healthy and long life.

In this article, we will discuss if toy poodles are healthy or not, the diseases they are prone to, and how to keep them healthy.

A red toy poodle posing

Toy Poodle Overview

What Diseases Are Toy Poodles Prone To?

Toy poodles are prone to a number of diseases, as well as several genetic issues.

Toy poodle owners should be aware of the following diseases that can affect their toy poodle:

  1. Hypothyroidism
  2. Legg-Calve-Perthes
  3. Hydrocephalus
  4. Patellar Luxation
  5. Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
  6. Bloating (GDV)
  7. Epilepsy
  8. Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
  9. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  10. Von Willebrand’s Disease

Here’s a brief explanation of all the major diseases common to toy poodles along with their Severity, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Costs, and more.

Hypothyroidism in Toy Poodles

Legg-Calve-Perthes in Toy Poodles

Hydrocephalus in Toy Poodles

Patellar Luxation in Toy Poodles

Sebaceous Adenitis in Toy Poodles

Bloating in Toy Poodles

Epilepsy in Toy Poodles

Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Toy Poodles

Von Willebrand’s Disease in Toy Poodles

Effect of Inbreeding on a Toy Poodle’s Health

The history of the Toy Poodle is closely connected to that of its larger counterpart, the Standard Poodle.

While it may seem logical that Standard Poodles came first, the miniaturization of dogs has gone on for thousands of years and different sizes might have evolved at the same time to meet human needs—or simply because people enjoyed having smaller poodles around as companions rather than bigger dogs.

Two cute red toy poodle puppies

What makes this important is the fact that the breed’s susceptibility to Sebaceous adenitis (SA) and Addison’s disease (AD) was supposedly due to extensive inbreeding of standard poodles—most of which occurred during the mid-twentieth century when a small group of standard poodles whose offspring all won prizes at shows were used repeatedly as parents.

Due to this intense inbreeding over a period of 20 years, 50 to 60 percent of a Poodle’s ancestry can be traced back to only a few lines of breeding.

Using this information, what steps can you take to keep your toy poodle healthy?

It depends on whether or not you have already bought a poodle, or are still thinking about doing so.

Effects of inbreeding on a poodle
Some poodles are inbred to the point that it is difficult to even consider them the same species as a poodle let alone the breed.

The first step only applies if you haven’t yet bought a toy poodle. Before you get your toy poodle, here are some things you must do:

  1. To find out about a breeder’s reputation, do some online research and check rankings or reviews. Also ask people who have previously bought dogs from that breeder what their experience was like.
  2. Ask the breeder for copies of health clearances and genetic tests done on both parents, then ask them to explain what the results mean. Verify that your understanding of these terms is correct by searching online definitions to confirm consistency with their explanations.
  3. Ask the breeder if you can meet the sire and/or the dam, if not, why not? With this, you want to see the condition the breeder keeps their dogs in.
  4. Make sure you are not buying from a puppy mill.

If you already have a toy poodle, what you can do at this point is make sure your poodle is vaccinated and up to date with their vaccines.

Next, I would recommend getting a genetic testing product for your poodle like Embark Breed & Health Kit can help you get all the data you need.

Not only will embark let you know how much your poodle is inbred, but it will also give you a detailed report listing what your pup is REALLY made up of.

Embark Breed & Health Kit also gives you detailed medical reports, relatives, traits, and much more.

Toy Poodle Insurance Considerations

Poodles are known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and may be prone to genetic disorders like hip dysplasia.

Some policies will only cover you for up to 6 months after the initial diagnosis, while others may offer lifetime coverage.

Are Toy Poodles Healthy? [Poodle Experts Answer] 1

But if your dog has a genetic disorder such as hip dysplasia that requires lifelong medication and care by a veterinarian, make sure this type of treatment is covered under the pet insurance plan you are considering.

When looking at insurance policies for your toy poodle, read the fine print and pay attention to any exclusions or limitations that might apply in your dog’s case.

Here are some of the types of coverage that you may want to consider for your toy poodle:

Are Male Toy Poodles Healthier Than Females?

It has been established that female dogs, on average, live longer than males. This is also true for toy poodles.

Intact male dogs tend to live a bit longer than female dogs, but among neutered dogs, it is plainly evident that females are outliving males.

Are Toy Poodles Healthy? [Poodle Experts Answer] 2

Female dogs were more likely than male dogs to die from cancer or diabetes mellitus, whereas males were more likely than females to die from trauma.

When we compare the longevity data of intact males, intact females, and neutered females, we find that neutered males have the highest cancer deaths as compared to the other two. This is because neutering a dog increases cancer rates significantly.

When all these factors are taken into account, sex turns out to be a minor factor in how long a dog lives and what causes them to die.

What you feed, how you exercise, and other aspects of care affect a poodle’s health more than whether your poodle is male or female.

Will Neutering/Spaying Make My Toy Poodle Healthier?

The simple answer: yes.

But there’s more to it than that.

Let’s start with the basics: what are neutering and spaying?

Neutering (also known as castration) is the removal of the gonads in male dogs.

Spaying (also known as ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs.

Both procedures are performed under anesthesia so that your pet can stay pain-free during recovery.

Stitches after spaying a female poodle

Neutering or spaying your dog is one of the most important things you can do to ensure his health, both physical and mental. Here’s why.

Why is it so important?

For starters, when you neuter or spay your dog, you’re reducing their risk of certain types of cancer by as much as 90%.

That’s huge! And it doesn’t just protect them from cancer—it also protects them from other diseases like pyometra (an infection in the uterus), which can be fatal if left untreated. It also helps prevent urinary tract infections and testicular cancer.

But it goes beyond that—neutering/spaying also has benefits for your dog’s behavior and overall well-being.

Because neutered dogs are less likely to roam and fight with other dogs—which means less chance of being hurt or killed by a car or another animal—there are fewer medical expenses associated with their care later on in life because they won’t need surgery or medications due to injuries sustained during fights with other animals during their years as sexually mature adults before being fixed.

Are Some Toy Poodle Colors Healthier Than Others?

Are Some Toy Poodle Colors Healthier Than Others?

Although I would like to believe that all poodles are created equal, the stats prove otherwise.

Because people demand red poodles more than they do other colors, there are a lot of breeders trying to cash in on the market.

Different toy poodle colors

This has created an environment where unhealthy poodles are bred to produce as many red poodles as possible to meet the demand.

This is the same with parti toy poodles and phantom toy poodles. Their recent popularity has increased the demand for these unique-looking dogs.

The result is that many unhealthy dogs are being born, and their health issues can be passed on to their offspring.

Although some of these issues can be fixed with surgery or medication, others may not be able to be treated without causing more damage than good (like hip dysplasia).

However, if you get a dog from a responsible breeder who tests their dogs’ health before breeding them and tries to eradicate the breed’s primary issues, then your chances of getting an unhealthy toy poodle should drop significantly.

In general, toy poodles come in a variety of colors, and their health depends on their individual needs and circumstances—such as how much exercise they get and what sort of diet they are given among other factors.

Recommended Tests for Toy Poodles

Toy poodles are a wonderful breed of dog. They are smart, cute, and loyal to their family. But as much as we love them, toy poodles don’t come without their own set of problems that you need to be aware of before you bring one into your home.

To make sure your toy poodle is healthy and happy, it’s important to perform some basic tests on them.

These tests may help ensure that they live long lives free from illness and disease:

Test NameDisorderTypeWhen
Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER)Eye Abnormalities such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Optic Nerve HypoplasiaEye ScreeningEight Weeks Old
Stifles for Patellar LuxationPatellar LuxationPalpationAfter twelve months of age
Thyroid Malfunction TestingAutomine ThyroiditisBlood testsBetween heat cycles in female poodles and before 6 months of age in male poodles (before they reach sexual maturity)
Elbow Dysplasia ScreeningElbow DysplasiaX-rayAfter 24 months of age
Hip Dysplasia ScreeningHip DysplasiaX-rayBetween 6 to 12 months of age
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease ScreeningLegg-Calve-Perthes DiseaseX-rayAfter twelve months of age
DNA Test for von Willebrand’s Diseasevon Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)DNA test using cheek swabAnytime after birth
A red toy poodle getting his routine medical checkup

Always consult your veterinarian when you have concerns about your pet’s health.

They can help you determine the best course of action based on the results of their examination, as well as recommend additional tests that might be necessary.

Recommended Vaccines for Toy Poodles

Vaccinating your dog is an important part of his health care, protecting him against diseases that can be dangerous or even fatal.

An apricot toy poodle getting vaccinated

Rabies vaccination is required by law, but there are several other vaccinations that can help protect toy poodles from serious diseases.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, here is a list of vaccines that are considered Core Dog Vaccines:

Core vaccinations are critical because all dogs face a universal risk of exposure to serious diseases such as rabies. In addition, they may spread disease to other animals—and even people!

Core vaccines are designed to guard against the most serious diseases, but these Non-Core vaccines can protect your toy poodle from other illnesses:

Although they are not as crucial to your dog’s health as the core vaccinations, these non-core vaccines can still be very important.

When you bring your dog in for his next checkup, ask your vet to review which non-core vaccines might be appropriate and recommend the ones that make the most sense for your toy poodle.

How Much Exercise Do Toy Poodles Need to Stay Healthy?

Toy poodles are the smallest of all the poodle breeds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise!

Are Toy Poodles Healthy? [Poodle Experts Answer] 3

Even though they are small, they still need regular physical and mental stimulation.

Toy poodles are active dogs and need at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. This means walking them daily, training them using different methods, playing games with them in your backyard, or taking them on hikes around your neighborhood.

Apart from that, make sure you give your toy poodle plenty of toys and puzzles to keep them engaged throughout the day.

This will help him stay mentally stimulated and help prevent behavior problems such as boredom or separation anxiety.

Optimal Nutrition to Keep Toy Poodles Healthy

Toy poodles are small, but they still need a good diet to keep them happy and healthy!

First off, don’t feed your little poochie table scraps. Poodles are prone to bloating—and if you give them too much of a good thing, it can be a disaster for their digestive system.

An old man feeding a young toy red poodle

Instead, try mixing in wet food with dry food. The wet will help with digestion, and it’s also better for keeping your dog hydrated than dry kibble alone.

If you find that your poodle has a sensitive stomach, you can add pumpkin to the mix—it’s known to soothe upset tummies and bloaty bellies.

And speaking of bloating…make sure you don’t exercise or encourage running right after your poodle eats! This will only exacerbate any problem with bloating (and probably cause gas).


So, are toy poodles healthy?

The answer is yes! Toy poodles are dogs with a lifespan of 12 to 18 years. As long as you keep your toy poodle in shape with regular exercise, get routine health checkups, and a proper diet, they can live a long and happy life.

I understand how precious a dog’s health is to their owners, and that you want to do everything possible to make sure they live a long and happy life.

I hope that reading this article has made you more aware of the health issues that toy poodles may face.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.

Nancy Williams

👩🏻‍🦱 Hey, I'm Nancy! Over at PoodleGo, I'm "that passionate poodle lady". At home? Mom to 3 kiddos 👶🏻, ruled by 2 diva poodles 🐩, and one dramatic Persian cat 🐈‍⬛ who thinks he’s king. Poodles might seem all glam, but they’re more than just fancy fur. Dive into PoodleGo and discover the magic behind these curly superstars ✨. For some behind-the-scenes poodle tales 🐾, don't miss our newsletter 💌. Let's embark on this fluffy journey together! 💯