The Toy Poodle is the smallest of the Poodle breed. It was developed at the start of the 20th century to make the popular hunting dog, the Standard Poodle, in a miniature version as a companion animal.
Like other small breeds, Toy Poodles can live a long time with proper care. Several factors impact its lifespan, however, such as nutrition, genetics, health, and more.
What’s the Average Lifespan of a Toy Poodle?
The average lifespan of a Toy Poodle is 12 to 16 years. Interestingly, this is comparable to the other Poodle varieties, despite them being much larger. Smaller Poodle varieties can live a year or two longer than the Standard, however.
Generally, smaller dog breeds outlive larger ones. This is due to the aging process in small vs. large dogs—large dogs age much faster than small dogs. The average lifespan of a Toy Poodle is similar to that of other small or medium dog breeds.
Why Do Some Toy Poodles Live Longer Than Others?
Several factors impact the Toy Poodle’s lifespan:
Optimal nutrition, and more importantly, appropriate portions have a dramatic effect on health and lifespan. According to a study on food-restriction, dogs that had controlled portions weighed less, had a lower body fat content, and better overall health. They also had a significantly longer lifespan than the control group and a delay in the onset of chronic disease.
With this in mind, it’s important to keep your Toy Poodle at an optimal weight to not only increase lifespan but prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart problems, joint problems, and certain types of cancer.
Environment and Conditions
Researching the specific effects of the environment and factors like stress and anxiety would be challenging, not to mention the potentially huge welfare implications. But common sense indicates that dogs that live in stressful environments or environments that don’t meet their needs would be at possible risk of health conditions that could shorten lifespan significantly.
Enclosure Size/Living Quarters/Housing
Similarly, the enclosure size or living quarters of a dog could contribute to disease, such as dogs kept in close quarters with other dogs that could transmit infectious diseases. Also, dogs that are confined for unreasonable periods of time are denied opportunities for physical and mental stimulation that’s necessary for a full life and health.
Generally, small dogs live longer lives than medium or large dogs. Incidentally, Poodles of all sizes have similar average lifespans, despite the differences in size. Toy Poodles may live a year or two longer than their Miniature or Standard counterparts, however.
The sex of the dog has no definitive impact on lifespan. All being the same, male and female dogs have a similar average lifespan, though males may live slightly younger.
What can impact lifespan related to sex, however, is whether the dog is spayed or neutered. Intact dogs are susceptible to infections, degenerative diseases, and productive cancers. Both intact males and females may also be susceptible to violent causes of death, such as fatal injuries from fighting over mates or roaming and getting hit by a car.
Overall, mixed breeds have a higher average life expectancy than purebred dogs. That said, purebred Toy Poodles may have a longer lifespan if the parents are healthy and have been tested and cleared for genetic health conditions.
Poodles are prone to a variety of health conditions, including Cushing’s Disease, hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes, neonatal encephalopathy, progressive retinal atrophy, Addison’s disease, chronic active hepatitis, and Von Willebrand’s Disease. In addition, Poodles are prone to bloat, joint problems, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and more, which may shorten their lifespan.
While responsibly breeding dogs itself may not impact lifespan, it does open opportunities for complications that can injure or kill the female dog. Inbreeding also presents a problem for the whole of the breed and may affect the puppies’ health and longevity.
Dogs that receive regular veterinary care are likely to live a longer life. Vaccinations help to prevent many potentially fatal diseases, including rabies, leptospirosis, distemper, parvovirus, and more. Routine veterinary exams also allow vets to identify indicators of a health problem, such as tumors or chronic conditions.
The 4 Life Stages of a Toy Poodle
Toy Poodle puppies are born blind and deaf until they’re about two weeks old. During this time, the puppies are completely dependent upon their mother for nourishment, body temperature control, and protection.
At about three or four weeks, puppies are weaned from their mothers and transitioned to puppy food. They will continue to develop-and gain independence for the remaining weeks. At eight to 12 weeks, Toy Poodles are able to go to new homes.
It’s better for puppies to be taken from their mothers later, since this early period helps with emotional and social development. Socialization during this period is also important for a well-adjusted pup that’s not fearful of humans, other animals, and its environment.
The adolescent period for a puppy is essentially a “toddler.” Puppies are more likely to act out and push boundaries during this time. They also begin to lose their puppy teeth and gain adult teeth, which involves a lot of chewing. Toy Poodles need plenty of play and exercise during this period to provide physical and mental stimulation.
3. Mature Adult
Toy Poodles are fully matured when they reach one year of age. They may be fully grown, or close to it, and typically stand at 10 inches to the shoulder and weigh between four and six pounds. Males are usually larger than females.
Small dogs, such as Toy Poodles, are considered senior dogs when they reach 11 to 12 years of age. They may experience age-related declines—just like humans—such as a loss of vision and hearing, less energy, weight gain, arthritis, loss of teeth, and loss of organ integrity. Senior dogs often have outward signs of aging as well, such as loose skin and more gray hair.
How To Tell Your Toy Poodle’s Age
Vets may be able to estimate a Toy Poodle’s age based on signs like cloudy eyes, dental tartar, tooth wear, and general appearance. But once a dog matures, it’s more difficult to accurately determine age between two or eight years. This is even more likely with small dogs, which reach maturity faster and age more slowly than large dogs.
Like most small dogs, Toy Poodles are long-lived pups. Though they’re prone to some health conditions, Toy Poodles can live a long and healthy life with the proper care and nutrition. This includes regular vet visits, plenty of physical and mental stimulation, and lots of love.
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