All about the miniature Poodle breed standard
The Humane League of the United States estimates that twenty-five percent of all abandoned animals are purebreds. So, the odds of that shelter dog being a purebred Miniature Poodle are pretty high.
The miniature Poodle is between eleven and fifteen inches high at the withers (highest point of the shoulder) and is only about fifteen to seventeen pounds. In comparison, a Standard Poodle is at least fifteen inches in height and weighs an average of fifty pounds.
Miniature Poodles have the same body types and facial expressions and attitudes of their larger Poodle brothers and sisters. They possess lean and athletic bodies underneath the enormous coats. They are built more like small hounds, with a pointed nose, a profile officially described as chiseled, a rounder forehead than regular hounds and floppy rounded ears that naturally seem to hug the head. Their eyes are usually dark, but lighter colored eyes do occur, although not in show quality Miniature Poodles. They have a scissors bite, which is used just on food and toys.
Their long and strong bodies have a level spine (called a topline in the dog show world), although some pet-quality Miniature Poodles will have a topline that slopes down to their hindquarters. The tail and head are naturally held high. The feet are oval in shape, although pet-quality Miniature Poodles will have splayed feet. The overall look of the dog is that all of the body parts should be in proportion to each other.
The Miniature Poodle does not naturally grow the outrageous coats seen in the show ring. Their coats do need to be clipped every six to eight weeks or else they take on an evil life of their own. Many owners of pet Miniature Poodles choose the puppy clip, which mimics how the coat looked as a two month old puppy.
All coats of Poodle types are long and curly and are actually hair and not fur. Most Miniature Poodles fall short of their breed standard in many areas, but still can be purebred Miniature Poodles.
Common faults that would disqualify them from a show ring include too large and protruding eyes, an ewe neck, splayed paws instead of oval shaped paws, more than one color on the coat, the tail held too low, the tail curled over the back or the spine sloping downwards to the hindquarters. They still make wonderful pets.