Do you daydream of snuggling on a sofa with a small furry friend but maybe feel a large dog would be incompatible with your lifestyle? All this is leading you down the path of a lap dog.
In this article we will focus on the Poodle’s applicability to fill this role and why so many people are such fans of their Lap Poodles.
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What is a Lap Dog?
The term lap dog does not describe a specific breed, instead, it is a way of describing a variety of small dogs that not only are small enough to fit on their human’s lap but also display the temperament to enjoy this.
In this article though we will focus on the Poodle’s credentials in the lapdog arena. Now some people may only be familiar with the large Standard Poodle which definitely does not fit in the lap dog category, even if he may try! But there is a much smaller Poodle iteration in the form of the Toy and even smaller Teacup Poodle.
To give you an idea of the Toy Poodle’s diminutive size they regularly come in at between 8″ and 10″ in height and weigh as little as 6lbs to 9lbs. This makes them ideal for scooping up onto laps for a snuggle.
There is an even smaller Poodle variation that you may see referred to as a Teacup Poodle. Strictly speaking, this is not a recognized size by most kennel and breeder clubs, rather this is an example of an undersized Toy Poodle.
A Teacup Poodle is often under 8″ in height and can be less than 6lbs. While this may, on the surface, appear even cuter, in reality, this is the result of picking unusually small Toy Poodles and breeding them. This is not always the most ethical practice as often pups who are unusually small are this size due to health defects. Being so small also makes them more fragile overall.
Why a Lap Poodle?
As mentioned above, lap dogs do not need to be Poodles. Other popular lap dog breeds include Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Lhaso Apso to name just a few. But with so many options why would you choose a Toy Poodle specifically?
There are plenty of attributes that make the Toy Poodle stand out in the lap dog world. We know size-wise they are compact and light first off.
Secondly, their distinctive hair like curly coat sheds minimally which is a major bonus if you do not want to be constantly brushing dog hair off your clothing.
Thirdly the Toy Poodle is a very intelligent and loyal dog, this means they can easily pick up training and progress to tricks and assistance tasks if their owners desire.
Overall the Toy Poodle as a lap dog has all the right credentials in size and cuteness but also a fair bit of brains to back it up.
Are Lap Poodles Cuddly?
While all dogs can vary depending on a number of factors such as training and breeding, on the whole, Lap Poodles are renowned for their tendency to seek out their owners and happily engage in cuddling up on a sofa, chair, or bed.
They are still Poodles though and the Lap Poodle can display some aloofness or suspicion of new people. Often there will be a certain family member that they bond most strongly with and may not bestow their snuggles on just anyone.
Can a Lap Poodle be used for Therapy and Emotional Support?
The Lap Poodle has great potential to be used in therapy or emotional support settings. A quick internet search finds accounts and online videos devoted to some well-known examples of Toy Poodle who provide therapy support to a whole plethora of groups.
The intelligence of these little dogs makes them ideal to learn all manner of tricks and antics that can relieve stress or brighten people’s days in stressful situations such as hospital visits.
On an individual basis as an emotional support dog, Lap Poodle display a certain level of devotion to their owners and demonstrate sensitivity to their moods and feelings.
The benefit of a Lap Poodle in therapy settings is that their small size makes them easily transportable and they can access almost any environment with minimal adjustment. Their light weight and small size mean that they can easily snuggle alongside small children or medically frail people without injuring them.
You can read more in our specialist article Can a Toy Poodle be a Service Dog?
What Living Accommodation is Best for a Lap Poodle?
The good news is that the Lap Poodle is an extremely adaptable little dog. They will do well in bigger homes but equally can fully adapt to an apartment or smaller home living. This is due to them physically being small, so they take up less space but equally, their smaller size means their exercise needs are considerably less than their Standard Poodle counterparts.
In fact, some of the smallest variations of the Lap Poodle will actively thrive in apartment living. Especially if they live in particularly hot or cold climates where they may be at risk from exercising for prolonged periods outdoors.
Consider yourself warned though, while they may not need miles and miles of physical walking every day, your Lap Poodle will need interaction and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Left unstimulated or alone for long periods a Lap Poodle will almost inevitably exhibit some degree of anxiety or destructive traits due to boredom.
Do Lap Poodles Cost a Lot to Keep?
Owning any dog is a big commitment and it is wise to consider all the associated costs prior to committing. While a Lap Poodle is small, they still require all the key things that a dog of any size needs such as insurance, possible vet bills, and food.
That is on top of a purchase price if you choose to get your Lap Poodle from a breeder. Toy Poodles are desirable, especially those proven to come from reputable and well-adjusted parent dogs, this means they are not cheap. Even if you do find a potential Lap Poodle in a shelter there is often a re-homing fee (however, this is often considerably less than a breeder fee)
Individual insurance rates will be impacted by a number of factors but generally speaking, the Lap Poodle is considered reasonably healthy. So may not have as high premiums as some other breeds. There are a few conditions common in them, particularly dental problems and some joint issues in relation to their kneecaps that may add a bit of a premium.
Some people may choose to take the risk, not take insurance, and elect to pay vet bills for their Lap Poodle. Be warned this may be a costly endeavor, especially considering they can go on to live in excess of 15 years. By their later years most Toy Poodles will need more regular vet visits and taking out a lifetime policy may prove the better economic decision.
The bonus of having such a small dog is that your food bill monthly will be fairly minimal. Some of the smallest Lap Poodles may only need in the region of 0.5 cups of good quality kibble a day.
How to Make Sure the Breeder is Reputable
When looking to find a Lap Poodle one of the biggest red flags to watch out for is breeders who actively promote the smallest of Teacup sizes. As mentioned earlier there are ethical concerns about breeding ever smaller variations of Toy Poodles.
A reputable breeder will be able to show you the parent dogs and provide health testing and temperament reports on both. They should be just as interested in your credentials as a potential owner to ensure the well-being of their puppies.
You should see the requirement to be on a waiting list for a litter as a positive as it suggests a breeder is following a sensible breeding frequency.