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Clothes for Toy Poodles

Some styles also appropriate for miniatures and standards


While placing cute clothes on a toy Poodle certainly has the added benefit of making a dog look adorable, there are also some very valid reasons why clothing is warranted. This section will cover the most common advantages to clothing a toy Poodle and offer some beautiful choices that are especially sized for toy sized dogs. 

Valid Reasons for Clothing

Trouble maintaining body temperature - Just the fact of having hair as opposed to fur can lead to a Poodle of any variety becoming chilled quite easily; however, this is commonly applicable to toy Poodles since toy breed dogs are known to have trouble regulating body temperature due in part to having very little fat reserves. 

Signs are shivering and shaking and are sometimes mistaken for nervousness.  Often, slipping on a small shirt or thin sweater can be just the thing to help a toy Poodle feel comfortable.
Poodle wearing warm shirt
Photo courtesy of owner: Dorothy Meneely
To help tolerate the outdoors during chilly weather - A huge factor that affects both house training and ensuring that a dog receives his 2 walks per day to meet exercise requirements is the weather. 

Many owners cut walks short if they themselves are cold, if their dog shows signs of intolerance or even just if the outside conditions lead one to assume that a dog may be uncomfortable.

Slipping on a vest or sweater or a rain coat during showers can help make taking your Poodle outside a much more tolerable and even fun event. 
To protect during a phase of having coat issues - If a Poodle is suffering from skin or coat issues that leads to a thinning coat or bald spots, clothing can offer a layer of protection that help prevent sores and further irritation to those areas. If you are using a healing creme or other product that is applied to the coat, a shirt will offer both comfort and work to keep the product in place. 

Other, possible benefits

Security - There are two scenarios in which clothing can help a Poodle feel safer. The first is for overly shy, nervous dogs. Similar to how thunder shirts offer a swaddling effect that calms a dog down, clothing can offer a similar feeling; it can make dogs that tend to feel vulnerable feel a bit safer. 

The other instance is in the event of 'grooming gone bad' in which a groomer gets carried away and shaves a Poodle much closer to the skin than you've asked for. Some dogs struggle with the sudden disappearance of their coat; this can cause a Poodle to display odd behavior such as hiding or acting agitated or even afraid for some time afterward. In these cases, placing a soft sweater or shirt on the Poodle can almost instantly offer a layer of security. 

Clothing Tips

When you are looking for clothing for your Poodle, there are a few things to keep in mind aside from just choosing the pieces that look cute or come in pretty colors:

1) Durability - Just about nothing is worse than finding a cute sweater or top only to have it fall apart after a few uses, have it stretch out after being worn or shrink when washed. So, it's better to have a few quality pieces that you know will last for a while than 20 that must be thrown away.

In addition, some Poodles can become very attached to favorite pieces of clothing, so you'll want ones that stand the test of time and if your Poodle is attached to a certain sweater or shirt, you may want to buy doubles.

2) Sizing - One of the biggest obstacles that owners of toy Poodles come across is finding clothing for dogs that actually fit tiny toy breeds. You'll want the top to fit snug and never so loose that it interferes with the Poodle's ability to walk, run, jump or move around as he normally does. 

For this reason, ahead you will see some select clothing choices that we've found to fit most toy Poodles very well. 

Types of Clothing

There are a few different choices, depending on your Poodle's needs:

Shirts and tops - Slip-on shirts are a fundamental piece. These are generally very easy to put on and off, are thin enough to be tolerated by dogs that may not be used to wearing clothes and great because while they do offer the benefits of clothing, are not too thick as to cause a dog to overheat. 

Vests - Vests are fantastic for helping dogs that struggle to maintain core body temperature, offering protection and warmth where a dog needs it most.

Coats - For extreme weather conditions such as below-freezing days or snowy days in the winter, a coat can be the difference between a Poodle that hesitates at the door and wants to rush back inside a moment after exiting and a Poodle that enjoys his daily walk and remains outside long enough to go to the bathroom. 

Rain jackets - Just because this breed is a 'water dog' does not mean that all Poodles will naturally enjoy getting wet from the rain; many do balk at this. For taking walks when it showers, a rain coat is appreciated by some dogs. 

Clothes That Fit Toy Poodles

The biggest obstacle is finding quality pieces that are sized small enough. With adult toy Poodles typically ranging from 9.5 to 11 inches (at the withers) and puppies smaller than this, here are some great options. 

Many of these are available in sizes Extra Extra Small to Large and with Zack & Zoey, some clothing is available in Teacup size (6 inch length)  or in XX-Small up through large. 

Clothing Care Tips

There are a couple of things to keep in mind, in order for your Poodle's wardrobe to last:

1) Read the labels. Take care to follow instructions for laundering in regard to warm/cold water and whether an item should be line dried or can be tumble dried.  Most sweaters should be line dried and you'll find that if you place the sweater on a dry towel, roll up the towel tightly and then press down, you can soak up a lot of water which leads to quick air drying afterwards. 

2) Wash after every 2 to 3 uses. While canines do not sweat in the traditional sense, their bodies do produce oils. These are produced round the clock and is the main reason why a dog may smell if a bath is overdue; it is not because he is dirty but rather that these oils have accumulated.

Minute amounts of these body oils will be absorbed into clothing that is on a Poodle, so you'll find that if you do not wash the items that they will begin to smell (often a sour musty type odor). 

To keep your Poodle's clothes smelling fresh, do wash after your dog wears an item 2 or 3 times. If he has a favorite and gets upset when you take it away, have two identical pieces that can be swapped out while one is being cleaned. 
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