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The Moyen Poodle – Not Too Big and Not Too Small

A Moyen Poodle is somewhat of an outsider in the poodle world. It’s not that it is a particularly rare breed, nor is it a hybrid or a mixed breed. It is, in fact, a rather common dog in the United States and Europe.

The name comes from its size. Moyen is the French word for middle, which indicates it is a dog that fits somewhere in-between two other sizes. Poodles, at least those that meet the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for the breed, come in three sizes: miniature, standard, and large. You might assume that a middle poodle would be another name for a standard sized member of the breed. That is, however, not the case. This is a poodle that, as far as size is concerned, fits somewhere in-between the miniature and the standard members of the breed.

Why then is this particular dog an outsider? It is a recognized breed, after all. In fact, it isn’t even a special breed like those resulting from specialized breeding programs. According to the AKC standards, the breed comes in three sizes, but the Moyen is a fourth size. It is an outsider because the AKC does not recognize this particular size. It is too big to be shown in competition with the miniatures, and too small to be shown in competition with the standard-sized members of the breed. Since it doesn’t fit in either bracket, it would be disqualified in competition. Only the AKC knows why the AKC doesn’t have a place for the Moyen. It should be mentioned, however, that the AKC does indeed recognize this dog as being a legitimate member of the breed. It’s just that its size prevents it from winning ribbons.

Moyen, Klein, Mini or Gross

There’s another name for this particular dog. In Europe, it is also called a Klein Poodle. Klein is German for small or mini, and this small dog is simply a small Standard Poodle. It could also be called a Gross Miniature Poodle, as “gross” is German for “large.” Gross has other connotations in English, though, including “terrible” and disgusting and would be an unfortunate name to tag on a very intelligent and wonderful breed.

When Moyens or Kleins are shown in the United States in competitions not sanctioned by the AKC, they are normally placed in the Non-Sporting class. In England, on the other hand, Kleins are shown in the Gun Dog class. It’s little wonder that this smaller than standard puppy may wonder at times where it actually belongs.

Temperament

Moyens, Minis, or Kleins make wonderful pets. Like others of the breed, they are extremely intelligent dogs. Because of their small stature, they can sometimes be affected by the “small dog syndrome,” which needs to be trained out of it if symptoms begin to appear. A dog affected by this syndrome will often attempt to become the leader of the pack and, in doing so, will exhibit less than desirable behavior.

This dog is seldom aggressive, though, especially if some effort has been made to socialize it with people and other dogs. It is good with children and makes a good watchdog, as the breed tends to bark a lot. If you take one into your home, a lesson it will need to learn is that there is a time for barking and a time to be quiet. Being an intelligent dog, it can usually be taught which is which.

An Extremely Intelligent Breed

The main problem you may have with this mini-sized canine is it is too intelligent. It has to be kept busy or entertained or it will find a way to get into trouble. It also needs to be a member of the family. If you keep this dog outside in a kennel and only talk to it when it’s time to feed it, you’re asking for trouble. If it isn’t getting the attention it thinks it deserves, it could become high-strung or neurotic. In that respect, this little dog is a lot like a very intelligent person. If that person can’t be kept busy doing something important, he or she can quickly become bored, which can lead to problems.

In spite of being an energetic little dog, the Klein Poodle makes a good companion for those who live in an apartment. You will still need to make sure it gets its exercise, so be prepared to take it on a walk or two every day. When indoors, companionship will keep it content, so it’s mostly a matter of finding the right balance between exercise and relaxing that suits both you and your pet.

Clips and Pom-Poms

Like any other poodle, this dog’s coat needs to be clipped on occasion, usually every four to six weeks. You can clip the entire coat, which usually takes the least amount of time. This type of haircut is called a puppy clip or a lamb clip. You shear your pet like you would shear a sheep or lamb. There are also the fancier clips, of course, such as the kennel clip, the town and country clip, or a full body clip leaving pom-poms on the feet and end of the tail. You can always experiment. Your pet won’t mind. If you make a mistake or your design turns out to be a bad idea, the coat will quickly grow back.

The pom-pom has some practical significance. The poodle is a hunting dog and a water dog, although it is not used much for hunting today. The coat was trimmed back to allow the dog to move through the water with less effort. The original purpose of the pom-poms was to give the dog’s joints some protection from the cold, both in and out of the water.

Longevity and Health Issues

A Moyen Poodle can be expected to enjoy a reasonably long life. Its life span is normally somewhere between 12 and 15 years. It can, like others of its breed, have certain health problems which tend to be genetic in nature. Poodles are more susceptible to cataracts and certain other eye disorders than other breeds, and also have a greater propensity to experience ear infections. Skin problems can sometimes be an issue. In many cases, when skin problems do crop up, they are due to improper use of clippers or allergic reactions to shampoos used when bathing; which should be fairly often because of the density and texture of the coat.

There are quite a few breeders who specialize in this mini-sized breed, and Moyen or Klein Poodles are not hard to find. Their size is, of course, their most distinct feature, but it is a size that is ideal for many pet owners who want a small dog, but not a toy or lap dog.