The Poodle, variously cited to have originated in France or Germany, is a popular breed not just for shows but as a beloved family pet. Well known for their curly, fluffy, coat and distinctive shapes, these dogs are traditionally bred in three sizes. There is another, less-well-known breed of Poodle, however: the Moyen Poodle.
Moyens are a medium-sized Poodle; between a miniature and standard. They can grow from 15 pounds up to 35 pounds, on the larger side. Moyens are recognized internationally, but not by most Kennel Club associations, and therefore don’t meet competition standards in many places. They’re an intelligent and hearty breed that make them excellent service dogs and companions.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into what makes a Moyen a “Moyen” and how they differ from other breeds of Poodle.
What is a Moyen Poodle?
Moyens go by a few names internationally. They’re sometimes called a Klein Poodle, or Klein Moyen Poodles in Europe. Other names include the Caniche, Barbone, Chien Canne, or French Poodles. They are also sometimes simply referred to as Medium Poodles, as in the FCI standards.
What does Moyen mean?
“Moyen” is a French word meaning “medium,” indicating the size of the dog. It can also translate to “means,” as in, this dog was a means of hunting waterfowl or performing other services.
A Brief History Of Moyen Poodles
The origin of Poodles in general is debated.
It’s agreed that they were originally bred in Western Europe, although the exact country is debated. The most popular origin story is for Germany, as the name “Poodle” originates from the German word for “puddle.” They were named for their bred profession, which was as a waterfowl retrieving dog.
Moyens were apparently bred specifically to be a more suitable companion dog than their Standard Poodle cousins. Their smaller size made them easier to cuddle and handle indoors.
Are Moyen Poodles Widely Recognized?
The Moyen is recognized by FCI registries worldwide, but isn’t recognized by the American, Canadian, or United Kingdom Kennel Clubs. Kennel Clubs tend to only recognize three Poodle sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy.
This means that their eligibility for competition varies depending on the organization running it. It also means that it can be harder to find a reliable breeder.
How Moyen Poodles Compare to Other Poodles
Moyens’ mid-range size does mean that they do not qualify for many purebred competitions, as they are too small to compete with standards and too large to compete with miniatures. They do, however, make excellent grooming competition dogs.
Here is how the Moyen Poodle size and weight, as well as their lifespan and coloring, stack up when compared to other Poodle sizes, courtesy of the FCI standards and the AKC. In the Moyen Poodle size chart below, we’ll compare a Moyen Poodle vs Standard Poodle, as well as Miniatures, Toys, and (thus far also unrecognized) Teacups.
|Origin||Germany||France, Germany||France, Germany||France, Germany||France|
|Lifespan||12-15 years||12-15 years||12-15 years||12-15 years||8-15 years|
|Colors||Black, white, brown, grey, and fawn.||Black, brown, grey, fawn, cream, red.||Black, white, brown, grey, cream, red.||Black, white, brown, sable, cream, red.||Black, white, brown, grey, red, brindle, apricot.|
A red Moyen Poodle is fairly rare. This coat color came about around 35 years ago, and is still considered ineligible for many competitions. Despite their considerable popularity, red Moyen Poodles are not yet widely recognized as a legitimate breed coat option.
Moyen Poodle Personality and Temperament
Moyens tend to be fantastic family dogs, as they are gentle around children but full of enough energy to keep up with them. They enjoy large amounts of outdoor activity and water play, and make fantastic travel companions.
They’re also incredibly intelligent dogs, ranked as the second smartest of 138 breeds, only slightly behind Border Collies.
This makes them perfect candidates for service, as they are more than capable and often willing to follow commands and training to assist in daily function.
Because of their intelligence, though, Moyens can be quite a handful. They’re prone to becoming sensitive and nervous if not well socialized early on, or possibly aggressive, falling victim to Small Dog Syndrome.
They are highly active dogs who do not take well to being kenneled for long periods of time or left outside, separated from the family.
Health Concerns for Moyen Poodles
As with any other Poodle size, Moyens face a variety of genetically predisposed health problems.
The best way to avoid major problems is to ensure you’re getting your Poodle from a reputable breeder, taking them to the vet regularly, and caring for them properly at home.
Here are some of the more common Poodle health concerns.
Joints and bones
Larger Poodle breeds are prone to issues with their cartilage and joints.
They might suffer from hip dysplasia or arthritis starting fairly early on, or possibly feel the effects of osteoporosis or Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, which can cause their leg bones to become weaker due to a reduced blood supply.
Poodles of all sizes are also prone to what is called a luxating patella, or floating kneecaps. This may cause them pain when walking, but can be corrected with the appropriate surgery.
Common signs of bone and joint problems in Moyens include:
- Lethargy or lack of interest in usual activities
- Slow movements
- Whimpering or whining when joints are moved.
Moyen Poodle weight can be a major factor in its propensities toward joint problems, as allowing them to become overweight can add unnecessary extra stress.
Eyes and ears
Poodles are known to frequently suffer from severe allergies, which may cause intense eye and ear irritation that can lead to infections and long-term problems.
Their love of water play can also up the risk of infection if water blocks their ears or infected water gets in their eyes.
Common signs of eye problems in moyen and other Poodles are:
- Problems focusing
- A dulling or change in color of the eyes’ pupils
- Lazy eyes or wandering gaze
- Distress and discomfort when navigating new places.
They’re prone to cataracts and other eye diseases, with most Poodles ending up blind at the time of their death. So be sure to have your dog regularly tested for any signs of issues with their sight.
As with most dogs, tooth decay is a very real concern.
Without regular brushing, plaque and bacteria build up on the surface of your dog’s teeth, eating away at the enamel and causing the teeth to become brittle and sensitive.
Common tooth decay problems for Poodles include:
- Periodontal disease
Smaller Poodles are more prone to these issues, so Moyens are only slightly more at risk than Standards, but it is still a very real concern.
Common Care Concerns for Moyen Poodles
Moyen Poodles have many of the same care concerns as the rest of the Poodle sizes, and much in common with the care of other mid-sized, long-coated dogs.
Care and grooming of a Moyen Poodles’ coat
Moyens have hair coats rather than fur coats, which means that their coats do not behave like other dogs’. Because of this, you’ll need to use special shampoos, conditioners, brushes, and combs to keep them from becoming matted and uncomfortable.
You’ll want to regularly use a slicker brush and comb to go through your dog’s coat, at least three times per week, and bathe them at least once every three weeks. It might be helpful to you to take them to a groomer regularly for trimming and general coat shaping.
Care for Moyen Poodles’ eyes and ears
When bathing your Moyen, be sure to keep water out of their eyes and ears, as buildup can lead to infection.
You’ll want to gently wipe a damp cloth over their eyes to remove mucus buildup and check for inflammation before drying their face carefully.
You’ll also want to use a specialized ear cleaning solution, available from your vet, to regularly clean out their ear. Soak a cotton ball and set it in the ear opening, massaging for 30 seconds, then remove the cotton ball and wipe down the ear. Keep an eye out for hairs growing into the ear that need to be removed.
Care for Moyen Poodles’ teeth
Be sure to get your dog used to tooth brushing early on by touching the brush to their teeth, letting them taste the toothpaste, and slowly introducing it as part of a daily routine.
You can find excellent canine toothbrushes and toothpaste at your local vet or pet store, or online.
You can also use dental treats, designed specifically to clean their teeth while they chew, to ensure that they are healthy in a way they’ll enjoy.
Common Questions About Moyen Poodles
Because they are an unusual subsection of the breed, there are a lot of questions about Moyens that need to be answered. Here are some of the more common ones.
What is the difference between a Standard Poodle and a Moyen Poodle?
Some argue that a Moyen is simply a slightly smaller Standard Poodle. This is true to some degree, as they share much more in common with Standards than they do with Miniatures, so the difference in a Moyen Poodle vs a Standard Poodle is fairly slim.
That being said, they come in such a specific and consistent size and weight range that it would make little sense to make them a subcategory rather than their own size category.
Do Moyen Poodles shed?
Because they have a hair coat, Poodles in general do not shed in the same way that dogs with regular fur coats do. They are more likely to have longer, easier-to-matt hair, hence the need for regular brushing and trimming.
Are Moyen Poodles hypoallergenic?
Because they do not shed regularly, and they produce less dander than many other breeds, Moyen Poodles are considered to be a good choice for owners with allergies.
That being said, there is no dog breed that is completely hypoallergenic, and this should be considered before investing in a Moyen when one suffers from more serious pet allergies.
Moyen Poodles as Pets
Moyens are a unique choice when it comes to pet ownership. Their smaller size means that they are better suited to apartments and shared living spaces, and are excellent dogs to cuddle up with. They’re good around small children, active, and smart.
If you’re looking for a service dog, a working companion, or just a loveable, unusual pet, a Moyen Poodle might be perfect for your needs.