Poodle

Whether it is the Toy, Miniature, or Standard variety, Poodles are impressive dogs who will win your heart with their friendliness, affection, intelligence, and cheerful energy. You may first be impressed by their beautiful, regal looks, but will be won over by their fantastic personality. Incredibly smart, these dogs are ranked #2 in intelligence, only below the Border Collie. They are also incredibly personable, highly trainable, and a joy to work with, even for first-time dog owners.

Poodle puppy
Cute Poodle puppy Original image by user Living in Monrovia on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.
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Their hypo-allergenic and non-shedding coat may be a draw for potential owners, but beware, you may spend just as much time grooming your beautiful Poodle as you do playing with them. Speaking of playtime, Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodles are always ready for a fun walk, game of fetch, or an adventure. They're happy doing just about anything, as long as they get to do it with their favorite person -you! They even love organized dog sports like Agility and Fly-Ball. Over the years, Poodles have become known as Best In Show winners and it's no wonder that they remain a popular choice of dog. From the working dog past of the Standard Poodle to the lap-loving Miniatures and Toys, these special dogs are deserving of their excellent reputation.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Poodle breed is also commonly known by the names Pudle, Caniche, Barbone.

Popularity: Very popular

Life expectancy: 10 - 13 years

Breed group: Non-Sporting Dogs (AKC)

Size: Large

Male Female
Height 0 - 0 in 0 - 0 in
Weight 44 - 64 lbs 44 - 64 lbs

Coat:

Colors: Black, Black and Tan, Red, Silver, Brown, White, Blue

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Not a heavy shedder at all

Grooming requirements: Very high

Good with children: Definitely

Good with other pets: Yes

Intelligence / Trainability: Very high

Exercise needs: High

Tolerates being alone: Absolutely not

Hunting drive: Low

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Very sensitive

Good for novice owners: Definitely

Hypoallergenic breed: Yes

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Occasional

General health: Below average

Cost to keep: High

History

The Poodle we know today was bred in three sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodle. The Standard Poodle is largely recognized as the oldest of the three varieties, and the smaller varieties are the result of breeding down to achieve the smaller size. It's easy to understand why breeders would want to breed to smart, friendly, affable working dog into a smaller companion and the smaller varieties came about not long after the Standard Poodle.

There is no clear origin of the Poodle, though they are commonly thought to come from Germany. The French believe that they descended from the French Barbet and may have been crossed with the Hungarian Water Dog.

The Standard Poodle was used as a hunting dog, usually for duck hunting and sometimes upland bird hunting. They are well-suited to the job, with their intelligence, willingness to please, webbed feet, and love for water. However, in the early 1900's they fell out of favor as hunting dogs. At this time they were used mainly as performing dogs in circuses and as pets for the wealthy. In the 1990's, a group of breeders in the United States sought to revive their hunting roots and have been successful in breeding a dog with a renewed prey drive.

Poodles were one of the first breeds registered with American Kennel Club and have continued to be a popular breed throughout the years.

Appearance

Poodles are impressive dogs with an active, proud, and intelligent countenance. The breed standard for all three varieties (Toy, Miniature, and Standard) is the same except for height. Standard Poodles are above 15 inches, Miniature Poodles are taller than 10 inches, up to 15 inches, and Toy Poodles are 10 inches and smaller.
Typical characteristics are:


  • Rounded head with large, dark eyes, long, straight, and fine muzzle, intelligent expression, and long, wide, folded ears.

  • Well-proportinoed and level body.

  • A straight, longish tail is carried up.

  • A dense, curly, water-repellent coat. Various shades of blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au- laits, apricots, and creams.

Temperament

Intelligence/Trainability

Poodles are well-known for their intelligence and trainability. They are playful, love to be around people, and are eager to please. Because they are so easy to train, they are excellent dogs for first-time owners.

As with all intelligent breeds, Poodles require an outlet for their energy and intelligence. In short, they do best with a job, even if that job is simply chasing a ball or accompanying you on walks. They are incredibly fast learners and will learn bad habits just as quickly as good ones.

Activity

Because they were originally bred as working dogs, Poodles are high-energy dogs that require a fair amount of exercise. 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice per day is enough to keep your Poodle healthy and happy. They enjoy all sorts of activities, like walking, playing fetch, agility, and more.

Exercising your Poodle puppy requires a few special considerations. Poodles have an increased risk of hip dysplasia. Avoid exercising on slippery surfaces and climbing stairs under the age of 3 months. Exercise is needed, however, as strong muscles will increase the stability of the hip joint. Outdoor exercise on soft, uneven grounds seems to have a lower risk. Try to avoid exercise that involves running, jumping and playing on hard surfaces until the age of 2.

Independence

Poodles are excellent family dogs and do best when they can spend as much time with their families as possible. The smaller miniature and toy breeds were bred specifically for companionship. Poodles do not do well when left alone for long periods of time and will want to be near their families.

Protective

Poodles are affectionate, loving, and protective of their own families. They can be wary of strangers and will certainly sound a warning bark if someone they don't know approaches. They will warm up slowly to new people.

Living Conditions

Poodles are adaptable dogs and do well in a variety of living situations. The smaller poodles, the toy and miniature varieties, are especially well-suited to apartment living, while the Standard Poodle may require more room for vigorous exercise. All varieties of Poodles will need a decent amount of exercise daily to remain healthy and happy.

Children and Other Pets

Poodles are excellent family dogs and do especially well with children. While the noise and commotion of kids may upset some dogs, Poodles are happy to be a part of a busy, noisy household. Standard Poodles are large, playful dogs, so caution should be taken around small children (under the age of 6) as they could easily knock over a child while playing.

The smaller varieties are also wonderful family pets but require some special considerations. As with all toy breeds, special care should be taken with small children. Small children and toddlers can’t be expected to know how to properly handle the dog. They might drop them, step on them or squeeze them too tight.


  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

Keep in mind that all children should be taught how to interact correctly with ANY dog and should never be left unsupervised.

Poodles are generally happy in the company of other dogs and do well with other pets. Early socialization is extremely important, as Poodles who are not accustomed to other dogs/pets may be wary or suspicious. They have a low prey drive, so with proper socialization and introduction, they are good candidates for living with other small, furry animals.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Poodle is between 10 - 13 years. Like all breeds, the Poodle is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Poodle is prone to these diseases:
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (hereditary)
  • Hypothyroidism (hereditary)
  • Von Willebrand's Disease (VWD) (hereditary)
  • Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) (hereditary)
  • Addison's Disease (hereditary)
  • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (hereditary)
  • Patellar Luxation (hereditary) : Patellar luxation is a very common orthopedic disorder in dogs. A patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap (patella) is dislocated or slips out of its normal position. More info»
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (hereditary) : Progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of inherited degenerative eye disorders, which lead to loss of vision. PRA affects both eyes simultaneously and is not painful More info»

Grooming

Poodles are a non-shedding breed, therefore they are excellent dogs for people with allergies or people who would like to avoid having dog hair all over their home. However, there is a trade-off. Poodles require extensive grooming. In fact, as a Poodle owner, you may want to consider a regular schedule with a professional groomer.

Clipping your Poodle's coat short may make care slightly easier, but they are still high-maintenance dogs. Your Poodle will need to be brushed, trimmed, and bathed at least every three to six weeks. Even with professional grooming, your Poodle needs a daily brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting.

Poodles tend to have weepy eyes that result in stains under their eyes. Wipe your poodle's eyes every day with a warm cloth or an alcohol-free pet cloth designed for eye stains.

Poodles have fold over ears, which provide a place for bacteria and fungus to grow. Therefore, they can be prone to ear infections. A Poodle's ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad smell and the outer ear should be cleaned with a cotton ball and an ear cleaner designed specifically for dogs. Additionally, any time they get wet, ears should be checked and cleaned.

Teeth brushing two or three times per week (daily is best) helps prevent tartar build up and teeth problems. Nail trimming is an important part of grooming if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. Once or twice a month should suffice. Trimming a dog's nails too close can cause bleeding and pain, so it is important to trim carefully or seek the help of a vet or groomer.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.

Feeding

Recommended daily amount: Standards, 1.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals; Miniatures, 3/4 to 1 cup; Toys, 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less.

Toy breeds are prone to teeth problems. Eating problems can be the result of teeth decay – if your dog is having any problems eating, make sure to take him to the vet for a checkup.

Special attention is needed when feeding puppies. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a burden but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

Make sure that your dog is not becoming overweight. Obese dogs suffer can suffer from all kinds of health conditions. If you can’t feel the ribs when you move your hands over his sides, he needs to be put on a diet.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.