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Poodle

Breed overview

  • Breed group – Non-sporting group (standard and miniature), toy group (toy)
  • Height – Over 15 inches (standard), 10 to 15 inches (miniature), under 10 inches (toy)
  • Weight – 40 to 70 pounds (standard), 10 to 15 pounds (miniature), 4 to 6 pounds (toy)
  • Coat length & texture – Curly or corded, medium length
  • Coat color – Apricot, black, blue, brown, white, silver, silver/beige, or cream and white; gray and white. Poodles can also have black points or a black or white mask.
  • Exercise needs – High
  • Intelligence – High intelligence
  • Barking – Above average
  • Life span – 10 to 18 years
  • Temperament – Intelligent, proud, athletic
  • Hypoallergenic – Yes
  • Origin – Germany

Poodle fun facts 

  • The national dog of France
  • Classic continental poodle haircut looks fashionable but was a functional choice for hunting dogs vulnerable to cold water. Owners left hair around the ankles and torso to protect joints and organs.
  • Poodle hair doesn’t shed, fall out, or stop growing.
Two poodles in fall

Poodle temperament and characteristics 

Poodles are known for intelligence, ease of training, and a need for attention. Because of this, they’re best for owners who have the time for daily activity and to continue their training regularly. If poodles aren’t given ample time and energy from their people, they can develop bad habits like excessive barking. The smaller types (miniature and toy) can be cautious, even aggressive, toward strangers, so it’s especially important to socialize and train these breeds from an early age.

Common poodle health problems 

The most common health issues for poodles are typically genetic or hereditary conditions and skin problems. Some common health problems poodles experience issues include:

Cost of caring for poodles

Because poodles are prone to several health conditions, caring for one can be more expensive than for other breeds. Having pet insurance for your pup is a good way to reduce out-of-pocket costs, though it’ll provides the greatest benefits to pet owners who sign early in a pet’s life. Aside from pet insurance, creating a pet savings account can be another helpful way to have financial aid should an emergency arise.

History of the poodle

While the poodle may be the national dog of France, this breed first originated in Germany as a duck hunting dog. The name comes from the German word pudelin, meaning “splashing in water.” The poodle’s coat is a protective layer against the water, and their excellent swimming skills and intelligence make this breed a fantastic retriever. However, poodles quickly moved from working dogs into lives of luxury in France when noble families grew fond of them. These dogs are natural entertainers, which made them popular in European circuses.

When poodles first came to America in the 20th century, they were bred down from the standard and miniature sizes to create the toy poodle, intended as a city companion versus a working dog.

Poodle resting on a pillow

Caring for your poodle

Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. Here are some other basics specific to poodles.

Exercise

Poodles of all sizes thrive on staying active. Since the breed originated as duck retrievers, most poodles love to swim, which can be great exercise. You can also play fetch or go for long walks or runs to meet their high energy levels.

Poodle jumping in water

Grooming

The non-shedding hair of a poodle is great for owners with allergies, but it can also be high maintenance. The grooming level that your poodle needs depends on how long you want to keep their hair. Short trims don’t need as much work, while more natural medium-to-long hair needs regular brushing and bathing. If you don’t keep up with daily grooming on your long-coated poodle, they can develop painful matting near the skin that will need to be shaved. Many poodle owners prefer a groomer who’s familiar with poodle hair for monthly maintenance, but others simply learn to trim and groom at home.

👉 No dog is 100% hypoallergenic. Those with severe allergies should seek medical advice to find out which pets are safest for them.

Diet and nutrition

Because poodles are a highly-active breed, you’ll need high-quality dog food. Your vet can help with portion control depending on your poodle’s size and advise you on the best food for your pup. For instance, toys and miniatures naturally don’t each as much as standard poodles. Avoid giving human food to your poodle since they tend to have more sensitivities.

Poodle sitting

Training your poodle

This breed is intelligent and simple to train. Poodles often love having a job and excel in obedience training and canine sports like tracking, agility, or dock-diving. Poodles thrive on attention and time with their owners, so make their training sessions fun and active to keep them interested in you and what you’re asking.

Breeds similar to the poodle

Not quite sure that a poodle is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Goldendoodle — Mixed with a poodle and a golden retriever, goldendoodles embody the best of both breeds by being fun-loving, loyal, and obedient.
  2. Portuguese water dog — Similar in looks with a curly coat, this breed requires less attention than a poodle and may be better for more laid-back owners.
  3. Maltipoo — Maltipoos are the same size as a miniature or toy poodle but with less curly hair and a more open attitude toward newcomers.

Frequently asked questions

Is a poodle a good family dog?

Yes, poodles are great family dogs. They thrive on fun, lots of attention, and staying active. They don’t like being left alone or bored, so this breed is best for an active family.

Do poodles bark a lot?

Poodles do tend to be more vocal than other breeds. They bark due to loud noises, excitement, anxiety, seeing new people, a lack of exercise, or to alert you of a perceived threat.

What are poodles known for?

This breed is known for its eye-catching appearance and high intelligence. They were originally bred for duck retrieving, but today they make great service dogs, therapy dogs, and companion pets.

Do poodles shed a lot?

Unlike most dogs, poodles have hair rather than fur. Because of this, they shed much less and are considered a good option for allergy sufferers.