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Poodle fun facts

The essentials

  • Contrary to popular belief poodles are not prissy — While poodles often sport fanciful haircuts, they are in fact highly intelligent, athletic, and eager dogs originally bred for hunting.
  • Prospective poodle parents should expect lots of energy — This breed requires plenty of physical and mental exercise to stay happy and healthy.
  • Poodles have big feelings and high emotional intelligence — This breed’s sensitive nature and eagerness to please make them well-suited for work as service dogs and therapy dogs.

10 facts about poodles

One of the most well-loved breeds in the United States, the poodle first originated in medieval Europe as a duck-hunting dog. Today, show-stopping poodles are commonly seen winning titles in dog show rings, as well as excelling in dog sports like agility. There are three poodle size variations currently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) – standard, miniature, and toy.  Read on for more fun facts about the poodle dog breed.

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Poodles Charlie; Teddy is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Poodles love Luna, then Bella.

1. Poodles originated in Germany as hunting dogs

Poodle-like dogs appear in engravings by German artist Albrecht Durer as early as the late 15th to early 16th centuries. Despite their stereotypical association with France, poodles were initially bred in Germany to be water retrievers. The word poodle is derived from the German “pudelin,” which refers to splashing in the water.

2. Small poodle sizes came along later

The miniature, toy, and (unofficial) teacup poodle were all first bred and downsized from the original standard poodle size. The smaller poodle size variants were first bred to be companions and lap dogs for the wealthy. They were also used in a variety of other jobs, including truffle hunting and performing circus tricks. The largest size, the standard poodle, was initially bred to retrieve ducks.

3. Poodles are the national dog of France

Though first hailing from Germany, the poodle’s descendants include the Barbet, a similarly-curly-coated French water dog. In French, the dogs are referred to as caniche, which refers to the dogs’ history as duck hunters. The French monarch King Louis XVI was so fond of his toy poodles that he declared them a national symbol.

4. Poodle coats come in a variety of clips

While the iconic continental clip is favored by conformation contenders in dog show rings, many poodle pet owners find the shorter clips to be easier to maintain. The continental clip was historically designed to keep the poodle warm during the cold weather. The tufts of hair over the joints and torsos were intended to insulate them in the cold water, but now are largely a style choice for owners and groomers.

5. Poodles are considered “hypoallergenic”

While no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, this breed is known for its low-allergen coat. The curly coat of the poodle sheds less than other coats, which has led to some popular hybrid breeds like the Labradoodle and goldendoodle for allergy sufferers. The poodle coat also produces less dander and dead hair than other canine coat types.

6. Poodles are considered one the smartest breeds

According to Stanley Coren’s list of highly intelligent working breeds, the poodle is the second smartest dog breed poodles learn quickly and can be taught any number of tricks. The poodle is said to be able to learn new commands after less than five repetitions.

7. Poodles make good service dogs

Poodles are excellent mobility dogs because they do so well at complicated tasks. They are commonly used as guide dogs for visually impaired people. They also provide assistance to those with physical disabilities and serve as therapy dogs.

8. There are three distinct breeds of poodles

The breed standard coat colors and haircuts are similar between the smallest toy poodle, the mid-sized miniature, and the standard poodle. Some breeders wanted all the qualities of the standard poodle but in a compact package, so the miniature and toy poodles were developed. The standard poodle is the largest and oldest variety of the three size variants.

9. Poodles were war dogs during World War I and WWII

Poodles have been used as working dogs in the military since the 17th century. During World WI, poodles were used as messenger dogs and for pulling small carts carrying supplies. They were also used as military mascots during WWI, providing companionship and emotional support for troops. Selected for their intelligence and trainability, poodles were also used to guard U.S. military bases in World War II.

10. A team of poodles raced in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

In 1988, a musher named John Suter competed with a team of standard poodles in 1988 in Alaska’s infamous dog sled race usually reserved for Siberian huskies and other Northern breeds. While the poodle made a valiant effort as amateur sled dogs, they weren’t quite built for the cold, and a few had to be dropped at checkpoints.

Frequently asked questions

What is the average size of a poodle?

There are three sizes of poodles – toy, miniature, and standard.

  • The standard poodle is over 15 inches at the shoulder and between 45 and 70 pounds.
  • The miniature poodle is over 10 inches tall at the shoulder, between 12 and 20 pounds.
  • The toy poodle is up to 10 inches tall and between 4 and 6 pounds.

How long do Poodles live?

On average, a healthy poodle (varies across all three sizes) will live between 12 to 18 years. The toy poodle may live up to 18 years, as smaller breeds tend to have longer life spans.

Are poodles hypoallergenic?

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, some are better than others for owners with allergies due to lower shedding and drooling levels. Poodles are considered a “hypoallergenic dog breed” because they have hair instead of fur and produce less dander, which is the cause of most pet allergies.

Do poodles need grooming?

Yes, regular grooming is necessary for all types of poodles to keep their coats and skin healthy and prevent the matting and tangling of their hair.

Are poodles good family pets?

Due to their intelligence and friendly personalities, poodles make great family pets and can even be trained to perform tricks or participate in agility competitions!