White poodle playing in the yard
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Poodles are highly intelligent, energetic dogs with good temperaments. Poodles are among the most popular dog breeds. This may, in part, be due to the breed's three size varieties of standard, miniature, and toy. All of the sizes are considered the same dog breed and are held to the same breed standards.

Poodles can be affectionate dogs that make truly wonderful companions. These dogs tend to adapt well to nearly any kind of household.

Breed Overview

  • Group: Non-Sporting Group
  • Size: The Poodle has three size categories:
    • Standard: Weight 45 to 70 pounds, height over 15 inches
    • Miniature: Weight 15 to 18 pounds, height 10 to 15 inches
    • Toy: Weight 5 to 9 pounds, height 10 inches and under
  • Coat and Color: Curly, dense single coats Poodles may be one of many solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, grey, brown, and apricot. Parti-colored poodles are accepted by some registries.
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years

Characteristics of the Poodle

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Poodle

Poodles are believed to have originated in Germany, though they have been known as French dogs for many years. Their name is derived from the German word pudel, meaning "to splash in water."

Standard poodles are considered the oldest form of this breed. Their history of use as retrievers and water dogs led to the well-known poodle haircut. This unique pattern was designed to protect joints from cold water temperatures. Poodles would retrieve ducks and other fowl for hunters. Miniature and toy poodles were also good swimmers and hunters. Eventually, small poodles were noted as pampered companions of French aristocrats, though they have also been known as performing dogs.

The poodle was recognized by the Kennel Club of England in 1874 and the American Kennel Club in 1886. They were not common in the U.S. until after World War II. But they have been in the top 10 most popular breeds for decades.

Poodle Care

Poodles have beautiful, unique hair coats. Because their coarse, curly hair is constantly growing, much attention must be placed on proper grooming, including regular haircuts and brushing. Their coat is a single layer and the hair is retained in the coat rather than being shed. This can lead to matting if the dog isn't brushed regularly. They are also prone to tearstains under the eyes.

The poodle is considered to be one of many hypoallergenic dog breeds due to its coat and shedding pattern. While they still have allergens in their dander and saliva, they shed them less into the air. They may be suitable for those who are mildly or moderately allergic to dogs. However, if you are sensitive, you should spend time around a poodle to see whether your allergies are triggered.

Your poodle will need its nails trimmed every couple of weeks. It is also good dental hygiene to brush your dog's teeth at least two to three times a week. Be sure to check your dog's ears as breeds with drop ears are more likely to get ear infections.

Like all dogs, the poodle requires proper training and socialization in order to be happy and well-adjusted. Because poodles are extremely smart dogs, they can easily be trained to perform a variety of commands and tricks. They will also learn bad habits if you aren't consistent in your training. Be sure your poodle accepts you as the alpha dog and isn't spoiled into thinking he has that role in your household.

The poodle has a moderate to high energy level and requires daily exercise. Establish a routine that includes walks and fun activities like games to keep your poodle mentally and physically stimulated. A bored poodle may show destructive habits. Be sure to train your poodle to walk on leash and socialize him so he is welcome at the dog park.

When raised properly, poodles can do well in families with children. Standard poodles are a good choice for a family with children, while toy and miniature poodles might be injured by a small child who doesn't treat a dog gently. These small dogs can be defensive if handled roughly. Older children who respect a dog can find a poodle to be a fun play companion. Poodles can be good in multi-pet families, especially if raised with the other pets.

Common Health Problems

Routine veterinary care will help keep your poodle healthy for many years. Poodles are sometimes considered to have a lifespan longer than the average dog (especially miniatures and toys)

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

Diet and Nutrition

The amount that you feed your poodle will depend on its size, age, activity level, and other factors. It is best to give your dog two meals a day. Standard poodles may need up to 1.5 cups of dog food per meal, miniatures up to 1/2 cup, and toy poodles up to 1/4 cup.

You will need to resist giving your dog human food, no matter how much they beg or try to teach you tricks to get a treat. That can lead to finicky eating habits and contribute to weight gain. Be sure to monitor your pet's weight and stem any weight gain. Obesity can lead to more health problems and shorten your dog's lifespan. Discuss your dog's nutritional needs with your veterinarian.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

As with any breed, if you think the poodle is right for you, be sure to do plenty of research before adopting one. Talk to other poodle owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more.

If you are interested in similar breeds, look into these to compare:

There are many dog breeds from which to choose. With a little research, you can find the right one to bring home.