5 Things to Know About Poodles

Besides being one of the smartest dog breeds, poodles are friendly, active dogs who are great for allergy sufferers.

poodle breed profile

1. Key Characteristics

  • AKC Groups: Non-Sporting (Standard and Miniature); Toy (Toy Poodle)
  • Height: 15 inches and up (Standard); 10–15 inches (Miniature); 10 inches or less (Toy)
  • Weight: 45–70 pounds (Standard); 15–17 pounds (Miniature); 6–9 pounds (Toy)
  • Life Expectancy: 12–15 years

The poodle is one of the most intelligent dog breeds — and one of the most popular dogs, according to the American Kennel Club‘s registration statistics.

The Standard Poodle is medium to large with a round skull and a long muzzle.

The eyes are oval-shaped, set far apart and either brown or black. The long ears are flat, and the tail is carried high. The coat may be corded or curly and comes in many colors and combinations.

2. Where They Came From

The Standard Poodle is considered the oldest variety of the breed and is believed to have originated in Germany.

Paintings from as far back as the 15th century depict the breed, with some artifacts suggesting they existed as early as the 1st century. The name “poodle” comes from the German word pudel, describing water activity or one who plays in water.

The dog was used in water retrieval, so the coat was trimmed to help them swim. The trim involved shaving certain areas of the rear end but leaving leg hair to protect from sharp debris while hunting or patches of fur covering locations of vital organs susceptible to cold.

The Miniature and Toy Poodle varieties were bred down in size from the Standard Poodle. The American Kennel Club added the breed in 1887.

The poodle is an affectionate companion pet who also participates in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, rally and field events.

Poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds. By: Stanislav Tolubaev (Top: dgmckelvey)

3. How Friendly Are They?

Extremely intelligent, poodles are among the most trainable dog breeds. They are active with a graceful appearance and movement.

Though less energetic than other dogs, poodles need firm, consistent training and regular exercise to curb unwanted behaviors. They are sensitive to voice tones and don’t respond well to harsh discipline.

This friendly breed doesn’t like solitude, may suffer from separation anxiety and should never be housed in kennel or forced to live outdoors.

Standard Poodles are great with children and get along with other dogs, but all varieties should be socialized and slowly introduced when meeting other animals.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

High

HIGH: This active breed needs daily exercise.

The larger Standard Poodle should get daily walks, and many love to frolic in the water. They possess great stamina and need more exercise than the Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Smaller poodles will still need daily walks for exercise and to release energy. Poodles are inactive indoors and can do well in apartments with regular outings.

Grooming Needs

Medium

MEDIUM: Poodles participating in conformation will require extensive grooming.

The shaved rear with patches of fur is a popular style seen at dog shows (called the English Saddle or Continental Clip). Puppy clips or shorter cuts are popular for companion-type puppies or poodles.

The breed sheds little to no hair and is great for allergy sufferers. You do need to trim their coat.

Check your poodle’s ears for wax buildup and mites. Also, remove hair growing inside the ear canal. The teeth, too, require regular brushing. The nails can become thick, so keep them trimmed.

Health Problems

High

HIGH: This intelligent and graceful beauty comes with several health concerns. While these issues may not affect every poodle, they are considered common in the breed:

5. Where to Adopt One?

Poodles are popular, and all 3 size varieties end up in shelters and rescues.

Check these resources first or use Petful’s adoptable pet search to find a poodle that’s perfect for you. If you opt to contact breeders, please inspect their facilities first and stay alert for puppy mill warning signs.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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