Poodle

Picture of a white poodle

The Poodle is a dog that carries itself with a regal air. Available in three different sizes, the Standard, the Miniature, and the Toy, there is a Poodle that is the perfect size for every family. A breed that has become synonymous with top winning dogs in the show ring, the Poodle is also a dog of exceptional athleticism. Originally developed as a water retrieving dog, the Poodle is extremely versatile, excelling at many different activities.

A low to no shedding breed, the Poodle is an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies to pet hair and dander. However, unfortunately, Poodles have high grooming requirements whether you purchase one as a pet or for show.

Exceptionally intelligent, the Poodle is easy to train and picks up new tricks and activities with ease. A dog with moderately high energy levels, the Poodle needs a job to do and regular daily exercise to remain physically and mentally content.

A dog that is loyal, loving, and deeply affectionate, the Poodle makes for a wonderful family companion. Read on to learn more about this sophisticated, spirited breed.

Height: More than 15 inches (Standard Poodles)

11 to 15 inches (Miniature Poodles)

No more than 10 inches (Toy Poodles)

Weight:  Standard Males=60 to 70 pounds

Standard Females=40 to 50 pounds

Miniatures=15 to 17 pounds

Toys=6 to 9 pounds 

Life Span:     10 to 18 years 

Best Suited To: First time dog owners, families with children, active families 

Personality: Playful, smart, loving, loyal, active, athletic, affectionate, sophisticated, dignified 

Intelligence: Very intelligent 

Shedding: Low to no shedding

Exercise: Moderate activity requirements 

Energy: Moderate 

Barking: Can be a barker 

Drooling: Not prone to drooling 

AKC/CKC Group: Non-sporting group 

Colors: Apricot, black, black and brown, black and cream, black and grey, black and silver, black and tan, black and white, blue, blue and white, brown, brown and white, café au lait, cream, cream and white, grey, grey and white, red, red and white, red and apricot, silver, silver beige, white, white and silver, white and apricot, black and apricot, and brown and apricot. Markings may include black points or a black or white mask.

Coat: Curly or wavy with a harsh texture. Corded coats are also acceptable.

Though the Poodle appears to be one of the world’s most pampered pooches, this is one breed that was designed with a definite purpose in mind. A dog breed intended to help with duck retrieval on hunts, the Poodle is an active working dog of immense bravery and athletic skill. The Poodle has webbed feet to help with swimming, an activity the breed excels at.

The name Poodle is taken from the German “pudel” or “pudelin,” a term that translates to “to splash in the water.” Brought from Germany to France, the Poodle acquired the name “caniche,” a new combination of the two words chien canard, or in English, duck dog.

Many wonder if the Poodle’s show coat is merely decorative or if it serves a specific purpose. Certain areas of the dog’s body were trimmed and others left more voluminous to provide protection over vital organs that could be damaged during lengthy swims in exceptionally cold waters. In addition to this, the shaved areas help the coat to weigh less and are unlikely to become embedded with debris from the water. This helps the dog to swim more effectively.

Though the Poodle comes in three different variations, the differences are in size alone. The personality and temperament of the Poodle remains the same regardless of whether you purchase a Standard, a Miniature, or a Toy.

A breed that loves to play but that is also deeply proud, the Poodle is loving, affectionate, and very smart. The Poodle takes great delight in learning new skills and is an eager training companion. A dog type of great versatility, the Poodle excel any activity including dog performance sports such as obedience, Rally, agility, and even field trials.

Though the Poodle carries himself with pride and dignity, the Poodle is a sociable dog and doesn’t possess a single snobbish bone in his body. A breed that bonds very deeply to its loved ones, the Poodle prefers being in close proximity to his family members and doesn’t do well when left alone for lengthy periods of time.

The Poodle is a breed that requires some direction. If not taught appropriate canine manners and expected to use them, the Poodle will happily provide his own direction and even try to make you submit to his authority!

Whether a show dog or a pet, the Poodle requires regular grooming to keep his coat looking good. You should plan on taking your Poodle to a professional groomer every three to six weeks. Show dogs require even more frequent grooming still. 

General Appearance

The elegant Poodle is well renowned for his low shedding curly or wavy coat, his narrow, lengthy snout, and his coal black eyes. A dog that has become synonymous with what some see as an uppity show coat, there are many different grooming styles you can choose for your Poodle. Though show Poodles often sport the popular continental clip, most pet owners simply have their groomers keep their dogs in a tightly clipped coat for practicality’s sake.

From a distance, the Poodle’s outline should form a distinct square. One of the breed’s hallmarks is its graceful, lengthy neck that flows into a straight topline. Traditionally, the Poodle’s tail is docked though today a natural tail is becoming more of an accepted norm. 

Personality Traits

The Poodle is a loving family companion. Friendly and very sociable, the Poodle enjoys the company of all people and makes friends of strangers given a little time to warm up to them. The breed is renowned for its playful nature and its penchant for getting up to mischief. Highly intelligent, the breed carries itself with dignity and grace.

A dog of great elegance, the Poodle is a true comedian at heart. This dog type is up for any adventure you have in mind. The Poodle is a people pleaser, finding nothing more satisfying than making his family happy.

Every Poodle should be taught the basic obedience commands and appropriate canine manners. When given an outlet for his energy, the Poodle is a calm dog. Some owners feel that the Miniature and Toy Poodle can be prone to excessive energy levels when compared to the larger Standard. For best results, all three varieties should be taken for a brisk walk each day.

The Poodle takes his role as protector of his home and hearth seriously. The breed will alert bark at the presence of strangers. Though deeply loving and demonstrably affectionate with his family, the Poodle is wary of strangers, requiring time to bond with them.

A dog breed of much higher than average intelligence, the Poodle is very clever and has a long memory. This is one dog breed that you will need to train well and to hold to your established boundaries; otherwise, your Poodle will soon train you!

Living Requirements

The Poodle is a dog breed that should be housed indoors with its family. Because the Poodle has some prey drive and high energy requirements, the best living situation for this breed is a home with a fully fenced in yard. Miniature and Toy Poodles may do well in an apartment if sufficiently exercised each day.

The Poodle gets along very well with children. However, all interactions between a Poodle and kids should be carefully supervised for the safety of both parties. In addition to this, kids should be taught to respect the dog’s boundaries and to treat the dog with gentleness.

Poodles can do very well in a multi-pet setting. The best way to introduce a Poodle into a home with established family pets is to do so on neutral territory such as a low traffic public park.

Care

The Poodle enjoys eating and will easily become overweight if allowed to free feed. For this reason, all of the Poodle’s treats and meals should be measured and monitored. Maintaining a healthy body weight is key to putting too much strain on the dog’s joints.

Since the Poodle is a low shedding breed, this is one dog type that is a great addition to families who suffer from allergies. However, the Poodle’s curly, coarse coat requires a lot of grooming. The coat can be clipped or shaved, but regular grooming is necessary to keep it from matting and becoming overgrown.

You will need to commit to having your Poodle groomed every three to six weeks by a professional groomer. This is a large commitment of time and a big investment of money as well. If you opt to have your Poodle’s coat kept in a very short clip, you will still need to take your dog for maintenance grooming at least once per month. In addition to this, you will need to brush your Poodle once per day to ensure the coat remains clean and free from knots and tangles.

Poodles also regularly have weepy eyes. When their eyes weep, the coat can become stained. The lighter the coat, the worse the staining may appear. To minimize the staining, you will need to clean your dog’s eyes every day.

Nails should be trimmed once per week. To keep your Poodle’s teeth in tip top condition and to prevent periodontal disease, you should brush your Poodle’s teeth several times weekly.

Health

All dog breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. Thankfully, through careful health testing of breeding dogs, it is possible to limit and even possibly eliminate the transmission of some of the most commonly seen problems in some breeds. The main problems that can affect the Poodle include:

Reputable breeders conduct the appropriate physical and DNA tests on their dogs prior to any matings to ensure genetic illness is not knowingly passed from generation to generation. 

History

The Poodle is considered to be one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. This dog type’s original purpose in its native Germany was to assist with the hunting of water birds. Though the Poodle originated in Germany, it was in France where the breed was developed into the dog we know and love today. 

Though we are uncertain as to the complete heritage of the Poodle, many aficionados of the breed share that the Poodle is the result of careful breeding between a wide range of European water dogs. Others also feel the North African Barbet may play an important role in this dog breed’s development and pedigree. Illustrations from first century BC exist that depict dogs similar in appearance to the Poodle on tombs, artwork, and pottery pieces.

Though the original Poodle was the Standard, the Miniature and Toy variations followed shorter thereafter with the Miniature being the first on the scene. These smaller Poodle variations were created by selecting the smallest Standard Poodles to breed to one another to produce Poodles that were increasingly smaller in size. This trend was started by the elite in Paris who loved the Poodle but preferred a dog that was a little more portable to take with them to cafes and on shopping excursions. It is believed that breeders first sought to create these smaller versions of the Poodle as early as the 15th century.

The Standard Poodle has long been the dog of choice for duck hunting. The French quickly found a new job for the Miniature Poodle. Since the dog has a tremendously strong sense of smell, the Miniature Poodle was put to use sniffing out truffles in the French forest. The Toy Poodle always had one job alone: that of a cherished family companion and lap dog.

In time, circus performers noticed the Poodle’s natural intelligence and athleticism and began training them to perform alongside them. Their efforts led to Poodles being included in their show in costumes. They were also among the first to learn how versatile the Poodle’s coat is, crafting it into unusual shapes for added effect from the audience. This trend led to elite Parisians attempting similar styles with their own dogs, even going so far as to dye them different colors.

The Poodle did not gain popularity in the United States until after the second World War. By the mid 20th century, it was clear that the Poodle was here to stay, and today, is one of America’s best loved dog breeds.

Fun Facts About the Poodle

  • Because the Poodle’s coat is very low shedding, many consider the dog to be hypoallergenic.
  • Poodles prefer to the company of people to other dogs.
  • A team comprised only of Poodles once competed in the legendary and grueling Iditarod sled race.
  • The Standard Poodle has many different breed names including Caniche, Barbone, Chien Canne, Grosse Pudel, and the French Poodle.

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