ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Poodle

Poodle dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The Poodle is a very intelligent dog breed, which is why it was the most popular dog breed in the world for a long time. Many experts think it is as smart as the German Shepherd and the Border Collie.

The two main concerns of the Poodle are marking its territory and hunting; even the Dwarf Poodle tends to hunt birds. Although it is a very energetic dog, it may get bored quite easily and get creative when it comes to doing exactly what it’s not supposed to do, fact which it might irritate some dog owners. However, its adorable figure gets it out of trouble every time.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Companion Dogs
Height:Generally 1 foot, 10 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: Generally 45 to 70 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years

The Poodle is an extremely intelligent dog, alert, cheerful and very active. It is worthy of attention and has a very elegant and distinguished attitude. In addition, the Poodle loves people very much and it will do anything to please its owners. It does not like to be left alone and may develop separation anxiety if it must stand loneliness for a longer period of time. It is not the type of dog that attaches itself to just one member of the family. It usually makes no distinction between family members in terms of affection.

The Poodle is a very agile dog that was trained during ancient times to hunt in areas with water, especially in lakes, developing excellent swimming skills. This dog is named after the German word “puddeln”, which means “to splash in the water”, fact that perfectly portrays its ability. In time, with the evolution of the breed, the Poodle lost most of its swimming and hunting qualities and became just a friendly and playful dog, as well as a good companion for the whole family that amazes thanks to its intelligence.

At the beginning when this dog breed was created in the nineteenth century, it was available in 2 sizes, namely the large Poodle and the small Poodle. Their coats were white, black or brown. They were so appreciated that France, Russia and Germany actually argued over which one is their actual country of origin. The FCI granted all the rights to France. As a result, various French dog breeders created 2 more types of Poodle, namely the toy Poodle and the dwarf Poodle. These 4 varieties of Poodle are only different when it comes to size, but otherwise they have the same conformation characterized by a square body and a proud and elegant walk.

Main Highlights
  • Dogs belonging to the Poodle breed are extremely intelligent and have an amazing ability to learn. Any Poodle owner would be impressed of this dog’s skills.
  • The Poodle was originally developed to be used for retrieving birds out of water. Favored by both the royalty and the gypsy, this dog breed was able to master many tasks, do various jobs and to maintain the reputation of a champion.
  • A symbol of everything that means sophistication, the Poodle is associated with France even if numerous countries wanted to obtain full rights over it.
  • The Poodle type of dog has a harmonious body and it is considered beautiful especially because of its curly or corded hair. It looks like an intelligent animal, always attentive and active. Its walk is elegant and its attitude somewhat proud.
  • It is an instinctual dog breed that chases birds when it is outdoors, running freely.
  • Monotony is not for the Poodle, so it will come up with multiple ideas to shake boredom away. However, that might not please its owners.
  • The Poodle is the type of dog that wants everyone’s eyes on it. It loves to be in the center of attention.
  • These dogs are ideal for canine beauty competitions. They managed to impress the judges worldwide.
Breed History

The Poodle dates back a long time ago. Paintings that depict this dog breed from the thirteenth century represent the indubitable evidence of their existence. Germany holds the rights over this dog breed’s name, but France is the official country of origin. The Poodle is France’s national dog that specializes in retrieving different objects or animals from the water. Besides being an excellent swimmer, the Poodle is obedient, agile and good for tracking and guarding. It is also the winner of various canine contests.

The American Kennel Club recognized the amazing abilities the standard Poodle and the large Poodle has when it comes to swimming and it adds that its resistance to humidity is quite impressive. Almost every member of this dog breed is known to be good or excellent swimmer. However, the toy Poodle is the exception. The latter has been widely used for mushroom hunting in England and later in Spain and Germany. Those mushrooms were considered a delicacy during the past. The reason why these dogs were best is because they had small pawns and short claws that didn’t ruin the integrity of the mushroom when they dug it up.

The toy Poodle appeared in England in the eighteenth century and it was used until the appearance of the Havanese. Later on, it became Spain’s favorite pet, as well as Francisco Goya’s source of inspiration for one of his paintings. Moreover, the Poodle was also drawn by German artist Albrecht Durer 2 centuries before its presence in England.

Size

Narrowed down to 3 major sizes of the Poodle, the standards are as it follows: the toy Poodle is around 10 inches tall and between 6 to 9 pounds heavy. The miniature Poodle stands between 11 and 15 inches and weighs approximately 16 pounds.  The Standard Poodle can sometimes be up to 22 inches tall and weigh 70 pounds. As usual, female copies are lighter than males.

Personality and Character

The Poodle is a dog type with a proud allure and sociable. It is full of energy when it goes outdoors, yet calm and serene when it is kept indoors. This dog likes to be the present around its owner at all times and interact with him or her. The Poodle really hates to be left alone and it might develop separation anxiety, as well as depression as a result of spending too much time away from its owner. It becomes destructive because it is frustrated, not because it has bad intentions.

Since it is hypoallergenic and barely sheds, it is usually taken with people in their beds and spoiled as much as possible, fact which it really enjoys. It is an intelligent dog that can do a lot of tricks, so its presence is never boring. Not to mention that its coat is almost like human hair and it doesn’t smell in a very typical dog-like style.

Trying to defend its territory, the Poodle will bark. It will bark so much and so loud that it might distract one’s attention from the actual danger or from the situation that really needs assistance. Because it wants to be in the center of attention, hearing itself bark will never be enough if always draws its owner’s attention. Therefore, it is a little egocentric, but it has all the reasons to be considering its intellect and beauty.

Health and Potential Problems

This dog breed is not exempt from certain diseases and affection that can disrupt their lives. Here are some of them:

  • Dilation of the stomach. This is a sudden life threatening affection associated with the dog’s stomach being filled with air.
  • Hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joint in dogs that manifests with pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Retinal degeneration. This is an affection that causes the degeneration of the nerve cells from the retina. It usually occurs in case of older dogs and it can lead to blindness.
  • The Cushing syndrome. This syndrome affects the adrenal glands. When present in excess, the adrenal glands secrete excessive amounts of cortisol, causing illness.
  • Intervertebral discopathy. This is a disorder of the intervertebral disc that causes pain, difficulty in walking and possibly paralysis.
  • Others. Poodles can be predisposed to hair loss, as well as ear infections, some kind of bladder issues, allergies, cryptorchidism, which affects male dogs and deafness too.
Care Features

Swimming and taking long walks are just some of the Poodle’s favorite activities. In addition, it also loves to play with its owner and all the other family members. These dogs require daily exercise for both physical and mental development. They can be kept in an apartment, but future owners must know that they tend to bark a lot.

The Poodle is happy to learn commands and exercises with a high degree of difficulty. A trainer who knows what he or she is doing can easily obtain amazing results from this type of dog. Very cooperative, the Poodle can successfully graduate any canine education programs. It is brilliant when it comes to doing various tricks like those needed in circus.

The Poodle learns quickly and willingly, although some of them like to fool around before actually doing what they are told. This type of dog was trained to retrieve various things from the water and to be a watchdog too. These accomplishments show how versatile it is.

Feeding Schedule

Since there are multiple sizes of Poodle, each should have its own feeding schedule, as it follows: The standard Poodle should eat between 1.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, while the miniature Poodle and the toy Poodle should eat less, maximum 1 cup, respectively 1.5 cups. These quantities of food should be divided in 2.

Besides dry dog food, the Poodle may also eat beef, horse, sheep, poultry, but not pork. The same goes with pig bones because they have a negative impact on this dog’s liver, skin and hair. Contrary to many opinions, the Poodle can also eat raw meat because it is richer in nutrients.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Poodle has a dense, rough, curly and wiry coat. It may be of different colors, such as silver, gray, blue, black, beige, brown or reddish brown. Some owners dye their dogs’ coats, fact which is not accepted in competitions. Furthermore, it is considered an offense against the entire dog breed. The Poodle sheds very little or not at all and its hair is hypoallergenic.

The Poodle does not have an undercoat and its fur is very similar with human hair. It grows really fast and it needs brushing daily. If it is not brushed, it tangles and then it is hard to detangle it. Also, this dog must be washed frequently with mild dog shampoo.

Both its nails and hair need constant trimming. There is a large variety of hairstyles especially conceived for the Poodle. Those are difficult to achieve at home, but can be obtained at specialized saloons for dogs.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Poodle can be a wonderful companion for families with children because it behaves very nicely with kids. It loves them and protects them, just as it does with other pets. However, socialization is important in case of this dog as well. The toy Poodle might be too small for certain reckless children to play with, but not the other way around. It can be said that the standard Poodle is best for families.

The Poodle is an excellent recreational dog that exhibits a sensitive character, peerless devotion and loyalty to its owner. In addition, its intelligence and responsiveness are very effective for various types of training. Loving and very affectionate, this type of dog has a medium level of energy and it doesn’t like to be left alone. Its only disadvantages are the fact that it barks quite a lot and that its hair grows really fast and it must be brushed very often. Other than those, the Poodle has earned its status as reputable companion dog.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Betsy Johnson

    Is there much difference between a standard poodle and a Mini Poodle? I’ve always loved poodles and wanted to know if there’s a difference in temperament between the two? Are Mini Poodles more pricey?

    • The temperament remains the same across all breed sizes. Depending on the breeder and the lineage, it is usually the Standard Poodle that is more pricey.

  • Red Smith

    My son has a Dachshund and he is thinking of getting a Poodle.
    However, most of his friends are teasing him that Poodles are dogs for girls.
    How will I convince him otherwise? Why is the breed stereotyped as such?

    • Poodles are stereotyped for girls because they are groomed with those tufts of hair or wear dainty dog clothes. However, this can be easily countered by doing the right grooming (like the regular puppy clip) and nothing radical or eye-catching as the Continental or the Saddle Clip. If your son really likes getting one, Poodle is a worthy breed to try because they are loyal, intelligent, and are born pleasers and performers.

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