The Standard Poodle is known the world over for its iconic curls, unshakeable loyalty, and deceptively “aristocratic” appearance. Commonly associated with France, the Standard Poodle was actually developed in Germany as a type of Water Dog.
The breed’s prowess at duck hunting was soon out-shown by its iconic appearance and beguiling intelligence. Second only to the Border Collie, the Poodle is considered one of the smartest breeds in the world and is one of the most capable dog breeds in history.
Poodles have time and again proven themselves to be the perfect canine companion, having won more than a dozen international dog shows, including the highly competitive Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where Poodles have won “Best in Show” twice.
Poodles are born in litters of 3 to 6 and commonly bred in three varieties: standard, miniature and toy. All three varieties have the same build and proportions but are differentiated by their size.
Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodle puppies are all born relatively the same size; however, Toy Poodles will typically stop growing around 9 inches tall. Miniature Poodles will grow to an average small dog size, between 11 and 15 inches tall. Standard poodle puppies can be expected to grow to a height of 18 to 24 inches.
Standard Poodle puppies tend to mature at a slower rate than Toy and Miniature puppies. However, Poodles are considered puppies until the age of 2 and are deceptively fast learners regardless of size.
When bringing a new Poodle puppy home, it’s important to plan ahead. Purchase all the items you may need ahead of time so that you have everything the puppy need to feel comfortable in its new surroundings.
Like all puppies, Poodles can be strong-willed and stubborn the longer they go without training, which is why it is important to start training your puppy early.
The Poodle is a Water Dog, which is considered a subtype of the Gun Dog breed group of canines. Water Dogs have been utilized by mariners for centuries to retrieve items and people who have fallen overboard.
In medieval Europe, Water Dogs were bred to retrieve hunting arrows and spears that missed their mark. However, the advent of firearms eliminated the need to retrieve arrows; thus, the role of the Water Dog evolved from that of a retriever to that of a faithful hunting companion.
The Water Dog breed group contains many breeds including the American Water Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, and the English Water Spaniel.
A breed standard details the appearance and temperament of an officially recognized breed.
The pedigree of the Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodle is formally recognized by all breed experts and kennel clubs and therefore subject to a detailed breed standard.
The breed standard for the Poodle applies to all three breed varieties (Standard, Miniature and Toy) except for height and weight.
The Poodle carries itself proudly, appearing squarely-built, well proportioned, and elegant. Its condition is that of a keenly intelligent and athletic hunting companion. When groomed in the traditional style, the Poodle is said to espouse a distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.
The Poodle's head includes a moderately rounded skull, flat cheekbones, and a muzzle that is long, and straight, with slight chiseling under the eyes. Eyes depict and are set deep in the skull, oval-shaped, dark and depicting an alert intelligent expression. Ears hang close to the head and are set just below eye-level. Teeth are long, strong and in scissors bite.
The body is strong, well-proportioned and long enough to permit the dog to carry its head high, and with dignity. Its neck is strong, sits atop smoothly muscled shoulders. Forequarters are strong and smooth. Shoulders are laid back and the same length as the upper foreleg. The chest is broad with well-sprung ribs and moderately.
Viewed from the front, forelegs are straight and parallel. From the side, the elbow should appear directly below the highest point of the shoulder. When viewed from the rear, the hind legs are straight, parallel with stifles that are well bent. Feet are small, oval-shaped with well-arched toes well arched, thick firm pads and nails that are short but not excessively so.
The Poodles tail is straight, set high and carried up, and most often docked to a length that ensures a balanced outline. The Poodle’s hindquarters are muscular and in balance with its forequarters.
Poodles possess a glamorous curly, corded coat that is dense and naturally harsh in texture. The coat is non-shedding, hypoallergenic, and hangs in tight, even cords; longer in the mane, body head, and ears; shorter on hindquarters (pompons, puffs, and bracelets). Poodles display a solid, even color at the skin, and a coat presented in blues, grays, silvers, browns, creams, and apricots.
The sizes of the officially-recognized Poodle breed are determined by height, not by weight.
A Poodle’s height is determined by its type: Standard, Miniature or Toy. The Standard Poodle stands over 15 inches at its highest point. Poodles who stand under 15 inches at their highest point are considered Miniature. To qualify as a Miniature Poodle, the dog must stand at least 10 inches tall. Toy Poodles are 10 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders.
Owners describe their Poodles as alert, highly intelligent, loyal and trainable which makes it easy for them to learn commands and form strong bonds with its family quickly. The Poodle’s intelligence also provides it with a fair amount of pride, which may manifest in stubborn dog behaviors.
Poodles are great watchdogs and family dogs. They’re typically shy around strangers, and rarely show aggression except for occasional barking. Poodles are also exceptionally attuned to their owner's emotions, often mimicking their owner's mood.
In fact, Poodles are capable of feeling and expressing a wide range of emotions and have been described as incredibly “people-orientated.” The Poodle’s wide range of emotion is a result of the breeds remarkable intelligence, which may also manifest as mischievous behavior.
Temperaments vary slightly among the different sizes. Standard Poodles are energetic, and more reserved than Miniature and Toy Poodles who espouse an energy far greater than one would assume from their diminutive stature.
Miniature and Toy Poodles are described as more mischievous than their larger cousins. Due to their size, Miniature Poodles are a better choice for families with small children. They are the most energetic of the three varieties and known to follow their owners around the house.
Poodles are susceptible to a number of common canine health problems. Prospective Poodle owners should be aware of the common health issues and how to care for and prevent the diseases of their pet. Though most health issues are often dependent on the variety of Poodle, others are found among all sizes.
With a loving family, a healthy diet and a safe environment to run and play, you can expect your Poodle to live between 12 and 15 years. There is no discernible difference in life expectancy between Poodle varieties.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy grooming. The Poodle may look like an aristocratic couch-potato, but in reality, the breed is energetic, alert and highly intelligent.
Poodles are surprisingly low-maintenance. However, like all dogs, caring for a Poodle comes with a number of breed-specific eccentricities that can prove challenging for owners caught unprepared.
As a Poodle puppy grows, it will enter several developmental stages, in which it will exhibit certain behaviors. The puppy will grow out of most behaviors, but some behaviors may be present for the dog's entire life. Therefore, it’s essential that bad behavior is addressed early in the puppy’s life with regular and consistent training.
In the first phase of its life (8 weeks to approximately 1 year) a Poodle puppy has an abundance of energy and an insatiable curiosity to investigate its new home. It’s important to keep in mind that puppies learn by nipping and investigate their environment with their mouths. They will chew on everything they can find well before the teething stage, which is why it is essential that any home with a Poodle puppy is thoroughly puppy-proofed.
Poodles also commonly jump on people and occasionally growl, both of which are behaviors that can be addressed with proper training. Despite the abundance of energy, many Poodles are often shy, opting to stay very close to their owners rather than playing with other dogs or venturing out on their own. New Poodle owners should expect to spend lots of time with their new puppy.
In addition to “clingy” behavior, Poodles are also very excitable and known to suffer from separation anxiety. Therefore, it is not uncommon for Poodles to become so excited when their family returns that they lose control of their bladder.
Poodles are high energy canines who require a high protein diet to fuel their agile bodies. Like all dogs, Poodles are carnivorous; they will never require gluten, wheat or grain, nor are they likely to benefit from artificial ingredients.
Feeding your Poodle a diet rich in healthy proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins produces a more luxurious coat, healthier skin and greater quality of life. Owners should avoid feeding Poodles from the table.
Like all dogs, Poodles will rarely shy away from a snack, which is why obesity is commonly found throughout the breed, especially in Miniature and Toy varieties. Try to avoid free feeding your Poodle.
Instead, implement a feeding schedule. In the weaning stage, it is imperative that a Poodle puppy’s diet consists primarily of their mother’s milk, from which they receive 90% of their natural defenses.
Starting at 6 to 8 weeks, puppies should be gradually transitioned from their mother’s milk to solid food over a period of 3 weeks. From 8 weeks on, it’s essential that your Poodle puppy learn that food will no longer be provided constantly throughout the day.
Start your Poodle puppy on moistened dry puppy food, 3 to 5 times per day for no longer than 10 minutes per feeding. After 10 minutes remove their food even if they haven't finished.
Adult Poodles require a protein-rich diet to fuel their energetic lives and support a greater quality of life. Vets recommend an adult diet consisting of healthy protein, healthy fat, and foods rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Before starting your Poodle on a new diet, we recommend that you speak with your veterinarian to establish a diet that supports their needs specifically.
There are many different ways to groom a Poodle that it’s not uncommon for two Poodles of the same variety to appear as two completely different breeds. You certainly don’t have to master show-worthy grooming, but regardless of the style you choose for your Poodle, grooming must be a regular part of its life.
Poodles are mostly hypoallergenic, which means they don’t shed, but don’t be fooled; keeping up with a Poodles lustrous curls is a full-time job.
Without regular grooming, a Poodle’s curly coat is prone to matting, which can affect the dog’s overall health and even restrict its movement. Owners will need to brush, clip and trim their Poodle’s coat every 3 to 6 weeks to avoid a costly trip to the vet to remove matted coats (resulting in a bald Poodle) and to treat potential skin conditions.
Regular exercise is a tremendous benefit to your Poodle’s overall health. Exercise wards off obesity, improves circulation, and provides opportunities for your Poodle to socialize and explore its environment.
Exercise also provides benefits to your Poodle’s cardiac and digestive health and prevents illnesses like canine diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Poodles are incredibly intelligent and prone to separation anxiety and boredom.
Unsurprisingly, Poodles who are not properly exercised have a tendency to release their pent-up energy with destructive behavior; chewing, digging, barking, etc. To ward off destructive behavior, Poodles should receive at least two hours of energy burning activity per day.
Walks are a great way for a Poodle to let out its pent-up energy. In fact, owners can expect to see improvement in the dog’s behavior the more the dog is walked.
As one of the most intelligent breeds in the world, Poodles are capable of truly astounding feats of athleticism, and obedience. Poodle puppies are energetic and enthusiastic but can be a challenge to train.
Owners are encouraged to do their research before welcoming home a Poodle to determine whether they are up to the task of training a Poodle. However, this should not deter you from adopting a Poodle puppy, as they make great students.
Remember the trick to successfully training any puppy is diligence, consistency and lots of patience. Poodles respond best to positive, reward-based training methods; you are trying to establish yourself as the puppy’s leader through positive reinforcement, not fear of punishment.
Housebreaking a Poodle can be challenging, as Poodle puppies tend to give very little warning before they “do their business.” To reduce the risk of incidents, we recommend new owners have a plan at the ready for when the dog signals it’s time to go. Consistency and reward are key to housebreaking a Poodle. Ignore the pottying inside and reward the pottying outside.
Puppy pads and a supply of newspaper are good things to keep on hand. However, the most important thing an owner can have while housebreaking a Poodle is the right expectations. Accidents are bound to happen. To reduce the risk of accidents, we recommend new owners have a plan at the ready for when the dog signals it’s time to go.
Understandably, housebreaking a Poodle puppy is typically a new owner's highest priority, but equal attention should be given to crate training. Poodle puppies will sleep between 8 and 13 hours per day but will find trouble if given the opportunity.
Training your Poodle puppy to sleep in a crate at night ensures they won't cause any mischief or get into something they shouldn’t when not actively being supervised. Crate training should be done in conjunction with potty training and other housebreaking lessons.
Puppies are the most impressionable and easiest to train the earlier you start. Remember, it can take up to 6 months to fully housebreak a puppy.
Poodles are very intelligent, highly trainable, and make great family dogs. However, Poodles who are not trained to be sociable at an early age tend to struggle with strangers and other dogs.
Poodles who are not socialized are unlikely to gain the experience they need to feel safe in a new environment, or around new people or pets, and therefore more likely to show aggressive behavior.
Since Poodles need regular grooming, many owners choose to socialize their poodle on one of its many trips to the groomer. Frequent walks and early trips to the dog park are also great ways to socialize a Poodle puppy.
Poodles have a reputation for being difficult to train, but those who are up to the challenge are presented with an incredibly rewarding experience. Poodles are highly intelligent, energetic, and often mirror the energy of their owners.
The key to obedience training a Poodle is to remain calm and focused. The more focused you are on the training, the more focused the Poodle will be. The best way to keep a puppy’s focus during training is to remove distractions from the area.
Be sure to take the time to ensure your puppy understands your commands. Patience is key to obedience training a Poodle puppy. Consistency and repetition are also critical to establishing the desired pattern of behavior.
Designate a specific sound and gesture for the desired command and use that combination every time you issue the command to your Poodle. Issue your command. Pause. Then reward with a treat when they get it right.
Every time your Poodle correctly executes a command reward them with a treat to reinforce the behavior.
Are Poodles good pets? Yes. Poodles are great pets regardless of size or variety.
Is the Poodle a good family dog? Of the three varieties of Poodle, the Standard Poodle is considered the best suited to be the family pet. Standard Poodles are kind, affectionate and far more patient than their smaller cousins.
Though Miniature and Toy Poodles make great pets, they do not often respond well to being handled by small children. We recommend utilizing caution when introducing a Miniature or Toy Poodle to small children.
Many Miniature and Toy Poodles have been accidently injured by small children picking them up, falling on them, or tripping over them. To avoid accidents, ensure that children are instructed on how to safely approach, pet and interact with a canine. Children under 5 years old should never be left alone with a small dog.
Do Poodles bark a lot? Poodles have a reputation for excessive barking, but the truth is that Poodles do not bark any more or less than other breeds. Poodles are likely to bark at guests entering the home, other dogs, and even thunderstorms. The key to dissuading your Poodle from barking is by ignoring the behavior. When your Poodle sees that barking is unlikely to result in your attention, they will find a more constructive way to get it.
Are Poodles affectionate? Yes, Poodles are known to be exceptionally affectionate with their owners and make fantastic canine companions.
Are Poodles stubborn? Poodles are highly intelligent. Inherent with a high level of intelligence is a sense of canine pride, which is often misinterpreted as stubbornness. A Poodle is unlikely to obey you if it does not believe you to be its leader. The key to alleviating the “stubbornness” is to demonstrate to the Poodle that you are its leader through consistent, positive reward-based training.
How smart is a Poodle? Poodles are generally considered to be the second-smartest breed in the world, behind the Border Collie.
How much sleep do Poodles need? Poodle puppies will typically sleep between 8 and 13 hours per day. The amount of sleep a Poodle requires will diminish as it ages.
Do Poodles get cold? Yes. Though the Poodles coat insulates it from a certain degree of cold, they are not acclimated to cold weather like the Siberian Husky or Malamute.
Are Poodles loyal? Poodles are exceptionally loyal and faithful canine companions.
Do Poodles suffer from separation anxiety? Yes. Puppies need lots of socialization before being left on their own, otherwise owners increase the risk of separation anxiety, which can result in destructive behavior like excessive barking. Puppies also need to relieve themselves more often than an adult dog, at least once an hour when housebreaking. The recommended maximum length of time you leave any Poodle alone is 4 hours. Poodles should not be left in a small crate for long periods and must have access to fresh drinking water at all times.
The Standard Poodle is commonly believed to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. Though its ancient origins are speculated to be in Asia, the Poodle as it is known today was developed in Medieval Europe.
The breed has since spread across the world and into the homes of families on almost every continent, but its name still holds true to its medieval roots. The Poodle’s name evolved from the German word for puddle, “Pudel” meaning “to splash.”
The Poodle’s name is no doubt a reference to the dog's initial role as a water dog, bred to retrieve hunting arrows and spears that missed their mark and landed in water. The advent of firearms eliminated the need to retrieve arrows; thus the role of the Poodle in Medieval Europe evolved from that of a retriever to that of a true hunting companion.
Standardized in France, the Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties of Poodle. Miniature and Toy Poodles were developed in England in the 18th century.