The Poodle comes in three sizes—Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodle—but all three are included under the same breed standard. Poodles of any size are highly intelligent—they are ranked as the second smartest dog breed. They are eager and enthusiastic, ready to work and willing to please. Poodles are adept swimmers, originally used to retrieve game from the water. In fact, their name comes from the German word pudel meaning "to splash in the water." The Poodle is a friendly, outgoing breed that is happy to spend time with family and usually welcomes the chance to meet new people.
The Poodle may also be known as Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle.
Poodle mixes may be available in shelters and rescues. Poodle mixes will present a combination of the physical traits and temperament of the other breeds in the mix, and they may not be hypoallergenic. Most shelters do not perform DNA testing on their rescues. Breed is often determined based on physical traits, as well as information given at the dog's surrender.
To adopt a Poodle or Poodle mix, get in touch with local shelters and rescues as they often maintain waiting lists for specific requests. While a Poodle mix adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, their history is often unknown and no guarantees can be made in regards to temperament. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog's personality through a series of evaluations so even if temperament may not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home.
Common Poodle mixes include Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, and Maltese.
The Poodle's curly, dense single layer coat is considered hair—not fur as in most dogs. If left unclipped and unbrushed, the Poodle's coat will cord—or form dreadlocks. They shed minimally and are considered hypoallergenic. There are 10 standard coat colors: apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, grey, red, silver, silver beige, and white.
Average Height: 10-15+ inches
Male: 60-70 pounds
Female: 40-50 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The Standard, Miniature, and Toy Poodle may be curly, corded, or clipped in the traditional fashion. The skin and coat should be a solid color. Parti-color—the skin and coat in an uneven color—is considered a fault. The Poodle should have an elegant, proud appearance, and be strong and muscular through the shoulders, with balanced hindquarters. The face features a long, straight muzzle and rounded skull, with an intelligent expression. Never shy, snappy, or vicious. – AKC Breed Standards
The idea of Poodles as 'show dogs' living a pampered life runs rampant, but Poodles have a lengthy history as hardy working dogs. Poodles have been used in the military for centuries, and were favored as hard-working hunting companions.
The Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three Poodle types, first recognized in 1887 by the AKC. While the Poodle's origin is unclear, they are thought to have been developed first in Germany or France. The water-loving breed has been used for pointing, flushing, and hawking or falconry since as early as the 15th century.
In addition to the hunt, Poodles were employed as truffle-sniffing dogs throughout Europe, and were considered superior for the task due to their sharp sense of smell, as mentioned in the 1740s.
The Poodle has been used in militaries across the globe since the 17th century, and became one of the United States' 32 'War Dog' breeds, as classified by the Army in 1942.
AKC Breed Category
Non Sporting Group
The sociable Poodle is an intelligent companion who knows what you want often even before you ask it. It is important to be clear and direct with your requests as the Poodle often tries to problem-solve on his own, sometimes with unintended results. Warm and friendly, Poodles are devoted members of the family and thrive upon inclusion and attention.
Though the different varieties of Poodle are all included under one breed standard, there are a few differences in personality and temperament between the different sizes.
Standard Poodles tend to be more aloof than their smaller counterparts, while Miniature and Toy varieties can enjoy the lapdog lifestyle. That said, all three varieties make brilliant, loving companions.
Are Poodles Good with Kids? The Standard Poodle is considered a wonderful choice for children, though they are athletic and love to jump so they may unintentionally knock over a small child. Miniature and Toy Poodles can live with dog-experienced children with supervision and training, but they can be sensitive to loud noises and activity so they may be less comfortable with children.
Are Poodles Good with Other Pets? Most Poodles get along well with other dogs and cats.
The Poodle is not an aggressive breed, though they do exhibit some protective behaviors. They are likely to bark at strangers and would make a good watchdog.
The athletic Poodle has boundless energy and enjoy activities that allow them to jump, bounce, and play. This breed is happiest when provided with tasks that exercise both body and mind.
- Often sensitive to noise and activity, especially Miniature and Toy Poodles
- Separation anxiety may be a concern.
- High energy and loves to jump and bounce
- Known to bark
With plenty of exercise and attention, Poodles can be a wonderful choice for many living situations, including city apartments and rural areas. They aren't often active while indoors alone, so plenty of outdoor exercise is necessary to prevent boredom.
Poodles love to run, leap, and bound around outside. Their coat can become matted, so grooming after adventures outdoors may be necessary. Cold weather may be difficult for Miniature and Toy Poodles to tolerate, but the Standard Poodle is hardier. If spending time outdoors, consider an appropriate haircut—a pet clip rather than a show clip—in order to account for the weather conditions.
Exercise is important for the athletic Poodle. They require daily walks on their favorite leash and collar and appreciate other activities such as agility or hunting to work off their energy. Without enough exercise, Poodles may become destructive or irritable. An adult Poodle should have about an hour of exercise per day, its intensity varying depending on the dog's size. Toy varieties expend more energy on a short walk than the larger varieties do.
Poodles were originally used as working dogs, and as such, they possess plenty of stamina. They're a breed that enjoys working beside their people and are thrilled to run and play outdoors. A team of Standard Poodles even competed in the Iditarod, a testament to their abilities.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: An adult Standard Poodle may be able to run up to five miles if in good health and with proper conditioning. Miniature Poodles may be able to run up to three miles, while Toy Poodles aren't ideal running partners.
- Hiking Miles: A healthy Standard Poodle may be able to hike up to 10 miles after reaching one year of age. Miniature Poodles may be able to hike up to five miles. Toy Poodles aren't built for the trail.
Poodles can suffer from digestive issues including bloat—a dangerous condition where the stomach twists, blocking gas within. In order to avoid bloat, feed your Poodle 2-3 measured meals per day. Poodles can have food sensitivities, so a specially formulated diet may be necessary. The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food (based on average weight and activity level) to feed is:
Standard: 1 to 2 cups
Miniature: ¾ to 1 cup
Toy: ¼ to ¾ cup
The Poodle is a highly social breed that desires plenty of time with family. Though they may be left alone for four to eight hours per day, the breed thrives on interaction. Separation anxiety and loneliness may give way to destructive behavior. If left alone, providing a space with plenty of toys can minimize these behaviors—crate training a destructive dog a destructive dog is a solution that can help keep your pet safe.
Health and Grooming
This single-coated breed doesn't shed heavily and is considered hypoallergenic—meaning there are fewer allergens to worry about. Frequent brushing is required, and grooming is necessary every four to six weeks. A show cut is not requisite; lower maintenance allover clips make for easy care for Poodles kept as pets or sporting dogs. Poodles may be corded, a style that is similar to dreadlocks. Cording happens if Poodles are left unbrushed and unclipped, but care is required to create and maintain cords. Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail.
Common Health Issues
While this is generally a healthy breed, Poodles can be prone to health issues including:
- Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency)
- Gastric dilatation and volvulus ('bloat')
- Hip dysplasia
- Chronic active hepatitis (liver disease)
- Thyroid problems
- Sebaceous adenitis (inflammatory skin disease)
- Eye diseases
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Poodle by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
The Poodle is considered the second smartest dog breed and has a high level of trainability. They are quick to learn, eager to please, polite, and well-behaved.
The graceful Poodle is a fantastic jumper and excels at agility. They are lithe, quick-footed, and naturally playful. Poodles of all sizes are happy to run through agility courses with their people. Advanced obedience and tricks come easily to the Poodle. Their ability to anticipate a request is impressive and while many remark that the breed must be telepathic, the intuition comes from their watchful nature. They are dependable and intelligent, and are often trained as assistance dogs.
Sporting Dog Training
The Poodle was built for the sporting life, and they've been working beside hunters for centuries. They are excellent retrieving dogs and make fine companions for duck and upland bird hunting. The Poodle loves the water, has the energy to keep up in the field, and its keen sense of smell is helpful on the hunt. They are independent thinkers and possess a great memory, making for quick problem-solving while hunting. Miniature Poodles are clever dogs that can be used for retrieving and to flush game.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about Poodles.
Poodles are considered hypoallergenic dogs, but this does not mean they do not shed or release dander. They are a light-shedding dog, but still produce dander and saliva which can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Poodles are referred to as hypoallergenic because they are less likely to cause allergic reactions than other dogs.
The pompoms and topknot of the Poodle's 'Continental Clip' or other show clips are likely the most defining features of the Poodle. Rumor has it this grooming style came from the Poodle's traditional hunting cut. The long, curly hair would have bogged down the Poodle in the water, so the majority of the fur was clipped away for a smooth, water-friendly coat. Hunters wanted to protect their dogs' joints and core from the cold water, so they left hair unclipped around vital areas. The face was trimmed to keep hair out of the way while working. Modern hunters provide an easy-care all-over clip.
It is also likely that the ornate style came from the Poodle's days as a French performing dog, adding to the whimsy and delight of the dog's leaping, frolicking show. The extravagant cut was more than welcome in King Louis' court—he was known to have kept Poodles.