Poodle Breed Traits & Facts

Originally Poodles were Duck retrievers. Poodles would leap into the water to swim to the ducks they wanted to retrieve. They are very strong swimmers and were bred for this purpose. They are also very popular breeds that can be cross-bred with other dogs like the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever. The Poodle, a versatile, bright and lively breed, is currently ranked seventh on the American Kennel Club’s popularity lists.

Poodles are now able to do many activities. Poodles make great companions. They can participate in obedience and agility, flyball and dock diving. They make great rescue dogs and service dogs.

The Poodle is a very low-shedding making it an ideal choice for allergy sufferers. The Poodle is often associated with France but the breed actually originated in Germany. This article will provide a comprehensive look at the Poodle’s past, character, and current health.

Poodle Breed

History

Poodles were once from Germany. The German name for a Poodle is pudel, which means, “splash in the water.” Many of the most popular names for Poodles are German. This is a reference to the primary task of the breed as a water retriever. The fancy show clips we see today were actually once used to keep the dog warm while he worked in cold water.

A member of the non-sporting group, the Poodle, comes in three official sizes – the Standard, Miniature, and Toy.

Of all three types of Poodles, the standard is the most popular. The Toy and Miniature Poodle breeds were created by breeding selectively to produce smaller-sized dogs. These Poodles weren’t just lapdogs. They also had to sniff out truffles.

Later in history, Toy and Miniature Poodles became a popular addition to the circus thanks to their supreme intelligence, ability to learn tricks, and love of performing for an enthusiastic audience.

Poodles became especially popular in France where they quickly gained status as companions to the gentry. Toy Poodles were loved by King Louis XVI and soon became the official dog of France.

The Poodle is now loved around the world and is one of the most popular breeds of family companion dogs. The miniature Poodle is the most popular of all three sizes.

Some Poodles are still water retrievers but most live happily with their families. Poodles are very successful in performance disciplines, including obedience, agility, flyball, and dock diving. Poodles are loyal, intelligent, and playful. They like to be the center of attention and they enjoy performing tricks.

Temperament

Poodles are well known for being very smart – typically ranked in the top two or three most intelligent breeds! They can learn almost anything. They are elegantly dressed but they are hunting dogs and thrive on companionship and active play.

They are friendly and want to get involved in whatever you’re doing. They like other dogs and cats, and they get along well with children.

Miniature and toy dogs can become overly excited if they don’t have anything to do. This can lead to your
Poodle to become destructive and loud. They all enjoy obedience and are good at showing off their skills in class and at dog shows.

Size & Appearance

The Standard Poodle is the biggest of the three Poodle varieties, standing over 15 inches tall and weighing between 40 and 55 pounds. Miniature Poodles are smaller at over ten inches tall but under 15 inches, weighing between 12 and 15 pounds. Toy Poodles are the smallest of the varieties, measuring ten inches or less at the shoulder and weighing between five and ten pounds.

Do not be tempted to buy a “teacup” Poodle! These small dogs are rare and often sold as rarities. They are typically unhealthy and have a short lifespan. If you want a more laid-back Poodle, try a mix like the Cavapoo.

Poodles are square in shape, regardless of their size. They have straight backs and elongated necks. Although their tails are docked they can still wave joyfully despite being long enough. They have long legs and muzzles, along with dropped ears on the sides of their rounded heads.

These handsome and graceful dogs have lots of muscles which make them strong. Poodles are excellent swimmers because they were water dogs from birth.

Coat & Colors

The coat of the Poodle is one of its most distinctive features. Their tight, fine, and curly fur does not shed, which makes them great for people suffering from allergies. Regular grooming is necessary because the fur mats by itself. More on this later!

Poodles are available in many colors, including:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Apricot
  • White
  • Silver
  • Silver/beige
  • Cafe-au-lait
  • Cream
  • Red

You can also find “parti-Poodles” which are two-tone, and phantom Poodles that have tan markings similar to those of a Doberman pinscher.

Exercise & Living Conditions

All varieties of Poodles require a lot of exercise. They are active and high-energy dogs. At least 90 minutes each day should be enough to keep your Poodle in good shape, physically and mentally.

If you have a Poodle you will need to make sure you are spending plenty of time keeping your dog happy. Poodles love swimming and retrieving, so a trip to the park with a ball or a spot of dock diving is a brilliant way of exercising your dog.

Poodles are highly social dogs that hate solitude. Separation anxiety is most common in Poodles if they are forced to live outdoors or placed in a kennel. A Poodle’s one-coat, fine coat will not keep him warm enough when it is cold outside.

Training

Don’t let the frou frou haircut fool your! They are intelligent and highly trainable dogs who enjoy learning. You can train your Poodle to participate in agility, flyball and obedience events. Keep your training routines fun and consistent, and your Poodle will love it!

Poodles can jump very high. This can be an excellent skill in agility courses, but you may have to make sure your backyard fence is high enough for your Poodle not to clear!

Health

A healthy Poodle can live for between 10 and 18 years. Unfortunately, Poodles can be susceptible to many illnesses. Some of these are hereditary. The healthiest of all three sizes, Standard Poodles are generally the most healthy.

Here are the most common conditions that affect all types of Poodles:

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease causes the dog’s adrenal glands to produce an excess of cortisol. The affected animals may gain weight, experience excessive thirst and hunger, and develop bladder infections. Some dogs that were house-trained may begin to urinate in their own homes.

Hypothyroidism

Poodles can also be affected by hyperthyroidism. The condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone for the dog’s needs. This can lead to hair loss, weight gain and increased susceptibility for the cold. This condition is usually managed with lifelong medication.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a genetic eye condition that typically leads to blindness.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s disease is a common genetic bleeding disorder. This condition is caused due to a lack of the protein that promotes blood-clotting. Von Willebrand’s disease can cause severe bleeding in dogs that have suffered an injury.

Bloat

Bloat can occur in Standard Poodles. Bloat is more correctly known as gastric dilation volvulus. The condition occurs when the stomach twists, trapping air inside. Bloat can be fatal and requires emergency surgery.

Sebaceous Adenitis

Sebaceous Adenitis is a skin condition that can sometimes affect Standard and Toy Poodles. The condition involves an inflammation of the sebaceous glands in the skin, causing skin problems and hair loss.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is caused by malformations of the hip joint. This condition can be passed down from one generation to the next. It can cause minor issues or even a permanent disability. Hip dysplasia can be treated with medication or, in more serious cases, by major surgery.

Other Conditions For Toy Poodles

The following conditions tend to be confined to the smaller Poodle breeds, we recommend looking into pet insurance for your Toy Poodle:

Luxating Patella

The patella is the dog’s kneecap. The kneecap is found in a groove at the end of the thigh bone just above the knee. In dogs with luxating patella, the kneecap continually slips out of place, causing intermittent lameness. It is possible to correct luxating patella surgically.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is also called aseptic or avascular necrosis of the femoral head or ball joint. The condition causes the femoral head to degenerate, leading to collapse of the hip joint and chronic arthritis. This condition is often seen in puberty and can be treated by surgery.

Health Certifications

Bearing in mind the number of potential health issues that can affect Poodles, it’s vital that you ask to see the breeder’s written evidence that they have had their breeding animals screened for the conditions mentioned above.

The National Breed Club recommends that you take the following health tests:

  • PRA Optigen DNA test (Toy and Miniature varieties)
  • Hip evaluation (Standard and Miniature varieties)
  • Patella evaluation (Toy and Miniature varieties)
  • Ophthalmologist evaluation (all varieties)
  • OFA thyroid clearance testing (Standard variety)

The Canine Health Information Center for (CHIC), which is managed by the Poodle Club of America (PCA), contains details of every dog. The database contains details of every dog that’s been health tested, so you can check to see if your puppy’s parents are listed here.

Reputable breeders only use breeding dogs that have been screened and cleared for genetic disease, so, in theory, their puppies should be free from hereditary health conditions.

Nutrition

When you pick up your Poodle puppy, it’s a good idea to ask the breeder what brand of food they recommend. For the first six months, stick to this food and then change to a high-quality commercial adult recipe food.

If you have a Toy Poodle look for dry food (kibble), that is made specifically for them. The dog’s teeth can be cleaned by chewing on the kibble. This will help prevent gingivitis or periodontal disease. That’s especially important in tiny dogs whose teeth are often overcrowded and very close together.

For more advice on what to feed your Poodle, have a chat with your vet.

Grooming

Your Poodle’s coat should be trimmed every four to six weeks. If you don’t have your Poodle clipped regularly, his coat will quickly become a matted mess, which can cause skin infections to develop. To prevent hair tangling between clippings, your Poodle should be brushed every other day using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

All Poodles require special grooming. Poodles require regular baths, and need to be groomed. Many people take their Poodles to professional groomers. They can make your Poodle look show-worthy or give you a puppy cut.

Poodles are also very popular to cross with other breeds because of their fur and the fact that their fur is popular in families that prefer hypoallergenic breeds. Some popular Poodle mixes include the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle, as well as the Bernedoodle which is a Bernese mountain dog Poodle mix. Maltipoos are also a popular cross between a Maltese and a Toy Poodle.

Some owners like to leave their Poodle’s coat to grow out into natural cords. Most people prefer a tidy, neat look for their dog.

Owners of Toy or Miniature Poodles will need to brush their dog’s teeth every day or two with a proper veterinary toothpaste and toothbrush. This will help prevent bacteria and plaque from forming on the teeth, which could lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and ultimately to periodontal disease.

They are excellent dogs for people who have allergies, most of the time. Some people may be very sensitive to dogs that are hypoallergenic. Before purchasing a dog, it is advisable to consult an allergist.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

The best place to begin your quest to find the perfect Poodle puppy is the Poodle Club of America’s website. The American Kennel Club website is another good place to look for Poodle breeders.

Responsible breeders must adhere to the PCA’s strict ethical guidelines. This prohibits the sale of puppies through brokers, auctions, or pet shops. You should also look for a breeder who will give you a written contract that promises to take the dog back at any time during his life if you find yourself unable to keep your pet.

Good breeders will have their puppies’ parents’ health screened and cleared of all the severe congenital conditions the Poodle breed can be susceptible to. How can you tell a good breeder from one that is not?

Here are a few warning signs you should be aware of, especially when looking at online advertisements:

  • Breeders who have multiple litters for sale
  • Breeders with a seemingly unlimited supply of puppies for sale
  • Breeders who give you the option to pay for your puppy online with a credit card
  • Breeders who offer very cheap puppies “without papers”

Another common scam to watch out for is a website that offers to ship the puppy to you. Many buyers end up buying a puppy that is not what they expected or a puppy that isn’t as described. Before you spend any money, it is a good idea to visit the kennels of the breeder in order to meet the puppy and his parents.

The cost of a Poodle puppy varies tremendously, depending on where you live, the puppy’s sex, and what kind of show record the pup’s parents have. A well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder would cost you from around $1,000 to $5,000.

A puppy from a puppy mill may be offered to you if the price is low. Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill or farm. Puppy mills were set up solely to produce puppies as cheaply and quickly as possible.

The breeding stock used by mills is not often health-screened for congenital conditions and conditions that could be passed on to their offspring. Also, a puppy from a mill will most likely not be vaccinated, wormed, or treated for fleas. You could end up with a sick puppy with potentially serious health issues. You should also know that puppy mills are often used by small pet shops to source their puppies.

There are also many different mixed-breed Poodle pups. Designer Dogs have been more popular in the past two decades. Some are the Toy variety, while others are from the standard Poodle line. Let’s take a look at our top Poodle mixes.

Rescues & Shelters

If you don’t want a puppy and would prefer to take on an adult dog, you could rehome a Poodle from a rescue shelter. Check out this link to the Poodle Club of America’s Rescue Foundation to see what rescued Poodles are currently up for adoption.

Although adopting a Poodle from a shelter will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling of doing a good deed, you should proceed with caution. You might be taking on more problems than you can handle by adopting a dog from a shelter.

If possible, make arrangements with the shelter to take the Poodle on a trial basis for a few weeks to see if he settles into your home. If the Poodle is not suitable for your home, you have the option to either keep him or return him to shelter.

As Family Pets

So, with all of the information you’ve received, would a Poodle be the right pet for your family?

  • Poodles get on well with kids, other dogs, and cats. It is important to socialize your dog as soon as possible.
  • Poodles are highly intelligent and quick to learn. Poodles are intelligent and quick learners. You can train your Poodle to participate in canine sports, or just teach your dog entertaining tricks.
  • Miniature Poodles like to follow their human family around and are the best choice if you have small children in your household.
  • If you’re looking for an amusing lapdog with a sense of humor, a Toy Poodle will make a good choice for you.
  • If you buy a Standard Poodle, you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate him, including a backyard.
  • Toy and Miniature Poodles will be a good choice if you live in an apartment or a small house.
  • The Poodle’s fine curly coat sheds very little, making the breed a good choice for those with pet hair allergies.
  • Although Poodles don’t need too much grooming, you will need to have your dog clipped regularly by a professional groomer to prevent the coat from becoming tangled and matted.
  • All varieties of Poodles are energetic and lively dogs that need plenty of exercise.
  • Exercise requirements multiply if you have a mixed breed that’s more active like the Siberpoo.
  • Poodles are high energy, making training them with a Poodle-appropriate dog crate, a very good idea.

A Poodle is a great pet for active families with children and other dogs. Spend the time you save grooming on training and exercising your Poodle. He’ll be grateful.

Final Thoughts

A Poodle is a fun, lively, and intelligent dog that will get along with your family members and pets.

Those who have a lot of space might consider a Standard Poodle. However, those with less space will still be able to enjoy the many desirable traits of the Poodle by giving a home to a Toy/Miniature Poodle.

Poodles are great for pet owners with a pet hair allergy because their curly, curly coat sheds very little. Your Poodle’s hair should be trimmed every six weeks to reduce shedding and prevent matting.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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