Poodles are one of the most beloved dogs in the world. And with good reason. Over the years, these dogs have been described as girly or sissy dogs. But they have a whole lot to offer and are so much more than that.
Do poodles make good pets? Yes, they make wonderful family pets. Whether you get a toy, miniature, or standard poodle, you will find them very smart and affectionate. They have a nice long lifespan too. However, they also require a lot of attention, exercise, and grooming.
Read on to find out more about the poodle. We’ll cover their personality traits and history. And we’ll go over all of the essential factors that you should consider before bringing one of these amazing dogs home.
Is a Poodle the Right Pet for You and Your Family?
Poodles are wonderful dogs that will make excellent additions to most families. But they’re not for everyone. There are some things that you should consider before deciding to bring home this breed.
A poodle might be right for you if you want a dog who is:
- Normally friendly with children and other animals
- Polite with strangers
- Easy to housebreak and train
- One of the most affectionate and smartest breeds
- Playful and lively
- Non-shedding and ideal for people with allergies
- Small, medium, and large
- Sturdy and athletic with grace and elegance
A poodle might not be right for you if you don’t want to deal with:
- Potentially serious health issues
- Frequent grooming
- Emotional sensitivity to loud voices, tension, and stress
- Skittishness if you don’t socialize them enough
- Super excited bouncing and jumping, especially when they’re young
- High exercise requirements
- Carefully searching breed lines to avoid high-strung dogs
The 7 Most Important Things to Consider If You’re Planning on Getting a Poodle
We’ve covered a lot of information about this incredible breed today. Here are the main things to remember as you search for a new dog.
1. Poodles require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation
By now, you understand that poodles require a lot of exercise, especially standard poodles. To keep these dogs healthy, they need a substantial backyard where they can run and play. They also require mental stimulation. If they don’t get enough physical and mental exercise, they can become bored and unruly. When that happens, they may act out with barking, destructive chewing, and hyperactivity. If you don’t have a whole lot of space in your home and yard, we recommend going with a miniature or toy poodle.
2. Poodles bounce a lot
One thing is for sure. Young poodles love to jump. And they do it a lot. .If you have a standard poodle, this could be an issue with the height of your fencing. Up to about the age of two, poodles will jump and romp around with an abundance of energy. Without proper training, they can send things flying, including little children.
3. Poodles require a lot of socialization
By nature, poodles are a bit standoffish. They need to be exposed to people and other animals at an early age. This will help them get accustomed to unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. And it will teach them not to be so standoffish. If you don’t socialize your poodle, their natural tendency to be shy can turn into suspiciousness or skittishness.
4. Poodles are emotionally sensitive
Poodles are extremely sensitive. They thrive in peaceful homes. But they don’t do well in high tension. If your home is full of stress or if you’re emotional and loud, it could negatively affect your dog. Poodles are so sensitive that this kind of stress can make them sick to their stomachs. A tense home can make these dogs exhibit digestive problems and neurotic behaviors.
5. Poodles require grooming
As we discussed earlier, poodles require frequent grooming. With standard poodles, you must regularly brush them. And you should get them clipped every four to six weeks. You don’t have to get them cut to look like the typical poodle either. You can also groom them to look like a regular dog with a short coat and no pompons.
6. Poodles like to bark
Poodles are very smart, and they notice everything. So it is not unusual for them to sound the alarm at every little thing. It’s important that you train them when they’re young, not to bark so much. Otherwise, this can quickly become a very annoying bad habit.
7. Poodles can have serious health problems
We discussed this earlier. Poodles have long lifespans, but they are also prone to get some serious health issues. You must research the lines of the breed thoroughly before you buy a dog to find any genetic health problems. Inbreeding is a particular problem with standard poodles. This has led to major health problems getting caught up in the gene pool.
Different Poodle Sizes
There are three different varieties of poodles: standard, miniature, and toy. The weight varies with different types of poodles, but the height is the important distinguishing characteristic that determines which type of poodle the dog is. It’s worth noting that these three different types of poodles aren’t separate breeds. No, they are instead just different sizes of the same breed.
Standard poodles are the oldest dogs in the breed. They were developed first. These dogs stand at 15 inches or taller. And on average, they weigh somewhere between 45 and 70 pounds.
Standard poodles are considered a medium to large-sized breed.
Miniature poodles are the next size down. They stand between 11 and 15 inches tall. And they weigh on average 15 to 17 pounds. To classify as a miniature poodle, the dog has to be over 10 inches but under 15 inches tall.
Toy poodles are the smallest of the breed. The tallest they get is 10 inches. And they usually weigh just six to nine pounds. The American Kennel Club recognizes these dogs as the smallest breed of the poodle. However, breeders are currently working on developing two other classes of this dog that are even smaller.
The smallest poodles are broken up into three different varieties. These include the toy, miniature, and teacup poodles. Learn more about the sizes and characteristics of each here.
What Are the Physical Characteristics of Poodles?
- One of the most attractive things about poodles is their fantastic curly coat. You may have seen poodles competing in dog shows that have very elaborate hair cuts. They often have extravagant poofy hair on places like their heads and tails with a skin-tight clipping on other parts of their bodies.
If you don’t vigorously brush out your poodle’s coat, it will remain tight and curly. These dogs don’t shed very much, so they are ideal for people who suffer from allergies.
It’s important to note that poodles need frequent grooming. If you don’t keep their hair clipped short, it can mat up. And those mats can be painful.
- Poodles have relatively long legs, giving them a leggy appearance. They also have long muzzles and dropped ears. Another common characteristic of poodles is their straight backs and long, elegant necks. They tend to have a square outline. And their tails aren’t too short. So you won’t miss the happy wagging.
Poodles walk with a lively, almost springy gait. They are quite beautiful and elegant when they move.
- Poodles were originally bred to hunt and retrieve in water. The unique haircuts were actually created to keep the dog’s joints and chest warm while they were swimming in cold water, without weighing them down with too much wet hair.
Many poodle owners like to keep their dog in a working clip, which means that the coat is cut very short everywhere while leaving pompons on the head and tail.
- Color Variety – Poodles also come in a wide variety of colors. It’s not unusual to see poodles in black, white, chocolate, apricot, and silver. You will occasionally also see dogs with reds, creams, and blues in their coats.
You can learn more about poodles by watching this video below:
Poodle Temperament and Personality
- High Intelligence – The first thing that you’ll notice about poodles is that they are highly intelligent. Owners often describe their intelligence as being clever and human-like. Of course, having such a smart dog can be a double-edged sword. These dogs learn very fast, and they remember everything. That means they will pick up both good and bad habits.
- Very Social – Poodles don’t do well as outside or kennel dogs. They are much more sociable than that. And they require a lot of time with their pack. To raise a healthy, well-adjusted dog, you must begin training and socialization as soon as possible.
If you properly socialize your poodle from an early age, he will do well with children and other animals. Poodles are often friendly with strangers too.
- Poodles are graceful and cheerful when they are raised in a healthy way. It’s important that you are not too harsh with them, though. They are especially sensitive to your tone of voice. It’s best if owners are calm and confident when dealing with this intelligent breed.
- High Strung – If you don’t train and socialize your poodle, he can become incredibly high strung. Poodles also tend to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. Other negative behaviors can show themselves if they don’t get enough exercise, which includes both mental and physical.
Are Poodles Affectionate?
Yes! Poodles are incredibly affectionate. They are very loving, and they fiercely protect their families. Are you looking for a dog that’s a cuddler? Well, poodles love to cuddle, especially at night, after they’ve had a full day of mental and physical exercise.
What is a Poodle’s Activity Requirements?
If you want to keep your poodle out of trouble, then you should be sure that they have enough exercise every day. They love to play. But they can quickly become bored and destructive if they don’t have a place to release some of that energy.
You need to find ways to stimulate them mentally also. You should play with them and give them plenty of toys. Otherwise, they are likely to chew up something of yours.
One thing you can do is to work on intelligence games. They also do well with challenging toys. But beyond that, they need daily walks and runs to keep them healthy and well adjusted. We recommend enrolling your poodle in advanced agility classes. There they can exercise their minds and bodies at the same time.
All poodles are active dogs. However, the smaller poodles don’t require quite as much exercise every day. If you have a miniature or toy poodle, you should give them enough toys and activity to keep them busy.
If you notice that your poodle is exhibiting destructive behaviors, that is a good indication that you aren’t giving them enough physical and mental stimulation.
Are Poodles Intelligent?
They sure are! As we discussed a minute ago, poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds out there. It’s easy to train them because they quickly pick up on patterns. They are much easier to housetrain than other breeds too. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of work on your part to motivate them; a few treats is all you need.
You’ll find that basic obedience is easy with these dogs. But poodles can do so much more than just basic obedience. They excel in advanced obedience classes, agility courses, and trick training.
On top of loving to learn new things, they also love to please their owners. Teaching your dog to fetch your slippers or a newspaper is no problem with this breed.
Health Concerns and Life Span of Poodles
On average, poodles live 12 to 18 years. That is considered a long life for dogs. However, even with their longer life span, they are also prone to several health conditions that you should know about. Many of the health issues are genetic with poodles.
The most common health issues that you should look out for include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Runny eyes
- Skin conditions
- Ear infections
- Hip dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Premature graying
The truth is, the vast majority of dog breeds have health concerns. Poodles are no different. And they aren’t any more susceptible to problems than any other dog breed. You can avoid many of the common health issues by researching the dog’s genetic lines before you buy a puppy.
You should consider the long lifespan of the poodle too. Many dogs have shorter lifespans, but poodles can live as long as 16 years or even longer. Getting a poodle is a commitment like it is with any other breed, but it’s essential to know that poodles live longer than most dogs.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure that your dog comes from solid genetic stock. But it’s worth noting that even dogs that come from the best genetic lines can still have health problems. Those problems could wind up costing you a lot of money in vet bills. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get pet insurance. Here is some more information about choosing the best insurance plan for your dog.
The Poodle Club of America has some more excellent information about the health concerns with poodles.
The History of Poodles
Poodles are often associated with France. There is no doubt that the French people love their poodles. However, according to the American Kennel Club, poodles actually originated in Germany. The AKC says,
“Despite the Poodle’s association with France, the breed originated as a duck hunter in Germany, where the word “pudelin” refers to splashing in water. The Standard Poodle began its development as a retrieving water dog more than 400 years ago. With a crisp, curly coat as protection against the elements, superlative swimming ability, and off-the-charts intelligence, the Poodle was, and still is, a magnificent retriever.”
England’s Kennel Club registered the first poodle in 1874. The American Kennel Club registered the first poodle in 1886. A few short years later, the Poodle Club of America was founded.
Even though the AKC recognized poodles in the 1800s, it wasn’t until the mid-1950s, after World War II, that the breed became popular in America. Poodles have remained one of the most popular breeds in the country since.
Along the way, poodles moved from water retrievers to pampered pooches. The nobles in Europe loved these dogs, especially the miniature poodle. Because of their intelligence, poodles are considered wonderful entertainers who have been trained as circus performers. Indeed, they are still used in circus acts, as this video demonstrates.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that poodles make lovely additions to most families. As you can see, they are much more than the sissy dogs they’ve been labeled as. They are beautiful and lively. They love to play, and they are extremely smart. But they are also a big commitment. They live longer than most dog breeds, and they require a lot of exercise and grooming.
If you are looking for a poodle, consider rescuing one. You can get more information here about rescuing adult poodles in every state in the country. Best of luck in your search!