Poodle Vs. German Shepherd: Which Breed is Right for You?


If you’re contemplating getting a new dog, you may find yourself torn between a poodle and a German shepherd. Both breeds are wonderful family dogs, but it’s important to explore their unique personalities and characteristics in order to discover which breed is the best choice for your family. So, which breed should you choose?

Poodles are playful, loving, and energetic dogs that are kid-friendly and easy to train. German shepherds are affectionate with their owners and tend to be loyal, protective, and gentle. Although both breeds require a high level of grooming, the Poodle is hypoallergenic and sheds much less than the German Shepherd.

Understanding as much as you can about the Poodle and German Shepherd breeds will help you make an informed decision with confidence. Read on to learn more about the differences and similarities between German shepherds and poodles, as well as discovering which breed is the best fit for you.

Poodle Vs. German Shepherd Attributes at a Glance

This chart provides a quick comparison of the Poodle and German Shepherd breeds:

PoodleGerman Shepherd
IntelligenceHighHigh
Health IssuesAddison’s Disease, Bloat, Epilepsy,
Hip Dysplasia
Allergies, Blindness, Hip Dysplasia, Bloat Cancer, Cataracts 
Pet FriendlyNot FriendlyVery Friendly
Kids FriendlyVery FriendlyVery Friendly
GroomingHigh maintenanceAverage Maintenance
HypoallergenicYesNo
Train-abilityEasyEasy
TemperamentAffectionate, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent, Instinctual, Loving, Loyal, Playful, TrainableTrainable, Faithful, Intelligent, Alert Instinctual, Active
Coat ColorsBlack. Sable, Silver, White, Black and White, Brown, Apricot, Red, Cream, GreySilver, Tan, Black, Red
SheddingLowHigh
Life Span12 – 19 Years9-13 years
Energy LevelMedium-HighHigh
Breed Avg. Height/WeightToy Poodle
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 6-9 pounds
Miniature Poodle
Height: 11-15 inches
Weight: 15-17 pounds
Standard Poodle
Height: 15-22 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
German Shepherds:
Weight: 74-98 Pounds
Height: 21-27 Inches

Which Breed is Better: A Poodle or German Shepherd?

Both the Poodle and German Shepherd breeds are loved by millions all over the world, but deciding which breed to take home can be a little nerve-racking and challenging. However, there are a few key differences that can make this process easier and help lead you to the correct decision for you and your family. 

Poodles are very easy to train and are a better choice for families suffering from allergies. German Shepherds make great guard dogs and are extremely loyal towards their owners. While Poodles are hypoallergenic and shed very little, German Shepherds are easier to groom than the Poodle.

Both the Poodle and German Shepherd have positive and negative attributes that need to be considered carefully. Poodles and German Shepherds are wonderful breeds that any potential owner would certainly fall in love with. However, By comparing these two breeds, I hope to help you discover the best breed for your family’s needs.  

How is a German Shepherd Different from a Poodle?

Obviously, there are a number of differences between German shepherds and poodles, starting with their appearance.

Poodles are medium-sized dogs with rough, curly coats that may come in a wide variety of colors. German Shepherds are large dogs with short, dense coats of usually brown and black hair. Although German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic like the poodle, they require less grooming and their coats are easier to maintain.

Poodles are generally seen as high-maintenance dogs that will take frequent grooming and care to keep their distinctive coat looking its best. That said, poodles rarely shed and are hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for people who often suffer from pet allergies.

German shepherds shed frequently and are not hypoallergenic. But they require little grooming, and their smooth coat is generally easier to take care of than a poodle’s.

Some of the differences are best compared against each other in a table:

Standard PoodleGerman Shepherd
Height:15-22 inches21-27 inches
Weight:45-70 pounds74-98 pounds
Lifespan:12-19 years9-13 years
Litter size:3-81-15
Barks/howls:a lotless than average
Exercise requirements:medium-highhigh
Strength:mediumhigh
Drools:noyes
Easily distracted:yesno
Guarding abilities:noyes

Similarities Between Poodles and German Shepherds

Many of the differences between poodles and German shepherds are easy to recognize, but what about their similarities?

It may surprise you to learn that poodles and German Shepherds actually share a number of traits and characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at some of these similarities.

Similarities between Poodles and German Shepherds include:

1. Temperament

Both poodles and German shepherds can be very loving, affectionate companions. They are both known for being good with kids and they adjust very well to new owners. They are both highly intelligent and loyal dogs.

Poodles and German shepherds are easy to train, though German shepherds may be slightly more responsive and obedient.

Both breeds have high levels of energy and need plenty of exercise. They love to run and play, go for walks, and explore. You may expect German shepherds to be fast runners, but poodles can nearly keep up with them. Both the Poodle and German Shepherd breeds are able to reach top speeds of 30-32 miles per hour.

Both Poodles and German Shepherds are lively and alert dog breeds.

2. Energy Needs

Both poodles and German shepherds need opportunities to exercise and burn off energy, but surprisingly, neither breed needs a ton of extra space. They both do well living in apartments or houses with small yards, provided you take them for a daily walk or trip to the dog park.

Of course, these breeds will also thrive in large houses with large yards, but they do not require all that room to be content. Poodles and German Shepherds do require loving, devoted humans in their lives to make sure they get all the activity and structure they need to keep them happy and in shape.

3. Origin

You probably guessed that German shepherds originated in Germany, but did you know that poodles did as well? 

Poodles

In fact, poodles are a much older dog breed that originated around 1200 AD. There is some thought that poodle-like dogs go back to the times of the ancient Egyptians. 

Modern poodles were originally bred for hunting waterfowl. Though they first came from Germany, they were further developed as a breed in France.

German Shepherds

German shepherds got their start much later, in the late 1800s. They were developed by crossbreeding sheepdogs in rural Germany. The first German shepherd was introduced at a dog show in 1882. The dogs didn’t make it to the United States until 1906.

German Shepherd Breed Information

To conclude this article, we’ll look at some of the defining traits and characteristics of each dog breed, starting with the German shepherd. This basic information will help you decide whether a German shepherd is right for you or whether a poodle may be more what you’re looking for.

  • German shepherds are fantastic guard dogs. Their guardian instincts make German Shepherds fiercely loyal and protective of their humans. For people who live alone or families who want an extra level of security for their children, this is a great trait to have.

It’s worth noting, though, that this same protective instinct tends to make them suspicious of strangers. If you’re used to having a lot of different people over at your house, hosting meetings or parties, a German Shepherd may not be the breed for you.

  • German shepherds need to be socialized. German shepherds who are exposed to lots of different dogs and people when they’re young tend to be friendlier as they grow up. Companionship with other dogs is especially important. 

If you don’t have other dogs, you may want to take your German shepherd to the dog park or other social activities as often as you can.

  • German shepherds shed quite a bit. We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Most German shepherds shed constantly, with even heavier periods of shedding in the spring and fall. They need to be brushed on a regular basis to keep the hair from building up and becoming matted.

If you’re allergic to pet hair and dander, or if you’re concerned your house and clothes may get covered with hair, you may want to go choose the poodle.

Now let’s take a look at some information about the poodle breed.

Poodle Breed Information

Last but not least, it’s time to look at some of the traits and characteristics of poodles. If you’re looking for a more fun-loving dog breed, or one that won’t make your allergies flare up, a poodle may be just what you need.

  • Poodles make excellent show dogs. Because of their fancy coats, they are a favorite choice for people who enjoy participating in dog shows. Poodles seem to enjoy the attention as well as the pampering and grooming involved in each show.
  • Poodles love to jump. Not only do they love to jump, but they’re also really good at it. If your yard has a low fence, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your poodle to make sure she doesn’t jump the fence and run off.
  • Poodles need to be groomed often. They don’t shed, which is what makes them great for people with pet allergies. On the other side of the coin, they need to be groomed to remove excess hair as well as to keep it from becoming matted.

Poodles are great for people who love to pamper their dogs.

Final Thoughts

Poodles and German shepherds are both loveable dog breeds. Whichever one ends up being right for you, you’re sure to find yourself the proud owner of a loyal, affectionate, and friendly new friend!

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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