Famed for its characteristic curly, dense coat in various colors, the Poodle is one of the most beloved breeds. Its square proportions, large round ears, and carefully trimmed coat give it a regal appearance. Bred in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy, it is an athletic, energetic, and playful companion.
The word “Poodle” likely stemmed from “Pudel,” the German name of this breed, indicating its origin. Also called the “Caniche” in French, it is an integral part of French culture and is the national dog of France.
|Other names||Pudel, Caniche|
|Coat||Long, thick, and curly|
|Color||Black, blue, café-au-lait, brown, white, silver, gray, fawn, apricot, and cream|
|Life expectancy||10-18 years|
|Size||Small to Medium|
|Height||Standard – 15 – 22 inches|
Miniature – 11 – 15 inches
Toy – up to 10 inches
|Weight||Standard – 45 – 70 pounds|
Miniature – 15 – 17 pounds
Toy – 6 – 9 pounds
|Litter Size||3-7 puppies|
|Behavioral Characteristics||Alert, active, affectionate, faithful, and affectionate|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking Tendency||Low; they may bark at strangers to alert their owner|
|Climate compatibility||Moderate; their water-resistant coat helps shield them against cold water|
|Do they shed||They are low-shedders|
|Are they hypoallergenic||Yes|
|How much do they cost||$600 – $2,000|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||AKC, FCI, SCC, UKC|
History and Origin
Despite its fame in France, the Poodle came from Germany nearly 400 years ago, where it was used as a water dog for duck hunting. As an accomplished retriever, its thick coat was helpful in its early years. However, hunters required a wide range of movement while protecting against cold waters. Hence, the modern coat clip came into existence, where they shaved the neck, legs, and tail but left the fur on the leg joints, chest, and hips. Pompoms are the remaining rounded clumps of hair on the tail, legs, and hips.
Gradually, its dignified features made it popular among nobles all over Europe, which started breeding the existing Standard version into the Miniature and Toy versions. Its cleverness, biddable nature, and showy look made it a widespread circus performer in the early 1900s. It was a familiar fixture in the circus ring, performing on tight ropes, in comedy skits, and even as part of magic tricks. Also, its excellent tracking skills helped it as a truffle hunter. It even found use on the battlefield in the 1800s.
The Toy breed was developed in America in the early 1900s as an urban pet. The public loved it for its cute appearance and eager behavior. The UKC first recognized it in 1974, followed by the AKC in 1886. The Poodle rapidly gained popularity in America after a brilliant dog show performance. It is now one of the most popular breeds worldwide.
Temperament and Personality
Poodles are affectionate, intelligent, and active companions. Their size and quiet temperament make them excellent for urban homes. Despite their dignified appearance, they are energetic and always up for playtime. Great with children, they are protective and attached to their family, and leaving them alone for long can cause anxiety. However, they are not particularly aggressive and don’t make good watchdogs or guard dogs. Also, younger kids must be careful around Toy Poodles as their small size makes them vulnerable.
These dogs are usually reserved but quick to warm up to strangers. Their high intelligence and eager-to-please attitude make training extremely easy. Their hunting pedigree requires an equally active owner willing to provide the daily exercise to keep them healthy. Without burning off excess energy, they get restless and mischievous. Some breeders believe the Toy and Miniature varieties are more excitable than the Standard; however, many others disprove this theory and think the proper training will make any Poodle a calm and well-behaved pet.
While they need ample physical and mental stimulation, even apartment owners can manage it with hour-long daily walks. The Miniature and Standard breeds need regular play in fenced areas, but Toys can thrive indoors. Swimming, jogging, hiking, and retrieving objects are great suggestions for you and your pet. Popular as show dogs, they excel at sports such as agility, obedience, dock diving, tracking, scent work, barn hunts, and waterfowl retrieving and hunting. Their high emotional intelligence makes them great candidates for therapy and service work.
Naturally, a Poodle’s thick, curly coat requires much grooming to maintain its royal look. Daily brushing down to the roots is crucial to avoid matting and knotting. Many owners choose professional clips to make grooming manageable. Still, even those need regular brushing and bathing every four to six weeks for hygiene. Its teary eyes may cause staining around that area, especially for lighter coats. You can use a cloth dunked in warm water or alcohol-free pet wipes to clean it daily.
Check your pet’s ears regularly for redness, infection, or excess hair growth. Wipe them down with a gentle, pH-balanced cleaner every week and carefully pluck the hair if necessary. Brush its teeth periodically, and trim the nails when they get too long.
It is an overall healthy breed, with common ailments such as GDV or bloat, hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, von Willebrand’s disease, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, and several eye disorders. Standard Poodles are more susceptible to bloat and sebaceous adenitis. At the same time, the Miniature and Toy types are more likely to suffer from complications such as luxating patellas and Legg-Calve-Perthes.
They do well on high-quality dog food, but you must decide their daily intake according to size and activity level. Generally, the recommended amounts for each variety are one-and-a-half to three cups for Standard, three-fourths to one cup for Miniature, and one-fourth to half a cup for Toy. Avoid feeding your dog cooked bones or fatty table scraps, and give treats in moderation to prevent overeating.
They are famed for their brilliance and eagerness, making them incredibly easy to train. A well-trained Poodle is well-behaved, friendly, and loving.
Socialization: They will indulge in destructive behavior without adequate mental stimulation. As quick learners, they pick up bad habits quickly, so you must be careful around them. Gentleness and positive encouragement are advised, as harshness often has a negative effect. Make training sessions interactive and non-repetitive to avoid stubbornness and boredom. As with most breeds, early socialization and exposure are vital for building a good temperament. They are simple to house-train, provided you start early.
Obedience: Obedience training is crucial to ensure you have a well-rounded pet. Its circus heritage and pleasing nature allow it to pick up various tricks. Some common ones you can teach your pet are carrying a newspaper, picking up your slippers, and putting bottles in the bin.
Leash: Leash training can be difficult owing to its stubbornness. You must start using one as early as possible to get it acclimatized to walking with you instead of running ahead on its own. Stop when your dog pulls its leash, and only move again when it has adjusted the slack to your liking.
- Since the first victory at Westminster in 1935, Poodles have won the competition ten times, placing second among all breeds.
- The Standard variety has even participated in teams in the Iditarod dogsled race.
- Some famous owners are Walt Disney, Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, and Jackie Kennedy.
- They have appeared in movies like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “The Secret Life of Pets.”
The Standard variety is the fastest, reaching up to thirty miles per hour, followed by Miniatures and Toys, averaging around ten miles per hour.
Though breeders may label them hypoallergenic due to low amounts of dander, some people may be slightly allergic as no breed is truly hypoallergenic.
While the natural eye color is brown, some may have blue eyes. This trait is usually a sign of a genetic mutation or an underlying health issue and should be monitored by your veterinarian.
Usually, they start developing curly hair at around six to eight months old, though sometimes it happens later, giving the illusion of straight hair. However, some do not inherit the gene responsible for curly hair and thus remain with a straight, flowing coat.