Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Height: Standard over 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniature over 10 but under 15 inches; Toy 10 inches or under
Weight: Standard 40 to 55 pounds; Miniature 12 to 15 pounds; Toy 5 to 10 pounds
Life Span: 14 to 18 years
With an Einstein brain and a Three Stooges sense of humor, the Poodle keeps his people entertained. With boundless energy and a sunny disposition, he makes an excellent family dog, but his curly coat requires intense grooming. Standard, Miniature, or Toy? Take your pick.
Did You Know the Poodle is One Smart and Funny Dog?
These curly-coated canines are often thought of as France’s national dog, though the breed originated in Germany.
No breed has a more highly developed sense of humor than the Poodle. Good thing, too, because no breed has been the butt of more jokes. Humor aside, all the sniping is unfortunate. Many a family overlooks the smart, funny Poodle, thinking him prissy. Still, it is one of the more popular breeds in the world. Poodle lovers know the dogs for their intelligence, ease of training, low-shedding curly coat, and love of family.
A Poodle’s coat is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because the breed sheds less, so it may be more easily tolerated by some people with allergies. But the coat — or rather what some people do with it — is why many people cross the Poodle off their lists. The breed’s frou-frou reputation is based on show poodles, who are poofed, shaved, and hair-extensioned into an appearance that, though once based on practical considerations, is now just plain silly. Family pets can have a simple and easy-to-maintain look. And they don’t have to wear nail polish!
Poodles require grooming every 4 to 6 weeks. Some Poodle owners learn to use clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on professionals. Either way, it’s essential to take care of the Poodle’s curly coat. Without regular clipping, it will become a matted mess that can cause painful skin infections at the roots.
The Poodle’s coat comes in many colors: apricot, black, blue, brown, café-au-lait, cream, gray, red, silver, silver beige, and white. Parti Poodles are two-tone. Phantom poodles have tan areas that are similar to the points on a Doberman Pinscher.
The group Versatility in Poodles was founded to take the focus away from the breed’s appearance and put it squarely on what’s under those curls. Today, Poodles with the right stuff can compete for American Kennel Club working certificates and are eligible to compete in hunt tests alongside Labradors, Goldens, and other Retrievers.
Most people won’t be competing with their Poodles, of course, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty for the bright and agile dog to do. These easy-to-train dogs can go anywhere and do anything. They’re generally good with other dogs, cats, and strangers, and are easy to housetrain.
Poodles can excel at performance activities such as agility and obedience. They are active dogs who thrive on attention and learning. Although Toy Poodles (less than 10 inches at the shoulder) are too small to roughhouse with children, there’s nothing the larger Poodles (Miniature, between 10 and 15 inches; Standard, more than 15 inches) like better than to chase a ball or run with kids. Standard Poodles especially need plenty of exercise to be happy, and can do a lot of damage if bored or lonely.
Other Quick Facts About the Poodle
The Standard Poodle was originally bred in Germany as a duck retriever; he is still capable of performing that task today.
The crazy haircuts seen on today’s show Poodles have their roots in the dog’s hunting roots; the thick, curly coat was cut in a way that allowed him to swim but also kept his chest and joints warm.
A Poodle’s intelligence can translate into stubbornness, so be kind but persistent with training.