- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Group: AKC Non-Sporting
- Best Suited For: Families with children, singles, seniors, houses with yards
- Temperament: Intelligent, easy to train, obedient, playful
When you think of a poodle, what kind of dog do you think of? Many of us immediately imagine the Toy Poodle, one of the different types of Poodle. But as a breed, the Poodle has a surprising amount of variety and versatility. Poodles can be athletic, rambunctious, energetic – just about anything under the sun, at least relative to the expectations of Poodles that many people bring to the table.
This surprisingly varying breed is not just a toy dog, but it can also make a great pet. A lot of people have tons of fun with their Poodles and enjoy the extra bit of grooming that its coat requires as just another way to invest some quality time with the dog they love. But does that mean the Poodle is a right choice for you and your family? Let’s take a closer look at this breed.
As a breed, this dog has a surprising amount of variety and versatility.
The Poodle actually started out as a water dog, the kind of dog that is capable of retrieving and assisting in the owner’s hunting trips. Believe it or not, that makes the early Poodle a type of retriever. The German word of “pudel,” in fact, actually refers to the splashing a Poodle would make, with the word “Poodle” as an English equivalent.
There are three varieties of Poodle, and according to the American Kennel Club, the oldest of these varieties is large or Standard. The Poodle was bred to have a water-resistant coat – which helps explain the quality of the current dog’s coat – that was eventually groomed and patterned according to taste and style rather than worrying simply about functionality.
Today, we know this as the hallmark of many Poodles. We expect Poodles to have a specific type of coat that is usually highly groomed and stylized. If you are going to see a Poodle in a dog show, you’re expecting to see something that pops out immediately. That’s what the Poodle is today, even if its history has not been exclusively about its appearance.
Other types of Poodle today include Toy and Miniature.
Since there are three varieties of Poodle, two of those varieties – the Toy and Miniature – actually take its pedigree from the oldest of these varieties, the large or Standard Poodle. Many of today’s Poodles have its pedigree strongly taken into account because Poodles are considered to be predominantly a show dog rather than a guard dog or a hunting dog.
Poodles have been around for centuries and have ancestors across countries in Europe like Germany, England, and Spain.
Food / Diet
The Poodle does not widely differ from other dogs in its diet – but the size of your individual dog will obviously have a big effect on how much it is capable of eating. The breed will enjoy meat, vegetables, and some typically human foods – although these are usually only okay in moderation.
Poodles can sometimes be a handful, but the breed is perfectly capable of being responsive enough to training to participate in a number of dog shows. In recent years, Poodles have been champions at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as well as the World Dog Show.
The Poodle’s temperament is often about energy.
Weight for Poodles will vary depending on the type. Toy and Miniature sizes can weigh very little while the Standard size can get up to around 40 to 70 pounds depending on a number of factors.
Temperament / Behavior
The Poodle’s temperament is often about energy. From the Standard to the Miniature, you can expect your dog to be full of energy and capable of plenty of exercise – often enough to work up quite an appetite. Even Toy and Miniature Poodles will display frequent instinctual behaviors – for example, small Poodles have been known to point birds.
Common Health Problems
Poodles can run into a few nasty health problems including Addison’s Disease, thyroid issues, and cancer. Like almost all dogs, this breed can run into problems with the joints such as hip dysplasia.
A standard Poodle should have a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. The same approximate life expectancy can be expected of Miniature Poodles, which gives them plenty of time to grow up along with your children if you’re considering getting this breed as a family pet.
Being energetic as they are, this breed will like a good deal of exercise and enjoy living up to their hunting and pointing instincts. As former retrievers, Poodles should be able to enjoy chasing balls and Frisbees, as well. The American Kennel Club lists this dog as an “active” breed. They will require at least daily exercise and might be able to go a long time before tiring out.
The Poodle, though often equated to the beauty with no brains, is exceptionally smart, active and excels in obedience training.
The American Kennel Club’s description of the Poodle reads as follows: “The Poodle, though often equated to the beauty with no brains, is exceptionally smart, active and excels in obedience training.”
The coat of the Poodle is, of course, one of its defining characteristics. Its coat will have plenty of room for grooming and will in fact require regular grooming. Many people will groom their dog stylishly and in extravagant ways – if you’re just taking in this dog as a pet, however, basic grooming is all that’s really required. From Miniatures to Standard, Poodles are a great breed if you really want to find a dog that can stand up to a lot of grooming and styling.
An energetic breed, you can imagine how lively a puppy can be as it grows up. Make sure that you are careful in reaching a good balance between exercises that uses the dog’s instincts for being outside and retrieving/pointing, while also being sure not to over exercise them as its body grows.
Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock