Breed of the Week: The Poodle


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Okay, let’s begin by accepting as a matter of faith that anyone who wanders onto this site knows that I have a bias in favor of large dogs. I know that if I’m going to talk about Poodles here, I’m not going to be able to just talk about Standards; I’m also going to have to talk about minis and toys. So, with that in mind, I’m going to try very hard not to let my bias take over. I’ll talk about the Minis and Toys, but you need to know that I much prefer the Standards.


So, about Poodles. They are impressive, as pretty much anyone who has ever won “Best in Show” can verify. They are also very affectionate and make great family pets. The Poodle is an old breed, too; it’s been around for a very long time, and with good reason.

So let’s take a look at the Poodle – a noble dog with a lot to recommend it.


It’s believed that the Poodle is the result of various water dogs being crossed with one another. Its origin could be in Germany, Hungary, Russia, Spain, Portugal and other countries. The Poodle could also be descended from herding dogs that were developed in Asia and then crossed with dogs from Germany.

It really doesn’t matter where the Poodle originated, though. Regardless of its origin, it is probably a very old breed. In fact, ancient Egyptian illustrations show dogs that look very much like today’s Poodles.

They Used to Be Big

Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer big dogs and in fact, if I’d lived in the 1400s, I’d probably have been one of those people who said, “You will not miniaturize this breed!” The minis and toys actually came into popularity in the early 15th century, when breeders began to consider the dog’s ability as a water dog for retrieving small game to be secondary to its desirability when it came to being carried around by wealthy ladies in their sleeves.

Well, I know what I want from a dog. The sleeve thing doesn’t enter into it for me, but it did for other people.

Once the Poodle became miniaturized, he became useless more suited to being a pet. Wealthy people ruined adopted the breed, training it to not just hang around in sleeves but to perform tricks. They also began to clip poodles in all manner of fantastic configurations and even dye them different colors.

The first Poodles were registered in England in the late 1800s and came to America shortly after. They were rare until after the Second World War, though. Post-war, they were among the most popular dogs in the United States.

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Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature and Toy. The Standard is about 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 70 pounds. The Mini stands up to 15 inches, and weighs up to 17 pounds. The Toy is 10 inches and up to 9 pounds.

Some people will tell you that there are teacup breeds, but these are not recognized by the AKC, nor should they be. Teacup dogs are freaks, and no right-thinking person would want one – see Why You Should Walk Away From Teacup Dogs.


Poodles are typically loyal and loving, regal and yet playful. A Poodle will always be willing to play with his people, and is always willing to please. He is also very intelligent and trainable.

Poodles that have been taught good manners will typically be calm and protective of his family and his home. He will be friendly with strangers, but if he perceives a threat, he will let you know. He’ll be very affectionate with family members, but might not be overly welcoming to strangers. He’ll learn fast, too.


Poodles are typically healthy dogs, but might be prone to some conditions.

One such condition is Addison’s disease. This happens when your dog doesn’t produce enough adrenal hormones. Dogs with Addison’s disease might have a poor appetite, be prone to vomit or feel lethargic. Your vet can perform tests to find out if your dog has Addison’s disease.

Another condition that Poodles are vulnerable to is bloat. It’s common among large, deep-chested dogs, which is why it could affect a Standard Poodle. It manifests as a gas-filled stomach, and when it happens, the dog might not be able to burp or otherwise pass gas. This is a condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Cushing’s Disease is another possibility. This occurs when there is an imbalance in the pituitary gland. Signs include excessive urination or drinking, and again, a visit to the vet is needed.

Hip dysplasia is always a concern with large breeds, and no less so with the Standard Poodle.


Most of the time, your Poodle will do very well in any type of home. Poodles do just fine in apartments, small houses, and just about anywhere else as long as they have enough human companionship. They would rather live indoors with you than anywhere else, but of course, they do better if you give them a certain amount of outdoor exercise.

Poodles are very intelligent, and they learn quickly, but they can easily learn bad habits. Ideally, you should sign up your Poodle for obedience classes so he can learn how to be a good dog. It’s not a good idea to skip training, because if you do, you could end up with a badly behaved dog.


Your Poodle should receive anywhere from a cup and a half to two cups of good dog food daily. Of course, much will depend on his size and activity level.

Make sure not to overfeed. Any dog, and Poodles are no exception, will pack on the weight if over-fed.

Coat and Grooming

Poodles don’t shed much, so that means that they are great choices for people who are allergic to dogs.

As to coat color, it comes in a ton of different varieties.

When it comes to grooming, approach cautiously. You could leave your Poodle as he is, and there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that or you could go nuts with the grooming, as many people do. Poodles can be left alone or groomed like crazy with all manner of protocols for clipping, fussy little hairdos, special treatments for the legs and ears, and so on. It’s up to you how far you want to take it.

Basic Grooming

When it comes to looking after your Poodle, you could go nuts or you could just do what most people do: check your dog’s ears for dirt and clip his toenails when it looks like they need it. It’s pretty basic.

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The Final Word

Poodles are amazing dogs. Strong and assertive, and very, very stable. I can’t say enough good about this breed. If you have a Poodle in your life, then you are beyond fortunate.