Dog Breed Guide – Poodle

Black poodle walking in snow.
Poodles come in three sizes and various solid colors. They are hypoallergenic dogs that do not shed much, but they do require regular grooming.

Everything You Need To Know About Poodles

Poodles were originally bred as working dogs for duck hunting due to their outstanding swimming skills. They were bred from the Barbet (the French water dog) and the Hungarian water hound.

The debate over their origin persists, with some claiming French roots, while others attribute their heritage to Germany. 

Poodles are cherished for their friendly nature and high intelligence. 

In 2022, Poodles rank as the 5th most popular dog breed in America, according to the American Kennel Club.

Physical Attributes

Poodles come in three distinct sizes: standard, miniature, and toy poodles.

Standard Poodles are approximately 18 to 20 inches tall from the shoulders. Females weigh 40 to 50 pounds, while males weigh 60 to 70 pounds. 

Miniature Poodles are 10 or 11 inches to 15 inches and 12 to 20 pounds (5 to 9 kilograms), while Toy Poodles are less than 10 inches and about five to seven pounds (2 to 3 kilograms).

They have a waterproof hair coat with tight curls, known for hypoallergenic fur, lacking a fluffy undercoat that reduces hair dander shedding. Poodles come in solid colors such as white, black, silver, apricot, and chocolate. 

Their bodies are well-proportioned and muscular, notably square-shaped, with a long elegant neck and a straight back. 

Poodles have a long muzzle, droopy ears, and a leggy appearance, walking in a lively, spring-like gait. 

The tail is docked, fairly long, and can wag gaily.

They also have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers.

Personality and Temperament

Poodles are highly intelligent and easy to train. They are very active and require daily exercise to burn their high energy levels. 

Poodles love learning new tricks and jumps.

They are friendly, though Toy Poodles are known to be aggressive towards strangers. They are very protective of their families and can turn aggressive towards other dogs. 

To curb this aggressiveness, early socialization is required, and a firm hand during training. 

They also love to keep the company of their families and usually develop separation anxiety (barking) when left alone.


Poodles are known for their high-maintenance hair coat that needs regular grooming at least every six weeks.

The good news is that their curly hair coat lacks a fluffy undercoat, making it hypoallergenic, as it does not shed dander all over. This makes them ideal pets for those with allergies.

Cutting the hair short makes it more manageable. 

However, it should be regularly brushed, as the hair has a tendency to mat and can cause a lot of pain to the dog.

Living Conditions

Poodles make great family dogs. They are calm indoors but require regular daily exercise as they are very active. A house with a compound would be most ideal, as they enjoy playing fetch and retrieval games. They also enjoy swimming a lot.

They require early socialization to interact freely with non-family members and other dogs. 

They do not make good kennel dogs, probably owing to their separation anxiety. 

They are good jumpers, so owners should provide proper fencing to prevent them from escaping.

Poodles are prone to separation anxiety, requiring someone who is regularly at home. 


Poodles are very intelligent, easy to train and pick up skills quickly. 

They were originally bred for retrieval and duck hunting. They also excel in tracking, agility and obedience training.

Early socialization is essential to enable them to develop good puppy behavior and to get along with strangers and other dogs.

They do well with positive reinforcement and rewards. They, however, do not respond to harsh tones but one requires to be firm when training them.

Health Concerns

Poodles are highly predisposed to musculoskeletal disorders such as:

  • Hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball of the hip joint does not fit well into the socket causing it to be dislocated. It is thought to be a genetic disease.
  • Epilepsy: This is also genetic or idiopathic. It occurs when there is a disturbance in brain activity leading to convulsions and loss of consciousness.
  • Addison’s Disease: This occurs when the adrenal gland is unable to produce enough cortisol in the body. The dog may appear lethargic, depressed, experience digestive problems, etc.
  • Bloat: This is the accumulation of gas in the stomach. It can be life-threatening especially if the stomach twists on itself.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: It affects both eyes at the same time and usually leads to blindness. Affected dogs exhibit signs of canine blindness such as night vision problems, bumping into things, dilated pupils, etc. There is no known cure for this condition.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a bleeding disorder that commonly affects Standard Poodles. It occurs due to the absence of a blood protein that helps the blood to clot at the site of blood vessel injury. It is usually inherited.


Poodles, coming in three different sizes—standard, toy, and miniature—exhibit a distinct charm with their curly coats, floppy ears, and long muzzles. Their leggy, square appearance adds to their unique allure.

Known for their friendly and highly active nature, Poodles were originally bred as working dogs for duck hunting and retrieval. While they make excellent family dogs, early socialization is crucial for positive interactions with non-family members and other dogs.

These intelligent and easily trainable dogs require a minimum of 40 minutes of daily exercise.  However, their susceptibility to separation anxiety makes them less suitable for kennel life.

They thrive in homes with a compound where they can run and play fetch. They are also very good jumpers therefore proper fencing is required to prevent them from jumping over.

Poodles, with a hypoallergenic coat that sheds rarely, require frequent brushing to prevent matting and knot formation.

Poodles are prone to various genetic diseases, including hip dysplasia and thyroid disorders. Prospective puppy adopters should thoroughly research the health status of the mother to anticipate and address potential health issues.