Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. All come in a variety of colors, including white, apricot, black, and gray. The coat is either curly, dense, and harsh or corded and hanging. Poodles have dark, oval eyes and long, straight muzzles. Their ears hang close to their heads. Standard Poodles measure over 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 40 to 55 pounds, Miniatures measure between 10 and 15 inches and weigh 12 to 15 pounds, and Toys measure 10 inches or under and weigh 5 to 10 pounds.
These dogs are naturally empathic and make excellent therapy dogs in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Exceptionally and unexpectedly smart, the Poodle excels in obedience training and makes a great companion animal, especially for families with children. The breed is active and needs daily exercise, but it does well in any living environment. These dogs require professional grooming.
Often thought to be France's national dog, the Poodle actually hails from Germany.
Lively, playful, amiable, and eager to please, Poodles make great pets and companion animals for people and families with children. They get along with dogs and other pets, and they are smart, responsive, and obedient. These dogs have a true zest for life and need plenty of interaction with and attention from people.
Poodles need a lot of mental and physical stimulation and exercise to remain healthy and happy. Daily walks, when combined with regular play sessions, will usually be sufficient to meet the activity needs of the breed. These dogs love to swim and run and excel at obedience, agility, and other dog sports.
Toy Poodles are too small to play unsupervised with children, but the larger varieties make great playmates for older kids. These dogs thrive when given lots of affection and when they feel they are a full member of the household. Ignoring or neglecting these dogs may result in destructive behavior or other problems.
Poodles are at risk for a number of health conditions that can severely affect length or quality of life. Some of these conditions are known to affect all Poodle sizes, such as Addison's disease, Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, and epilepsy, while some are only seen in certain sizes of the breed.
Toy and Miniature Poodles, for example, are at increased risk for patellar luxation, lacrimal duct atresia, intervertebral disc degeneration, urolithiasis, and collapsing tracheas, while Standard Poodles are prone to sebaceous adenitis, gastric torsion, congenital hip dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosis, and von Willebrand's disease. Poodles in general are more likely than some other dogs to develop certain eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy, trichiasis, cataracts, distichiasis, entropion, and glaucoma.
With routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, regular exercise, and a well-balanced diet, Poodles typically live 14 to 18 years.
Poodles are very intelligent and are generally easy to train, although the breed tends to be stubborn. They enjoy learning and are very eager to please and perform. These dogs do well at trick training and can easily be taught to fetch slippers and the newspaper.
These dogs are naturally empathic and make excellent therapy dogs in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Engaging in activities of this sort provides a productive outlet for the breed's energy and prevents acting out triggered by boredom or restlessness.
Like other dogs, Poodles benefit from early and continued socialization. Exposure to a variety of sights, sounds, and people at a young age helps these dogs grow into tolerant and confident adults. Socialization later in life is also beneficial; regular visits to the dog park, walks around town, and trips to neighborhood shops will all help prevent suspicious or fearful behavior from developing.
Poodles require a significant amount of grooming. While the breed doesn't shed very much, the hair that falls out tends to become caught in surrounding hair. This can quickly lead to matting if not removed through brushing or another means. Pet Poodles should be brushed several times each week, and show Poodles need brushing every day. Clipping is also important and must be performed every 4 to 6 weeks. Although most Poodle owners rely on professional groomers for clipping, the process can be done at home with a quality pair of clippers and a little experience.
Bathing these dogs is not usually necessary, but their coat tolerates baths as frequently as once weekly. It's important to fully saturate the hair before shampooing and to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap. To prevent matting, the hair can be dried with a blow dryer on a low setting.
The nails need trimming every week or two to prevent snags, and the ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection. Excess ear wax is removable with a cotton ball and veterinarian-approved otic cleanser. Dental care is a very important part of caring for Poodles. The teeth should be brushed daily and regularly inspected and cleaned by a professional.
Although Poodles are strongly identified with France, they likely descended from curly-coated dogs from central Asia. The breed as we know it today developed in Germany, where it is called the Pudel or Canis Familiaris Aquatius. The breed was originally used in water hunting, but quickly became popular military dogs, guard dogs, guide dogs, and wagon pullers. Eventually, they found a home in circuses where they were beloved for their appearance and performing talents.
After a while, the Poodle became a favorite among fashionable women and was favored by French aristocracy. It was this that led to the breed becoming the national dog of France. It was not until the late 1800s that Poodles entered the show ring. Soon after, their popularity in the United States declined, and the breed nearly died out in America. During the 1930s, though, the breed made a rapid comeback.
Today, Poodles are primarily kept as companion animals in all parts of the world. They are consistently ranked among the most popular of dog breeds, and they are the all-time most popular dog in the United States, reigning for 22 years, from 1960 until 1982. The Labrador Retriever may soon take this title from the Poodle.
The Poodle was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887.