Before you contact and/or visit the poodle breeders you have found and are interested in, you need to be aware of the following –

Know what variety of poodle you want

Poodles come in three sizes:

  • Toy Poodle – These are the smallest size and are ideal for people who live in apartments and do not have small children.
  • Miniature Poodle – These poodles are slightly larger than the toy and not as fragile, making them acceptable for apartments and compatible with children.
  • Standard Poodle – These poodles would be happier in a house with a yard, and require plenty of exercise. They are good with children.

Although these are the three types of poodles, some poodle breeders will claim to breed what is known as a “Tiny Toy” or “Teacup” poodle. Essentially this is a poodle that has been bred so small it is less than 4 pounds when fully grown. Although it may sound cute to own a pocket dog, take into consideration how fragile and unhealthy these dogs would be. Avoid purchasing any type of poodle that is not recognized by kennel clubs.

Know the breed standard

Even if you don’t plan on showing your poodle, it is imperative that you know what the dog’s appearance, temperament, and life expectancy is. Research as much as you can about the poodle by reading books, articles, magazines, websites, and first hand experiences of poodle owners. You need to know what to look for in a poodle, as well as both the good and bad side when it comes to owning one.

Once you have fully researched the dog, you can then make a list of questions you can ask poodle breeders. You will also be able to compare the sire and dam to the breed standard.

Investigate health problems

Poodles are prone to a number of genetic disorders including:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – An eye disease that can lead to blindness.
  • Juvenile Renal Disease – Serious kidney disease that can occur in standard poodles. The disease usually results in death.
  • Von Willerbrand’s disease – Blood disorder characterized by lack of, or poor blood clot formation.
  • Addison’s Disease – Secretion deficiency of mineralcorticoids and glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex.
  • Sebaceous Adenitis – Skin disorder that occurs mainly in standard poodles
  • Epilepsy – Chronic seizures.
  • Hip Dysplasia – Malformed hip joint that can easily slip out of the socket
  • Hypothyroidism – Endocrine disorder that affects the thyroid gland and causes abnormal functioning of organs and body tissues resulting in a sluggish, overweight dog.
  • Bloat – Severe and sudden swelling of the stomach caused by gas and/or fluid. Bloat is a medical emergency and often results in death.

It is imperative that you know all about these illnesses so you can ask the poodle breeders about the genetics of the dogs they have bred. Furthermore, you can find out if the breeders have certified their dogs with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFFA). This is an organization that works to eliminate genetic disease such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

The more you know about the poodle before contacting the breeder, the better chance you have of finding reputable poodle breeders and a healthy poodle to call your own.