Poodles are prized for their dynamic, clever and friendly manner. They are recognized as one of the most intelligent breeds and are eager to learn and please their master. They enjoy the company of humans and can adapt to virtually any environment as long as they are with the people they love.
The most defining feature of the poodle breed is their incredibly curly mop of hair that covers their entire body, making them appear incredibly puffy when not trimmed.
Poodles are available in three different sizes – standard, miniature and toy. Each type is very popular and makes wonderful, loveable, active family pets.
Poodles and Their History
Poodles have existed in Western Europe since at least the 17 th century. Although there is much controversy over where the breed originated, France has finally been declared the official country of origin. However, despite the fact that France is said to have developed the breed, it is clear that the breed has roots in Denmark, Germany and ancient Piedmont.
It is believed that the poodle breed was developed from the Barbet the French water dog, and the Hungarian water hound. It is likely that the name “Poodle” was derived from “Pudel” a German word which roughly translates to one who plays in water.
Poodles were originally bread as hunting dogs to track scents and retrieve waterfowl. In fact it is because of hunting that they were given their distinctive coat cut. The hunters clipped the thick coat of the poodle to help them be more agile and so that they could swim better. However, they left tufts of hair around the leg joints to protect them from sharp reeds and the cold.
Since its development, the poodle breed has been celebrated for its intelligence and trainability. The French capitalized on these characteristics and often had the poodle perform as a circus dog. Due to the fact that poodles were so popular in France, the breed is commonly known as “French Poodles”. That being said, it is interesting to note that in France the poodle is actually known as “Caniche” a word that translates to duckdog.
Although the original poodle breed is the larger standard poodle, the miniature and toy poodle came into existence in the 18 th century and were just as popular. The toy poodle was especially popular in the French royal court in the 1700s.
Today, poodles of all sizes are still loved and enjoyed by many families. They have not lost their charm and are still recognized as one of the most intelligent of dog breeds currently in existence.
Poodles – Standard, Miniature or Toy
Standard poodles were originally bread as hunters and are part of the Gun Dog, Utility and Non-Sporting groups. The miniature or toy poodle is more of a lap dog and is part of the Gun Dog and Toy groups.
The poodle is a natural born swimmer, loves long walks, enjoys running, and vigorous play time. That being said, all poodles are rather inactive indoors and can adapt well to virtually any environment, including apartment life (especially the toy and miniature), if provided with sufficient exercise and the freedom to run around off leash on occasion. Just remember that the standard poodle will require more exercise than the smaller poodle varieties.
The height and weight of the three poodle varieties are as follows:
Standard Poodle – Height 15 inches or taller, weight is 45 – 70 pounds
Miniature Poodle – Height 11-15 inches, weight 15 – 17 pounds
Toy Poodle – Height no taller than 10 inches, weight 6-9 pounds.
Note: The Tea Cup poodle variety (those smaller than the Toy) does not exist, even though Toy poodles are sometimes referred to as Tea Cup poodles.
Poodles are a long lived breed and live anywhere from 12 – 15+ years. Although they have a decent life expectancy, poodles are prone to a number of hereditary health problems including progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, hip dysplasia, allergies, skin problems, bloat and Von Willebrand’s Disease. In addition, it’s not uncommon for the brown-colored poodle variety to gray prematurely.
As was previously mentioned, poodles are very intelligent and are highly trainable. However, like all dogs they require a certain level of obedience training to develop into a credit to their breed. Furthermore, keep in mind that their clever nature also makes them quite mischievous.
Poodles are very friendly dogs and enjoy human companionship; however, they can be very protective and standoffish towards strangers if not socialized at a young age. Moreover, poodles make excellent watchdogs and standards can also be trained as guard dogs if desired.
A poodle tends to get along well with other dogs, but is not usually compatible with cats and rodents. In addition, although the poodle breed is tolerant of children, it is imperative that a child knows how to properly interact with a poodle to avoid any mishaps, as poodles do not take kindly to being teased or treated poorly.
Poodles are an excellent choice for those who have allergies to dog fur as they shed little to no hair. That being said, their coat requires daily grooming (brushing) and extensive grooming (bathing, clipping and ear care) is required every 1 ½ – 2 months. The teeth of the poodle also require scaling regularly. The coat of the poodle is available in a variety of different solid colors including white, black, gray, brown, tan and red. There are even multicolor coat varieties.
Poodles make ideal family pets and will never leave you feeling lonely. They are faithful companions, and are happiest when they are with their owners. They do not like to be alone. Therefore, think long and hard about adopting this breed if you have a busy life that will not include the dog most of the time.