brown toy poodle on green wooden bench

Poodle Characteristics

Poodle Characteristics: Poodles have been ranked second in intelligence in a list of over a hundred dog breeds. They are eager to learn and show off their talents.

Often pictured as pampered pets, Poodles are intelligent and active dogs who love performing tasks. While some owners prefer the stereotypical fancy coat trimming of a show dog, a simple close trim is easier to maintain for those who are not interested in competitive shows. That said, Poodles might not be the first choice for a casual owner looking for low maintenance. Albeit training, exercising, grooming, or just general attention, they will end up demanding more than other breeds. Appreciating these underlying characteristics will help you decide to know if decide whether or not to make one of these fantastic canines a part of your life. The following poodle traits can help guide you to a happier life with your curly companion.

Poodle Basics

These luxurious-looking dogs were actually bred for hard work, assisting hunters with a variety of me. Those curly close-cropped coats are good at resisting getting caught in the brush; clipping them short cuts down weight when they need to go into the water. The poodle is the seventh most popular dog breed in the US, thanks to its playful and cheerful personality. This breed has been ranked second in intelligence among the vast number of dog breeds, close on the heels of the border collie.

A History of the Poodle

Research depicts Poodles have worked for Europe’s elite for centuries, serving as a spaniel and retriever that took readily to the water. In fact, the name comes from pudel, which, in German, means splash or puddle. They spread out from the hunting life and into the role of performing dogs in circuses and traveling troupes because of their ready intelligence and eagerness to please. The aristocracy of France particularly delighted in poodles.

Essential Poodle Care

Exercise, training, and grooming are essential parts of caring for a poodle. The latter involves brushing one or two times a week for short coats and daily for longer overcoats. The ears should receive regular care to remove the insides by capping a slightly damp cotton ball. Training is essential to keep a poodle from growing bored. These working dogs can grow destructive in the house if their minds and bodies are not both regularly engaged. This doesn’t mean they can’t live in apartments, provided they are given routine walks, and runs outside. These social dogs also require many companionships; when left alone too much, they can suffer from separation anxiety.

Intelligence

As stated, poodles have been ranked second in intelligence in a list of over a hundred dog breeds. They are eager to learn and show off their talents. They are just as swift to learn bad habits as desired tricks, but it is essential to be careful about reinforcing behaviors. Sensitive to harsh voices, poodles are best treated with firmness rather than anger. They do need to know who to listen to, or they may become confused. These bright dogs are born to work in whatever ways best to please their owners.

Playfulness

Poodles are usually quite cheerful and happy; they enjoy lots of playtimes, desire to be part of their families’ activities, and delight in being engaged with their family members. Games that work both mind and body are best suited to the poodle. A bored poodle will take out that playful nature in ways that humans might not prefer.

Trainability

Poodles pick up routines and patterns with ease and speed that are impressive. Some prefer treats as a reward, others favor a moment of play with a beloved toy, and still, others are satisfied with warm words of praise. These natural learners are a pleasure to work with, so long as the trainer is careful not to accidentally instill bad habits.

Affection Level

Highly affectionate, poodles are eager to love and be loved. Owners who do not wish a dog always at their heels will not be best-suited to the loyal poodle, who desires to be a constant companion. However, most dog lovers are happy to have their dogs at their sides, making the poodle an ideal option for many. They are in the top ten most popular breeds in the US with good reason.

Adaptability

Poodles are highly adaptable. Provided they receive the proper amount of attention and exercise, they can live in small apartments or large estates and be equally happy in either. They are just as well-suited to retrieving ducks for hunters as they are performing pirouettes and other tricks for less outdoorsy owners. This adaptability, in addition to their intelligence, makes them extremely easy to train.

Co-existing with Children

When given proper rearing, most poodles get along quite well with children. They tolerate such games as being dressed up so long as it means they are being included. Miniature poodles may be the best option for small children, as the Standard Poodle is more extensive and can be a little too energetic. All around, however, the poodle is an excellent choice for a family with children.

Living with Other Dogs and Animals

Poodles tend to get along well with many other dogs. This is especially true when the poodle has been socialized well as a puppy. These formative months are vital for meeting a variety of other people, dogs, and animals.

Territorial Nature

The poodle is not incredibly territorial. While this makes it less than ideal for serving as a guard dog, it does mean that this breed is friendlier to strange people and animals. Poodles are less likely to be aggressive around the areas they regard as their turf because of this.

Poodle Breed Varieties

There are three recognized variants of the poodle breed, as well as three that are unrecognized. The first three are divided by size: Toy, Miniature, and Standard, from smallest to largest. The Standard is the oldest. Two of the unrecognized varieties, the Klein and the Moyen poodles, are medium-sized. The third, the tea-cup poodle, is much smaller, standing just nine inches tall with a weight of six pounds or less.

Different Varieties, Different Sizes

While each variety of poodle bears distinct similarities in build, coat, and character, they have a wide disparity in size. Toy poodles weigh from six to nine pounds in a compact package that stands not even a foot in height, generally measuring ten inches or less. Miniature poodles are slightly larger, weighing from 15 to 17 pounds, and standing between 11 and 15 inches tall. The largest size, the Standard, is generally around 22 inches tall. Females weigh less, at 45 to 60 pounds, than males, between 45 and 70 pounds.

Basic Build

Poodle characteristics, in a physical sense, should feature frames that are squarely built, with the body length from breastbone to rump point roughly equalling the dog’s height from the ground to the shoulders at their highest point. In the head, the eyes are meant to be quite dark, intelligent, and alert. The ears, which fold over, sit either at eye level or slightly below and should be close to the head.

Grooming Needs

Poodle traits include a need to be brushed regularly and consistently. Regular trims will help prevent the hair from growing into a curly mass of matted tangles. Their ears require wiping out with damp cotton balls to avoid infections. The well-known classic poodle clip was initially designed to prevent the dogs’ coats from catching on underwater weeds while keeping the joints warm. This has progressed to the show ring’s standard appearance, but as stated, a pet poodle does just fine with a regular short clip. The face is closely shaved so the canine can see, while the coat is cut to approximately an inch and a half.

The Coat: A Poodle’s Pride

Most dogs have double coats, but poodles have coats of a single layer, lacking an undercoat—the curly, dense fur experiences minimal shedding. Many consider poodles to be hypoallergenic, although they are not wholly free of allergens. While poodles shed, the fur does not fall open but is tangled in the remaining coat to await brushing. The texture of a poodle’s coat ranges from soft and wavy to coarse and woolly. Show clips have four basic patterns, but pet poodles tend to have more precise short cuts. Poodles can have problems with hair growing in their ears; this should be removed to prevent the buildup of earwax or moisture, either of which can cause infection.

Health Concerns

While generally healthy, poodles do have specific conditions to which they are prone. Not all poodles will develop any or all of the following diseases, but an awareness of them will help poodle owners catch problems before they become more severe. A poodle from a reputable breeder should have health clearances regarding hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease. The eyes should be certified as Standard as well.

Physical ailments and conditions that may develop later, such as Addison’s Disease, caused by insufficient production by the adrenal gland of adrenal hormones. Another predisposition to watch out for is bloat or Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, which can impact deep-chested dogs like poodles when they eat too fast or drink and exercise to excess right after eating. Additionally, Cushing’s Disease occurs when the poodle’s body makes too much cortisol. Epilepsy, a common cause of poodle seizures, is also a frequent risk. Legg-Perthes Disease, which is a hip joint issue often found in toy breeds. Patellar Luxation, which is a kneecap dislocation. Progressive Retinal Atrophy, wherein the retina gradually deteriorates; and Sebaceous Adenitis, often found in Standards and resulting in scaly skin dry and bare of hair on the back, neck, or head.

Exercise Needs

Poodles were bred to work. At first, they were hunting dogs for the leisurely hunting of fowl by the European aristocracy. Later, they were performing dogs in troupes and circuse. Poodles thrive when they are challenged with a daily exercise to prevent obesity and boredom. These lively dogs will love to jog with you and play with you. Body and mind both need to be exercised; dogs can indeed learn new tricks throughout their lives, and the poodle is ready and raring to pick up whatever you have to teach. Training sessions and play sessions will help a poodle avoid naughty behaviors while keeping the canine happy and healthy.

Appropriate Homes for Poodles

While Standard Poodles can seem large for apartment life, they can thrive in apartments as long as they receive the exercise mentioned above and training. Of course, they will also delight in a large yard in which to play. Poodles are highly adaptable and can share a home of almost any size with you. Remember that this adaptability also comes in a demanding package that requires a great deal of attention, time invested together, and care.

Poodle characteristics can be summed up as intelligent, alert, adaptable, trainable, and courteous. With their long history of pleasing their owners with their cleverness and dedication, these remarkable dogs are a modern-day favorite of many families and dog show enthusiasts. Remember to always choose breeders who are reputable and care for the condition and proper poodle traits in their proffered dogs. Keep up with grooming and exercise, and enjoy life with a delightful dog.