Poodle Temperament – Understanding Traits in Behavior For Your Family

Before welcoming a new Poodle into your family, you need first to understand what they’re like! That way, you know what to expect, how to care for them, and what they need to be happy and content pets. Learning about the Poodle’s temperament will also help you determine whether or not the dog breed is the most suitable pet for you.

The General Poodle Temperament

Many people once presumed that Poodles were sassy show dogs with a glamorous appearance but did you know they originated in Germany and bred to work as water retrievers? They are water dogs with athleticism and intelligence, also known for their alertness and friendliness with a bright demeanor.

There are three Poodle varieties, and while they all have similar temperaments in general, they have a few fun quirks that make them unique.

  • Standard Poodles stand tall at about 15 inches in height and weigh between 45-70 pounds
  • Miniature Poodles are between 10-15 inches tall and weigh between 12-20 pounds
  • Toy Poodles are the smallest, standing no more above 10 inches tall and weighing between 5-7 pounds

As for their unique personality, here’s what you need to know:

Standard Poodles have a high energy level but are more reserved than Miniature and Toy Poodles.

Miniature Poodles are the most active among the three varieties and will love following their owner around.

Toy Poodles are lapdogs and will enjoy more cuddle time with you. Both Miniature and Toy Poodles are more mischievous than Standard Poodles.

Here’s what to know about the Poodle’s temperament:

Poodles are Playful and Active

The typical Poodle, no matter their size, will love to play! This dog has the instincts to retrieve, and it shows through his high energy levels. Being bred as a water retriever, expect your dog to love playing fetch and swimming in the cold water.

Ensuring your Poodle gets enough daily activity will be your responsibility. 30-60 minutes of exercise a day is optimal, whether it’s through walks, games, or indoor playtime with toys to satisfy your Poodle’s mental stimulation. They need daily brain exercise as much as they need physical games. 

Make sure you allow time to play activities for Poodles for their physical and mental health. Doing so will also improve your connection and relationship with one another! 

If you leave your Poodle to himself without enough exercise or playtime, he will end up feeling bored and restless, releasing that frustration through destructive behavior. Also, please don’t leave your Poodle outside unattended, as they’re exceptional jumpers that can escape the yard!

Don’t worry about your Poodle having the zoomies his entire life, though! He’s just going through a puppy stage and will calm down once he reaches about 18-24 months old, with their activity levels changing as they mature.

That is also why this breed is dogs for people who love playtime and regularly exercise their pets.

Poodles are Intelligent and Trainable

Poodles are known for their intelligence. Animal behaviorists say that Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, placing second before the Border Collie!

With Poodles, housetraining is no issue. They can pick up commands and tricks quickly and excel in agility games and agility competitions. Poodles will enjoy adequate amounts of training and learn a lot each session, provided you train with positive reinforcement.’

Because they are sensitive dogs, they do not respond well to aggressive and mean tones. Sharp and strict voices are permitted but don’t overdo it, as this won’t do anything good with their training process. Stay consistent with training and make every session a fun and positive one.

Combine their intelligence, eagerness to please, and love for being the center of attention; you get a trainable pet.

Many Poodles still work today because of their intelligence and other valuable characteristics! But rather than being a water retriever, truffle sniffer, or circus performer, the Poodle works as service animals or emotional support dogs.

They are Instinctual

Many Poodle owners say that their dogs, especially the males, are highly instinctual. Poodles would want to mark their territories, so you have to take housetraining seriously and do so while they are still young.

The Poodle’s retriever instincts would respond to prey, like squirrels and birds, quickly. To avoid accidents and injuries, you need to conduct obedience training with your Poodle. Doing so will ensure your Poodle is well-behaved and won’t hurt anything or anyone during their walks around the park.

You can take your Poodle to a good training school, or you can do so yourself. Fortunately, there are many training tips and materials you can find online! First-time owners don’t need to worry, as this intelligent breed will learn with you. 

Poodles are Alert and Wary

Poodles are an alert breed, thanks to their hunting instincts and brilliant minds! Owners notice that their Poodles quickly respond to approaching strangers or those within their territory.

Their alertness and loyalty will have them bark when they see anything suspicious. While Poodles only have moderate barking levels, they can bark loudly to become a nuisance to you and the neighbors.

That said, not all Poodles will feel shy or bark a lot as they encounter strangers. While many Poodles do bark at something or someone suspicious, others are friendly and love to socialize.

Expect your Poodle to act reserved when meeting strangers for the first time. While very affectionate with family, it takes time to warm up with newcomers. Take caution as you introduce someone!

If you socialized and trained your Poodle early on, he won’t bark as often when in public areas. Poodles will rarely act in aggressive manners, so there are no worry about biting and attacks.

Some Poodles may hold the stereotype as high-strung dogs, but that only occurs if they were over-pampered or ignored during the crucial socialization period (4-14 weeks old).

As a result, they respond inappropriately and aggressively to normal stimuli, and they may end up barking or biting! Again, training and socialization are critical for happy, friendly dogs.

If you spoil your Poodle too much and ignore training, then he’ll feel like he’s the alpha dog and never follow anyone’s orders. Sounds cute at first, but not when you’re trying to control his behavior in public areas. 

They Require Company

Poodles are extroverts, and as mentioned, they love socializing with others and being the center of attention. These personality traits have them thrive in large and active households, and they will enjoy doing tricks while everyone’s praising them!

However, we can also see this as a negative trait. Poodles that are left alone for extended periods will end up suffering from separation anxiety. That leads to destructive behavior, such as incessant barking or whining, and even destroying the furniture!

To prevent Poodles from acting up, make sure you spend more time with him, whether it’s a quick walk or cuddling on the couch. If you’re always out of the house or don’t have much time for exercise and cuddling, Poodles may not be for you. 

Poodles Prefer Humans Over Animals

Poodles are generally a friendly breed who loves to socialize, though they prefer being with their human family over other animals. That doesn’t mean they’ll act hostile towards other animals and pets, though! Poodles will enjoy playing around with other dogs, though they’d much rather hang out with their human owners on the couch.

That said, this dog breed will enjoy having another pet around, especially when you’re out of the house for long periods. Just make sure that you socialize your Poodle with other animals early on.

They are Extremely Emotional

Poodles are a sensitive breed and can sense human emotions well. They can tell if a family member feels sad, happy or when there’s tension in the household. So if you’re having a bad day, Poodles mimic your mood or emotion, ending up feeling the same way you are. This is cute but also bad for their health!

This breed trait makes Poodles sensitive to stress, leading to health or behavioral issues when exposed to family problems. Make sure that you have a peaceful household for a happy Poodle (and happy family!).

Poodles are Still Calm and Loving

Despite Poodles having such high energy levels and feeling wary towards strangers, they are also very calm and affectionate towards their owners. After their daily exercise, Poodles will enjoy curling up next to their owners, wanting nothing more.

Poodles will love to cuddle at night and will love their owners for life. They will want your attention, share the space between you, and do what they can to please you.

Are Poodles Good Family Dogs? How About First-Time Owners? 

Yes, Poodles are an excellent choice for people, making wonderful family pets for large households and first-time dog owners.

Poodles are easy to train and will love you forever, and as long as first-time dog owners learn about their temperament, how to teach them, and meet their coat grooming needs, there will be no problem.

But for first-time dog owners who can’t stay in the house most times of the day, nor can you give plenty of exercises, then your Poodle may not thrive.

Poodles also aren’t the best for the elderly, as they require a lot of exercise and playtime. However, older dog owners may appreciate the Toy Poodle, who need lesser training outdoors, as long as they are kept busy with fun toys and indoor games.

The same goes for families. Poodles make fantastic family companions and thrive best in large households, as long as you meet their care requirements and maintain a happy, peaceful environment. You may want to get a Standard Poodle or Miniature Poodle for their size, though, especially when living with toddlers and younger children.

Toy Poodles can end up getting hurt when playing rowdily with children who don’t know how to handle pets. Speaking of children, Poodles may not do well with small and very loud children, wanting more peace at home. Because of this, it’s best to wait until your children grow older before owning a Poodle.

As for living conditions, Poodles are adaptable and can live in small apartments or big houses with yards. Standard Poodles do appreciate a big yard, but this isn’t a requirement, as long as you can commit to walking and exercising your Poodle in the neighborhood daily. When at home, leave toys to play with to maintain proper physical and mental exercise.

If the household is extremely noisy, chaotic, and prone to conflict, Poodles aren’t the suitable pet for you. All that noise can cause them stress and anxiety, making them better off in calm and quiet living environments.

If you’re want to get a Poodle and feel they are the best choice for you, make sure you buy from reputable breeders. Have fun with this friendly breed, whether you’re a beginner family or going solo!