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Breed Traits and Characteristics

According to the American Kennel Club, here are some breed characteristic you can find in Poodles. 


  • Height

    Over 15 inches

  • Weight

    60-70 pounds (male), 40-50 pounds (female)

  • Life Expectancy

    10-18 years

  • Coat Type/Length


  • 100 Affectionate with Family
  • 100 Good with Young Children
  • 60 Good with Other Dogs
  • 100 Trainability Level
  • 80 Energy Level
  • 80 Barking Level
  • 20 Shedding Level
  • 20 Drooling Level


Would you believe the Poodle was originally bred as a duck hunting dog? These Poodles were larger in size weighing between 40 – 70 pounds. There is controversy surrounding the Poodles’ origin as some sources credit Germany and others France. The word Poodle comes from the German word pudel, or pudelin, which translates to “splash in the water.” Appropriate given their love of water and swimming ability. The French word for Poodle is Caniche, derived from chien canard, which translates to “duck dog.” Poodles have become so popular and adored in France they are now the national breed!

Small poodles (now called Miniature and Toy) were bred with other small poodles and trained to sniff out truffles in European forests.

Poodle-like pictures have adorned Egyptian and Greek artifacts and tombs dating back to the first centuries B.C.

Early gypsies found the Poodle to be great circus dogs, trained to do tricks (such as balance a ball on their nose), while wearing fancy costumes. Gaining in popularity, the merchant class began to “fluff and puff” their dogs as well, leading to what we now know as show dogs.

The Kennel Club in England first registered the Poodle in 1861, and the American Kennel Club followed suit in 1866. The Poodle didn’t become popular in the United States, however, until after World War II, but has remained on the top 10 list of popular breeds ever since.

The Poodle

The Standard Poodle

Often perceived as a “show dog,” elegant and groomed, poodles are considered the second most intelligent breed after border collies. Regal in stature, proud, and particularly family-friendly, you’ll often find a poodle with its head held high supported by a long, strong neck. Don’t be fooled however; poodle’s love to work and to play!

Physical Characteristics

According to the American Kennel Club, poodles come in three sizes: Toy: 10” tall, 6 – 9 pounds, Miniature: 11 – 15” tall, 15 – 17 pounds, and Standard: 15 – 22” tall, 45 – 70 pounds.

The Poodle is unique in that it has hair versus fur. Crossing a poodle with various other breeds is so popular (see doodles), because their hair is hypoallergenic, ideal for people severely allergic to dog dander. Additionally, poodle hair is odorless, so no need to worry about having a stinky dog!

Poodles coats are very curly, wiry, and dense. This dense waterproof coat keeps them protected when swimming, but it also means that it does not stop growing and will need regular clipping and grooming, if you want to keep them looking elegant (see grooming).

The traditional haircut of the Poodle had a purpose! The “lion cut” kept joints and important organs warm while these dogs often splashed around chasing waterfowl in cold water. The rest of the hair was often clipped short to prevent tangling.

Poodle coats come in a range of colors including black, tan, white, gray, silver, brown and crème. Early aristocrats used to dye the Poodle’s coat to their desired color.

Today’s Poodle has an expected lifespan of 10-15 years.


Like any breed, the Poodle needs to be socialized with other dogs. If you have a Poodle puppy, make sure you set up playdates with other dogs you know who are well behaved. You don’t want your dog to suffer from any trauma at a young age by being introduced to an overly aggressive dog. This could lead to a fear of other dogs. Dogs learn best from other dogs but they can develop bad habits too.

Poodles can be stubborn so consistency in training is key. Although there are three sizes with many similarities, there are key differences as well. Standard poodles are the most obedient, like to have a job, and are shyer than the smaller versions. Miniature poodles are the most active of the three and are probably the best if small kids are around. Toy poodles make great lap dogs and companion dogs but can be “yappy”. Miniature and Toy Poodles are more mischievous than Standard Poodles.

Be very wary of dog parks before your Poodle is 12 months of age. Too often puppies are bullied or intimidated by older or bigger dogs. The same holds true for doggie daycare.

There is no real way to anticipate how your dog will interact with a large population of different dogs and no way to guarantee if a troublesome dog will be present at a park or daycare.

Poodle Breed Traits

The Poodle’s intelligence requires this breed to be kept mentally and physically challenged. A Poodle whose mind is engaged is much less likely to display unwanted behaviors.

Personality & Temperament

Poodles are known for their sense of humor and playfulness. They are natural born clowns! They get along well with other pets and children and can easily outwit even their pet parents.

Poodles can be stubborn so consistency in training is key. Although there are three sizes with many similarities, there are key differences as well. Standard poodles are the most obedient, like to have a job, and are shyer than the smaller versions. Miniature poodles are the most active of the three and are probably the best if small kids are around. Toy poodles make great lap dogs and companion dogs but can be “yappy”. Miniature and Toy Poodles are more mischievous than Standard Poodles.

Many pet parents treat the toy and miniature sizes as princes and princesses which is how they get their “prissy” reputation. It is important to remember they are dogs, not dolls, or your spoiling will result in destructive behaviors. Your Poodles want to be with you every step of the way, from the ruggedness of throwing a frisbee to the gentleness of visiting your parents at a nursing home. They never want to leave your side!

Capabilities & Traits


  • Funny, smart, adventurous
  • Intelligent, loyal
  • Athletic
  • Eager to please
  • Great family and companion dogs
  • Rarely aggressive
  • No shedding
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Agility, Guide, Obedience, Therapy, Tracking

Uniqe Traits

  • Standard Poodles are known for their prowess in obedience, tracking, rally, and agility trials
  • Good with children and other breeds
  • Respond best to voice tones versus punishment
  • Poodles “hairdos” originally had a practical factor – they were sheared for hunting so water didn’t weigh them down in cold water
  • Second most intelligent breed – only a border collie is considered “smarter”
  • Apart from barking, Poodles are considered one of the least problematic and most stable breeds

Fun Facts

  • Poodles are extremely diverse dogs. They have won “Best in Show” from the Westminster Kennel Club five times – in 1943, 1956, 1961, 1973 and 1991. They love to learn and have been known to perform some impressive tricks.
  • Although the AKC only recognizes 3 types of poodles (Standard, Miniature, and Toy) there are two other types: Klein and Teacup. The size of a Klein is between a Standard and a Miniature, and a Teacup can weigh as little as 2 pounds
  • Poodles prefer people to other dogs
  • Early art depicts the Poodle on the European mainland as early as the 15th and 16th centuries
  • During the 18th century, smaller poodles became popular as dogs of royalty
  • Elvis loved poodles and had a large collection at Graceland
  • The 1950s Poodle skirt was a nod to the Poodle’s popularity
  • Poodles were featured in films such as Interview with a Vampire, The Burbs, and Zoolander
  • The color and coat of a Poodle puppy may change as it matures

Bark Busters Trainer Jeff Drier on Poodles

Poodles are typically very intelligent dogs, which is one reason they are cross bred with so many other breeds to make oodles of doodles. They are also energetic dogs. This combination can make them challenging dogs to live with.

Exercising their brains is a requirement for Poodles. If you don’t keep them busy, they’ll make up their own games, which can tend towards chewing and other destructive behaviors. Practicing basic obedience is certainly a good way to engage their brains. Teaching them tricks is another good tool to use.

Their intelligence makes them very trainable and they often excel in obedience school and even competitive obedience events. The combination of high energy and intelligence make them good candidates for agility competition, if that is something that appeals to you

Most poodles readily take to water. They were originally used to retrieve game from water during hunts. Their love of water and high energy can make them competitive dock divers, which is one of the relatively new sports for dogs combining chasing and jumping with swimming and retrieving all of which can come very naturally to these canine athletes.

If you have a pool and let your poodle swim, make sure you teach it where to exit the pool. Dogs naturally try to get out where they enter so teaching them to always go to the steps is vital for their safety. Watch as Marc Deppe one of our Florida trainers explains and shows the process of teaching your dog how to safely exit a pool.

Due to their intelligence and athleticism, Standard Poodles can make good service dogs, especially performing physical tasks. As with every dog there are pros and cons to their personalities and characteristics. Poodles can be independent and therefore a bit aloof so they are typically not good therapy or emotional support dogs.

Poodles are working dogs and need to be stimulated both mentally and physically and look out when they aren’t. This is often when Bark Busters Trainers are called. Our Trainers have the knowledge and experience to help you channel your Poodles’ intelligence and energy in positive ways allowing you can live together in harmony and instead conflict.

Bark Busters Trainer Christie Price on Poodles

In my 15 years of being a Bark Busters trainer, I've worked with all sizes of poodles and many doodle dogs. Give me a Poodle any day of the week. Regardless of size, they are a cheerful breed. The Poodle is a graceful and proud dog and is said to be the second-most intelligent breed. And because they require calm and confident owners, which are key components of a good Bark Busters client, they are exceptional students. Give a Poodle consistent, firm guidance or he will walk all over you!

The Toy and Miniature Poodles can be yappers, jumpers (and biters). This is fairly typical of all small breeds that over overindulged, coddled and over-handled. The barking is a result of no leadership in the home (oh gosh, do I have to worry about who's at the front door or that garbage truck)? Small dogs figure out pretty quickly that if they jump on a human, they get petted, which just rewards bad behavior. Since dogs generally are not fans of being picked up, they may growl and snap when approached. They may also do a 'head fake' when someone walks over just to give them a pet. I say to clients – remember, you're not picking up an 80-pound Rottweiler! Why are you picking up your 10-pound Poodle? The hands always should be associated as a positive and by minimizing picking up and getting the dog to come to you (not going to the dog); it's easy to change the dog's mind that hands are a good thing.

While the Poodle has always been a popular dog in American homes, it's been the butt of more jokes as a prissy dog with some of those wacky, frou-frou hairdos! Good thing the Poodle has a highly developed sense of humor! In actuality, the Poodle is a water retriever, a working dog, far from prissy, and requires physical and mental exercise to keep it stimulated and engaged. They have great temperaments and adapt well with children and other dogs. As born performers, these dogs thrive doing skillful activities like agility, obedience, tracking to herding and make great assistance or service dogs. And through the years there's been a Poodle or two in the circus.

Poodles love to learn and are pleasers. Daily programming, recall, distance control, attentiveness training and leash work will help maintain your leadership and enhance your relationship. Oh and there's not a Poodle on the planet that doesn't love problem-solving toys.

"Poodles are Labradors with college educations. After a day of retrieving, your Lab wants to curl up in front of the fireplace and take a well-deserved nap. A Poodle wants to be the fourth at the bridge table and tell naughty stories!" – Ann Rogers Clark

Selecting a Poodle Puppy

When you are choosing a Poodle puppy, there are many factors to consider, particularly when it comes to size. For instance, Standard Poodles tend to be calmer than Toy Poodles or Miniature. If you have small children, a Toy Poodle might not be the best choice as they can be hyper. The first thing you must decide is what do you want in a dog? Do you want a “show dog”?

When you get a new puppy, speak to your Bark Busters trainer about training for your dog. A show dog particularly will need training as they have to learn to behave around other dogs and people.

A show dog, one that is capable of winning ribbons, usually comes from a reputable breeder. A good place to start is the Poodle Club of America. A good breeder should provide you with the genetics of both of the parents, any health issues, vaccination schedules, worming instructions and registration with the American Kennel Club.

If you are looking for a family dog, there are many rescues and shelters that are breed specific. Having trained more than one million dogs worldwide, your Bark Busters trainer will tell you it’s a myth that shelter dogs come with more baggage!

If possible, observe the puppies in their natural environment. The puppy who sits off to the side by himself may be calm but harder to socialize. The alpha pup may push the other dogs away for food and jump on them, but can be more bull-headed and difficult to train. As you observe the different personalities and temperaments, you’ll get an idea of which puppy you want to take home

Make sure that you are ready for the grooming responsibility of a Poodle because their hair can be high maintenance. Also, poodles are not used to extreme temperatures and flourish indoors.

Here are some tips for bringing home a new puppy:

  • Bring along a helper to bring your puppy home because he may find the car ride scary. Some dogs even get car sick!

  • Puppies may be skittish about their environment. Don’t bombard them with new sights, sounds and people all at once when you walk in the door. After you give them time to toilet, introduce them to where they will be sleeping (either a dog bed, your bed or a crate) so they have their own place to call home.

  • Dogs like repetition. Establish the best time for eating, playing and going potty outside, so your puppy will know what to expect. Your puppy may cry for the first couple of nights as he is not used to being away from his Mom and littermates.

  • Keep your dog on the same food he was on. If you want to change it in the future, do so gradually.

  • Your pup will appreciate social time and alone time. He may complain at first, but don’t go running every time he barks or yips – this is attention seeking behavior and can lead to separation anxiety.

  • Make sure to get your puppy an identification tag in case he runs off. 

Poodle Common Behavioral Issues

Poodles are extremely smart, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need dog training. In fact, you have to be careful so your Poodle doesn’t outwit you! Our Bark Busters trainers consider them good students with a keen passion to learn. Although we often think of Poodles with bouffant hairdos and an air of distinction, make no mistake that the Poodle is a working dog and does best when it has a job to do.

Poodles don’t like to be alone, and are extremely family-friendly, which can often cause separation anxiety. Gentile and sensitive, Poodles respond best to encouragement and praise rather than strong discipline or a harsh voice.

Barking is nearly always an issue. It is not wise to encourage your Poodle puppy to bark! They will find their voice soon enough and then you will need training to address this unwanted behavior.

They are fast learners and once they know what you want, they get with the program. Gentle, consistent training is all that is required when training any breed and Poodles are no different. However, because of their high intelligence, they might try to turn the tables on you and look to train you.

Don’t pick your Poodle up to stop him from an undesirable behavior. Instead, address the behavior by using communication and education methods. At Bark Busters. we want to encourage you to love your pet. When you are picking him up for a snuggle, never try and control him. Dogs and especially Poodles, hate being controlled in this way.

As with any breed, you must establish yourself as the “pack leader” or else your Poodle will take charge. When we say you need to be the boss, we don’t mean your dog will lose his enthusiasm or spunkiness. Instead, he will know you are serious about rules and establishing boundaries. If you don’t want your dog barking uncontrollably at the front door, chewing through your favorite slippers, or walking you versus you walking him, your Poodle will need training.

Your Bark Busters trainer can further advise you on how to train your Poodle, to help you understand and overcome the following behavior problem with your Poodle:

  • Stubbnornness
  • Biting
  • Nipping
  • Separation anxiety
  • Leash training

Bark Busters bases its training on the way dogs naturally communicate – through body language and voice tones and dogs respond to these methods. When your dog listens to a command, you reward him with praise and petting. When he doesn’t, you address his undesirable behavior with a tone of voice and body language. never is there a reason to lay an unkind hand on your dog. You can correct your dog without being cruel. The only thing that physical violence will teach your Poodle is fear.

Instead, our dog training will evolve into a relationship with your dog based on love, trust and respect.

Connect with Us!

Need help training your Poodle? Call 1-877-500-BARK (2275)or enter your zip code.

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Poodle Health

Common Illnesses and Injuries

Your Poodle’s health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to vomiting and diarrhea, a 2-year-old Poodle is more likely to develop Addison’s disease, and a senior Poodle may suffer from hip dysplasia or arthritis. Poodles also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—they’re prone to allergies, and because they’re energetic and active dogs, they can suffer from lameness and limping.

At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Doodle:

  • Allergies
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Addison’s disease/hypoadrenocorticism
  • Lameness and limping
  • Masses
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis

If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.

Genetic Health Concerns

Like many popular breeds, the Poodle has a number of hereditary health issues, like hip dysplasia and allergies. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.

Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.

Many rescue organizations also check for common-ailments before making them available for adoption.

Preparing yourself

As a pet owner, you should expect to pay for basic veterinary care like vaccines, spay/neuter, and annual checkups. Many pet owners don’t consider the unexpected illnesses and injuries that can occur throughout a pet’s life, and they don’t prepare for them. Medical insurance can help a pet owner prepare.

The concept of medical insurance for pets is fairly straightforward—pay a monthly premium to be covered for eligible veterinary expenses. But every provider is different, offering varied coverage with different plans, pricing options and limitations. As you research, pay close attention to coverage, deductible options, and ease of use.

Poodle Grooming

One of the most challenging tasks to having a Poodle is keeping it well groomed. Because of their hair, Poodles can be high maintenance in the grooming department. They don’t shed, which is what makes them great dogs for people who have allergies. Instead their hair keeps growing and is wiry, unmanageable and dense if not cut every three to six weeks. Because of their curly hair, they are susceptible to ingrown hairs. Also, because Poodles tend to have more hair in their ears than other breeds, they need to be cleaned regularly so air flow can travel in their ear canals. Poodle hair can be easily matted so it is important to brush your Poodle’s hair twice a week.

Many poodles have fancy haircuts, but the most common cuts are the Lion Clip, the Puppy Clip, the Continental Clip and the Bikini Clip.

Poodle puppies need to start having regular dental care at two months and will have their adult teeth by 8 months. Brush your dog’s teeth with pet toothpaste because human toothpaste can upset their stomachs if swallowed. Like some other breeds, their eyes tend to weep, so wipe them daily with a warm cloth or pet wipes.

Tips for Every Dog Owner

Owner Taking Dog on Walk on Leash

One Step at a Time: A Guide to Successful Dog Walking

Walking our dogs is a great source of exercise for both pets and pet parents. It not only helps keep our canine companions healthy and physically and mentally stimulated, but also strengthens the bond between us. There are several factors for pet parents to consider, however, to keep walks fun and safe for all.

Dogs at Dog Park

Tips for Every Dog - Socialization

Dogs are social animals and like to be part of a structured social group. In the wild, their pack provides this purpose, but in the domesticated world, this consists of the humans they live with and other animals that live in your home.

Large Group of Dogs of Various Breeds

Tips for Every Dog - Four Basic Needs

At Bark Busters, we believe that every dog has four basic needs. When these needs aren’t being met, misbehavior will likely follow.

Bark Busters Dog Trainers Training Two Dogs

Tips for Every Dog - Why Training?

All dogs need some form of training and education. Love is vital to the bond you and your dog share, but on its own and without all the other elements of a strong relationship, your dog won’t feel fully fulfilled.

Hear from Bark Busters Clients Who Have a Poodle

We rescued an 8 year old poodle who has fear issues. In one session, we (my husband and I) were able to begin the process of getting him to trust us, to learn that we will protect him and we are the pack leaders!
Nancy Higgins is a lifesaver! I have 2 poodles who were out of control. We decided to call in the professionals and I'm so glad we found Bark Busters. Nancy helped us understand dog psychology and the reason WHY dogs do what they do and gave us proper responses to correct these behaviors. After just one session our dogs were totally different. Her exercises made a WORLD of difference! She continues to follow up and give us tips and any other answers we may need! WORTH EVERY PENNY!!
Kristyn was absolutely wonderful with Ella, my 8 month old miniature poodle. I was struggling with Ella's separation anxiety, along with general obedience. We had gone to puppy training at Pets Mart and left the 6 weeks of classes with Ella only understanding how to sit. She did not return when called, walk politely on her leash, or respect my commands. In addition she would bark all day long while I, a teacher, was at school. Living in an apartment this lead to multiple complaints which were reported by the apartment manager.

Kristyn's training was extremely easy to follow and made a great deal of sense. I was treating Ella like a baby and needed to treat her like a dog. I was able to become more firm in my handling of her without resorting to being too rough with her. Corrections were simply growling at her which worked most of the time, if the growl wasn't successful then a clap or a squirt bottle proved sufficient without ever needing to physically handle Ella. Kristyn demonstrated all of her techniques for me first and then let me repeat them after. She also let me continue repeating them until both she and I felt like I was comfortable with the training, even if Ella stressed me as puppies tend to do. Which was rather familiar for me as a teacher as the modeling followed by practice approach. Thankfully, I can say that Ella's separation anxiety is almost completely under control since Kristyn's visit and I haven't gotten any more complaints. In addition she is a complete joy on walks and I received quite a few compliments from friends and family over the holiday on how well behaved she is. She's not perfect, but I couldn't be happier with her behavior and our relationship now.
I contacted Barkbusters and Jason when I was over the edge with my new puppy. He wouldn’t stay in his crate and would cry and howl. It was killing me and I hadn’t slept in days. First, about Jason... he is amazing! Talks to you. Doesn’t make you feel bad about what’s going on. Doesn’t judge you. Plus he’s funny! Next... about Barkbusters technique. It’s amazing! I have a smarter breed, a Newfiedoodle- Newfoundland and poodle mix. Ollie got it right away. I like how Jason made me do everything. He showed, then made me do... doesn’t help me if my dog listens to the trainer! By the time Jason left after our first session.. Ollie was calm in the crate... and I slept last night with him in the crate!!! Amazing! I’ve already recommended Jason and Barkbusters to a friend that’s looking at puppies! Highly recommend!!!

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