A photo of a white poodle, a photo of two brown boodles wearing sunglasses and hats and a photo of a black poodle

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Poodle dog breed profile

Everything you need to know about these smart pups.

Whether your pup is a full poodle or a poodle mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Poodles are incredibly obedient, smart and loyal.

“Poodles have been used throughout history to perform a number of jobs,” Dr. Grace Kelly, DVM, a veterinarian at BluePearl, says. “Even today, poodles continue to fill roles and their unique curly, hypoallergenic hair has only added to their sense of gentry.” 

The history of poodles 

Some may be surprised to learn that poodles are excellent swimmers. So much so, in fact, Dr. Kelly recommends swimming as a great form of exercise for these pups.

“Poodles were originally trained for hunting and retrieving when around water,” Dr. Kelly says. “To this day, poodles continue to be especially skilled at swimming when trained for such activity.” 

What are poodles’ personalities like? 

This breed is known for being very energetic, loving and loyal dogs. With so much energy, poodles need daily exercise to keep them from diverting their energy to unfavorable habits such as excessive barking, aggression or chewing or eating things they shouldn’t. 

“Poodles are also extremely loyal dogs, which makes socialization as puppies very important to avoid unwanted aggressive behavior,” Dr. Kelly says. “Introducing them to many different people, environments and animals as they’re growing up teaches them that people outside their family and home aren’t a threat and don’t need to be dealt with as such.”

That being said, with proper socialization and exercise, poodles are generally a very loving breed that make great family dogs. 

How big are poodles? 

Poodles come in a variety of sizes, often depending on whether they're mixed or not. Generally, there are three poodle sizes: toy, miniature and standard. 

As you would expect, the toy poodle is the smallest at only 4 to 6 pounds and no more than 10 inches tall. The miniature is the next in line at 10 to 15 pounds and 10 to 15 inches tall. The largest is the standard poodle, which weighs in anywhere between 40 and 70 pounds and over 15 inches tall. 

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What are poodles’ coats like? 

Poodles generally have soft, curly coats that vary in color, from black to white to apricot. These coats are praised for their hypoallergenic qualities, making poodles popular pets for people with allergies.  

Because poodles have hair and not fur, it takes quite a bit of work to keep that coat tidy. If you want to have a poodle in your life, you’ll have to get ready for brushing, and lots of it! You’ll either have to grow very comfortable with grooming your pup or will have to take them to regular grooming appointments. Going too long without grooming can lead to potentially painful matting.

What are common health issues for poodles? 

Of all dog breeds, poodles are the most common dogs to be affected by Addison’s disease, an immune-mediated disease in which their body doesn’t make enough stress hormones, Dr. Kelly says. It’s generally young-to middle-aged female dogs affected by Addison’s. Common clinical signs include loss of appetite, weight loss and lethargy. 

Like many other deep-chested dogs, such as German Shepherds, poodles are also at risk for developing bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition in which the stomach flips and needs immediate medical attention. 

Adopting a poodle 

Are you interested in adopting a poodle, poodle mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Jenny Marvin, Sarandy Westfall and Daniel Savill on Unsplash

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