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What is a Poodle?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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The Poodle is a dog breed that dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt. Early poodles were retrieving dogs that brought the killed game birds from the marshes to the hunters. The word "Poodle" stems from the German pudelin which means "splashing in water." France chose the Poodle as their national dog breed and all sizes of poodles have been the favored dogs of royalty, the working class and traveling circus performers alike. The three sizes of the Poodle breed are toy, miniature and standard.

The Toy Poodle is less than 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the top of the shoulders and weighs less than 7 pounds (3.175 kg). The Miniature Poodle is more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the top of the shoulders, but less than 15 inches (38.1 cm) and weighs about 15 pounds (6.803 kg). The Standard Poodle is more than 15 inches (38.1 cm) at the top of the shoulders and may weigh about 45 pounds (20.412 kg), or even up to 65 pounds (29.484 kg) depending on its height.

The Poodle breed doesn't shed, but show poodles especially may need up to ten hours a week for grooming. Poodle fur can be very woolly and it's traditionally clipped with some areas shaved off. The continental clip is the most popular show clip and it's quite fancy. "Pompom" sections of fur are left around the legs and tail. The English saddle clip is basically the same as the continental clip, but has a three pompom look.

In the puppy clip used for show poodles, the face and throat are shaved as well as the feet and the base of the tail. There are also pet clips for poodles who are household pets rather than show dogs. Sometimes, a poodle's coat may be "corded." A corded coat means that strands of hair have been twisted into long ropes, or cords, that give the poodle's coat the appearance of a string mop.

Poodles are said to be very intelligent dogs that are easy to train. They are often active and alert and may bark quite a bit. Poodles have low exercise needs, but should be walked daily. Standard poodles need more activity than the smaller types and may do well with regular running and swimming. Poodles are social and people-oriented and considered great around children and other animals, but may be shy around people they don't know.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of the Poodle breed?

The Poodle, known for its intelligence and elegance, originated in Germany as a water retriever. The breed's name is derived from the German word "pudel," which means to splash in the water. Despite this Germanic origin, the Poodle is often associated with France, where it was popularized and became the national breed.

How many sizes of Poodles are there, and what are they?

There are three main sizes of Poodles recognized by most kennel clubs: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. The Standard Poodle is the largest, standing over 15 inches at the shoulder. Miniature Poodles are between 10 and 15 inches tall, while Toy Poodles stand no more than 10 inches, catering to those desiring a smaller companion.

What are the distinctive features of a Poodle's coat?

Poodles boast a unique, curly coat that is virtually non-shedding, making them popular among allergy sufferers. Their hair grows continuously and requires regular grooming to prevent mats. Poodles are also known for their wide variety of coat colors and the ability to be styled in various clips, including the distinctive "poodle cut" for show dogs.

Are Poodles good family pets?

Yes, Poodles make excellent family pets. They are known for their friendly nature, intelligence, and loyalty. These traits, combined with their playful demeanor, make them great companions for children and adults alike. Poodles are also highly trainable, which contributes to their adaptability to family life and various living environments.

What kind of exercise do Poodles need?

Poodles are active dogs that require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. A daily walk, coupled with playtime and mental stimulation like puzzle toys or obedience training, is recommended. Standard Poodles may need more vigorous exercise, while Miniature and Toy Poodles can have their needs met with shorter, more frequent activities.

How long do Poodles typically live?

Poodles have a relatively long lifespan compared to other breeds. Standard Poodles typically live between 10 to 12 years, while Miniature and Toy Poodles can live even longer, often reaching 14 to 16 years of age with proper care. Their longevity is attributed to their robust genetic makeup and the attentive care they often receive from their owners.

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Discussion Comments

By dega2010 — On Dec 23, 2010

There is also a “Tiny Toy” poodle. It is also an unofficial variation and not recognized by the AKC. I think that the Tiny Toy weighs between 4 to 6 pounds and the Teacup actually weighs between 2 to 4 pounds.

By GrumpyGuppy — On Dec 22, 2010

@snowywinter: Yes, there is a Teacup Poodle. However, that is not an official size for poodles. Teacup poodles are really Toy Poodles but are smaller in size than the AKC Toy Poodle standards. They are usually around 9 inches or smaller and weigh less than 6 pounds. The name “Teacup Poodle” is just a name that has been by breeders for very small poodles.

Even though the Teacup Poodle is not an official AKC size variation, it is a very popular unofficial variation.

By SnowyWinter — On Dec 19, 2010

Isn't there also a teacup poodle?

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