Introduction to Dog Breeds – Poodles

One of  the most popular and renowned dog breeds today, Poodles come in a multitude of sizes. Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles and Toy Poodles alike make great pets that are intelligent, loving and loyal companions.

History

Believed to have originated from Germany and recognised first as a official breed in France. Poodles are one of the world’s oldest dog breeds.

Believed to be a crossbreed of water dogs from European countries including Spain, Hungary, Russia, and Portugal that have been cross-bred with Asian herding dogs. Poodles are excellent at gathering game hens and retrieving ducks from marshlands, hence were popular as herding and hunting dogs.

Standard Poodles were popular for duck hunting while Miniature Poodles excelled at hunting for truffles in France. The Toy Poodle simply served as a faithful companion to the wealthy class.

Travelling performers later trained Poodles to perform as circus dogs. This is how they were first believed to have started shaving their coats and dressing them in fancy costumes.

The Kennel Club in England raised their first poodle breed in 1874. Subsequently, they were recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1886, while the Poodle Club of America was formed as well. Though it disbanded for a while, it was officially reformed again in 1931. By the 50s, Poodles were the most popular breed in the US – a title that they held for twenty plus years.

Features

Colours

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Café-au-lait
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver/Silver Beige
  • White

Sizes

  • Standard: 38.1 cm / 15″ tall and above
  • Miniature: 21.4 cm to 38.1 cm / 10″ to 15″ tall
  • Toy: 21.4 cm / 10″ tall and under

Weight

  • Standard: 27.2 kg to 31.7 kg / 60 lb to 70 lb (male),  18.1 kg to 22.6 kg / 40 lb to 50 lb (female)
  • Miniature: 4.5 kg to 6.8 kg / 10 lb to 15 lb
  • Toy: 2.2 kg to 4 kg / 5 lb to 9 lb

Temperament

Often known to be loyal and affectionate animals, Poodles do tend to be overprotective of their families. Despite their dignified air of distinction, which often has them labeled as “superior”. They are extremely intelligent but have a bit of a mischievous and playful streak.

Always ready to play, Poodles are extremely fond of people. They are eager to please and therefore are fairly easy to train. Once properly trained, they tend to have a calmer disposition, despite their generally playful nature.

Behaviour

Both Miniature and Toy Poodles tend to be more high-strung and nervous that their standard counterparts, which can be resolved with proper care and training.

All poodles, whatever the size, will steal your heart and will want to be an active part of the family. If left alone for too long, boredom and feelings of neglect will often result in your Poodle acting out. As mentioned, they will do best with a family that will be home a great deal and can devote a lot of time to this highly intelligent, affectionate and loving breed.

Poodles are extremely protective of their owners as well as their home environment. While fiercely loyal and affectionate with their family, they may take some time to warm up to outsiders. With some ice-breaking, they tend to get along well with other dogs, cats and small children. Early socialising is the key, as with any breed. Playgroups and dog parks are great ways to socialise your Poodle.

“With some ice-breaking, they tend to get along well with other dogs.”

Poodles thrive on being the center of attention, a trait which makes them excellent show dogs. What suits them is a home that showers them with love, affection and attention where they won’t be left alone for too long.

Activity

While Standard Poodles a lot of exercise, Miniature and Toy Poodles are quite happy to just sit beside their owners and watch television.

Health & Lifespan

The average lifespan can range from 10 to 18 years. Typically, Toy Poodles will live longer than Miniature and Standard Poodles as smaller dogs typically have longer lifespans. 

As with any breed of dog, Poodles are susceptible to a variety of illnesses. Besides providing proper care and nutrition, regular vet check-up and vaccinations are also important. Here are some illnesses that tend to be common among Poodles:

Cataracts & Glaucoma

A common issue among Poodles occurs due to the development of cataracts and/or glaucoma along with an inherited eye disease called PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) which may result in blindness.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s is a disease in which the adrenal glands are not producing enough cortisol which calls Poodles to become depressed, lethargic and prone to stress. This can be treated with medication and adjustments to lifestyle.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s Syndrome is the opposite of Addison’s disease when too much cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This can result in excessive thirst and hunger, bladder infections, frequent urination, panting and weight gain. This can be treated with medication, but may also require surgery.

Hyperthyroidism

Poodles may suffer from hypothyroidism which results in hair loss, weakened immune system, excessive hunger, hair loss and weight gain. Hyperthyroidism is often treated with supplements and long term medication.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is another common problems this breed faces. This occurs when the socket ball and joint of the hip do not properly align. Some common methods of treatment for Hip dysplasia requires surgery such as a hip replacement or medication, depending on the severity.

Sebaceous Adenitis

Standard and Toy Poodles may be prone to a skin condition called Sebaceous Adenitis, which can lead to skin issues as well as hair loss. It can be diagnosed via a biopsy of the skin and is treatable.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus Syndrome / Bloat

Similar to many large dog breeds, Standard sized Poodles are at an increased risk for gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat. This is a potentially fatal condition in which the stomach twits and can flop. If caught immediately, it can be life-saving. As there is a chance of recurrence, it is removed to have a surgical procedure known as gastropexy for prevention.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD)

Toy Poodles can be prone to Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, in which the femur begins to deteriorate due to reduced blood supply. This can be spotted as early as 4 months and limping is the main symptom. This can be treated with surgery, with little to no side effects other than an increased possibility of arthritis.

Grooming

Due to their curly, fine coat, it is best to cut your Poodles hair every 8 to 16 weeks. Regular daily brushing to prevent matting is also highly important. Their nails grow rather quickly so it is best to trim them every other week to prevent them from accidentally scratching themselves as well as yourself and your home furniture and appliances.

Both Miniature and Toy Poodles may develop problems with their teeth. Therefore, dental hygiene is especially important with Poodles. Brush your Poodles teeth regularly and have your vet check their teeth at (during) their regular check ups.

Care and Nutrition

As each breed of Poodle is a different size and weight, they need to be fed accordingly to their size and age, as with any other dog breed. Overfeeding this breed will lead to weight gain, which can lead to joint problems and other health issues. It is best to set designated meal times.

Check their ears regularly for dirt to prevent ear infections. As well, have your vet check their teeth and mouths regularly. While brushing, check their skin for rashes, sores or other infections.

Poodles are active dogs and need a lot of exercise. They prefer to live indoors with their family, but make sure they also get plenty of supervised playtime, both indoors and out. They love going for walks with their human companions.

Where to Find Poodles

As with most pure-breeds, you could get your Poodle from a breeder. However, if you choose to get your Poodle from a breeder, make sure they are reputable. Alternatively, You should try to save a life by adopting your Poodle from an animal shelter or an animal rescue if possible.

Fun Facts About Poodles

  1. In addition to getting “fancy” haircuts as circus dogs, it is believed that when they were used as hunting dogs, their coats were cut in a manner to keep their body warm in cold weather, but also closely shaven on their legs to allow them to swim more freely. 
  2. Elvis Presley was fond of Poodles, and had several in his lifetime, including a Poodle named “Honey” which he gifted to his wife Priscilla Presley. 
  3. Poodles do not shed as much as other breeds and do not have the typical “dog smell” so they are the ideal pet for those who prefer a “tidy” dog breed.
  4. Named for their love of water. The name Poodle comes from the German word “pudel” or “pudelin” which means “to splash in water”.
  5. Poodles are often bred with other dogs to create hypoallergenic breeds such as Cockapoos (Poodles & Cocker Spaniels), Whoodles (Wheaten Terriers and Poodles) and Goldendoodles (Poodles & Golden Retrievers). 
  6. Two breeds of Poodles are not officially recognized. The Klein Poodle, which is somewhere between a Standard and Miniature Poodle and a Teacup Poodle, which only weighs 2 pounds.
  7. Loved on the big screen, Poodles have starred in movies such as The Burbs, Interview With A Vampire and Zoolander.
  8. Often categorized as “hypoallergenic”, Poodles make great pets for those who are allergic to other breeds.
  9. Poodles love to travel and make great companion dogs for those who love to take long road trips or even fly.
  10. Frank Sinatra gifted Marilyn Monroe a white poodle, which he purchased from Natalie Wood’s mother. Monroe then named the poodle “Maf” as a funny reference to Sinatra’s alleged connection to the mafia. How amusing!