Refined and elegant, poodles are highly intelligent, perky dogs with an air of distinction about them. The breed has been popular throughout history, and even today, poodles are one of the top 10 most popular dog breeds according to recent registry statistics.
Poodles are the only breed that comes in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy.
These sizes are distinguished by height and help separate the breed into separate categories for show and breeding purposes.
A standard poodle is approximately 15 inches at the shoulder, a miniature poodle is between 10 and 15 inches, and a toy poodle is less than 10 inches. The standard poodle is the oldest of the three poodle varieties.
The poodle standard (the hypothetical ideal set of guidelines used to ensure the animals produced by a breeding facility conforms to the specifics of the breed) is the same for all three sizes, except when height is concerned. Poodles are well proportioned and squarely built with a moderately rounded skull and a long, straight muzzle, with dark, oval-shaped eyes and ears hanging closely to the face.
The poodle’s coat is non-shedding, making this what some refer to as a hypoallergenic breed, although "hypoallergenic" dog breeds really don't exist. The breed's non-shedding coat means less dander is released into the air, offering allergy sufferers a chance to live with a pet companion with fewer allergy symptoms. Poodles do require regular clipping and grooming to keep their dense and harsh coats mat-free. They come in a variety of colors, including black, white, gray and apricot.
Poodles, contrary to popular belief, are not delicate pets. They are generally very healthy, strong dogs and make excellent pets. Genetic disorders have been diagnosed in all varieties of poodles. These include hip dysplasia, patellar luxations, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, seizures and thyroid disorders, among others. Consult your veterinarian about possible hereditary and congenital defects associated with any breed of dog you plan to adopt. A complete physical examination by your veterinarian soon after adoption is essential.
The Poodle Club of America, an organization dedicated to encouraging poodle breeding in accordance with the ideal poodle standard, lists a number of the health issues concerning poodle owners on their Web site.
The Poodle Health Registry, a nonprofit, international registry for all diseases affecting Poodles, has a database of diseases by poodle variety, and can be a great resource for potential poodle owners and breeders alike.
Poodles have the potential to live 15 years, or more, if cared for properly and receive routine veterinary care.
According to the American Kennel Club, the registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States, the poodle originated in Germany as a water retriever. Their “clips,” or cut, was originally designed by hunters to help them move through the water easily while providing warmth to their organs and joints when swimming in cold water.
Although Germany has been recognized as the origin of the breed, breed historians suspect the poodle has Russian and French ties. In fact, the poodle is the national dog of France.
Poodles, by nature, are energetic and active dogs, requiring daily exercise. They enjoy recreational activities, such as playing ball or fetch; they get bored easily. Because they are adaptable and easy to train, poodles tend to do very well in agility classes.
The breed is a people-oriented dog, and tends to be good with children. Poodles are bright, intelligent and eager to please, making an excellent addition to any dog-loving family.