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Full attention (8067543690).jpg
Standard Poodle
Other names
  • Pudelhund
  • Caniche
Origin(disputed - see history)
Kennel club standards
Société Centrale Canine standard
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Poodle is a dog breed that comes in three varieties: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle. The breed’s origin is disputed: whether it descends from Germany as a type of water dog, or from the French Barbet.[5]

Ranked second most intelligent dog breed just behind the Border Collie,[6] the Poodle is skillful in many dog sports and activities, including agility, obedience, tracking, herding, circus performance, and assistance dogs. Poodles have taken top honors in many conformation shows, including "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1991, 2002, and 2020 and at the World Dog Show in 2007 and 2010. They are recorded as the seventh most popular dog breed in the United States.[7]


A 17th-century engraving of a Poodle

The Poodle is a breed that has been present in Europe for centuries in some form or another, and it debuted on the Continent long before heading to the British Isles, let alone North America, East Asia or Australia. Drawings by German artist Albrecht Dürer established the popular image of the breed in the 15th and 16th centuries. Further appearances in art are recorded by Rembrandt in a self portrait he created in 1631, with his pet Poodle in the foreground. The breed would not have been a dog of the common man, but of the wealthier gentleman or royalty, evidenced by its role as a water spaniel and retriever from early on: these were not the pursuits of peasants and farmers.[citation needed]

It was the principal pet dog of the late 18th century in Spain, as shown by the paintings of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. France had Toy Poodles as pampered favorites during the reign of Louis XVI at about the same period, and there are definite records of them being present at Versailles even before Goya was active: Louis XVI's grandfather Louis XV is recorded as having a favorite dog named Filou, a Poodle, and there is potential evidence the “Sun King” Louis XIV kept them as well.[8][9]

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the international organization of which both France and Germany's main kennel clubs are members, claims the breed descends from the French Barbet.[1] When the breed was officially recognized by the FCI, in order to avoid any possible dispute between two founding members, Germany recognized the Poodle as a dog originating from France.[10] The progenitor of the breed might have also been crossed with the Hungarian Puli.[11] The French name Caniche comes from the word cane (the female of the duck) since this type of breed was used as a water retriever mainly for duck hunting, thanks to its swimming ability.[12]

The British Kennel Club states that the breed originates in Germany,[3] as do the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, stating: "Despite the Poodle’s association with France, the breed originated as a duck hunter in Germany..."[4] The Oxford English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary both trace the etymology of Poodle to the German Pudel, which itself comes from Pudelhund. The word Pudel in turn comes from Low German pud(d)eln meaning "[to] splash in water,"[13][14] cognate with the English word puddle.

The Poodle has contributed to many other dog breeds, such as the Miniature Schnauzer,[15]the Standard Schnauzer,[16] and dogs of the Bichon type[17] in order to either save those breeds from extinction or reduce size, or by dog fanciers to improve their appearance. The Poodle also is believed to be an ancestor or potential ancestor of the Irish Water Spaniel,[18] the Curly-Coated Retriever,[19] and the Pudelpointer,[20] all of which are also hunters of birds.

The Poodle, 1700s painting of the traditional Poodle

Size varieties

The Poodle has been bred in at least three sizes, including Standard, Miniature, and Toy. According to the American Kennel Club, which recognized the breed in 1887,[21] the Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties,[22] and was later bred down to the Miniature and Toy sizes. The British Kennel Club also recognizes three sizes, stating that the Miniature and Toy are scaled-down versions of the Standard.[23] The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes four sizes of one breed: Standard, Medium, Miniature, and Toy. Poodles exist in many coat colours. Despite the Standard Poodle's claim to greater age than the other varieties, some evidence shows the smaller varieties developed only a short time after the breed assumed the general type by which it is recognized today.

The smallest, or Toy variety, was developed in England in the 18th century. Hunting and working dogs were typically of the Standard variety, though some reports suggest that smaller varieties such as the Miniature may have been popular for truffle hunting, as their feet were less likely to damage the delicate fungi.[24]The Miniature and Toy varieties tend to be bred primarily for companionship. In the mid- to late 19th century, the trade in dyeing and affixing their fur to unusual proportions began with the need to complement the Victorian and Georgian sensibilities of these women,[25] to the point that their status as a dog of the middle and upper classes was quite solid by the time of the founding of the Kennel Club in the 1870s, as they were one of the first dog breeds registered.

Work and sport

Traditionally the Standard Poodle, the largest of the breed, was a retriever or gun dog, used in particular for duck hunting and sometimes upland bird hunting. The breed has been used for fowl hunting in the U.S. and Canada since the early 1990s, in and out of hunting tests. The modern Standard retains many of the traits prized by their original owners: a keen working intelligence that makes the dog easy to command, webbed feet that make it an agile swimmer (all of the Poodle's ancestors and descendants had or share the love of water) athletic stamina, and a moisture-resistant, curly coat that acts like a wool jumper in damp conditions. Towards the second half of the 19th century, their use in hunting declined in favour of their use in circuses and status symbols of the wealthy, so that by the 20th century they were only found as companions or circus dogs.[26]

However, in the past 20 years to 2008, some breeders in the United States and Canada have been selecting for dogs with drive for birds in order to revive the breed for hunting, with some success.[27] The Canadian Kennel Club admitted the Standard Poodle for hunting trials in 1996 and the American Kennel Club in 1998, respectively.[28]

As of March 2019, the end results of 30 years of breeding to reawaken the hunting instinct have been a success, with more dogs appearing in the field each year with increasing prowess.[citation needed] Most British or North American retriever breeds and nearly all the spaniels have shorter legs than a Standard Poodle, which gives the dog an advantage of speediness. The clocked speed is only just behind the Whippet, a breed that is used for coursing and thus the Standard Poodle leaves the Labrador Retriever in the dust, with its average speed closer to 20 mph, or 32 km/h.[29][30] The outcome is a gun dog that is very eager to please its master and possessing extreme intelligence, a relentless drive to catch its quarry, and strong swimming skills that require special training. Their aptitude is second only to the British Border Collie[6] and thus the hunting Standard Poodle requires the gunman to be quite specific as to what he wants and how he wants it done and to avoid becoming too repetitive doing training drills so the dog does not become bored: it likes to be challenged.

Unlike other spaniels and retrievers, Standard Poodles will attempt to solve a problem independently and need to be told specifically what is wanted when tracking and retrieving a bird. This is very important when working the dog in a contest as well as an environment with guns: a trained Poodle will not scare easily at the sound of gunfire, but it is wise to make him abide by his master's instructions in trials so he does not fall foul of danger and ignore the set course while attempting to "solve" how to get the duck. Because they are highly intelligent, harsh or violent training methods do not work with this dog breed in the field—corrections must be timely and given with precision, and the trainer must have a firm, kind, and experienced hand; an overbearing owner training his dog to hunt will find his Standard Poodle terrified of his master and the entire experience, and refusing to budge an inch towards the water or into the brush.[31]

Poodle retrieving a duck

Hunting Poodles typically are dogs with lightning quick reflexes, sprinting after the downed bird and having a prodigious ability to remember where the bird fell and (though not as good as the English Pointer) a decent nose to sniff and track a bird hiding in tall grass.[32][33] They are talented hunters of upland birds and normally in snowy weather require an extra coat, preferably neon orange for visibility. Because North America generally has snowier winters that get below 0 °C, unlike the climate where the dog was first bred, the added coat is extra protection against snow and ice getting impacted in its coat.

Recently, Miniature Poodles have also begun to be added to the list of hunters in the field: in January 2002, the Canadian Kennel Club opened their Working Certificate program to Poodles of all sizes and later in 2014 the American Kennel Club opened their Hunt Test program to Miniature Poodles; in 2017 both the Standard and Miniature were declared eligible for American Kennel Club Spaniel Tests, a program designed for testing dogs with flushing capabilities.[34][35][36] Typically, a Miniature Poodle will be the smallest dog of all in the field as it weighs less than 25 lbs or about 10 kg: this is even less than a Boykin Spaniel, the former smallest dog, which weighs closer to 35 lbs, or 16 kg. However, hunters in the U.S. and Canada have found them very useful for woodcock, chukar, mallards, and smaller ducks like the green-winged teal and the bufflehead: their tiny size is an asset in getting at corners and brush that comparatively more massive retrievers cannot reach or where bramble is too thick for Cocker Spaniels to access.[37][38]

Poodles have been used as working dogs in the military since at least the 17th century, most likely because of their highly intelligent, trainable nature and background as a gundog making them suitable to battlefields, as evidenced by their ability to be trained to ignore gunfire. During the English Civil War, Prince Rupert of the Rhine had a hunting Poodle he brought over with him from what is today Germany with a white coat who liked to ride into battle with his master on horseback. Bonaparte wrote in his memoirs about the faithfulness of a grenadier's pet Poodle who stayed with the body of his master at the Battle of Marengo, licking his face and willing him alive again.[39] During World War II, Roland Kilbon of the New York Sun, reported that other countries had used dogs in their armies for many years. In his column he quoted Mrs. Milton S. (Arlene) Erlanger, owner of Pillicoc Kennels, a premier breeder of Poodles: "The dog must play a game in this thing." Eventually, "With the blessing of the American Kennel Club, the Professional Handlers Association, obedience training clubs across the country, and Seeing Eye, Inc., a nationwide program known as Dogs for Defense, Inc. was initiated and became the official procurement agency for all war dogs used in the Army, Navy and Coast Guard."[40] Dogs for Defense procured the dogs, who were then trained by the Army. In 1942, the Poodle was one of 32 breeds officially classified as war dogs by the Army.

In competition

Poodles are one of the most recognizable dogs in all of dogdom and have been depicted as subjects in portraiture, photography, and prints for centuries. They have been show competitors at kennel clubs since the invention of such institutions in the second half of the 19th century. At Crufts, the Standard Poodle ties the Irish Setter and the Welsh Terrier for second most wins at Best In Show, with four wins.[41] Toy Poodles won "Best in Show" at Crufts in 1966 and 1982. Standard Poodles achieved the award in 1955, 1985, 2002, and 2014. The 2002 winner came from Norway and was the first overseas exhibit to win the Crufts best in show award.[42][43][44]

At the Westminster Dog Show in the U.S., the breed has won a total of 10 times, with half being Standard Poodles and the most recent win in 2020.[45]

Having returned to the hunt after a long absence, Standard Poodles have been winning titles against the more widely used native breeds like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, American Water Spaniel and Labrador Retriever.[46] Thus far, 13 Standard Poodles have won Master Hunt titles (12 in the United States, one in Canada) and several more have won senior and junior titles on both sides of the border. Currently only the United Kennel Club in the U.S. recognizes the Standard Poodle as a Sporting Dog; thus, in spite of this subtype of Poodle being ineligible for field competitions, more and more are appearing in the field as waterfowl dogs and hunters of pheasant in tall grass, the latter especially in the Midwest.[47]



Brown Miniature Poodle with a teddy bear cut
Black Standard Poodle

The Poodle is an active, intelligent and elegant dog, squarely built, and well proportioned. To ensure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of body measured from the breastbone to the point of the rump approximates the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the ground. The eyes should be very dark, oval in shape, and have an alert and intelligent expression. The ears should fold over close to the head, set at, or slightly below, eye level. The coat should be of naturally curly texture, dense throughout, although most AKC-registered show dogs have a continental cut or other, similarly shaven look. The sizes of the official AKC-recognized Poodle breeds are determined by height, not by weight.

Poodles are bred in a variety of sizes, distinguished by adult shoulder (withers) height. The exact height cutoffs among the varieties vary slightly from country to country. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognizes four sizes of one breed: Standard, Medium, Miniature, and Toy.[48] Non-FCI kennel clubs generally recognize three sizes, Standard, Miniature, and Toy, sometimes as sizes of the same breed and sometimes as separate breeds. Only the FCI describes a maximum size for Standard Poodles. France is the country responsible for the breed in the FCI, and in this country, the puppies of all sizes are listed together.[49] The terms Royal Standard, Teacup, and Tiny Teacup are marketing names and are not recognized by any major kennel club.

Comparison of poodle sizes defined by major kennel clubs[50]
Size The Kennel Club (UK) Australian National Kennel Council New Zealand Kennel Club Canadian Kennel Club American Kennel Club United Kennel Club Fédération Cynologique Internationale
Standard, Grand over 38 cm (15 in) 38 cm (15 in) and over 38 cm (15 in) and over over 38 cm (15 in) over 38 cm (15 in) over 38 cm (15 in) 45–60 cm (18–24 in)
Medium, Moyen not used not used not used not used not used not used 35–45 cm (14–18 in)
Miniature - Dwarf, Nain 28–38 cm (11–15 in) 28–38 cm (11–15 in) 28–38 cm (11–15 in) 10–15 in (25–38 cm) 10–15 in (25–38 cm) 10–15 in (25–38 cm) 28–35 cm (11–14 in)
Toy under 28 cm (11 in) under 28 cm (11 in) under 28 cm (11 in) under 10 in (25 cm) under 10 in (25 cm) under 10 in (25 cm) 24–28 cm (9.4–11.0 in)

All the Fédération Cynologique Internationale Poodles are in Group 9 Companion and Toy, Section 2 Poodle. All the Kennel Club Poodles are in the Utility Group. All three sizes of Poodles for the Australian National Kennel Council and the New Zealand Kennel Club are in the Non-Sporting Group. The Canadian Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club place the Standard and Miniature sizes in the Non-Sporting Group and the Toy size in the Toy Group. The United Kennel Club places the Miniature and Toy in the Companion Group and the Standard Poodle in the Gundog Group.


Unlike most dogs, which have double coats, Poodles have a single-layer coat (no undercoat is present) composed of dense, curly fur[51] that sheds minimally.[52] They could be considered hypoallergenic (though not completely allergen free).[53][54] The Poodle does shed, but instead of the fur coming off the dog, it becomes tangled in the surrounding hair. This can lead to matting without proper care. Texture ranges from coarse and woolly to soft and wavy. Poodle show clips require many hours of brushing and care per week, about 10 hours/week for a Standard Poodle. Poodles are usually clipped down into lower-maintenance cuts as soon as their show careers are over. Pet clips are much less elaborate than show and require much less maintenance. A pet owner can anticipate grooming a Poodle every six to eight weeks. Attention must be paid to a poodle's ears, because hair grows in their ears. They should be cleaned religiously with a solution and hair should be removed, so that earwax buildup does not accumulate and moisture does not take hold, both causing infection.

Clips and grooming

Generally, Poodles do not have a double coat like certain other breeds, but rather have a hair shaft shaped in an unusual way that makes the hair on their bodies curl and kink in on itself; this will not stop growing unless it is clipped or cut, and neglecting to care for this breed's coat over long periods can have dangerous consequences that can make the dog quite ill from matting and skin infections.[55]

Poodles of all sizes intended to be show dogs are required to have a show clip of the choosing of the kennel club to which their owners belong. Many breed registries allow only certain clips for Poodles shown in conformation. In American Kennel Club (AKC) shows, adults must be shown in the "Continental" or "English saddle" clips. Dogs under 12 months old may be shown with a "puppy clip." The AKC allows the "Sporting" clip in Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes, as well.[citation needed] As to where any of these clips originated, such is in dispute: some sources believe the show clips evolved from working clips, which originally provided warmth to major joints when the dogs were immersed in cold water. The rest of the body is shaved for less drag in the water. Others express skepticism at this theory, instead citing the French circus as the origin of the entertaining and unique clips.[citation needed]

The second puppy clip is also called the Scandinavian clip or puppy clip. It was invented by Swedish and Norwegian show groomers in the 1970s. It is the most common one in all sizes for shows in Europe, and is allowed for adult Poodles to be shown in the FCI countries. The face, throat, belly, feet and the base of the tail are shaved five to seven days before the show to get a nice, smooth appearance of the shaved areas. The hair on the head is left to form a "topknot", fixed in place using latex bands, because in most European countries, hair spray is banned. The rest of the dog is shaped with scissors. Poodles in Europe tend not to dock the tail of the breed at puppyhood, whereas in North America this is a matter left to the discretion of the owner.[citation needed]

In the Continental clip, the face, throat, feet and part of the tail are shaved. The upper half of the front legs is shaved, leaving "fluffy bracelets" around the ankles. The hindquarters are shaved except for bracelets on the lower leg (from the hock to the base of the foot) and optional round areas (called "rosettes") over the hips. The Continental clip is the most popular show clip today.[citation needed]

The English saddle clip is similar to the continental, except for the hindquarters, which are not shaved except for a small, curved area on each flank (just behind the body), the feet, and bands just below the stifle (knee) and above the hock, leaving four (4) pompons. This clip is now rarely seen in Standard Poodles.[citation needed]

Pet clips can be as simple or as elaborate as the owners wish. The hair under the tail should always be kept short to keep feces from matting in the dog's curls. Most owners also keep the feet and face clipped short to prevent dirt from matting between toes, tear stains on lighter-coated Poodles and food from matting around the dog's muzzle. Beyond these sanitary requirements, desired clips depend on owners' preferences. Some owners maintain a longer clip in winter than summer.[citation needed]

Modern hunters do not normally use any of the elaborate show clips and just require a very simple cut with electric clippers an inch and a half off the skin and the face shaven close to the skin so the dog can see clearly. The feet are kept as hairless as possible to aid the dog in swimming and so that when the dog is commanded to run hard, it has the necessary traction to bolt after the waterfowl or pheasant that has been shot. Burrs are usually removed after the hunt with patience and a pair of scissors, and some hunters use cooking spray to help the burrs and thorns slip off more easily after the hunt is complete, especially upland bird hunting. Caked-on mud and swamp debris can be easily removed with a garden hose and a mild soap, and ears must be carefully inspected after each outing and cleaned if needed.[citation needed]

Corded coat

In most cases, whether a Poodle is in a pet or show clip, the hair is completely brushed out. Poodle hair can also be "corded" with rope-like mats similar to those of a Komondor or human dreadlocks. Though once as common as the curly Poodle, corded Poodles are now rare. Corded coats are difficult to keep clean and take a long time to dry after washing. Any Poodle with a normal coat can be corded when its adult coat is in. Corded Poodles may be shown in all major kennel club shows.[1][56][57]


The Poodle has a wide variety of colouring, including white, black, brown, blue, gray, silver, café au lait, silver beige, cream, apricot, and red, and patterns such as parti-, abstract, sable, phantom, and brindle. The AKC recognizes Poodles in either solid-coloured and multi-colored coats; however, only solid-colored poodles may compete in conformation.[58] Recognition of multi-colored Poodles varies by registry. Recognized FCI colourations are black, white, brown, gray, apricot, and red.

For solid-coloured Poodles, the coat is an even and solid colour at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, café au laits, apricots, and creams, the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are preferred by registries, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and café au lait Poodles have liver-coloured noses, eye rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream, and white poodles have black noses, eye rims and lips, black or self-coloured toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots, while the foregoing colouring is preferred, liver-coloured noses, eye rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted, but are not desirable. Incomplete colour of nose, lips and eye rims, or a "mismatched" colour are considered faults by registries.

Parti-coloured Poodles are recognized in Poodle history as the original colouring of the Poodle.[59] A parti-Poodle has solid-coloured patches over a white coat. The coat will usually be white and coloured in equal amounts, though it can vary with a larger percent of white. Registries prefer that parti-Poodles have the same points as its correlating solid-coloured descendants. Brown and white parti-Poodles have liver-coloured noses, eye rims and lips, dark or self-coloured toenails and amber eyes. This is also permitted, but not preferred, in apricot and white parti-Poodles. Black/white, blue/white, and silver/white parti-Poodles have black noses, eye rims and lips, black or self-coloured toenails and very dark eyes. When the dog has markings that resemble those of a tuxedo, it is called a "tuxedo" Poodle. The upper coat is solid black: head, back, tail; and the lower coat is white: neck, chest, abdomen, and legs, making up usually 40% or more of the coat.

Phantom Poodles have the colouring of a Doberman Pinscher, with a lighter colour appearing on their "eyebrows", muzzle and throat, legs and feet and below their tail. Like Dobermans, phantom Poodles have either a black or brown main coat with tan (usually apricot or red) lighter colourings around the eyebrows, muzzle, throat, legs, feet, and below their tail.


Poodles are known as a highly intelligent, energetic, and sociable breed. They require both physical and intellectual activities. A typical Poodle should be reserved and a little aloof with strangers upon first introduction, but after a while should slowly reveal a warm and personable disposition once the dog realizes the new person is trustworthy and means no harm. Snappy, vicious behavior is considered a serious fault in the breed.[60] Though not suitable for being a guard dog because it is neither a territorial breed nor particularly aggressive, Poodles who are well loved and cared for will reciprocate with devotion and loyalty: a dog of this breed is normally quiet and calm, but if it is totally sure danger is near, it quickly becomes very protective of its master, its master's spouse, and its master's children.[61][62]

Poodles are highly trainable dogs that typically excel in obedience training. A Poodle will do well at many dog sports, including dog agility,[63] flyball,[64][65] dock diving,[66] dog surfing,[67][68] field tracking, disc dog,[69] and, for the larger-sized Poodles, even schutzhund.[70] They will enjoy hiking and camping trips with their masters or families. Their background as duck dogs means centuries of instinctive attraction to water and thus they can go on any trip involving swimming,[71] whether in the sea, at the lake, or even in whitewater up to class III for the Standard,[72][73]though a lifejacket is paramount for all of the above. However, all individual dogs, even from breeds who are talented swimmers like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever or the Portuguese Water Dog, require a gentle introduction to water before they are comfortable in it and will not start swimming readily as young puppies. Poodles are no different and must learn that water is a place to play first.

Of the size varieties, Standard Poodles are the most highly recommended for families with children. Because of the haircuts popular in the show ring and their history of being dogs of the middle and upper classes for so long, the Standard Poodle has been stereotyped as an effete and frou-frou dog. Presuming that stereotype is true where children and teenagers are concerned is a grave mistake, because the truth is that a Standard Poodle will rejoice at the opportunity to bounce around, even roughhouse in the dirt.[74] They have a merry, kindly demeanor and they adore playing games that spark their interest in physical and social stimulation. For example, with school age children and teenagers they will be absolutely delighted at the prospect of playing hide and seek. The Standard would be very happy playing baseball or tennis with kids and teenagers, because that means catching wayward balls in their mouths. They would be happy to run alongside a teenager on a skateboard in autumn, to slide down the hill on a sled in winter with younger children, or to jump in the swimming pool in summertime to chase after diving rings or to splash with the kids so long as they have been taught how to use the stairs to get out and water safety skills for dogs.[75][76][77][78]

As with all dogs, introductions to babies should be gradual, though most Standards will tolerate a baby and learn to be gentle and will respect toddlers so long as the child is supervised.[79] A Standard Poodle will be fine in a family with many children provided the environment is stable, orderly, and relaxed, with enough room for the dog to go out and retire somewhere quiet if needed.[80][81]The Miniature and Toy varieties tend to have less patience with young children and might find certain children's antics too much to handle, especially because young children are much larger than they are and may attempt to grab them without understanding how this is frightening to a small dog. They are likely to bite out of fear and thus are better suited to homes with teenagers or older children. Poodles dislike being left alone or left out of the family fun and some get anxious at being left in the house alone, but signs of nervousness or neurosis are atypical and not how a Poodle of any size is meant to behave. Miniature and Toy Poodles must not be treated like babies; they must not be picked up and carried around constantly and without being put on a leash to walk: they will start to believe they are in charge and that they do not owe anyone good behavior, and thus they become very spoiled and uncontrollable.[82][83][84]


The most common serious health issues of Standard Poodles listed in order of the number of reported cases in the Poodle Health Registry (20 August 2007) are Addison's disease, gastric dilatation volvulus, thyroid issues (hyperthyroid and hypothyroid), tracheal collapse, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, juvenile renal disease, hip dysplasia, and cancer. Standard Poodles are also susceptible to some health issues usually too minor to report to the health registry. The most common of these minor issues is probably ear infections, which are a problem in all Poodle varieties because their nonshedding coat grows into the ear canal, where it traps wax and dirt. Ear problems can be minimized by proper ear care, including regular cleaning and plucking of hair within the ear canal. A veterinarian should be consulted if the dog shows signs of an ear infection.

Standard Poodles in U.K., Denmark and U.S./Canada surveys had a median lifespan of 11.5 to 12 years.[85] In a U.K. survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (30%), old age (18%), GDV (6%) and cardiac disease (5%).[86]

Miniature and Toy Poodles in U.K. surveys had median lifespans of 14 to 14.5 years.[85] In Miniatures, the leading cause of death was old age (39%).[86] In Toys, the leading causes of death were old age (25%) and kidney failure (20%).[86]

Addison's disease

Addison's disease is (as of 20 August 2007) the illness most commonly reported to the Poodle Health Registry. The number of reported cases is nearly twice as high as the next most common problem (GDV). Addison's disease is characterized by insufficient production of glucocorticoid and/or mineralocortoid in the adrenal cortex (near the kidneys). Addison's is often undiagnosed because early symptoms are vague and easily mistaken for other conditions. Standard Poodles with unexplained lethargy, frequent gastric disturbances, or an inability to tolerate stress should be tested for it. Addison's can cause fatal sodium/potassium imbalances, but if caught early and treated with lifelong medication, most dogs can live a relatively normal life.[citation needed]

Gastric dilatation volvulus

There is a high incidence of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) in this breed, which occurs when twisting of the stomach (volvulus or torsion) causes or is caused by excess gas. Symptoms include restlessness, inability to get comfortable, pacing, or retching without being able to bring up anything. The dog's abdomen may be visibly swollen, but bloat or torsion can occur without visible swelling. A dog with GDV requires immediate veterinary care. The dog's survival usually depends on whether the owner can get to a veterinarian in time.[citation needed] GDV risk is increased with faster eating and a raised feeding bowl.[87]


Litter size at birth, stillborn, early neonatal mortality for poodles in the Norwegian Kennel Club[88][89]
Size Average litter
size at birth
Range Stillborn (%) Early neonatal
mortality (%)
Standard 7.0 2–12 2.5 1.7
Medium 3.7 1–10 1.8 3.6
Miniature 3.0 1–8 2.5 2.5
Toy 2.4 1–4 2.5 3.0

Breed size is correlated with litter size and the Standard Poodles has the highest litter size, followed by the Medium, Miniature, and Toy. Toy Poodles have one of the smallest litter size of all breeds.[88] The stillborn rate and early neonatal mortality (death within 1 week from birth) in Poodles are lower than the average across all breeds.[89]

Poodle crossbreeds

A 12-week-old Cockapoo puppy

Poodles are crossed with other breeds for various reasons, and the resulting puppies (called designer dogs) are described by whimsical portmanteau words, such as Cockapoo or Spoodle (Cocker Spaniel), Maltipoo (Maltese), Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever), Labradoodle (Labrador), Schnoodle (Schnauzer), Pekapoos (Pekingese), Cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), Bernedoodle (Bernese Mountain Dog) and many others.

A cross between a shedding breed and a Poodle (which does not shed much) does not reliably produce a nonshedding dog. Traits of puppies from crossbreedings are not as predictable as those from purebred Poodle breedings, and the crosses may shed or have unexpected or undesirable qualities from the parent breeds.

Poodle crossbreeds (also called Poodle hybrids) are not recognized by any major breed registry, as crossbreeds are not one breed of dog, but two. If both parents are registered purebreds but of different breeds, it is still not possible to register a puppy as two different breeds. Some minor registries and Internet registry businesses will register dogs as any breed the owner chooses with minimal or no documentation; some even allow the breeder or owner to make up a new "breed name".

Hypoallergenic qualities

Poodles are often cited as a hypoallergenic dog breed. Their individual hair follicles have an active growth period that is longer than that of many other breeds of dogs; combined with the tightly curled coat, which slows the loss of dander and dead hair by trapping it in the curls, an individual Poodle may release less dander and hair into the environment. In addition, most Poodles are frequently brushed and bathed to keep them looking their best; this not only removes hair and dander, but also controls the other potent allergen, saliva.[90]

Although hair, dander, and saliva can be minimized, they are still present and can stick to "clothes and the carpets and furnishings in your home"; inhaling them, or being licked by the dog, can trigger a reaction in a sensitive person. An air cleaner, air duct outlet and vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can help clear dander floating in the air.[91]

The word hypoallergenic, when referring to a dog, is also a misconception; all dogs shed. Poodles shed hair in minimal amounts, and also release dander, but are not as likely to trigger allergies as much as many other breeds. Additionally, Poodle maintenance must include some amount of regular shaving, which releases hair dust in the air.

Cultural visibility

Poodles are commonly known as extensively groomed show dogs and companions with a distinctive clip, to such a degree that Poodles in short pet clips often go unrecognized or mistaken as Poodle crossbreeds ("Doodles"). This association of the breed's appearance and the resulting preconceptions is strong and reflects in popular culture, where poodles most often are depicted as spoiled and perhaps obnoxious pets, or if anthropomorphic, snobby, selfish, and vain. Poodle owners are perceived stereotypically as fussy, frivolous, and impractical.


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External links