Form and Function
The Poodle is a square-proportioned dog with proud carriage and elegant appearance. They often move with a light, springy, effortless stride. The Poodle breed stems from working retriever origins, and their build reflects their athletic background. Their coat is curly and dense, forming a water resistant barrier. Poodle often appear active, intelligent, and elegant. They have a proud bearing and air of distinction.
Friendliness To Dogs
Friendliness To Other Pets
Friendliness To Strangers
Ease of Training
Area of Origin
Germany, Central Europe
Date of Origin
Although the Poodle is most often identified with France, their earliest ancestors were probably curly-coated dogs from central Asia that assisted with herding and followed many routes into various parts of Europe. Interwoven in their ancestry are also several rough-coated water dogs. Perhaps the earliest incarnation of the Poodle was the Barbet, a curly-coated dog found in France, Russia, Hungary, and elsewhere. It is the German version, however, that exerted most influence on the modern Poodle. In fact, the word poodle comes from the German word pfudel, meaning puddle or “to splash,” probably reflecting the dog’s water abilities. In France, they were known as caniche or chien canard, both referring to their duck-hunting abilities.
The Poodle was also drawn into service as a military dog or guide dog. Their coat was shorn close to facilitate swimming, but left slightly longer on the chest for warmth in cold water. Although some believe the puffs of hair around the leg joints and tail tip were for protection, other evidence suggests that they arose as decoration during the Poodle’s performing days. The Poodle found favor as an elegant companion for fashionable ladies. They became favored by French aristocracy and eventually became the national dog of France.
Poodles began to find more popularity in the late 1800s. Some of the early Poodles were shown in corded coats, in which the hair is allowed to mat in long thin tresses rather than be brushed out. While eye-catching, the upkeep was difficult, and the trend died out by the early 1900s, being replaced by the bouffant styles. At the same time Poodle popularity in America waned, so that, by the late 1920s, Poodles had almost died out in North America. In the 1930s, the breed staged a comeback that eventually placed it as the most popular dog in America for decades.
The Miniature Poodle is often lively, amiable, playful, eager to please, responsive, smart, and obedient—small wonder that they have remained one of the most popular varieties of dog for so long. They are often sensitive, tending to be devoted to one person, and initially reserved with strangers. They can be good with children, other pets, and dogs. Some tend to bark a lot.
All Poodles need a lot of interaction with people. They also need mental and physical exercise. A brief but challenging agility or play session, combined with a walk, should be part of every Poodle’s day. Standard Poodles will need more exercise and may especially enjoy swimming. They should preferably be brushed every other day or weekly for shorter coats. Poodle hair, when shed, does not fall out but becomes caught in the surrounding hair, which can cause matting if not removed. Clipping their coat can be easier to maintain and can be done every four to six weeks.
- Major concerns: PRA, Legg–Perthes, patellar luxation, epilepsy
- Minor concerns: trichiasis, entropion, lacrimal duct atresia, cataract, glaucoma, distichiasis
- Occasionally seen: urinary stones, intervertebral disk degeneration
- Suggested tests: eye, knee, hip, DNA for PRA
- Life span: 13–15 years