As much a fashion statement as a faithful companion, the poodle is the runway model of the canine world. Intelligent, effervescent, and effortlessly elegant, poodles have long been a mainstay on the dog show podium and the living room couch.
Hypoallergenic and always happy to see you, a poodle is a versatile pooch. Whether you’re looking for a show dog, service dog, a partner for your morning jog, or just a cuddly new best friend, you might have found your match. And with three sizes to choose from—standard poodle, miniature poodle, or toy poodle—there’s a poodle for every mood-le.
Also Known As…
Caniche. Poodle Dude. America’s Next Top Model, the national dog of France, “She is beauty, she is grace.”
What Is The History Of The Poodle?
Over the last 400 or so years, poodles have made a splash among dog owners—quite literally, at first. Most experts agree that poodles were first bred as retrievers in Germany, where their warm coat and superior doggy paddle made them an ideal water dog. The Germans called these canines “pudels” after their word “puddeln,” meaning “to splash.” (Puddeln… puddle… poodle… get it?)
Eventually, this dog breed gained popularity in neighboring France, where it became known as the caniche or “duck dog.” After spending some time on the laps of French nobility, the poodle caught on as a favorite companion all over the continent.
Since then, this purebred dog inevitably rose to stardom. From throne rooms across Europe to a Hollywood heyday in North America in the 1950s (when their image graced many a “poodle skirt”), these personable pups were often seen as a symbol of wealth and status for any poodle owner. Their time in the spotlight wasn’t limited to royalty, either—with quick wits and a quirky haircut, the poodle gained even more fame as a natural circus dog.
While poodles are now within reach of us mere mortals, they still come with a connotation of class and sophistication. Maybe that’s why they routinely crack the top five of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.
How Big Do Poodles Get?
The average size of a poodle depends on their type. The three common sizes for poodles are standard, miniature and toy. And despite its name, miniature poodles are actually mid-sized while toy poodles are the perfect lap dogs.
Height: 15–22 inches
Weight: 40–70 pounds
Height: 10–15 inches
Weight: 10–20 pounds
Height: 10 inches or less
Weight: 5–10 pounds
How Long Do Poodles (Generally) Live?
The average lifespan for poodles of all sizes is around 11 to 15 years.
However, as with most dog breeds, the smaller the pup, the longer they tend to stick around. Miniature and toy poodles are more likely to make it to 15 or 16, though don’t be surprised if your standard poodle lives long enough to become a teenager, too.
What Is A Poodle’s Temperament & Personality Like?
Poodles are like people—no two are exactly alike. With that said, a friendly poodle is the rule rather than the exception. You can expect your curly-haired pup to be an all-around delight—the average poodle is playful, protective, and easy to please.
Related Article: The Most Popular Poodle Mixes
Are Poodles High Energy?
Despite their reputation for being the regal kings and queens of the canines, poodles aren’t afraid to run and roll in the mud with the best of them. Your toy poodle will gladly scurry around with dogs five times its size and chase a ball until the sun goes down.
Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
More than anything, poodles love love. Much like golden retrievers, they’re exceptionally friendly toward friends and strangers alike, and even though they can be a bundle of energy, they usually know to be gentle around your little ones. If they receive respect and affection, they’ll return it in spades, making them the perfect canine companion for any pet parent.
As for their relationships with other animals, the poodle’s behavior may vary. In general, poodles are relatively good with other dogs. Keep your earplugs at the ready, though—they’re not afraid to become vocal if they need their space.
With cats, it depends more on the size of your pooch. Miniature and toy poodles are more likely to see a feline as an equal, while standard poodles may feel their retrieving instinct kick in. Still, when given time to adjust, a well-trained poodle of any size can get along with a kitty.
Are Poodles Hard To Train?
Quite the opposite. In fact, poodles are among the smartest dogs in the animal kingdom. Give them a Rubik’s cube, and you’ll find it solved by the end of the day. (Okay, maybe they’re not that clever, but if they had thumbs…)
Unlike Great Danes, who are not particularly eager to please their owner, your average poodle craves a mental or physical task. And because they are eager to please their wonderful owner (a.k.a. you), they’re a treat to train. After all, they don’t take home the dog show crown based on looks alone!
Related Article: 13 Of The Smartest Dog Breeds
Do Poodles Have Health Issues?
While all animals are susceptible to health issues—especially as they age—these canines aren’t at risk any more than the average dog.
With that said, poodles of all sizes do have some specific dog health problems to watch out for, including common pet health issues like:
- Addison’s disease
- Eye disorders
- Hip dysplasia
Do Poodles Need To Be Groomed?
Because poodles don’t shed nearly as much as other dogs (allergy sufferers and all-black-outfit-enthusiasts rejoice), unlike some other dog breeds like German shepherds, they need routine haircuts for their curly coat to avoid that “unkempt sheep” look. Even for puppies, a regular trim around bath time (normally every six to eight weeks) is usually enough for a curly-coated dog.
In terms of how you groom your hypoallergenic pooch, you’re spoiled for choice. The most elaborate, well-known poodle haircut is called a lion cut. With pompoms around the feet and tail, a poofy chest area, and a close shave everywhere else, this is the poodle hairdo.
Not a fan of the classic poodle look? No problem. These dogs look dapper with a variety of other cuts. If you need grooming inspiration for a less showy style, search for pictures of poodles with a:
- Modern cut
- Dutch cut
- Summer cut
- Short cut
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Poodle?
Determining your exact cost can be challenging, but you should budget at least $1000+ per year for your poodle.
Food costs will depend on the size of your pup. As you might expect, a toy poodle can’t gobble up nearly as much kibble as a full-sized standard poodle. Smaller canines might need around a cup of food per day, while bigger boys can eat two or three cups. Expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $70+ every month on high-quality dog food.
For a custom-made meal plan delivered right to your door, try BARK Eats. Perfectly portioned for your poodle based on their age, weight, and dietary needs, this dog food has everything you need to keep your best friend feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Get 50% off your first month!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
Vet visits aren’t just for under-the-weather animals. Scheduling a checkup once or twice a year is the best way to stay on top of your pet’s health.
To see a vet, plan on spending at least $50 each time. Keep in mind that this number doesn’t account for initial dog ownership expenses or treatments, which could include:
- Microchipping (~$60)
- Spaying or neutering ($150–$400)
- Vaccines ($20–30/dose, depending on weight)
- Heartworm tests (~$45)
Visits for more serious issues can cost more, especially if your poodle needs additional testing, prescription medications, or surgery.
Because poodles are genetically prone to dysplasia in the hips and elbows, it’s worth checking with your vet to see if a joint supplement like glucosamine chondroitin will help. While you can’t prevent arthritic symptoms altogether, these supplements can improve your pup’s condition. A year’s supply costs around $70.
Some preventative medications are standard among all dog breeds. For example, you’ll likely want to give your poodle medications to protect those luscious locks from fleas and ticks. These expenses are reasonable, with a year’s worth of doses costing about $120+.
Related Article: Heartworm Disease In Dogs: Do You Need To Use Monthly Preventatives?
If you’re willing to buy a set of clippers and risk a few lopsided haircuts before perfecting your craft, you can save money by taking a DIY approach to grooming.
However, if you hope to bless your poodle with an English saddle cut fit for a king, you may want to find a local groomer instead. Depending on where you live and the size of your pup, a bath and trim should cost you $50–$90. You should expect to take a trip to the groomer’s every two months or so, for an annual cost between $300 and $540.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
Since your precious poodle can’t shop for the fun stuff on their own, you’ll have to stock up on treats and accessories.
The must-haves are going to cost you:
- Chew toys ($20–$50)
- Dog bed ($30–$100)
- Tasty treats (~$8/bag)
- Leash and collar ($25–$70)
For a hassle-free collection of treats, toys, and tasty chews, you can have a monthly BarkBox delivered to your door for just $23/month. If your poodle has a taste for the finer things in life, try introducing them to a Super Chewer subscription at $29/month—they’ll receive 2 durable toys, 2 bags of treats, and 2 meat-tastic chews in every box. DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FOR FREE!
Other poodle purchases are experiences rather than gifts. For example, you might want to spend your hard-earned cash on:
- Doggy daycare ($30/day minimum)
- Training and obedience classes ($300+)
- Dog walkers ($20–$25/visit)
American Kennel Club. 10 Fun Facts About Poodles. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/10-facts-about-poodles/
CNN. Labrador retriever tops American Kennel Club’s annual list of most popular dog breeds. https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/us/american-kennel-club-most-popular-dogs-trnd/index.html
The Poodle Club of America. Health Concerns. https://poodleclubofamerica.org/health-concerns/