Breed Type

Non-sporting or Utility Dog 


Poodles are one of the oldest dog breeds known, with their ancestors being traced back to the first century A.D. By the 15th and 16th centuries, large Poodles (similar to today's Standard Poodles) were well established throughout Europe, and were popular as hunting and retrieving dogs for waterfowl. Poodle ancestors were known to be good swimmers, and possibly included links to the Portugese Water Dog, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Barbet (a French water dog), and the Hungarian Water Hound. Due to its widespread popularity, many countries across Europe had a hand in developing the breed, and although the Poodle probably didn't originate in France, they have arguably had the greatest influence in their more modern development. Toy and Miniature Poodles are the same breed as Standards, but have simply been selectively bred down to smaller sizes. 


Elegant, but sturdily built medium to large dog with a somewhat long and narrow head and muzzle, and long, wide ears that hang close to the face. They have a light springy movement, and generally come in one solid colour only, which may be a shade of black, blue, grey, silver, brown, café-au-lait, apricot, red, white or cream.  


In the UK, a Standard Poodle will measure 38 cm (15 inches) or more at the shoulder, and in Canada and the USA the standard is for it to measure over 38 cm (15 inches). A bitch may weigh 20-27 kg (45-60 pounds) and a dog 20-32 kg (45-70 pounds).  


Non-allergenic, curly or wavy coat which grows continually, moults very little, and requires regular grooming and clipping. Regular brushing (perhaps weekly) is required to reduce matting and tangling, and clipping is required every 6-8 weeks to keep the length manageable.  


Good natured, friendly, versatile, highly intelligent dog with a bright, lively disposition. Poodles are great characters - they almost seem to have a sense of humour, can learn almost anything, and delight in showing off.  


Approximately 12 years of age. 


Quite a sound breed, although a number of problems can develop without regular maintenance. If grooming is neglected, there could be vision impairment, grass-seeds and abscesses between the toes, fly-strike and even drowning when an excessively long coat gets wet. They are also prone to ear infections, dental problems and a life-threatening form of bloat called gastric dilation-volvulus. Poodles are people-oriented dogs and their bright, effervescent personality will disappear if they are deprived of company.  

Possible Genetic Disorders

Standard Poodles are particularly prone to Sebaceous Adenitis (SA). They are also somewhat prone to Hip Dysplasia, Mitral Valve Dysplasia (MVD), Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) and the eye disorders Progressive Retinal Dysplasia (PRA) and Cataracts. Health screening for these disorders is available, and should form part of any discussion when considering purchase.  

Best Suited

  • Active household with at least a small yard
  • Country living
  • Household with children
  • Household with plenty of human contact
  • Allergy sufferers
  • Service work - assistance dogs, therapy dogs, sniffer dogs, search and rescue

Worst Suited  

  • Apartment living 

Recommended Reading  Standard Poodles

Getting to Know Poodles: A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Poodle by   Cathy Lambert

Getting to Know Poodles