Poodle – The Standard, Miniature and Toy Dogs

The poodle is regarded as one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. They come in 3 different varieties and their non-shedding hair is perfect for the people suffering from allergies. Read on to learn more about poodle varieties, appearance, intelligence, and overall temperament.

Poodle Varieties

The three poodle varieties recognized today are the standard poodle, miniature poodle, and the toy poodle. The differences between the breeds become evident if you look at the physical appearance of the different varieties.

1. Standard Poodle

The standard Poodle was the first to be developed. It stands at 15 inches or taller and can weigh between 45 and 70 pounds. Males average between 45 and 70 pounds while females average between 45 and 60 pounds. While the weight between poodle classes may differ, it is the height that is the most important distinguishing factor for determining the group a particular poodle belongs to. The standard poodle is regarded as a medium to large sized dog breed.

2. Miniature Poodle

The miniature Poodle stands between 11 and 15 inches and weighs between 15 and 17 pounds. To classify as a miniature Poodle, it is important for the dog to be over 10 inches but under 15 inches in height. A dog that doesn’t meet this requirement is considered either a standard Poodle or toy Poodle.

3. Toy Poodle

The toy Poodle stands up to 10 inches in height and weighs between 6 and 9 pounds. A dog that stands taller than 10 inches cannot be considered a toy Poodle but will instead be considered a miniature Poodle. The toy Poodle is the smallest of the poodle breeds the American Kennel Club recognizes. However, breeders are in the process of developing 2 other classes of poodles.

Overall Appearance

The poodle has a straight long muzzle with long ears hanging close to the head. Its tail may be docked or not. It’s feet are quite small.


One of the defining characteristics of the breed is its coat and has a curly or corded appearance. The color of the coat has considerable variety but it is solid. The most common coat colors include red, white, brown, cream, apricot, silver, gray, and black.


The breed is commonly recognized for the traditional hair clip that features hair on the legs. Today, there are several different clips with the most common known as ‘puppy clip’ or ‘lamb clip’, which involves cutting the hair closely throughout the body. Other popular clips include the kennel clip, Miami clip, town and country clip, Continental clip, and the modified continental clip.

Poodle Characteristics

With an average lifespan of between 12 and 15 years, the poodle is regarded as a long-lived breed. Despite its long lifespan, it is prone to several health conditions, most of which are genetic. Health problems owners should look out for include bloating, premature graying, Von Willebrand’s disease, hip dysplasia, ear infections, allergies, skin conditions, runny eyes, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts.


Maintaining a regular grooming schedule and clipping your dog’s coat are two things you should do. You should clip and bathe your dog once every few months or even less if necessary. It does not shred and requires regular clipping and grooming to maintain a healthy, manageable coat. Grooming can be somewhat expensive but is a necessity if you are considering owning one.

If you cannot commit to regular grooming every 4 to 6 weeks for your dog, you should consider choosing a different breed that requires less maintenance. Alternatively, you could learn how to properly groom your dog yourself if you would like to save on grooming costs, but this should only be attempted with professional instruction.


The poodle is a proud, cheerful, and graceful dog breed when raised in a healthy household. The breed is especially sensitive to tone of voice, which means that owners should try to be firm but not harsh. The best owner for a poodle is a calm and confident person. The breed does not tolerate or heed to harsh discipline.

The poodle is a sociable dog that cannot thrive as a dog that does not enjoy sufficient time with its pack members. Socialization and training of the breed should start as early as possible to ensure a healthy, well-rounded dog. If socialized from an early age, the breed does very well with fellow animals, children, and can be relatively friendly with strangers. The poodle can still be used as a guard dog in some instances even though it is friendly with strangers. However, this will depend on the overall personality of the dog.

The poodle easily becomes a string dog and may experience separation anxiety too if not properly trained and socialized. A lack of exercise can equally lead to such behavior.


The poodle is generally inactive and calm when indoors but requires sufficient exercise to stay healthy. The dog requires daily walks but more rigorous and off leash activities and play time is needed to keep the breed happy and fit. Smaller poodle breeds might get away with little exercise, but larger breeds require adequate daily exercise.

Mental stimulation is very important for this breed. It is the second most intelligent dog breed, which means that it should be properly stimulated to avoid problem behavior. Activities that poodles love include watchdog work, agility work, retrieving, competing in obedience trials, and learning new tricks.

If you cannot offer such types of activities, you should combine regular exercise with problem solving games and toys to encourage psychological exercise and growth. Exercise is a requirement for all dog breeds. However, if you are planning to own a poodle, exercise is a particularly major concern.

Without enough exercise the breed can easily become unhappy, obese, and destructive. You should be ready to dedicate yourself to daily walks and off leash activities in a secure area if you want to ensure that your dog thrives.

Health Concerns & Lifespan

Dog breeds usually have health concerns that you can easily avoid if you research the dog’s genetic lines before you buy a puppy. If you would like to buy a poodle, ensure that you perform thorough research to ensure that your dog has a good genetic lineage. You should also remember that dogs experience health concerns that can be costly even if they are from the best genetic lines.

The long lifespan of poodles is something you should consider when determining if a particular breed is right for you. Several dog breeds have much shorter lifespans but the poodle is not one of them. Before you bring any dog into your home, it is good to be aware that poodles can live as long as 16 years if not longer. Any dog is a commitment, and you should be aware that the commitment for this breed could be longer than many other dog breeds.

Is the Poodle the Right Breed for You?

While most people would jump at the opportunity to own one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world, you need to realize that this label comes with a great deal of responsibility. Unlike other dog breeds that are happy with a simple game of tug of war, the dog requires challenging and frequent games to maintain engagement with its owner.

The ability to meet the psychological needs of the breed should not be your only consideration when determining whether the poodle is right for you. If you are unable to provide exercise and companionship all day long since you are away from home all day long, you should reconsider owning a poodle. It is a family oriented dog breed that thrives on exercise as well as companionship.

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