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Dog Facts: Poodles

By Wendy Rose Gould
published: July 27, 2018 - updated: April 25, 2022 • 3 min. read
poodle grooming

If there’s any pooch that’s become famous for its outrageous haircut, it has to be the poodle. While the breed has been seen in a variety of grooming styles, the “Standard Poodle Haircut” — which features pom-poms on the feet, tail, chest, head, and ears — is perhaps the most well-known. There’s a reason why this haircut is so popular and we’re excited to tell you all about it, along with a host of other information, so keep reading.

Breed Personality and Physical Description

When we talk about breeds that are best for particular age groups or personalities, poodles always seem to make their way onto the list no matter the demographic. They’re remarkably intelligent dogs that are gentle and affectionate, and have proven fantastic companions for children, couples, families, teens, and seniors. They even get along well with other animals.

Poodles adapt well to living in small spaces but do just as well in large homes. What’s ultimately most important is that their pet parents are able to spend more time with their dog, as they have a tendency to get lonely. Additionally, because of their intelligence and love of goofing around, this breed truly thrives with a round of obedience training. They respond very well to this kind of training, and going through classes can be a rewarding process for both pooch and parent.

Poodles come in three sizes — Toy, Miniature, and Standard — with the latter being the oldest and largest variety. Toy poodles weigh an average of nine pounds, Miniatures weigh 11 pounds, and standard poodles weigh 45 to 70 pounds. Their life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.

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Breed History

While we often think of poodles as prim and proper, it’s important to note that this breed — while regal looking — are very hard-working. In fact, they are historically known to be water retrievers with duck being their prey of choice.

Originally from Germany, the name “Poodle” comes from the German word, pudel, which translates literally to “splash in the water” (anyone thinking of puddles?). On that note, let’s talk about that funny haircut they always seem to be sporting, which was born out of necessity way back in the 17th century. The poodle’s coat becomes excessively heavy when wet, but their pom-pom hairdo solves the problem by removing excess fur while keeping fur in places that require protection and warmth (such as their joints and head).

Though their exact lineage is still under debate, we can tell you that poodles originated in Germany over 400 years ago and were eventually developed by the French into the modern varieties we know today. Throughout history, they’ve served not only as water retrievers, but also truffle mushroom hunters, circus dogs, and even royal companions. King Louis XVI was especially enamored with toy poodles during his 18th century reign, as was his spouse, Marie Antoinette.

The American Kennel Club formally recognized them as a breed in 1887. The miniature is the most popular, but all three sizes are definitely American favorites.

Common Health Issues

Some common health concerns among poodles include Addison’s disease and Cushing’s disease, both of which affect the adrenal glands (releasing either too much or too little cortisol). They are also prone to developing hypothyroidism, which is when the body produces very low levels of the thyroid hormone. This can result in weight gain, hair loss, and general discomfort. Toy and miniature poodles, specifically, may develop issues that other small dogs commonly do, including kneecap dislocation, breathing difficulty, and dental issues due to crowding teeth. Luckily, these chronic conditions can be covered by pet health insurance, provided you enroll your pup before symptoms show.

Regardless of size, poodles require consistent grooming, so make sure this is something you’re able to keep up with if you decide to adopt one into your family.

Fun Facts

  • Back in 18th century France, royals would give their toy poodles ornate haircuts and carry them around like trophies similar to the way some people carry around their miniature dogs today.
  • We told you the poodle was super smart, but did you know it ranks as one of the smartest dog breeds right up there with German Shepherds and collies?
  • Lots of notable celebrities have been poodle owners over the years, including Walt Disney, Elvis, Picasso, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Are you the proud pet parent of a perfect poodle? We’d love for you to share a picture of your fluffy doggo with us on Instagram by tagging #gohealthypaws. And if you aren’t already a pet parent with us, look into getting a free quote to help safeguard not just your lovable pup, but your wallet too.

wendy gould
By Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been in journalism for over a decade, and has been freelancing almost that entire time. In addition to lifestyle reporting, she also works with brands to create marketing content for their websites and blogs.

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