Newest Review: ... weight therefore also varies ranging from six to nine pounds. Temperament: Poodle's are very happy loyal dogs, so they offer great c... more
Don't let the haircut fool you...
Member Name: Larrabee
Advantages: Friendly, intelligent, funny, loyal
Disadvantages: Need a lot of stimulation and have a high maintenance coat
Poodles are one of the most distinctive and instantly recognisable breeds of dog in the world, but what are they actually like to live with? As a relatively new poodle owner I shall try to share what insights I've gained into the lovely breed and offer some tips and advice!
Poodles come in three sizes, from largest to smallest they are the Standard, the Miniature and the Toy. Height is the only thing that really marks them as different, the three types have very similar health, temperament and care requirements, with the notable exception that the Standard will cost you a lot more to feed than the littler ones!
Poodles were bred as gun dogs originally, retrieving the birds and other game that their hunter masters shot. They are still used as working dogs in many countries, as sniffer dogs, search and rescue dogs and assistance dogs for disabled people. According to a fairly thorough study they are the second most intelligent dog breed after the border collie, they are highly trainable and can be seen competing in obedience, agility and pretty much every type of dog 'competition'.
Because they are so bright, they require a good amount of mental stimulation to be happy as family pets. They aren't content to laze around the house dozing like some other breeds I've owned! They will get bored easily and become stressed and hyperactive if they don't get the interaction and the challenges that they thrive on. I would suggest to anybody thinking of getting a poodle that they should plan to attend training classes from early on, and consider continuing with some sort of formal activity such as agility or heelwork to music throughout the dog's life. They really do thrive on having something fun and engaging to concentrate on, and its remarkable to see how quickly they learn.
Poodles of all sizes require a good amount of exercise, even my tiny 5kg Toy Poodle loves a good off lead run for at least an hour every day, they are active little dogs, not docile lapdogs by any stretch! Walks are also a great way to provide some stimulation for the dog, with so many new smells, sights and sounds to take in!
The famous poodle coat doesn't look after itself I'm afraid, they have very unique fur, there's no undercoat and when the hair sheds it doesn't fall off the dog but becomes entangled in the curls of the coat. This means that your poodle will need regular trips to the groomer for a trim and you'll need to brush them every day in between visits to make sure they don't get tangled or matted. If your poodle is as active as mine you'll also need to keep them free of mud, leaves, insects and other random debris that they enjoy picking up and bring home in their fur! The famous poodle 'show' haircuts aren't to everybody's tastes but they aren't compulsory, you can keep your poodle's coat shorter and more manageable if you want, I do!
Poodles are the original 'hypoallergenic' dog, you'll have probably heard of several new 'designer' crosses from poodles, such as labradoodles and cockerpoos and so on. If you are allergic to dogs then an actual poodle is a far safer bet than any of these new crosses, I am very allergic to most breeds of dog but am not affected by poodles at all, even when grooming or bathing them. An added bonus is that your house and clothes don't get covered in dog hair!
Poodles are wonderful dogs to have around, if they are properly trained and socialised then they are friendly, eager to please, bright and very responsive to training, they bond to their family, they get on well with other dogs and they are frequently hilarious. I can't imagine my life without my little ball of fluff at my side these days!
Summary: Wonderful pets if they're the right match for your home and family.
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