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  • Temperament: Active, Proud, Very Smart
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 7 of 192
  • Height: 10 inches & under (toy), 10-15 inches (miniature), over 15 inches (standard)
  • Weight: 4-6 pounds (toy), 10-15 pounds (miniature), 60-70 pounds (male standard), 40-50 pounds (female standard)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Poodle with a black coat standing sideways facing left, head turned forward
Poodle with a black coat head facing left
Poodle with a black coat standing in three-quarter view facing forward
Poodle with a white coat lying facing forward
White-colored Poodle coat detail
Poodle with a gray coat standing facing left
Poodle with a gray coat lying in three-quarter view facing forward
Poodle with a gray coat head and shoulders facing left
Gray-colored Poodle coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.

HEAD

Moderately rounded, with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle.

BODY

Skin snug at throat. The neck rises from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. Major fault: ewe neck. The topline is level, neither sloping nor roached, from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the base of the tail, with the exception of a slight hollow just behind the shoulder. Chest is deep and moderately wide with well sprung ribs. The loin is short, broad and muscular. The tail is straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline. Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. The shoulder blade is well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper foreleg. Major fault – steep shoulder. Forelegs – Straight and parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder. The pasterns are strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – The feet are rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads. Nails short but not excessively shortened. The feet turn neither in nor out.

COAT

Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons. (b) Clip – A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy” clip.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hindlegs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Muscular with width in the region of the stifles which are well bent; femur and tibia are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump.

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About the Poodle (Standard)

Poodles come in three size varieties: Standards should be more than 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniatures are 15 inches or under; Toys stand no more than 10 inches. All three varieties have the same build and proportions. At dog shows, Poodles are usually seen in the elaborate Continental Clip. Most pet owners prefer the simpler Sporting Clip, in which the coat is shorn to follow the outline of the squarely built, smoothly muscled body.

Forget those old stereotypes of Poodles as sissy dogs. Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dogs” of remarkable versatility. The Standard, with his greater size and strength, is the best all-around athlete of the family, but all Poodles can be trained with great success.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Poodle

Find a Puppy: Poodle (Standard)

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Poodle (Standard) Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

No matter which size Poodle has stolen your heart, you will want to feed him or her the best possible dog food. Your vet or breeder can help you decide on the right food for your dog’s age, activity level, and size. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. If you choose to give your dog treats, do so in moderation. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Never feed a dog cooked bones or fatty table scraps. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

Unless you plan to keep your Poodle clipped in a short trim, you will need to learn how to brush how to brush him daily to keep his coat from matting. If you do not brush and comb a full-coated Poodle completely to the skin, the hair will mat near the roots and will have to be shaved off to start all over with new growth. Most pet owners opt to keep the Poodle in a shorter trim. Some owners learn to do this clipping and trimming themselves, while others choose to take their dog to a professional dog groomer every four to six weeks for a bath, grooming, and nail trim. The breed’s relatively nonshedding coat makes the breed a good choice for people with allergies.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Specialty/Professional

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Infrequent

EXERCISE

Poodles of any size are very active dogs who require good exercise every day to suit their high energy level. Poodles are eager for all kinds of activity, and they enjoy keeping busy. Swimming is great exercise for them, and most Poodles love to get in the water. Bred as hunting dogs, their impulse is to retrieve, so tossing toys, sticks, or balls for them will exercise both their mind and body. They also thrive on going for jogs or long walks with their human.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Poodles are extremely intelligent and are easily trained. They are agile and graceful as well as smart, and they enjoy and excel in a variety of canine sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking. They are excellent water-retrievers and also compete in dock diving and retriever hunt tests. Poodles are very people-oriented, and if your training routines are fun and positive, they are quick to please you. Just be sure that you are being consistent with what you ask.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Most Poodles live long, happy, healthy lives thanks to the efforts of dedicated, responsible breeders who routinely test all breeding stock. As with all breeds, however, some health issues can occur, including hip dysplasia and several eye disorders. Idiopathic epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, von Willebrand’s disease, and immune-mediated disorders are also seen in the breed on occasion. Two orthopedic problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes and luxating patellas, are more likely to occur in Toy and Miniature Poodles than in Standards. The Standard variety are more at risk for gastric dilatation with volvulus (bloat) and sebaceous adenitis.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation (Miniature and Standard)
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation (Miniature, Standard, and Toy)
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test (Miniature and Toy)
  • Patella Evaluation (Miniature and Toy)

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

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Poodle
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History

The Poodle is the national dog of France, and the French sure do love their Poodles. There is, however, no such breed as the “French Poodle.” In France, Poodles are known as the Caniche, or “duck dog.”

Despite the Poodle’s association with France, the breed originated as a duck hunter in Germany, where the word “pudelin” refers to splashing in water. The Standard Poodle began its development as a retrieving water dog more than 400 years ago. With a crisp, curly coat as protection against the elements, superlative swimming ability, and off-the-charts intelligence, the Poodle was, and still is, a magnificent retriever. (The Standard is the only breed classified as a non-sporting dog that is eligible for AKC Retriever Hunting Tests).

The flamboyant Poodle show coat served a practical purpose in the breed’s early years. Hunters wanted their dogs to have free range of movement in the water, but they also wished to protect vital areas of the anatomy from the cold. They shaved the legs, neck, and tail but left the chest, hips, and leg joints coated. The rounded tufts on the legs, hips, and tail tip are called pompons. (Note the spelling: Cheerleaders have pom-poms; Poodles have pompons.)

The Poodle’s many fine qualities allowed it to move from the lake to the lap of luxury. Elegant Poodles of the Standard and Miniature varieties found favor among the nobles of France and, eventually, all of Europe. The breed’s showy looks and trainability made it a natural entertainer, and Poodles have long been associated with the European circus tradition. An excellent nose brought the Poodle additional work as a truffle hunter.

The Standard was bred down to the Miniature. The Toy was first bred in America, in the early 20th century, as a city-dwelling companion dog. Well-bred specimens of each variety are exact replicas of each other and are bred to the same standard.

Did You Know?

The Poodle is known for superior intelligence and exceptional learning ability.
The Poodle clip is not merely decorative (though it may seem that way now); it is in fact a necessary clip meant to protect the joints and vital organs in cold water.
The Toy Poodle, like all Poodles, possesses wonderful swimming ability; the coat is adapted to water, and will cord if left to grow naturally.
The Toy Poodle is known for superior intelligence and exceptional learning ability.
The Toy Poodle achieved great popularity in France and was known worldwide as a "trick dog." They were court favorites during the reign of Louis XVI and Queen Anne.
Grover Cleveland owned a Poodle (although some reports say it was a Pekingese).

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.

HEAD

Moderately rounded, with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle.

BODY

Skin snug at throat. The neck rises from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. Major fault: ewe neck. The topline is level, neither sloping nor roached, from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the base of the tail, with the exception of a slight hollow just behind the shoulder. Chest is deep and moderately wide with well sprung ribs. The loin is short, broad and muscular. The tail is straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline. Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.

FOREQUARTERS

Strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. The shoulder blade is well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper foreleg. Major fault – steep shoulder. Forelegs – Straight and parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder. The pasterns are strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet – The feet are rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads. Nails short but not excessively shortened. The feet turn neither in nor out.

COAT

Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons. (b) Clip – A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy” clip.

HINDQUARTERS

The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. Hindlegs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Muscular with width in the region of the stifles which are well bent; femur and tibia are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
APRICOT Check Mark For Standard Color 002
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 037
BROWN Check Mark For Standard Color 061
CREAM Check Mark For Standard Color 076
GRAY Check Mark For Standard Color 100
RED Check Mark For Standard Color 140
SILVER Check Mark For Standard Color 176
SILVER BEIGE Check Mark For Standard Color 183
WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 199
BLACK & APRICOT 246
BLACK & BROWN 009
BLACK & CREAM 010
BLACK & GRAY 012
BLACK & RED 014
BLACK & SILVER 016
BLACK & TAN 018
BLACK & WHITE 019
BLUE & WHITE 045
BROWN & APRICOT 247
BROWN & WHITE 063
CAFE AU LAIT 069
CREAM & WHITE 077
GRAY & WHITE 105
RED & APRICOT 157
RED & WHITE 146
WHITE & APRICOT 200
WHITE & SILVER 216