All dog breeds hit different developmental and growth milestones at various times, and Poodles are no exception to this rule. A big part of Poodle development depends on the variety of your Poodle.
Poodles come in three different varieties: Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles, and Standard Poodles. Standards are 15 inches and taller, at the shoulder, usually maturing at 23 inches for females and 25 inches for males. Miniature Poodles measure 15 inches or less. Toys can stand up to 10 inches. The three varieties reach developmental milestones at different speeds, and this is mainly due to size. Learn more about Poodle development and when your Poodle may reach different growth milestones.
Toy and Mini Poodles
At around four weeks, Poodles should start to be offered other food and not solely nurse. This is intended to help them transition from mother’s milk to puppy food. An example of supplemental food could be mixing goat’s milk with dog food, including one commercial puppy food that is mousse-like in its consistency, to make it easier for the puppy eat.
At about six weeks, your Poodle’s teeth should start coming in.
“Toys and minis will develop their teeth a little bit later,” says Patti Jason, a board member of the Poodle Club of America and a Poodle breeder for 30 years. “Toys may not fully erupt teeth until seven or eight weeks of age.”
Toys and Minis are typically weaned at about eight weeks old. Toy puppies can weigh just a few ounces at birth and their small size makes them susceptible to conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar if they don’t consume enough calories.
“The weaning process, from getting them off nursing with mom to puppy kibble, you really have to watch the smaller breeds so that they eat enough and don’t suffer from hypoglycemia,” says Jason.
At about the three-month mark, Toy and Mini Poodles are typically ready to leave for their new homes.
“They need a little more time with their mother because they’re much smaller as puppies,” says Jason.
This is largely due to their small size and the fact that their teeth don’t arrive until later.
For Poodles, grooming is a key part of development. You’ll want to start grooming early. According to Jason, many breeders will start some type of grooming—like trimming their Poodles’ face—around four to six weeks. Nail trimming can start as young as three days old to prevent the pup’s from scratching mom when they’re nursing.
One reason why you want to groom Poodles early on is just to get them used to being groomed.
“You want them to experience it and make it a positive experience of what the grooming process is,” says Jason. “Go in slow steps. I might just clipper their face the first time. And then a week later, I start clipping their feet and then their tail.”
Grooming is an important part of Poodle hygiene. Poodles are one of the few dog breeds that doesn’t shed.
“They don’t shed,” says Jason. “Unless you cut their hair, their hair would just grow indefinitely.”
Besides hair growth that’s out of control, the coat also can mat if not properly groomed. Poodles are shaved around their feet, face and feet. Many owners will also want the Poodle’s tail to stand out.
“It’s partly hygiene, and it’s partly aesthetic,” says Jason.
16 to 18 Weeks
At around this time, it’s probably a good idea to take a Poodle to a professional groomer.
Waiting about 16 weeks is important because most dogs have had all their vaccines by this time, and it’s safe to take them out into public spaces like to obedience classes. “They can go once they’ve had at least up to their 16 weeks shot,” says Jason.
Once your puppy has had all of her shots, taking her to a pro groomer is important, the main reason being that professionals tend to have more expertise. “A professional groomer would know what trims are appropriate for what breeds and how to trim their tails or head,” says Jason.
Jason tells us that all your Poodle’s adult teeth should have come in at this point.
A Toy or Mini Poodle should be about fully grown by the time they reach their first birthday.
Standard Poodles are larger than Toys and Minis. Their developmental timelines are slightly different, and you can see those variances below.
At around three weeks, Standard Poodles should start receiving supplemental food in addition to mother’s milk.
A Standard starts erupting baby teeth between five and six weeks, says Jason. With the full set arriving at roughly six and seven weeks. Around six weeks is also when a Standard Poodle can be weaned.
“Typically by six weeks, the Poodle puppy’s eating whatever puppy food we’re feeding, and the mother is not wanting them to nurse her any longer,” says Jason.
At around nine weeks, a Poodle puppy can be separated from her mother and go to a new home.
At around 16 weeks, it’s now safe to take your Poodle out in public. As long as your dog has had his vaccinations, they can now be around other dogs and people. You can now take your puppy to a pro groomer and to obedience classes.
“They need to wait until 16 weeks and have had a couple of shots so that they’re protected against parvo and distemper,” says
15 to 24 Months
The time it takes for Standards to mature or reach their full size varies and is based on the individual dog. They could hit this milestone as early as 15 months and as late as 24 months.
“Standards can take anywhere from 15 to 18 even 24 months to mature because they are larger breeds,” says Jason. “It’s how they grow in height, but also in musculature and dropping their chest. Different parts of the dog mature at different times.”