If you’ve ever had a poodle, you know they’re one of the best companion dogs out there. This breed of dog has a great sense of humor, loves their family, and loves to be the center of attention. If you’re thinking of bringing a poodle into your family, it’s important to find out all that you can about the poodle temperament. This way, you’ll know what to expect.

Poodle History

You may think of France when the poodle comes to mind. After all, you’ve no doubt heard the term “French Poodle.” However, many researchers believe poodles are originally from Germany.
There is evidence, though, of poodles being pictured on coins in both ancient Rome and Greece.1

Poodle Temperament | Dr Marty PetsWherever they’re from, their human parents are no doubt glad they’re around.

Not only are they fantastic family dogs, but they’re also among the smartest working dog breeds.

Yes, despite its image, the poodle is considered to be a breed in the working dog class.2

You’ll see a lot of different lists of “smartest dog breeds” on the internet. But poodles tend to make most of them. Other smart working breeds include border collies, German shepherds and the Bernese mountain dog.3

Types of Poodles

There are three main types and sizes of poodles. There’s the standard poodle, as well as toy and miniature poodles. A miniature poodle is often referred to as a mini poodle or a teacup poodle because they are so small.

Standard Poodle – This is the breed most think of when French poodle comes to mind. It is the largest poodle dog, standing up to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. Many standard poodles are quite a bit larger.

Miniature Poodle – The miniature poodle is, as the name suggests, a bit smaller than the standard. This breed stands between 10-15 inches tall.

Toy Poodle – The toy is the tiniest of the poodles, standing no more than 10 inches. The toy was bred in the 1700s to be a lap dog.4

You might have also heard of a “doodle.” This is a poodle bred with another breed, such as a Labrador retriever. Doodles are often referred to as “designer dogs.”5

Poodle Temperament

From the time they’re a puppy, poodles are known as being very cheerful and loyal. However, the type of household has a great deal of impact on the poodle personality. If the home is happy, the poodle will usually be happy. But these are sensitive dogs. If there’s a lot of yelling, they might act out.

Poodle Temperament | Dr Marty PetsPoodles need to be with their “pack,” or their family members. They need a great deal of socialization, so they’re not suited to be outside dogs. This pet wants to be by his or her family at all times.

When going through obedience training, positive reinforcement will be key. Keep a happy attitude and have plenty of healthy treats handy to reward good behavior.

Socialization will be even more important to a poodle puppy. This breed of dog will be affectionate to strangers and other dogs if socialized properly. If training poodles is not done properly, however, separation anxiety could be a problem.6

Physical and Mental Exercise is Key

All dogs need exercise, and the poodle is no exception. It’s important for the dog’s health. Poodles need daily walks and playtime off of the leash. Get out in the backyard as often as you can and play. The larger the poodle, the more activity they will need.

But mental stimulation is just as important to this intelligent breed of dog. A bored poodle could wind up being a destructive poodle.

This could mean chewing up your shoes or even your furniture. Retrieval games will keep your poodle occupied. In fact, the Standard poodle was bred to retrieve ducks.7

There are lots of ways to keep a poodle occupied. These dogs love obedience training drills, agility drills, and retrieving. Your city probably has a poodle club with members who can tell you about different obedience training activities for poodles available in your area.

If you have a hard time getting out and about with your pet, keep your poodle engaged with puzzle-type toys.8

Poodle Temperament | Dr Marty Pets

Poodle Health Concerns

All dog breeds are prone to certain types of health issues, poodles included. These are a few of the health problems that Poodles tend to develop.

Sebaceous Adenitis 

This condition affects the skin, but it doesn’t come from a bacterium or some other outside source. It’s actually hereditary. It occurs when the skin becomes inflamed, leading to hair loss. Sebaceous adenitis can strike a dog at any age, from the puppy stage to well into adulthood. Other symptoms include skin lesions, dandruff, and an odd odor.9

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is common among the poodle, cocker spaniel and several other different breeds of dogs. It’s also hereditary, caused by a malformation of the head of the femur. As a result, the femur doesn’t align with the hip socket. Exercise and diet can help a dog with this condition lead an active life.10

Progressive Retinal Atrophy 

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) damages the eyes. It leads to worsened vision over time and possibly blindness. A dog with PRA will usually have trouble getting around at night at first. As time goes on, the dog’s daytime vision will also begin to suffer.11

Poodle Temperament | Dr Marty PetsWill a Poodle Suit Your Lifestyle?

If your dog gets the right type of poodle training, they’ll be a great pet. But this people-pleasing breed not only needs a lot of mental stimulation, but plenty of companionship. You don’t want to board a poodle in a kennel too often, no matter how safe and clean that kennel may be. If you can find an alternative to a boarding kennel, that’s ideal.

Also, miniature and toy poodles can be fragile. If you have a home with young children, extremely small dogs may not be the best idea because they could be easily hurt.

In addition, a poodle’s hair needs a lot of attention. You’ll need to commit to brushing your pet’s hair on a regular basis to reduce shedding.

If you’re thinking of getting a poodle, talk to a veterinarian first. Your vet should be able to recommend the type of poodle that will be best for you and your family members. Your vet will also be able to direct you to a reputable breeder or rescue organization.

Learn More:
Which Breeds Are the Best Low Maintenance Dogs?
10 Of The Most Energetic Dog Breeds (which is right for you?)
Domestication of Dogs: The Complex History of Man’s Best Friend

1 https://www.dummies.com/pets/dogs/a-brief-history-of-the-Poodle/
2 https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_poodle
3 https://people.com/pets/smartest-working-dog-breeds-border-collie-poodle-german-shepherd-canine-psychology/
4 https://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/types-poodle-breeds-8192.html
5 https://www.petmd.com/news/view/closer-look-doodle-dog-breeds-36051
6 https://www.petcarerx.com/article/anxious-poodle-behavior/739
7 http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/poodle
8 https://www.petcoach.co/article/10-ways-to-stimulate-your-dog-s-brain/
9 https://www.ofa.org/diseases/other-diseases/sebaceous-adenitis
10 https://poodleclubofamerica.org/health-concerns/
11 http://www.vetstreet.com/progressive-retinal-atrophy-in-dogs