Poodle: appearance, character, training, buying

Brown, white, gray or black, the companion dog par excellence

The poodle or dwarf poodle , the ‘parlor’ dog par excellence, is one of the most ‘noble’ and highly placed dog breeds of all time.

Poodle : Origin

Despite being officially attributed to France , the origin is highly controversial. The birthplace of this dog breed so widespread and appreciated in Europe are contending for France, Italy (Italian poodle) and Germany.

In fact, the most accredited hypothesis seems to link the origins of the poodle to the barbet , a breed described and cited in many works since the 16th century. At the time it was particularly widespread in France.

This dog owes its ‘aristocratic’ reputation to its proud appearance and elegant bearing. The reduced and well-proportioned physical characteristics, as well as the soft and curled coat that requires careful grooming, do the rest.

Even in the hopping and harmonious walk  , he transmits a sort of haughtiness that for centuries has transformed him into the favorite companion dog of noble families of half of Europe.

Beyond its outward appearance, it is also a very intelligent, brilliant and cunning dog: not surprisingly, this breed is the most used in circus numbers.

Character of the Poodle breed

Like the rest of the water dogs, the poodle is an animal with a very faithful character and attached to its family.

It seeks the permanent company of people and is endowed with great intelligence, a high capacity for learning, a lot of temperance and a powerful mental balance. Qualities all of them that were essential for them to be able to carry out its original hunting function in the aquatic environment.

Their temperament and beauty have led this breed to emerge from lakes and rivers to occupy a prominent place in the homes of millions of fans.

Starting from the standard poodle, also called giant, they have ended up creating three more varieties depending on their size: the medium, the dwarf and the miniature, or toy.

Despite so much diversity in relation to the size and colors of the coat, almost all poodles share the same character and temperament ; It is a proud, funny, noble dog with a very good disposition, one of the most intelligent dogs that exist, whose ease and speed to learn is amazing.

It is true that, although they share almost all the traits of their character, the giant specimens are usually somewhat calmer than the smaller varieties and also a little more temperamental, so on some occasions they are more reluctant to obey in the case of not receive adequate training or do not have an owner with sufficient leadership capacity.

Regarding the behavior of the poodle, living with this dog is quite easy since it adapts perfectly to life inside the house and can live with the family both in an urban apartment and in a country house, without implying no problem.

In addition, their relationship with other dogs and even with pets of other species is very good and hierarchical conflicts rarely occur. And the same thing happens with strangers, with whom it gets along thanks to his very sociable nature.

Therefore, even if it warns of the presence of strangers, this is not the best dog to work as a guardian. With children it maintains an excellent relationship of complicity, but you have to be careful with the treatment that the little ones dispense with the animal, especially when it comes to the smaller varieties, since they are physically more vulnerable.

With a sociable and familiar personality, the poodle does not like to spend a lot of time alone and needs the constant company of its family. It also has quite high exercise needs, especially the giant variety, which takes him away from the image of a lapdog that many people have of him.

In fact, it can be used without problems to perform sports activities such as obedience, agility or flyball , as it is active, intelligent and physically very agile .

Likewise, other tasks to which it can be dedicated, in which it has given very good results, are as a therapy animal or guide dog for the blind and for the disabled.

As seen, it is a multi-tasking breed, capable of multitasking and a possible good choice for inexperienced owners.

  • Energy: a You need to exercise very often.
  • Temperament: active, cheerful and faithful, he is noble and very intelligent, so he learns quickly and with great ease.
  • Adaptability: It adapts to living in almost any environment.
  • Sociability: Quite dependent on his family, he is very sociable and does not present problems with other dogs or strangers.
  • Health: You may suffer from eye problems.
  • Longevity: Live between 12 and 15 years.
  • Utility: companion dog.
  • Use: company. Originally a hunting dog, it is currently mostly a companion dog. You can also practice sports like agility.

Poodle Characteristics

Regarding the characteristics of the poodle and its general appearance, it is an animal that can have four different sizes , from a giant one, which is considered the standard because it is the first, to a miniature one, through a medium one and a dwarf one.

In all these varieties the dog has an intelligent expression and an alert attitude. And its constitution, very harmonious, transmits elegance and nobility.

How is the Poodle breed physically?

The body of the poodle is elegant and harmonious, it is a well-proportioned, strong and muscular animal. Regardless of its size, it always presents a solid and firm body, with a straight back and robust and strong legs.

The head is well molded and proportionate to the body, it has a slightly marked stop and a solid and strong muzzle. The latter is shaved, but the skull has a voluminous curly pompadour.

The eyes of a poodle are slightly oblique and oval, they are black or dark brown, or dark amber in chocolate-coated dogs. The edge of the eyelids is also dark.

Their ears are long, flat and fall on both sides of the cheeks. They enlarge behind the insertion and are rounded at the end. They are covered with very long wavy hairs.

They have oval feet and have thick, hard pads. According to the traditional arrangement, the feet are shaved, but they are framed by a kind of “balloons” or “balls” of hair.

The poodle’s tail is strong and set high, when the dog is in action, it raises it higher than the back. It is usually shaved in the area of ​​the base and leaves a large hair pompom at the tip.

As for the hair, the poodle, whether it is kinky or in the form of dreadlocks, the coat is always very abundant, quite long and with a fine, woolly and tight texture.

Poodle colors

Another characteristic of the poodle is the existence of six recognized uniform coat colors .

The three original colors, or at least the ones that were recorded first, are black, white, and brown.

Interestingly, these colors were originally associated with the place where dogs were raised. Thus, in France the white specimens predominated, the brown ones were German specialty and in Russia the black ones were abundant.

Black poodles

They are the most frequent. They have a very intense and uniform color. No presence of white or other colored spots. Sometimes they suffer some deterioration in tone with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

White poodles

They are this color because they have a recessive gene. They are not always presented in the most immaculate and pure version, as some tend to acquire a very light cream hue with age.

Brown poodle

It is also a recessive color. In fact, it is considered to be a dilution of black. For this reason, breeders and hobbyists value darker shades of brown, which often arise from crossing non-dominant black dogs.

Regarding the other three colors derived from the original three are:

Grey poodles

The gray poodle’s coat is the first of the other three colors derived from the originals. It has a very attractive tone that is usually presented in a uniform tonality.

The gamut is very wide, ranging from dark slate to heavily blurred platinum. This grey color can be obtained by crossing black specimens with other whites, greys with other greys, greys with whites and, finally, greys with black animals.

Likewise, since it is not a pure shade, the cross between two gray individuals can also lead to the appearance of white dogs, and some specimens sometimes have certain pigmentation and eye color problems, so ideally they have black eyes and nails, with a dark and uniform pigmentation.

Apricot or orange fawn poodles

One of the two trendiest shades of this breed of dog is the apricot poodle, also called the orange tawny poodle .

It has arisen from the successive crossing of specimens of different colors and traditionally they have been linked to a poorer and less profuse coat than that of the other pure tones.

Red or red fawn poodles

The red poodle or reddish fawn poodle, very fashionable today, emerged from the crosses of different colored specimens. It is also considered that its coat is somewhat poorer than that of the original colors.

However, at present these last two most recent tones are sufficiently fixed and very well differentiated. The breeders already breed pure lines of both colors trying not to appear undesirable dilutions.

Even so, since it is a single breed of dog with different colors and sizes, unfortunately, its upbringing has not always been subject to strict regulation. Which has meant that there is a huge variation in type and size, to the point that it is possible to find poodles with forty centimeters of difference.

In the same way, some litters have traditionally been born specimens with two well differentiated shades in the coat.

Poodle breed standard

If that’s okay with you, let’s now see what the poodle looks like and its breed standard. Or what is the same the technical sheet of this fantastic and beautiful dog:

  • General appearance: harmoniously built, it is a noble and elegant looking dog.
  • Variety: giant (or standard), medium, dwarf and miniature (or toy).
  • Size and size: medium / Large (giant) Medium (medium) Small (dwarf) Miniature (miniature).
  • Height at the withers: giant poodle : 45-62 cm and 22kg. Medium Poodle : 35-45 cm and 12 kg. Miniature Poodle : 28-35 cm and 7 kg, and Miniature Poodle : 24-28 cm and 6 kg maximum.
  • Weight: between 28 and 30 kg for males and between 25 and 27 kg for females.
  • Origin: France.
  • Other names: Poodle or Pudel.
  • Body: well proportioned and slightly longer than the height at the withers, it has a firm and muscular loin.
  • Head: straight lines and proportionate to the body, it is well molded, without presenting a solid appearance, but not excessively delicate either.
  • Skull: seen from above it is oval but in profile it is somewhat convex. It has prominent brow ridges covered with long hairs.
  • Muzzle: it is solid and has a straight nasal bridge. It occupies a good part of the length of the skull and the lower profile is marked by the mandible.
  • Nose: marked and well developed, it is vertical in profile. In the gros, white and grey dogs it is pigmented black, but in the chocolate coat it is brown. Those of orange fawn (apricot) or reddish fawn color can have it brown or black.
  • Eyes: They are almond-shaped and black or dark brown in color, although chocolate-coated dogs may have dark amber in color. His gaze is lively and expressive.
  • Ears: quite long and drooping, flat, enlarged behind insertion, rounded at the tip and covered with very long wavy hairs.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is little marked.
  • Jaws: with scissor bite, they are endowed with solid teeth.
  • Neck : of medium length, arched behind the neck and without dewlap, it allows the animal to always carry its head raised with a noble appearance.
  • Chest: Inclined at the elbows, it is oval in shape and broad at the back.
  • Back: It is short, harmonious and firm. The height at the withers is almost the same as the height at the croup, which is rounded but not dropped.
  • Forelimbs: they are straight and parallel, muscular and with solid bones. Shoulders: Oblique and with strong musculature, they form an angle of about 110 °. Regarding the forearms and arms, the length of the humours is equal to that of the shoulder blade. His elbows are slightly closer to the withers than to the ground.
  • Hind limbs: well developed and robust, seen from behind they are parallel. The legs are strong and muscular. His knees are at a sharp angle. The hocks are bent.
  • Feet: they are small, firm and in the shape of a small oval, with the toes arched and together. They have hard and thick pads, as well as strong black or brown nails. However, in white dogs they can present the full range of bone color.
  • Tail: set high, in the countries where it is allowed it is cut to half its natural length or leaving only a third. At rest, the dog wears it down, but in motion it carries it up.
  • Skin: flexible and well pigmented, in black, brown, grey and fawn (orange or reddish) poodles it usually harmonizes with the color of the hair, while in whites it is usually silver in color.
  • Hair: Poodles can have two types of fur , one kinky, characterized by being very abundant, elastic, with a fine and woolly texture and that forms regular loops, and another in the form of dreadlocks or tufts that measure more than 20 cm, also dense, long, with a fine, woolly and tight texture.
  • Color: the poodle’s coat is usually uniform, in black, white, chocolate, gray and fawn orange (apricot) or reddish fawn.
  • Movement : the poodle moves with quick and light little jumps.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 172 FCI GROUP 9 – Companion Dogs. Section 2- Poodle.

Poodle puppy

If you are reading this information article about the poodle because you are considering the adoption or purchase of a poodle puppy, there are a number of aspects and considerations that we believe you should take into account.

From a very young age they are playful and very active, so it is recommended that they have good supervision from their owners.

Affectionate and sociable, the poodle gets along very well with its peers, with other animal species and pets in the house. But it is essential to educate and socialize them from a very young age.

But it also behaves the same with strangers, so its possession does not usually entail problems of coexistence for its owners . For this same reason it is not a guard or defense dog .

Due to its origin as a hunting retriever in the water, the coat of this dog is kinky and dense, to keep it safe from moisture and scratches caused by branches and brush. For this reason, it is necessary that you receive the necessary care to avoid major problems.

White, black and chocolate are the three most typical and oldest colors of the poodle, but it is increasingly common to see gray and fawn specimens, with a reddish or orange hue (apricot).

The difference in size between a giant and a dwarf specimen is spectacular. However, the body structure is the same: noble, elegant and haughty. Very agile, intelligent and active, this breed gives very good results in sports such as agility, obedience or flyball.

The Poodle: training

It is a breed known for its fidelity and adaptability to training . All this makes it a companion dog suitable for any family and domestic environment, provided that it is guaranteed a long daily outing to run to the park and play with a few friends.

In dog shows  collecting it has always been very successful, but its appearance betrays the actual origins because it was once used as a hunting dog, rather than by exposure.

Given his intelligence and reactivity, he learns very quickly and is usually distinguished in the disciplines of agility and obedience .

Poodle diet

In general, poodles are not known for being voracious eaters, but it is true that there are more and more cases of obesity, especially among dogs that live exclusively as companion dogs, and especially the smaller varieties.

As being overweight increases the chances of suffering from other diseases, it is necessary to keep the animal at its weight using a balanced food. It is best to subject him to the doses of exercise indicated to its age and condition.

The dog food provided must be of the highest quality. With an adequate amount of protein and healthy fats (such as omega 3 and 6). Fortunately, it is now easy to find food for the Poodle breed in specialized pet stores or online .

Poodle health and diseases

Another of the points in favor of keeping a poodle is its excellent health and, consequently, its high longevity.

However, this dog can also suffer from certain health problems that should be known.

The most common, affecting all varieties, are ocular affections , some of which are mild, such as obstruction of the tear duct or a defective conformation of the eyelids (entropion and ectropion), but some others are a little more serious, such as cataracts or retinal atrophy, which can even cause blindness.

However, these latter conditions are genetically controllable, so it is possible to eradicate them if the affected or carriers of these diseases are excluded from breeding.

Some skin problems are also common, especially in specimens that have a white coat. In general, it is recommended to take extreme care of the dermis in all varieties.

If the animal is subjected to an extensive cosmetic treatment with a certain frequency, the blades and scissors can end up causing certain abrasions or irritations that are always undesirable.

On the other hand, giant and medium-sized specimens have a higher rate of hip dysplasia and stomach torsion than dwarfs and miniatures, which, on the other hand, are more exposed to knee dislocation . And in the latter case, the signs of miniaturization must also be avoided.

And as always, the best health strategy is to act preventively, visiting the vet regularly to complete the relevant vaccination and deworming programs , and to perform routine mouth, eye, ear , skin, hair and weight checks .

With this care, the poodle becomes an ideal pet for any family, as it knows how to give a lot of love and company to all the members of its environment and if you want to do outdoor activities with it, it is always willing to participate with enthusiasm and joy.

Specific care for the Poodle breed

The traditional arrangement is intended to protect the poodle’s most vulnerable areas with its hair, such as the head, chest, kidneys, feet and hands. Shaving the rest of the body gives the animal greater freedom of movement.

Grooming the hair of the Poodle breed

Poodle hair can be kinky or developed in long locks like dreadlocks.

In the first case, there are owners who opt for a uniform cut of the coat, simple and very practical, but there are also those who prefer to subject the animal to the traditional arrangement in which part of the body is shaved and the rest is left longer in the form of showy pompons. This same cut is the one that is given to the specimens with dreadlocks.

Typical arrangement of the breed

The coat of the poodle is one of its greatest attractions, both for its ductility and for the large number of possibilities it offers for its arrangement.

Keeping this coat in good condition is an obligation of all owners, since the poodle is one of the breeds that, aesthetically, can get the most out of them.


As the poodle’s coat is very dense, it is easy for it to become tangled, so it is necessary to subject the animal to a daily brushing session to keep its hair stretched and free of knots.

This brushing can be a somewhat expensive task in effort and time, so it is essential to get the dog used to this routine from a young age so that it remains still at the table during grooming sessions.


In order for the coat to be clean and with the proper texture, the poodle should be given regular baths.

A shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for its type of hair should be used and it is important to rinse the animal very well, without leaving any product residue, and then dry it thoroughly with a good dryer or a powerful ejector to prevent the coat from being damp. and cakes.

After bathing, brushing is necessary again, using a brush with long metal bristles and working the coat from the inside out, in layers, making sure that it is done evenly on all sides.


The poodle’s hair is of very high quality and, therefore, it is worked perfectly with scissors.

The first thing to do is choose what style of cut you want to give the pet. Once chosen, try to imagine the final silhouette and work with the scissors, as a sculptor would, until the desired volumes are achieved.

In the parts of the body where you want to do a more extreme shaving or shearing, you can also use a good cutting machine with the most convenient blades.

Some aesthetic arrangements of this breed are true works of art. They can be too flashy and even extreme for those who just want a pet. But there are aesthetically very attractive alternatives that also bring out all the beauty and quality of the poodle’s coat.

Traditional “lion” arrangement

Poodles with the “lion” cut respond to the image that everyone traditionally has of this breed, with pompoms on the legs and tail, and a voluminous, rounded chest in the shape of a globe.

To do this, whether the poodle has kinky hair, strands or dreadlocks, the hindquarters are first shorn down to the ribs. Then the muzzle, cheeks, front and rear extremities are well trimmed, except for the cuffs and bracelets, and the tail, but leaving a round pompom at the end.

You can also keep whiskers and leave the hair on the front legs in the form of a “trouser”, as well as make optional designs on the hindquarters.

It is also usual that a very showy top knot is made on the head . This last more exclusive cut is also known as the “English” cut.

“Modern” arrangement

This arrangement is less sophisticated but more functional. It consists of equalizing the size of the hair throughout the body, giving the animal a more homogeneous figure.

Even so, the head and tail are cut ‘lion’ style, eliminating the final pompom if desired. The feet are shaved, and the legs and body are left with hair but shaping and increasing its length in the area of ​​the ribs and on the upper part of the legs.

Buying the Poodle

There are basic rules for buying a dog from a kennel:

  • the seller must provide you with the dog’s health card, where the vaccines against viral diseases and the pesticide treatments carried out, the microchip must be reported
  • there must be a sales contract, in which the guarantee of the puppy’s good health is written.
  • Furthermore, the puppy is ready to leave the kennel only at the completion of the 60th day and with the registration in the canine registry.

There are several farms of this breed but you can also find adult poodles in kennels.

So the advice is to take a tour of the kennels in your area. Furthermore, it is important not to buy online those who want to sell you a puppy, or worse, give as a gift, on eBay or various ad sites, they are often stolen or with  falsified pedigrees (which is a criminal offense).

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