AKC Non-Sporting Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Poodle is most likely descended from early German water retrievers. The name “poodle” probably derives from the German word “Pudel” (meaning “one who plays in the water”). Hunters clipped the dog’s thick coat to help him swim, leaving hair on the leg joints to protect them from extreme cold and sharp reeds. The French capitalized on the breed’s high intelligence, trainability, and innate showmanship and made the Poodle into a circus performer. His great popularity in that country led to the breed’s common name, “French Poodle.” In France, however, the Poodle is called the “Caniche,” or duck dog. The Poodle has also been used to sniff out truffles lying underground in the woods. Poodles are depicted in fifteenth-century paintings and in bas-reliefs from the first century. The Toy and Miniature Poodle varieties were bred down from the Standard Poodles. The three sizes are considered as one breed, and are judged by the same standard. Today, the Poodle is primarily a companion and show dog, though he can learn almost anything.


The Standard Poodle is an elegant, medium to large dog (15 in. minimum, but more commonly more than 21 in.) with a profuse, but well-groomed and clipped, wiry, curly coat. The head and muzzle are long. The skull is a bit rounded, with a slight stop. The teeth should form a scissors bite. The ears are wide and hang close to the head. The eyes are oval and generally very dark. Brown and café-au-lait colored dogs have dark amber eyes. Apricot Poodles may have amber eyes, but dark eyes are considered better. The dog’s length from breastbone to rump is approximately the same as the height at the withers. The topline is level except for a slight depression behind the withers. The croup is rounded. The feet are compact, small, and oval. The tail is docked to half the original length. All solid colors are permissible. The coat may be groomed into three basic styles: the pet clip (or puppy clip), with relatively short hair all over the body, the “English saddle” clip, and the “Continental’ clip with the rear half of the body shaved, bracelets left around the ankles, and pom-poms left on the tails and hips. The Poodle has a delightful springy gait.

Key Facts

  • Height:  Over 15 in.
  • Size:  Large
  • Weight:  45 to 65 lbs.
  • Availability:  Very popular
  • Talents:  Watchdog, retrieving, hunting, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks


The coat needs regular attention and professional clipping every few months. Hair should be removed from inside the ears. Prone to bloat, hip dysplasia, runny eyes, ear infections, PRA, and von Willebrand’s Disease. Buy only from stock with official hip, eye and VWD clearances. Ask about hips and elbows and see grandparents if at all possible. Some Standards are good guard dogs. Some can be trained as hunters. Standard Poodles have not been subject to poor breeding as much as the other Poodle varieties.


Elegant, dignified, and good-natured. Proud. Highly intelligent and one of the most trainable breeds. Pleasant, happy, and sensitive. Tends to be a bit calmer than the smaller varieties. Needs people and dislikes being alone.


  • Children:  Excellent with children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Very easy to train
  • Independence:  Needs people a lot
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Professional trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Curly coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked.
  • Exercise:  Vigorous daily exercise needed
  • Jogging:  An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderate (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Poodle Breed Standard


Poodle Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Poodle


Poodle Gifts