Standard Poodle

A Quick Look at the Standard Poodle...

The Standard Poodle is a lovely dog, and is the original and largest in size of the three Poodle varieties. He is a proud and graceful pooch that is good natured and dignified. He enjoys life, is very intelligent, and is considered to be one of the most trainable breeds. They can be taught many skills and talents, and particularly excel at obedience and tricks.

Standard Poodles are very vivacious and playful. They have plenty of energy, are rather graceful, agile and love to participate in a variety of sports. They are always ready to enjoy whatever life has to offer them, and are pleased to go with their owners just about everywhere they go.

Here are some fast facts about the Standard Poodle:

Dog Group:
Non-Sporting (AKC)
Recognized By:
Medium to Large
Dogs – 45 lbs - 70 lbs (20 - 32kg)
Bitches – 45 lbs - 60 lbs (20 - 27 kg)
Dogs - More than 15in. (more than 38cm.)
Bitches – More than 15in. (more than 38cm.)
Average litter size:
3 - 8 puppies
Life expectancy:
13 years (average of 10 - 14 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

To this day, it is not known where the Standard Poodle originated, but many believe that his development took place in either France or Germany. However, since no one can prove or agree on a country of origin, the breed is considered to be tied to both. Despite the debate over his roots, the Poodle has been in existence for well over 400 years and can be seen in paintings that date back to the 15th century. The dog’s ancestors are believed to be the French Water Dog (a breed no longer in existence), the Barbet and the Hungarian Water Hound. Their name was likely taken from the German word "Pudel", which essentially means "one who plays in water".

In their early days, Standard Poodles were used by German and French hunters for retrieving water foul and sniffing out truffles that were underground in the woods. In fact, the popular Poodle look with the pom-poms and bracelets of hair around their ankles was originally intended for the purpose of allowing the dog to be more agile during hunting, and to keep the joints warm and protected from the cold and the sharp reeds in the water. The French eventually began to use the canine as a circus performer because he was very intelligent and easily learned tricks.

In the 18th century, as the Poodles popularity grew, two new smaller varieties were added to the breed - the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887.

Standard Poodle Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - The Standard Poodle is medium to large in size. The skull is fairly rounded with a definite but slight stop. His muzzle is long and straight and he has oval shaped eyes that are dark in color, either brown or black. His ears hang close his head, are flat and long. His legs are proportioned to his body and his webbed feet are oval shaped with arched toes. The topline is level, and the tail is carried straight, up, and is set high. The tail is often docked to half or less than half its length to give the dog a more balanced look.

The Standard Poodle coat can be wiry or curly or soft and wavy. Since it does not shed, the hair can be clipped in diverse styles, such as the "Pet Clip", "Puppy Clip" or "Lamb Clip" (trimmed short all over), "Continental Clip" (The hindquarters, upper portion of the legs and part of the tails is shaved, but bracelets of hair are left around the ankles, while pom-poms are left on the tail and hips), and the "English Saddle Clip" (Virtually the same as the Continental Clip, except the hind quarters are not shaved). The coat comes in solid black, blue, silver, gray, café-au-lait, brown, red, apricot, cream and white. Some breeders even breed parti-colored poodles, though they are not recognized as part of the standard.

Typical Temperament - The Standard Poodle is a proud, intelligent, and noble dog with a gentle nature and a pleasant personality. He is cheerful, devoted, affectionate, and is highly social. Though he is a loving companion, this breed does require exercise and will not be content remaining indoors and sitting at his owner’s feet all day. Due to their active nature, they can become high strung if not provided with the proper mental or physical stimulation.

Poodles are natural born barkers and because of this, make excellent watchdogs, alerting their family to both sounds and strangers. Although they typically enjoy human company, Poodles are not always compatible with very small kids, especially those who do not know how to interact with the breed. They do better with older and more sensible children. They do, however, get along well with other dogs.

Basic Standard Poodle Care Requirements

Grooming - No matter the type of "clip" a Poodle’s coat is styled in, their hair requires a comb and brushing every day to keep it free of mats. When grooming the coat, you need to be very careful and gentle, and any large knots or mats that are found should be cut out.  Since they don’t shed, they will need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks. While Poodles participating in shows will need to be bathed regularly, the average family pet should only be bathed every few months or when necessary to avoid drying out their skin. Note:  Owners who would like to keep grooming as hassle free as possible, will find that the Pet Clip is the easiest to manage.

In addition to the coat, Standard Poodles need to have their teeth brushed a few times per week and have their teeth scaled regularly. Their ears should be checked frequently for infection and mites, and any wax should be cleaned out. The hair inside the ear canal will also require regular plucking.

Exercise - The Standard Poodle has natural sporting instincts and requires daily activity. He has plenty of stamina, and needs about 30 - 60 minutes of good exercise per day. He can burn his energy in a variety of ways, including walks, fetch, jogging, swimming, and agility sports. He will also enjoy the freedom to run around off lead, and should be provided this pleasure whenever possible in a safe and enclosed space. Note:  while he can obtain his exercise in a variety of ways, it is important to take him out on at least one walk every day for his mental wellbeing.

Approximate Food Cost - The Standard Poodle typically consumes 3 to 4 cups of dry food per day which costs approximately $20 to $30 per month when purchasing a typical quality chow.

General Health Information

Standard Poodles are relatively healthy and can live a long time. Nevertheless, they are prone to illnesses like cataracts, runny eyes, and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), which can lead to blindness. Other problems include allergies, hip dysplasia, skin issues (often the cause of poor or excessive grooming), ear infections, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Addison’s Disease, Epilepsy, and Bloat (the stomach expands and fills with gas and can twist). Since Standard Poodles are prone to Bloat they should be fed 2 - 3 small meals per day instead of one large meal, and should not be exercised directly after eating.

Common Illnesses include: PRA, cataracts, ear infections, allergies, hip dysplasia, runny eyes and Von Willebrand’s Disease.

Are You the Right Standard Poodle Owner?

Living conditions - Though they are well suited to a house with a good sized yard, Standard Poodles are very adaptable to just about any living quarters. They can live happily in an apartment, because while they do have plenty of stamina, they are relatively inactive indoors. That said, despite their inactivity, they will still need to be provided with adequate exercise outdoors, including a daily walk and the freedom to run off lead to prevent destructive behaviors, and the potential for them to become high strung.

Training - Standard Poodles are very easy to train and are exceptionally bright. That said, they need a dedicated and consistent teacher in order to learn and remain obedient. These dogs should be socialized and trained while they are still in the early stages of puppyhood, and need to be provided with firm, yet gentle teachings. They respond well to positive reinforcement, not harsh discipline. This breed is highly sensitive to the tone of a person’s voice, and if they sense that their mind and will is stronger than their owner’s, they will attempt to take charge. Owners must be patient, reliable, confident and unrelenting on rules. The dog must respect you as his leader or you will have no control.

Standard Poodles are exceptionally skilled at competitive obedience, performing tricks, as watchdogs, agility sports and retrieving.

Common Problems - Persistent barking can be a problem with this breed, as they were bred for hunting and are born with the natural inclination to bark. Though you cannot stop your dog from barking, you can control it and prevent it from becoming an incessant habit by providing him with a command that instructs him to be quiet. This should be taught at an early age, and it is essential that you are consistent with this teaching in order for it to work.

Another problem is the Standard poodle can become high strung, which can be very troublesome. To prevent this, simply make sure the canine is provided with plenty of mental and physical stimulation daily. This can include walks, playing, training, and so on.

The bottom line...

Standard Poodles are wonderful and unforgettable pets that have plenty of personality. They are graceful, animated and have a lust for life. They are not for owners who want to laze around all day. These dogs need activity, challenge, and full-time companionship. Furthermore, while they are an ideal breed for allergy sufferers, as their hair virtually doesn’t shed, they do require daily grooming because they have a high-maintenance coat. Overall, the Standard Poodle is a noble and cheerful dog that possesses both brains and beauty.

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