The Standard Poodle is a calm, smart, sensitive breed that makes a great jogging buddy, family dog, and (if properly coiffed) fashion statement. Standard Poodles were so popular that breeders ultimately created the Medium, Miniature, and Toy Poodle varieties.
Standard Poodle History
Despite their strong association with the country, Poodles didn't originate in France. And no one really knows the full story behind the breed's origins. Poodles are likely related to the Portguese Water Dog and Irish Water Spaniel. Some experts believe they originated in Central Europe or Russia, while others think they got their start in Spain or Portugal. Another common theory is that German soldiers brought the Poodle to France during the 1400s.
Regardless of the breed's exact beginnings, everyone agrees that Poodles were bred for bird hunting and water retrieval. And their love of water is how they got their name. "Poodle" comes from an old German word meaning "to splash about."
What's the deal with the famous Poodle haircut? Hunters knew that Poodles would be more efficient swimmers if they had less hair. But less hair would leave them more vulnerable to the cold water. So, creative Poodle owners had an idea. They shaved most of the dog's body but strategically left puffs of hair to protect joints and vital organs from the cold. Problem solved.
Standard Poodle Traits
The Standard Poodle is an elegant, well-proportioned breed with a frizzy and curly coat.
Coat and Coloring
The Standard Poodle's dense coat can be curly (frizzy curls over the whole body) or corded (even cords that hang in varying lengths). Poodle owners often give their pups stylized haircuts or a "puppy clip" that trims hair to an even length over the whole body.
Poodles come in a wide range of colors—including solid blacks, grays, silvers, browns, apricots, creams, and shading variations.
Distinctive Physical Traits
The Standard Poodle has dark, oval-shaped eyes that offer an alert, intelligent expression. Covered in long, wavy hair, the ears are long enough to reach the corner of the lip when pulled forward.
Standard Poodle Temperament
The Standard Poodle is an incredibly smart, playful, and—to the surprise of many—athletic breed. Typically friendly, Poodles get along well with kids, dogs, and other pets.
Standard Poodles love people and form tight bonds with their families. And because of their sensitive nature, they even pick up on the moods of people they're close to. This intuitive nature—combined with a willingness to please—makes the Poodle a great assistance and therapy dog.
Poodles may bark, and some are reserved around strangers. But early socialization can help prevent these and other undesirable behaviors.
Standard Poodle Care
Standard Poodles need a dog food formulated for their specific life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior). Diets developed specifically for Poodles are a great option to explore.
To prevent your Poodle from becoming overweight, keep an eye on their food portions. And be sure to take treats into account when tracking their daily calorie intake. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog's calories.
Standard Poodles have hair instead of fur. That means—unlike fur coats that grow to a point and then shed—a Poodle's hair keeps growing. Similar to human hair, this breed's hair does still fall out. But it usually falls back into their coats (instead of all over the house). Because of this minimal shedding, Poodles are an excellent breed for people with allergies.
Though Standard Poodles don't shed a lot, their coats still need regular grooming. To keep their hair free from mats and tangles, brush a few times a week. And because their hair grows continuously, plan on haircuts every month or so.
In addition to professional dental cleanings, Standard Poodles need an at-home dental care routine that includes regular teeth brushing.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for the overall long-term health of all dogs.
A very active breed, the Standard Poodle enjoys all the same activities as other dogs in the sporting group. Long walks, jogs, agility, retrieving, rally, and swimming are fun ways for a Poodle to burn off energy. Or for something a little different, try musical canine freestyle—a mix of obedience training, dance, and tricks.
Standard Poodles are very bright dogs, and therefore easy to train. Because they're so responsive and eager to please, reward-based training using treats or favorite toys is the best approach with these pups.
Standard Poodle Genetic Health Conditions
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures
Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEWS) is a disorder that affects the development of the balance and movement center of the brain.
von Willebrand's Disease, type 1
von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) type 1 is a clotting disorder that usually causes mild bleeding tendencies in affected dogs though some may have more severe signs. The low level of von Willebrand's factor impacts the bloods clotting ability.
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a neurological disorder, usually affecting dogs in their senior years. Loss of hind limb coordination is an early sign of disease, and as the condition progresses the hind limbs of affected dogs become increasingly weak.
Knowing if your Standard Poodle is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Annette Louviere, DVM