A Poodle is a great companion. People who own poodles tend to stick with that breed for life, because of the great experiences the Poodle brings them. They’re quickly rising on the popularity list for pure dog breeds , all over the world.
The Poodle is a highly adaptable dog, suited for most living conditions. They’re smart, good-hearted dogs who crave human contact, and they also dazzle with their unique good looks.
Throw in the right mix of obedience training and puppy socialization, and you’ll probably join those people who swear they’ll never get any other breed of dog.
Breed History – Poodles
Today, we think of poodles as tiny dogs, in their modern forms of the Toy and Miniature Poodle, but this was not common for hundreds of years after they first emerged.
The pure-bred Poodle arose somewhere in Europe during the 1500s. Back then, they were kept for as hunting dogs, who would swim through water to fetch bird game. This history lives on in the modern poodle, who tends to love swimming.
Appearance – Poodles
A healthy poodle is a proud, athletic creature. They pack plenty of muscle and grace into that small form, and they hold their uniquely-shaped heads high on a strong neck. Their fur tends to come in solid colors, with plenty of variety among the breed. The coat is usually curly, sometimes corded like a rope.
The three distinct varieties of Poodle were bred for the tastes of buyers. The smallest is the Toy Poodle, which is about ten inches tall at the shoulders. Next up is the Miniature Poodle, which is about 15 inches or less, and the Standard Poodle is 15 inches or taller. The so-called Teacup Poodle is usually a Toy Poodle – it’s not a distinct breed, just a marketing name.
Grooming – Poodles
Because of the unique texture of their coats, it takes a bit of effort to keep your Poodle groomed properly. They should be brushed at least every two days to avoid problems with tangling, and a bath should be given once a month. Naturally, there are many dog groomers who specialize in Poodle grooming.
It’s also well-known that Poodles love to be primped and pampered, so get into a regular dog grooming schedule – your dog will love you for it.
Social Temperament – Poodles
Given careful breeding and the right puppy socialization training, the Poodle will be a dog with a perfect personality for companionship. They’re spunky and love to play and make mischief, and they bond strongly with each member of the household. In short, the Poodle is a breed whose members are each quite individual.
Poodles are neither shy nor aggressive.
In particular, Poodles are great dogs for households with children. The exception is the Toy Poodle, which is small enough to be injured easily by kids who don’t know better.
Poodles are good watch dogs, because they’re alert, and quick to raise the alarm about any suspicious activity.
This dog breed has been bred over the centuries to crave human partners, which does mean that an isolated Poodle will probably suffer from separation anxiety. That being said, they have no complaints about a relaxed lifestyle, so long as they have a human to keep them company.
However, they also love (and need) exercise, especially playing chase or fetch. Also, if you give them chances to swim, they’ll usually enjoy every second of it.
Unique Health Problems – Poodles
The active lifespan of a Poodle is ten to fifteen years. They tend to be healthy dogs. However, be wary of buying a Poodle from an unknown breeder. Like all popular dogs, they can be the victim of “puppy mills,” which should never be kept in business due to their careless treatment and breeding practices.
On the other hand, a good breeder will keep historical records of the whole family tree, and will carefully breed-out the few health issues that Poodles are known for. Aside from that, a good breeder knows that puppy socialization begins at birth, and will be your best bet for a smooth puppyhood training experience.
Take a look at the below list, and consult your breeder or veterinarian for more specifics on treating and preventing the following poodle health care problems:
- Hip Dysplasia, a hereditary bone deformation of the hip joint.
- Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, both eye diseases, and other eye diseases.
- Epilepsy and repeated seizures
- Mammary tumors
- Von Willebrand’s Disease, a blood disease that sometimes prevents clotting.
- Cushing’s Syndrome and Hypothyroidism, both of which are gland diseases
All of the breeds of Poodles are at some level of risk for those problems above. Below, are the issues that are mainly related to Toy Poodles and Miniature Poodles:
- Urolithiasis – kidney and bladder stones
- Trichiasis, where the eyelashes grow toward the eye instead of away
- Legg-Calvé-Perthes, a degeneration of the hip joint
- Patellar Subluxation, aka kneecap dislocation
- Cryptorchidism, aka un-descended testicles
And finally, these health issues are specific to the Standard Poodle breed:
- Gastric Torsion, which causes bloat and is usually life-threatening
- Sebaceous Adenitis, a skin disorder
- Canine Cancer
- Addison’s Disease – damage to the adrenal cortex, which creates adrenaline
Last but not least, all dogs must have a good diet and avoid over-feeding, exercise to avoid obesity (which causes health complications), and all the necessary puppy socialization and obedience training steps that lead to a healthy doggie life.
Poodle Training Time!
How to Train a Poodle
A Poodle is one of the easier kinds of dog to train. They’re smart, and eager to please. The exercise, and especially the mental stimulation, are especially craved by poodles, so they will be attentive students once they’re in the habit.
On the other hand, skipping those key steps of obedience training and socialization puts any dog breed, including Poodles, at risk for behavior problems.
The key to any dog training program is to be positive, and patient. Use lots of repetition and be consistent. Never threaten, scold, yell at or physically punish your dog. Keep the training sessions short and work your puppy’s high energy level in mind by channeling their general excitement.
A few other notes on Poodle training you should keep in mind:
- Poodles are one of the easier breeds to house train. Hooray! Consistency and forgiveness are key as your adorable little beast learns to overcome the instinct to just “go anywhere.” For specialty advice, check out “Secrets to Dog Training – Poodle House Training”.
- During Poodle training, when you’re teaching the essential obedience commands, avoid long sessions. A Poodle can learn just as well as every other breed, if you follow a good obedience training program like mine.
- The only thing I know of that’s a little more difficult with Poodles than with some other breeds, is walking on a leash. Sometimes my leash training program works, sometimes it takes a more specific Poodle training program such as this one: Poodle Leash Training.
Finally, if you’re planning to train a Poodle at home, or if you need to address behavior problems in your Poodle, take a look at “How to Train a Poodle.” It goes into plenty of detail about almost every thing that could ever come up in Poodle training and behavior correction.