Breed Spotlight: Standard Poodles
August 22, 2023

Breed Spotlight: Standard Poodles

Standard Poodles (commonly known as poodles) are one of the most distinctive-looking dog breeds, often seen at Crufts with unique grooming and somewhat regal appearance. This breed sits within the Utility breed group, a miscellaneous category for dogs that don’t quite fit into other dog groups; some of the most loved dogs also sit within this category such as Dalmatians, Frenchies and Schnauzers.

If you are thinking of welcoming a Standard Poodle to your family, read on to find out if this intelligent and loving breed is right for you.

Breed Spotlight: Standard Poodles


Standard Poodles are believed to date back to the 14th Century, originating from Germany; though some also believe in France. Their name derives from the German word ‘Pudelin’ which means ‘to splash’ and were typically used as water retrieving dogs for German hunters in the 15th Century. Due to their natural swimming ability, webbed feet and dense curly coats, they were bred to retrieve waterfowl, such as ducks, from lakes, rivers and marshes. Standard Poodles were refined and standardised in France in the 18th century, becoming a popular dog amongst French nobility and known as ‘Caniche’, French for ‘Duck Dog.

Their intelligence and trainability was recognised by circuses in the 19th Century and they soon gained popularity as performers. By 1887, they were recognised by AKC (American Kennel Club) solidifying their status as a distinct breed.

In World War II, they served as Military dogs, utilising their intelligence and agility for various tasks such as guarding defence plants, military installations, and coastlines. Fast forward to the Mid-20th century, and Standard Poodles became popular as show dogs and family pets worldwide. Today they are known for their elegance, versatility and hypoallergenic coat, and are a sought-after breed for various roles, such as therapy dogs.

Breed Characteristics

Ranking at number 2 for the most intelligent dog breeds, it’s no surprise that Standard Poodles have an innate ability to learn quickly and their problem-solving skills make them excel in various training activities. They are therefore often responsive to commands and cues from their owners, often engaging with their humans and participating (and often winning) in many of the most prestigious competitions such as Crufts.

They are known to be great companions due to their friendly and affectionate nature, as well as being incredibly loyal, thus often forming strong bonds with their owners. Standard poodles are usually very sociable with not just other people, but other dogs and enjoy meeting new friends. Their reliable nature also makes their behaviour incredibly consistent in various situations, and are generally very easygoing - fitting well into different living environments.

Standard Poodles have a high-spirited and energetic side to their personality, often displaying bursts of energy and playfulness. This is balanced with a calm demeanour when they are not actively engaged in play or exercise.

It's important to note that while these traits are commonly associated with Standard Poodles, individual dogs can vary in their personalities and tendencies. Early socialisation, proper training, and a loving environment play crucial roles in developing these positive characteristics in any dog, including Standard Poodles.

Lifestyle and Healthcare

Standard Poodles have high energy levels and require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay content and healthy. They enjoy walks, playing with their owners and activities that challenge their intellect, such as puzzle toys or agility training. Due to their enjoyment of human companionship, they are known to have separation anxiety if left for extended periods of time.

Poodles are generally considered to be a healthy and robust breed with an average lifespan of 12-15 years, but like all dogs, they are prone to certain health conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia: The hip joint doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket causing pain and mobility issues. Veterinary care can include medication, nutritional supplements and in rare cases surgery.

  • PRA (progressive retinal atrophy): A genetic eye disorder that can cause gradual deterioration of sight.

  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: An inherited blood disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot. Excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery is the most common symptom but can also include bleeding gums, nosebleeds and internal bleeding. There is currently no cure for this Von Willebrand Disease, and Ethical Breeders will not breed from a dog that has this disease.

  • Certain skin conditions such as Sebaceous Adenitis, can cause hair loss and scaly skin.

  • Addison’s disease: A hormonal disorder where adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone.

  • Epilepsy: Due to genetic factors, Standard Poodles may be prone to seizures.

When considering getting a Standard Poodle, it’s crucial to go to a reputable and ethical breeder who has conducted essential health tests to ensure that the puppies are healthy and free from common genetic health issues.

Coat and Grooming

There are 11 Kennel Club-approved colours of Standard Poodles, with the 3 main colours being black, white and apricot. However, there are 25 colour combinations in total.

When you think of Poodles, you often think of the unique hairstyles they possess, with show poodles sporting a traditional and glamorous ‘continental cut’; their face, throat, feet and part of their tail are shaved.

Owning a Standard Poodle can be quite high maintenance as they require regular grooming, either at home or at a professional grooming facility. If taking a Poodle to the groomer, you should aim for every 4-6 weeks to get them bathed, groomed and their nails clipped. If their coat isn’t maintained, it can become matted quite easily. It’s worth noting that the breed is considered hypoallergenic due to its relatively non-shedding curly coat.

Training and Socialisation

As with every breed of dog, early training and socialisation is necessary to build a solid foundation, helping them grow into happy healthy Poodles. It is crucial to prevent fear, aggression and anxiety - especially important for this breed as they are known to experience separation anxiety. As many Poodles become service or show dogs, building confidence is key. When socialising any dogs you must gradually expose them to various stimuli to avoid ‘flooding’ them; the process in which you continually expose them and can cause long-term problems.

Standard Poodles benefit from mental stimulation and training as they are incredibly clever with an eagerness to learn. As they are trainable dogs, enhancing their obedience is required, helping them to behave and become well-mannered, promoting a harmonious relationship with their owners.

When it comes to training methods, they respond well to positive reinforcement especially treat-based rewards due to their history of retrieving. Maintaining a consistent training routine reinforces behaviours - promoting a positive learning experience. You must also ensure you adopt a patient, encouraging and loving training approach to build trust and bond at the same time.

How can Paws in Work help?

Our socialisation programme helps puppies from a young age develop into confident, social adult dogs, less likely to show aggressive or anxious behaviour later in life. This is all whilst being constantly monitored by trained and experienced staff in a safe controlled environment. Our socialisation programme is always being reviewed and developed to ensure the pups we work with get the most out of their time with Paws in Work as possible. We love working with all breeds of dogs at Paws in Work and are certainly not breed-bias. However, we only work with ethical reputable breeders who also have the wellbeing of the pups at heart as much as we do.

Get in touch today

We believe that early socialisation for Standard Poodles is vital for their confidence and helps alleviate some of the future separation anxiety they may possess. We are always looking for reputable breeders to add to our network for future socialisation.

Have you got a litter of Poodles you would like to socialise with Paws in Work? Get in touch today with our puppy welfare team to find out more!

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