10 Interesting Facts About Poodles
Poodle enthusiasts are among the proudest of all breed owners. Whether you have a Standard, Miniature or Toy Poodle all have the same build and proportions. However, any poodle parent will tell you that the personalities are different by size. All poodles have physical grace, exceptional intelligence and remarkable athletic ability.
Non-poodle people just don’t understand us. We’ve all heard or seen the stereotypes of poodles as foo-foo dogs or pocket purses. But most of us know that poodles can kick butt and stand tall to any other canine cousin. We want to set the record straight on Poodle facts and information about these incredible, beautiful dogs. Here are ten interesting facts about Poodles.
1. Poodles are Hyper Intelligent
One official list ranks Poodles as the second most intelligent dog breed (what do they know, as far as we’re concerned Poodles are #1). Don’t get us wrong, border collies are clever and cute doing tricks, but it is hard to beat a poodle’s intelligence when you live with one. Poodles can not only learn a vast repertoire of tricks from walking on two paws to jumping through hoops, but they also are exceptionally observant with their human companions and often behave like us. Without a doubt, poodles intelligence and athleticism is a big reason you can often see them in circuses and showrooms.
Any poodle person will agree that poodles are easy to train using the usual techniques of repetition, patience, and rewards. When done correctly, there are almost no limits to what poodles can learn. Because poodles are so intelligent, they require lots of mental stimulation to prevent boredom. It’s common to hear stories of poodles who get into trouble at home when they are bored. We heard one story of a Spoo who was left home for a few hours and cured his boredom by removing the shoelaces from every pair of shoes in the closet. Amazingly, he placed the laces all in one pile, and the shoes in another pile. The human parent returned home to find their Spoo proudly admiring their handiwork. Clearly this standard poodle was bored and needed some stimulation!
To encourage your poodle’s brain, try doing these three things on a regular basis.
- Train with word comprehension – The average canine can learn around 165 words during their lifetime. A Poodle can learn up to 400 different words and commands. This type of communication does wonders for the relationship between poodles and people and it keeps the poodle’s gears turning.
- Engage with their senses – Imagine what life would be like if we had a heightened sense of smell and hearing. We would all stop to smell the flowers every time we passed by a fragrant patch. Welcome to a dog’s life. Poodles have extraordinary abilities so take them on adventures and enjoy the outdoors. Long walks on the beach, hikes, camping trips, and exploring a new terrain provide your Poodle the physical exercise needed for a healthy body and the stimulation for their senses. Even while at home, poodle parents often leave the TV on with engaging entertainment (think Discovery or Animal Planet), or play classical music when they go out. These are examples of the kind of stimulation poodles respond well to.
- Problem-solving tests – Poodles have excellent problem-solving ability, they have the capacity to comprehend unknown situations and respond appropriately. At a recent dog show, we saw groups of Standard Poodles in advanced obedience and agility competitions. No other breed that day was even close to what the poodles demonstrated in the ring. One tip poodle parents have is to provide advanced dog puzzles that have sections to hide kibble or training treats. Dog toys with complex components enable them to use their “hands” and mouth to engage and move parts of the toy.
2. Poodles Come in Three Sizes
The original Poodle stands over two feet tall at the shoulder and is built for hunting, meaning it has the capacity for great athleticism. Over time, as hunting became less common, and their intelligence became the sought-after characteristic. Breeders found that having two smaller sizes– with the same personality and intelligence, made the Poodle breed a popular option for pet parents.
The AKC (American Kennel Club) and the Kennel Club UK both categorize Poodles into three official categories: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. However in the EU, International Poodle Standard (FCI) recognize a size in between the Miniature and the Standard Poodle called the Moyen poodle. The AKC describes the Standard Poodle as “among dogdom’s true aristocrats”. Poodle coats are hypoallergenic, and naturally curly but with regular grooming and brushing can have an elegant look for a night on the town. Typical colors are black, white, brown, red, parti, grey, blue, silver and apricot.
- Standard Poodle – The standard Poodle is over 15 inches tall. Although, they typically range from 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds.
- Moyen Poodle (EU Only)– The Moyen Poodle, recognized by the International Poodle Standard (FCI) for Europe classifies this Poodle as 15-20 inches. And weight between 20-30 pounds.
- Miniature Poodle – Mini Poodles are significantly smaller, standing between 11 and 15 inches at the shoulder. They’re also relatively light, weighing about 15-17 pounds.
- Toy Poodle – These tiny teacup dogs are less than 10 inches tall and are the ones you’ll see rocking the purse. While toy Poodles are thought to be equally as intelligent, their voracious energy and excitement often tires them out quickly.
3. Hunting Was Their Original Purpose
If you are new to the breed you may not know that poodles were initially bred to assist on hunts. Non-poodle people are not aware of some standard Poodle facts such as how they perform as well as Labradors and other hunting breeds when compared side-by-side.
- Waterfowl – Poodles’ name descended from the German word Pudelhund, which means “splash dog.” Poodles are fantastic swimmers and are used for hunting waterfowl, like ducks and geese. They also fair well during pheasant season and can fetch injured birds without crushing them. If you ever notice the hashtag #Pudel on social media now you know it refers to the German name for Poodle.
- Mushrooms – Poodles also have an incredible sense of smell which comes in handy for mushroom hunters. At an early age (around four months), Poodles can be trained to smell truffle mushrooms. Their soft bite can even return them without damaging the fungus.
4. Not Fur, We Have HAIR That Keeps on Growing
Let’s get this right. Poodles have hair, not fur. That’s right, a Poodle’s coat is not considered fur. While most dog breeds will shed their fur coat depending on the season, Poodles, who were used for hunting year-round, do not have this luxury and must be groomed regularly.
Regardless of how long and floofy their hair is, it will continue to grow and grow. Every Poodle owner knows they need to be regularly groomed in order to keep their hair in check. That means brushing out the coat daily and regular baths to keep their skin clean. You don’t want your poodle’s hair to become matted, it will be very hard to control, not to mention embarrassing for you AND your dog. And while we’re on that subject poodle parents will tell you that they have caught their poodle staring at themselves in the mirror after being freshly groomed. It goes back to their intelligence and how self-aware a poodle is about their appearance. If you own a poodle, show them respect and they will return the favor to you.
Proper Hair Care
It all begins and ends with proper Poodle hair care. Once every three to six weeks, a poodle needs to be groomed. This includes a deep brush out, combing, trimming, and cleaning. Ears should be cleaned and hair plucked. Remember to put cotton in the ears before bathing so you keep the inside of their ears dry.
- Shampoos and conditioners – Before you bath your Poodles, they require a thorough brush out. This removes excess hair, removes any small matts and prepares the coat for bathing. Gently scrubs the skin, parting hair and lathering up the soap. Without properly brushing out the coat, grooming and conditioning, their hair will eventually build up and lead to allergens.
- Hair length and style – There are a number of types of “formal” cuts for a poodle: Show Cut/Continental Cut, Puppy Cut,, Kennel Cut, Bikini Clip, Lamp Clip, or Town & Country. Or just plain shaggy. How you groom your poodle is your choice, but all that matters is to do it regularly. If you don’t specify, your groomer will usually ask if you want “Clean face, hands and feet”, this means they shave down the hair in those areas, and is typical in several of the cuts mentioned here. You can also ask your groomer for advice on how long to keep the coat.
- Coat Dressings – To help keep dirt, dust, and oil off your Poodle’s coat, you can use coat dressings and finishing sprays. Some of these even come with sunscreen to help protect your dog’s skin.
Like with any dog, be sure to keep an eye out for ticks and fleas. Ticks can cause infections, and fleas can irritate and stress out your dog. Both can be avoided with preventative treatments but regular inspection is advised.
Shedding and Hair Problems
Poodles typically have very few coat issues, but if you observe shedding or problems, there are a number of conditions that may be