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 the underlying cause.
- Allergies – There are numerous causes of allergic reactions, from sensitivity to food or treats, to environment, pollen, household cleaning products to shampoos and soaps. If you observe your dog itching away at their skin, try to determine what changed in their life to identify the cause. Sometimes a change in diet may be necessary. We are seeing more and more poodles switching to Lucy Pet foods because of the focus on gut health, the quality proteins, and the pumpkin in the diet.
- Hot Spots – This can range from a small patch of hair loss, to dry flaky skin to a more serious blistered skin patch. A Hot Spot is merely an areas of skin that is infected and or inflamed and can be quite uncomfortable for your dog. This condition is called acute moist dermatitis are recognizable as itchy, painful skin lesions that result from constant licking, biting, and scratching of one area. Keeping your dog bathed and clean skin regularly with a skin soothing, calming oatmeal based shampoo helps. There are also several over-the-counter hot spot topical sprays and creams available. For a more persistent hot spot, your vet can provide a shot to calm down the irritation or a prescription for a mild antibiotic.
- Hormone imbalance – Although less common, Poodles can experience hypothyroidism, which decreases the production of thyroxine. This negatively affects a dog’s metabolism, causing side effects ranging from mood swings to hair loss.
5. Hairdos with Purpose
Not only must Poodle owners groom our dogs regularly, but we pride ourselves on how fancy of a hairdo a Poodle can sport when we want to. On more than one occasion, Poodle parents have had to explain to a less-informed bystander the origins of the poodle show cut.
The original purpose of this ‘do’ was to aid in swimming. Poodle’s hair repels and wicks moisture quickly when out of the water, but it weighs them down while swimming. To make them agile in the water, Poodle owners would keep their hindquarters free of hair, while providing enough warmth in the chest and extremities to prevent sickness from the cold waters.
One of the most appreciated Poodle dog facts is that their hair is hypoallergenic and they experience minimal shedding. When they do shed, it’s usually caught in the web of their other curly hairs and can be removed with regular grooming.
While poodles are naturally hypoallergenic, they must be brushed, bathed and groomed regularly. Their skin can carry as much dandruff and allergens as any other dog if not kept clean and hygienic.
Because Standard Poodles are hypoallergenic, and have advanced intelligence, they are often used as Guide Dogs for visually impaired persons who themselves have allergies and would otherwise be unable to have a Guide Dog of other breeds that shed. So Standard Poodles can be working dogs as well as show dogs or family pets.
7. Perfect for Families
There are several reasons people say that Poodles are the perfect dog for families.
- Trainable – As mentioned earlier, Poodles are easily trained. They can become housebroken and learn an extensive series of words and commands that help the family. Plus, their hyper-intelligent nature allows them to use those lists of commands to communicate with the family. Poodles are known to bring toys or a leash to their owners when they want to play. We know one standard poodle who regularly puts his toys back in the toy box after he is finished playing with it.
- Temperament – Poodles are even tempered, observant, happy, eager, athletic, highly intelligent and possess a near-human like presence. Although initially bred for hunting, Poodles are gentle, loving and don’t have a harmful bone in their body. They’re not territorial, however, if the situation demands it, they will react to unrecognized strangers. Poodles recognize when the threat of harm is present and will protect their owner and their owner’s children. Due to their natural hunting instinct, Poodles are prone to be actively alert to watch wildlife in the yard and often react and hunt squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, birds and deer that they see in their yard. Many poodle owners chuckle to one another about broken screen doors and window blinds, or how their Poodle jumped fences to catch a wildlife ”intruder” in their yard.
- They barely shed – A lot of Poodle people say they don’t shed at all. And if you regularly clean and groom your Poodle, you’ll probably agree. Poodles don’t lose their coat based on the season which makes them hypoallergenic and easy to have in the house.
8. Poodles Prefer People to other Pets
If you’ve ever taken your Poodle to a dog park or beach, you may have noticed they’re reluctant to go and run around with other dogs they don’t know. They often take a lot of encouragement to run off, and when they do, they’re usually back within a few minutes. Poodle owners will observe that Standard Poodles gravitate to other Standards they meet in public settings, such as a park or at the groomer. The expression “birds of a feather flock together” does seem to apply to Poodles.
Truth be told, Poodles prefer hanging around their family over meeting new friends. Here at Lucy Pet we have two Standard Poodles who come to our office each day. They enjoy walking up and down the hallways, visiting various team members and just checking in, and they almost always ignore the other dogs in our office.
9. Poodles can Lead or Follow
Because of their awareness and remarkable intelligence, Poodles need the stimulation that comes with having a dominant figure in their life. If they do not have a leader, they will quickly assume the role and become dominant and hard to train.
The reasoning behind this isn’t rooted in rebelliousness. Dogs are pack animals, and they know that without a strong leader, the pack will suffer. If they sense that you have unstable or nervous emotions, they will take charge and assume a leadership role to do their part. One Spoo we know will actively “corral” his human dad to the direction where the treats are kept.
10. Very Few Health Concerns
Poodles are generally considered to be a very sturdy breed with few health issues. Their life expectancy ranges from 10-18 years. Through the long history of genetically breeding a calm, compassionate, and intelligent dog, most Poodles live a perfectly healthy long life. Below are some of the most common Poodle health issues to be aware of.
- Addison’s Disease – Most breeders test for this genetic predisposition and can rule it out as a puppy. If you rescued your poodle or are not sure of their health history, it is very important to ask your vet to run a simple blood test for Addison’s disease. Also known as hypoadrenocorticism, it is an insufficient production of adrenal hormones by the adrenal gland. Since these hormones are essential for life, this is an extremely serious disease and it must be treated as such. Most dogs with Addison’s disease initially have gastrointestinal disturbances like vomiting, poor appetite, or lethargy are all common early signs to watch for. It can be extremely easy to miss this disease.
- Hip dysplasia – Poodles like other dogs can experience hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball-and-socket joint in the hip continually dislocates and relocates, wearing down the joint’s integrity. You may notice some dogs standing up only using their front paws, or they may be reluctant to join in on playtime. This could be a result of pain in their hips.
- Bloat – A particularly terrifying disorder, bloat occurs when gas becomes trapped in a dog’s stomach, and the stomach twists into a knot. If the pressure is not released by surgical intervention, this can quickly become life-threatening. Be sure to learn the symptoms of bloat in order to be prepared should the situation arise. Poodles and other large-chested dogs suffer from this disorder. The key is to react extremely fast and go directly to a Veterinary Hospital if you notice symptoms of extreme lethargy in your dog.
- Cushings Disease-There are 3 forms of Cushings Disease. Most dogs have the more common form, Pituitary Dependent PD. With this form the dogs have a slow growing form of cancer that is located in the pituitary gland. The next form is the Non Pituitary. Here there is a tumor in one or both of the adrenal glands. The last form comes from dogs being on long term use of “Cortisone”. This drug comes in many forms and can cause problems with its long term use.
- Epilepsy– Seizures in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors. A common cause of seizures in all varieties of Poodles (as well as 25 or 30 other breeds) is “idiopathic epilepsy.” Idiopathic epilepsy generally is inherited, and it can result in either mild or severe seizures.
- Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a malfunctioning thyroid which is caused by the inadequate production of the thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms may include obesity, excessive hunger, skin conditions, irregular heat cycles (bitches), excessive coarse coat texture, inability to stay warm, and lethargy.
Most Common Poodle Health Issues add this link:https://www.lucypetproducts.com/5-most-common-poodle-health-issues
The Importance of Training, Exercise, and Diet
Poodles are actively engaged in your daily life and will take great interest in everything you do. Because of their bond with human family members and their active minds, they require a lot of love, mental stimulation and attention. They are not the type of dogs you regulate to the backyard and expect to entertain themselves. Poodles need companionship and regular mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Taking your dog on a walk every day and allowing them to experience new sights and smells on weekends is important for their mental and physical development. Playing fetch, running, frisbee, or trips to the park are always welcome activities by a Poodle. Poodles also generally do very well accompanying you to pet friendly places, they will politely sit and listen to your conversation at a sidewalk cafe, or help you select toys at the pet store.
An important point worth mentioning about Poodles is not to