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Poodle Pros and Cons: Is The Poodle Perfect For You?

Last Updated: December 23, 2023

The Poodle is the fifth most common dog breed in American homes. Originally bred as waterfowl retrievers, Poodles have become popular pets with intelligence that makes them easy to train for a pleasant coexistence with us. But what pros and cons should you consider before buying a Poodle?

Poodles’ biggest pros are they come in three sizes, giving prospective owners a choice between the standard, miniature, and toy types. They are hypoallergenic, highly intelligent and trainable, and good family dogs. However, Poodles can be hypersensitive, and their coat needs plenty of grooming.

Knowing everything about the pros and cons of owning a Poodle is key in deciding if this breed is ideal for your next pet addition to your family. This article discusses everything you must know before purchasing and bringing home a Poodle. Let’s dive into the specifics!

A black standard Poodle puppy.

Poodle Pros and Cons

Active, proud, and very smart are the three qualities that describe the Poodle’s pleasant personality. Additionally, Poodles are cute to look at, and they can wear their woolly, dense coats in different clips. However, Poodles can also be skittish and could suffer severe health conditions.  

These are just a few of the Poodle’s pros and cons. To give you a complete picture of the pluses and minuses of the Poodle you should know about before bringing home the dog, we’ll discuss in detail the pros and cons of the breed.

Here’s a summary of the Poodle pros and cons we’ll be discussing:

Poodle ProsPoodle Cons
Poodles come in three sizesPoodles are a pricey breed
Poodles are intelligent and highly trainablePoodles require plenty of grooming
Poodles are hypoallergenicPoodles can be overly sensitive
Poodles can wear different haircuts (clips)Poodles require plenty of daily exercise
Poodles have a long life expectancyPoodles can be prone to health conditions
Poodles come in a range of colors
Poodles are good family dogs

I’ll give you all the facts you need to know about these Poodle pros and cons in the rest of the article.

Poodle Pros

Poodle pros are the positive qualities of Poodles that’ll win your heart and make bringing home a Poodle puppy irresistible. They really are furry bundles of love and mischief, and when it comes to cuddles, there is hardly any breed to compete with, especially if you go for the toy variety.

Here are some other reasons why Poodles top the ranks.

Toy Poodle on Hind Legs
Toy Poodle

Poodles Come in Three Sizes

It’s one thing to be able to choose a dog from different breeds, but when it comes to the Poodle, you also get the benefit of choosing between three sizes within the same breed.

Poodles come in standard, miniature, and toy sizes. However, aside from the difference in size, all three types generally have the same physical characteristics and personality traits. 

I’ll give you summarized sizes of the three Poodle types to help you create a first impression of which would be good for you.

Poodle TypeHeightWeight
Standard>15″ (>38cm)40-70lb (18-32kg)
Miniature10″-15″ (25-38 cm)10-15lb (4.5-6.8kg)
Toy≤10″ (≤ 25cm)4-6lb (1.8-2.7lb)

The standard Poodle is the original size, while miniature and toy Poodles were purposely bred down from the standard.

All varieties are elegant, active, and agile and have a curly, dense, and harsh textured coat. They are friendly, affectionate, self-confident, and very smart, with an air of distinction and pride.

Poodles are Intelligent and Highly Trainable

The Poodle is ranked second in the book The Intelligence of Dogs,” and the breed is categorized among the “brightest dogs.” Dogs in this category have two key characteristics:

  • They understand new commands quickly, picking the commands with less than 5 repetitions.
  • At least 95% of the time, they obey commands the first time you say them.

Going by this, you will easily and efficiently succeed in housebreaking your Poodle puppy and training the dog in obedience. Additionally, owners who want their dogs to participate in dog shows can bet on their pet’s abilities.

Poodles are known for excellence in dog shows and competitions. In fact, Poodles rank 4th in the ‘Best in Show’ category at Westminster.

Learn All About Poodles In This Video…

Poodles Are Hypoallergenic

Poodles have a curly, thick, wooly coat with profuse, wiry hair. Some Poodles may also carry their hair hanging in tight cords. 

Unlike breeds that shed constantly or seasonally to renew their fur, Poodle hair grows continuously like humans’ so it can be trimmed depending on the owner’s preference. Most owners will keep their dog’s hair in a short trim.

While you may find hair occasionally, Poodles are among the breeds that don’t shed. Their no-shedding coat makes them hypoallergenic and an optimum pet choice for people with fur allergies.

Poodles Can Wear Different Haircuts (Clips)

If you consider owning a Poodle, it’s probably because you’ve seen one. If so, you will also have noticed that many Poodles do not wear a simple hair trim but have their hair styled. This is especially true of show dogs and one of the reasons they stand out.

There’s a history to styling Poodles’ fur in clips. Originally, Poodles were bred as water dogs. Shaving their hair in some parts was meant to facilitate the dog’s swimming speed while leaving the fur in other parts to protect the dog’s joints in cold water. 

Today, Poodle clips are somewhat a signature mark of the breed used to portray owner preferences in their dog’s looks and compete in dog shows.

Regarding dog shows, Poodles can wear one of these standard clips:

Puppy Clip (For Poodles Below 12 Months) 

  • Face, throat, tail base, and feet are shaved.
  • Shaven feet are visible.
  • A pompon (also known as a pompom) sits on the end of the tail.
  • Coat can be shaped to facilitate a smooth line and neat appearance.
Two Poodles Clipped and sitting next to each other

English Saddle Clip

  • Face, throat, tail base, forelegs, and feet are shaven.
  • Forelegs have puffs.
  • A pompon sits on the end of the tail.
  • Hindquarters have a trimmed blanket of hair and a curved shaved area on the side.
  • The hindlegs have a shaven band.

Continental Clip

  • Face, throat, tail base, and feet are shaved.
  • Hindquarters are shaven and can bear pompons on the hips.
  • Legs are shaven. Forelegs bear puff, and hindlegs bracelets of hair.
  • Tail has a pompon.
  • Body has a full coat but can be shaped to aid a neat appearance.

Sporting Clip

  • Face, throat, tail base, and feet are shaved.
  • A cap on the head.
  • Tail has a pompon.

Note that these are only standard clips for dog shows, and there are many other non-standard clips that Poodles can wear.

Poodles Have a Long Life Expectancy

Compared to humans, dogs have a short life expectancy and only live with us for a short time. However, some dogs live longer than others. The Poodle is one of the longest-living dog breeds. The ACK gives the breed a life expectancy of 10-18 years.

Compared to larger breeds like the Dogue de Bordeaux (5-8 years) and the Mastiff (6-10), owning a Poodle means you’ll enjoy the company and friendship of your dog for a longer period. 

Poodles Come in a Range of Colors

Poodles are one of those breeds that spoil their prospective owners with a choice of colors.

They come in 27 registered colors and 3 markings, but only 10 are standard. Standard Poodle colors include black, apricot, blue, brown, and cafe au lait. Varying shades of some standard Poodle colors, like brown, are allowed at dog shows.

Three Poodles - all Different Colors. A black, brown, and white Poodle - all sitting.

Poodles Are Good Family Dogs

When you say a dog is a good family pet, you expect that they score high on the following characteristics:

  • Trainability.
  • Affection with all family members.
  • Child-friendly.
  • Playful. 
  • Protective.

All types of Poodles have a 5/5 score on all the first four characteristics, and the standard Poodle has a perfect score on the fifth characteristic.

Poodle Cons

Discussing Poodle cons shouldn’t dissuade you from owning this wonderful dog. On the contrary, learning about a few downsides of owning a Poodle will prepare you to face any challenges that may come with owning this gorgeous breed. And being forewarned is being forearmed!

Poodles Are a Pricey Breed

Poodles are a popular breed, ranked fifth by the 2021 AKC list of the most popular dogs. Like other popular dogs, Poodles from reliable breeders will come at a high cost. On average, you’ll pay $3,000 for a dog from a registered breeder. However, Poodles listed on online websites can go for as low as $300.

Registered Poodle breeders put in more resources in pre-breeding health tests, among other expenses. That assures buyers they are buying a healthy and truly purebred dog. Going for a healthy pup from reliable breeders will cost you more, but it is the safest bet.

Poodles Require Plenty of Grooming

We indicated earlier that Poodles have human-like dense hair that grows continuously and needs occasional trimming after the dog is a year old.

Because of its density and woolly nature, a Poodle’s hair needs daily brushing. The hair should be brushed thoroughly to the skin. If this is not done, your dog’s hair can easily mat and become hard to brush and manage. That could lead to needing to shave your Poodle’s hair completely.

Considering the uniqueness of a Poodle’s hair grooming, owners can do the job or delegate it to a professional groomer. This is especially true of the styling of a Poodle’s clip. These dogs also need a professional bath every 4 to 6 weeks.

Given all these Poodle hair grooming requirements, it is advised that you don’t get a Poodle if you do not have enough time to care for their hair.

A Poodle being groomed.

Poodles Can Be Overly Sensitive

Poodles tend to be overly sensitive. They’ll easily get startled by loud noises in or around the home. They may also be frightened by unexpected cuddles or be anxious in new situations. 

A lot of a Poodle’s tendency to hypersensitivity is linked to early socialization. A study that focused on factors associated with noise sensitivity and fear of new situations found that it is more common in small dogs and was linked to other factors, such as:

  • Inadequate socialization in puppyhood.
  • Being neutered.
  • Inexperienced owners.
  • Being the only pet in the home (without conspecifics).
  • Non-participation in training activities.
  • And being in urban homes.

Going by this, prospective Poodle owners should be ready to dedicate time to early puppy socialization. They should also consider a multi-pet environment, among other ways of overcoming oversensitivity in their Poodles.

Poodles Require Plenty of Daily Exercise 

Needing plenty of daily exercise is really not a problem for a dog. However, if you are the kind that enjoys lying on the couch all day, works most of the day, or cannot dedicate energy to exercising your dog due to age or health-related reasons, then the Poodle is not for you.

Poodles of all three sizes are active, high-energy dogs that require an hour or more of daily exercise. This can be divided into 30-minute morning and evening walks and other activities in and outside the home. 

Considering they were bred as waterfowl retrieving dogs, Poodles (especially the standard variety) are among the dog breeds that are good swimmers and will enjoy a swim as part of their day’s exercise.

Poodles also have high mental stimulation needs and need an activity to keep them occupied and happy. If they are kept idle, they can invent their own activities to keep their intelligent selves entertained, which could mean digging around to try and discover what your couch cushions are stuffed with.

Poodle Running on a grassland

Poodles Can Be Prone To Breed-Related Health Conditions

Poodles are generally healthy dogs, also given their long lifespan. However, they can also suffer ill health like all other dogs.

According to the Poodle Club of America, some health problems associated with Poodles are common in all 3 sizes, while others are specific to a single type. As a result, they recommend testing your pet thoroughly, especially if you plan on breeding them.

Below is a list of diseases and health conditions that are a concern for Poodle owners:

With the tests recommended for the above health problems, breeding miniature Poodles should be tested for osteochondrodysplasia (miniature Poodle dwarfism). Standard Poodles should also be tested for neonatal encephalopathy with seizures.


Are Poodles good with children?

Poodles can make great family dogs when it comes to children. As one of the most intelligent breeds, Poodles are eager to please and love to learn. Their friendly nature also makes them gentle around kids.

Just be sure to supervise young children when interacting with any dog, and with patience and training, a Poodle will thrive in a household with children. Their playful side comes out to enjoy activities with the whole family.

How active are Poodles?

Poodles are highly energetic dogs that need plenty of activity each day. As a sporting breed originally used for hunting, Poodles have high stamina and thrive on exercise.

You’ll need to provide your Poodle with at least an hour of activity daily through walks, playtime, or other physical and mental stimulation. Without enough activity, a Poodle can become bored or anxious. But with the right amount of exercise, your Poodle will be a happy and well-behaved companion.

Final Thoughts

If you dream of owning a Poodle and are wondering about the pros and cons of owning this dog, you should know that you can choose between 3 types: standard, miniature, and toy. All are intelligent, good-looking pets whose hair you can style to your liking and the dog’s comfort.

However, a Poodle’s dense and curly hair requires daily grooming, and Poodles can also suffer one of the breed-related health conditions at some point in their lives. 

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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