While they’re all one breed, Poodles come in three sizes. Formally, the size is calculated by shoul­der height, but in general the Standard Poodle weighs about 60 pounds, the Miniature Poodle about 16 pounds and the Toy Poodle about 8 pounds. All three are chock-full of brains and charm.

A Three-Fold History

Poodles were grouped together as one breed in the mid-20th century, but their earlier histories are diverse, if not distinct. Ancestors of the Standard Poodle were bred for water retrieving in Germany. Their well-known coiffures served a purpose, facilitating swimming and protecting vital organs from cold water. The Miniature Poodle was developed primar­ily for companionship; wealthy Europeans fashioned the lavish coats of their Poodles, sometimes mirroring their own hairstyles. Some Miniature Poodles hunted for truffles, and others participated in shows. Toy Poodles, the smallest variation, were likely bred down from their larger counterparts simply for cozy-sized companionship.


All-sized Poodles evidence a similar temperament: people-focused, gentle and quick to learn. With their intelligence and biddable nature, Poodles prove tough competitors in obedience, rally and tracking. Nimble and light on their feet, the Poodle frequently shines in agility. Most also enjoy lake swims and family pool time. They’re natural swimmers, after all! And although Poodles are renowned tricksters and comedians, most carry themselves with pride and an air of dignity (if not snootiness!).

The Poodle usually gets along nicely with the family’s other animals. While he tends to pay more attention to humans than dogs, he’s nonetheless rarely ill-tempered around new dogs. As for watchdog duty, Poodles are good alert barkers, but they’ll likely not chase many strangers away. They’re too welcoming and social to serve as classic guard dogs.

While Poodles can adjust to any size yard or apartment, all Poodles need purpose. Big or small, they thrive on structured exercise, walks, swims and, most importantly, participation in the family. A Poodle is far from a solitary creature.

Poodle Particulars

WEIGHT The Standard weighs roughly 60 pounds, the Miniature about 16 and the Toy about 8 pounds.
LIFE SPAN Toy and Miniature Poodles typically live 14 to 16 years. Standard Poodles have an expected life span of 11 to 13 years.
COAT Coats are naturally curly and coarse. Some are corded. The Poodle’s hair will grow until it’s clipped.
PUPPY COAT The puppy’s early soft coat will slowly turn into a curly, dense adult coat. During the transition phase, the coat may mat more frequently.
COLORS Black, blue, gray, silver, cream, apricot, white, café-au-lait
SHEDDING Poodles are a low-shedding breed, a good match for families who suffer from animal allergies. Keep in mind no breed is 100% “hypoallergenic.”
EQUIPMENT Ambitious owners may want clippers at home (ideally only after grooming lessons!) to maintain their Poodle’s cut.
BEST FOR Singles as well as families. Sporty folks will enjoy the Poodle’s athleticism, but the breed also adapts to a more quiet lifestyle, senior living or apartment living.
POSSIBLE HEALTH ISSUES Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, luxating patella
PROPOSED BREED QUOTE Intelligence never stops being beautiful!