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Breed: Poodle
Temperament: Active, can be neurotic
Cost: from $600
Lifespan: 12 years
Recommended for: Families, singles, older adults
Maintenance: High

Appearance: Poodles are among the most striking dog breeds with their range of hair styles and sizes. Poodles come in three sizes – a standard, a medium to large dog over 38cm (15″) tall; the miniature 28-38cm (11-15″); and the toy under 28cm (11″). The coat is thick, curly and dense, woolly rather than furry and doesn’t shed. Poodles are available in solid colours ranging through white, cream, and silver to brown and black. They are lightly-built dogs with sharp features.

Temperament: The standard and miniature are considered to have more amenable characters, but toys are anecdotally more neurotic (see Health). Despite their indulged appearance, Poodles are considered intelligent dogs, playful and extroverted. Breeders generally agree the standard variety is more suitable around small children, the miniature less reliable. Unless raised with children, toy poodles can be nervous and excitable and, possibly, unpredictable.


Toys: Legge Perthes Disease which causes degeneration of the ball part of the hip joint; may be surgically corrected. May have behaviour problems if over-indulged.
Miniatures: luxating patellas, a slipping kneecap which can be fixed surgically.
Standards: The deep chest is susceptible to bloat and new owners need to consult with breeders to discuss dietary requirements to avoid this.

Grooming: The highlight of owning a Poodle is choosing what clip to use. Exhibition dogs can appear in a variety of well-known and sometimes bizarre clips designed to impress and requiring long hours and great skill. Most pet owners opt for an all-over lamb clip which many learn to do themselves. The clips were said to be introduced to minimise water drag on the coat during its career as a water retriever. Whatever you choose, the coat demands clipping every six to eight weeks because it does not shed.

Training: Stanley Coren’s Intelligence of Dogs ranks the Poodle as second only to the Border Collie for its working and obedient intelligence. Basic leash training is strongly recommended. They are seen in obedience classes but owners say the dogs are almost too bright, becoming quickly bored by the repetitive nature of some exercises.

Ideal owner & uses: While Poodles have been used as circus performers over the years, they also excel as a companion animal. Long time owners say their dogs are very sensitive to their moods and are great company. This, and their size, make them very attractive to older people with smaller homes. Their protective attitude also appeals to many single people. Breeders believe larger poodles, and especially the standard, are suited to families with children. But owners must be prepared commit to time to grooming when considering a Poodle as a pet.

Space & exercise: Poodles are bright, active dogs which need regular exercise, especially the standard which should have a 30 minute walk daily.

Housepet potential: The smaller varieties are popular indoor dogs with the added benefit of having a non-shedding coat, a boon for many allergy sufferers. Standards may be considered too large for many people.

History: Poodles are said to have originated in Germany, and were used extensively throughout Europe for retrieving game, especially in the water. They have been in and out as a fashion accessory for many years, with the French having a special love affair with the breed.

Further information

Poodle Puppy Registrar
Janet Crilley
Phone: (02) 9620 2007

Bev Nolan
Phone: (02) 9832 8239

Sue King
Phone: (02) 9656 1477

North Australian Canine Association
PO Box 375321
Winnellie, 0821
Phone: (08) 8984 3570

Poodle Club of Queensland
Secretary: Sylvia Everest
Phone: (07) 5543 6402

Poodle Club of SA
Ros Riccio
Phone: (08) 8353 2319

Tasmanian Canine Council
PO Box 116
Glenorchy, 7010
Phone: (03) 6272 9443

Poodle Club of Victoria
Secretary: Margaret Travers
20 Orford Street
Moonee Ponds West, 3039
Phone: (03) 9370 3871

Toy Poodle Society of Victoria
Treasurer: Jane Duncan
48 Cobblestone Ave
Narre Warren South, 3805
Phone: (03) 9704 0980

The Canine Association of WA
PO Box 301
Gosnells, 6110
Phone: (08) 9455 1188