A complete breed guide for Poodle dogs


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever BVSc (Hons)

Dignified, athletic and intelligent, the Poodle is a breed recognisable for its signature, dense curled coat and popular the world round for its trainable and affectionate nature. Originating as a water retrieval dog over 400 years ago, minature and toy poodles were then bred as companion pets for those requiring a more compact pet to fit an urban lifestyle. Poodles are often recommended as a breed for pet parents with allergies as they shed far less fur and dander than other dog breeds.

At a glance
Poodle breeds
Health Concerns
Related Breeds
Further reading

Facts about the Poodle

Breed size: Place of origin: Other names:
Toy, Miniature & Standard Germany Caniche (French), "Duck Dog"
Breed group: Energy level: Weight range:
Non sporting/Utility High Toy: 2.5 - 4kg, Mini: 6.5 - 8kg, Standard: 20 - 32kg
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Height range:
10 - 18 years Low Toy: 24 - 28cm, Mini: 28 - 35cm, Standard: 45 - 60cm at shoulder
Drool factor: Coat length: Colours:
Low Dense medium to long 10 standard colours: apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, grey, red, silver, silver beige, white
Shedding factor: Social needs: Overall grooming needs:
Very low Moderate High maintenance, regular brushing & trims needed

Do Poodles shed?

Poodles are well-known as a non-shedding breed. They shed far less hair and dander than other dog breeds, earning them the 'hypoallergenic' dog breed title. Because they do not shed, their coat grows continuously, so their dense, medium to long coat does require regular brushing and trimming. Their coat comes in 10 standard colours - apricot, black, blue, brown, cream, grey, red, silver, silver beige and white.

How big do Poodles get?

Toy poodles grow to 2.5 - 4kg bodyweight, and stand 24-28cm tall at the shoulder. Miniature poodles grow to 6.5 - 8kg bodyweight and stand 28-35cm at the shoulder. Standard poodles grow to 20 - 32kg bodyweight and stand 45-60cm at the shoulder.

How much does a poodle cost?

The cost of a poodle puppy varies enormously, depending on the breed lines of the parents. Puppies bred from pedigree parents can fetch up to $4000 or more. Poodle cross-breeds, such as the Cavoodle and Labradoodle are hugely popular and can cost more than purebred poodle puppies.

How long do Poodles live for?

The life expectancy of Poodles ranges between 10-18 years. Generally, the larger the breed, the lower the life expectancy, so Standard Poodles will have a life expectancy closer to 10 years, while Toy Poodles closer to 18 years.

Are Poodles good pets?

Poodles make wonderful companions. They are very intelligent and affectionate, and make wonderful pets for children. They love to be with their family. Due to their intelligence and high energy levels, Poodles require daily activity and mental stimulation. While the Standard Poodle is probably too large and energetic for an apartment, toy and miniature Poodles are well suited to apartment living, as long as they are afforded plenty of play, exercise and social interaction. For more information, take a look at our Tips for Keeping Your Dog in an Apartment.

Do Poodles bark?

Poodles have a low tendency to bark. However, as they love being around their people, if left alone for long periods of time, they can be prone to separation anxiety, with problematic barking being a consequence. For more information on excessive barking, see our guide on How to Stop Your Dog Barking.

How do I know which Poodle Breeder to choose?

Choosing a reputable breeder is a crucial initial step in bringing home a healthy, happy dog. Take a look at How to find a good breeder for questions you should be asking of any breeder. Responsible breeders should be committed advancing the health of their Poodle breed, pairing dogs to breed away from inheritable diseases and conformation issues, and selecting for good temperaments.

Poodle Breeds

There are 3 officially recognised Poodle breeds; the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle. The Standard Poodle is the oldest breed, from which the Miniature and Toy Poodle were developed.

Toy Poodle

Image credit: Manuel González Olaechea / CC BY-SA

The Toy Poodle is the smallest recognised Poodle breed. It is well suited to apartment or small home living, preferring to be indoors. Toy poodles can be highly demanding of affection, and dislike being alone. They are prone to certain health conditions, including epilepsy, dislocating kneecaps, heart disease, diabetes and eye diseases.

Miniature Poodle

Image credit: Belinda Hankins Miller / CC BY

The Miniature Poodle can be a little more sensitive and demanding of attention than his larger relative. Like the Toy Poodle they are well suited to apartment living as long as they are exercised daily and have a lot of social interaction and mental stimulation. Miniature Poodles are prone to von Willebrands disease, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy and bladder problems.

Standard Poodle

Image credit: Wcrowe at en.wikipedia / CC BY-SA

Standard Poodles are exuberant and intelligent, making them lots of fun to be with. They have lots of energy, so definitely need daily exercise, and their size likely makes them unsuitable for apartment living. Standard Poodles are prone to similar diseases as their smaller relatives, and bloat (also known as Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus ('GDV')) and hip dysplasia.

Poodle History

Although they are the national dog of France, the standard poodle actually originated over 400 years ago in Germany as a water retrieval dog used for duck hunting. The classic poodle show clip was originally designed to allow the dogs to move freely in water while protecting important parts of their anatomy like internal organs, hip and leg joints from the cold.

Over the years the poodle's trainable nature and elegance gained it favour among nobles in France and across Europe, with the Miniature variety being bred down from the larger Standard. The Toy Poodle originated in the United States early in the last century as a compact companion breed.

Poodle Personality

Poodles are highly intelligent and trainable dogs with a affectionate, sunny disposition, making them excellent companions and canine athletes. They require daily exercise and due to their origins as water retrieval dogs are often keen swimmers and love a game of fetch.

Poodles generally get along well with other animals and children, although care must be taken to ensure kids are gentle with the more delicate Toy and Miniature Poodles.

Poodle Health Problems

Although Poodles are generally quite healthy, like any purebreed they can have a predisposition to a few health conditions including:

Progressive Retinal Atopy

Progressive Retinal Atropy (PRA) is a genetically inherited condition where cells in the retina responsible for registering light and colour degenerate and die. PRA is non painful and affects both eyes at once, as the cells which work best in low light degenerate first, an early sign of PRA can be loss of vision in lower light conditions. Genetic testing can be used to detect some (but not all) of the dogs who carry or will develop the disease.


Hypothyroidism (also known as an underactive thyroid) is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. In broad terms, this results in a slowing of metabolic processes which causes symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, hair loss and skin conditions. Hypothyroidism is usually fairly simple to manage with an inexpensive daily medication to supplement thyroid hormone levels.

Cushing's Disease

Medically known as Hyperadrenocorticism, Cushings Disease in dogs is caused by the adrenal glands producing excessive amounts of cortisol, a hormone with many important functions including controlling the body's stress and immune responses. This overproduction can be caused either by a tumour in the pituitary gland which causes excessive production of the hormone ACTH, which triggers cortisol production (Pituitary Dependent) or from a tumour within the adrenal glands themselves which causes excessive cortisol to be produced (Adrenal Dependent).

Pituitary Dependent Cushings Disease accounts for about 80% of all naturally occurring cases of Cushing's in dogs, and most of these tumours will be benign. Adrenal Dependent Cushings is less common and there is a fairly equal chance that the tumours in these cases will be benign or malignant. A third cause of Cushing's Syndrome (Iatrogenic) can occur if dogs are given corticosteroid medications long term or at high doses, lowering the dose or discontinuing the medication under veterinary supervision should reverse Iatrogenic Cushing's.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus ("Bloat"/GDV)

Due to their larger size and deep chest, Standard Poodles can develop GDV, or bloat, a life threatening condition where the stomach bloats and may also rotate, compressing the veins returning blood to the heart and also obstructing circulation to the stomach. The precise cause is unknown although there appears to be a link with eating or drinking large amounts and exercising on a full stomach. Caught early GDV can be treated with surgery although there is still a high mortality rate. A preventative surgery (gastropexy) can be performed to minimise the risk of GDV in at risk breeds.

Poodle Diet and Nutrition

Poodle Puppies

It's best to feed your young poodle a premium quality puppy food designed to suit the health needs of their size; for Toy and Miniature Poodles a good quality small breed puppy food and for Standard Poodle puppies, a large breed puppy food. Toy and Miniature Poodles reach their adult size and weight at around 10-12 months of age, so should continue to be fed a premium puppy food until this age. Standard Poodles, as medium to large breed dogs, may not reach their adult size and weight until around 15-18 months of age. For more information, take a look at What is the Best Puppy Food? and for answers to all your puppy feeding questions, check out Everything You Need to Know about Feeding Your Puppy.

Bring home a puppy is an exciting time, though it can be overwhelming with so many things to learn about puppy care, behaviour and training. Take a look at our New Puppy Guide to help you prepare for those first few weeks and months with your new family member. For tips on combatting some of those problematic (but entirely normal) puppy behaviours, like inappropriate chewing, take a look at our Puppy Training Guide.

With their intelligence and social nature, puppy preschools offer a safe environment to introduce your Poodle puppy to new people, smells, sounds, environments and other dogs. Puppy preschool also introduces the techniques used in positive obedience training. For more information, take a look at the Importance of Socialisation.

For adult poodles, age-appropriate diets formulated for their specific size are ideal. To optimise coat condition and shine, look for recipes enriched with additional omega fatty acids and other nutrients to support vibrant colour, healthy skin and a lustrous coat.

Nutrition for Miniature and Toy Poodle puppies

The following diets are premium quality foods, with highly digestible ingredients. They are designed to not only meet the needs of your growing Toy or Mini poodle, but allow them to thrive through additional ingredients such as omega 3 fatty acids (to ensure optional brain and eye development).

Nutrition for Standard Poodle puppies

Standard poodles vary in their adult weight, and may fall into the medium breed category (adult weight between 10-25kg) or the large breed category (adult weight greater than 25kg). The best way to tell how big your Standard Poodle puppy will grow is to take a look at his parents - in general, puppies will be approximately the average weight of their parents. For puppies who are expected to grow into the 'large breed' category, a large breed puppy diet is ideal to ensure an optimal balance of calcium and phosphorus to support the growth of the skeleton and minimise the risk of developmental orthopaedic conditions.

Nutrition for adult Poodles

As mentioned above, the choice of food for your adult Poodle will depend on the breed and size of your dog. The following diets include additional ingredients to support vibrant colour, healthy skin and a lustrous coat.

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Poodle Grooming

With their signature look, a poodle coat takes a special type of care to keep it looking it's best. Rest assured that it is not necessary for your Poodle's coat to be clipped in the well-known 'Lion Clip'. A lamb-clip (where the coat is kept at the same length all over) is often easier and cheaper to maintain. Bathing is important to keep the coat looking in top condition, however bathing too frequently can strip the coat of it's natural oils and cause it to become dry, flaky and irritated. Ear care is also important, as the ear canals are often hairy, and along with the beautiful floppy ears, this can predispose poodles to ear infections. Weekly ear cleaning at the same time as coat grooming will help to minimise any infections.

Our top grooming recommendations for Poodles

Related Breeds

The poodle is a very popular choice for crossing with other breeds due to it's non-shedding coat, intelligence and affectionate temperament. Though these cross-breeds are not officially recognised, they are very popular as pets. Some of the breeds closely related to the Poodle are:


The Cavoodle is one of the most popular breeds in Australia. It is believed to have first been bred in the USA by crossing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a Miniature Poodle. For more information, check out our Cavoodle Breed Guide.


This gorgeous, goofy cross is widely known and loved. The Labrador genes make the Labradoodle one of the larger poodle crosses, though their size will depend on the Poodle breed contribution.


The Groodle (Golden Retriever cross Poodle), like the Labradoodle, is a very popular larger 'oodle' cross. Also known affectionately as the 'Golden Doodle', they come in 3 sizes - toy, miniature or standard, depending on the poodle size they were crossed with.


The Spoodle is a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle. They are also sometimes called a 'Cockapoo'. These dogs are very social with a beautiful temperament. They are generally small to medium sized, weighing between 5-15kg.


With their hypoallergenic coat and immense intelligence, these dogs are becoming very popular. They are incredible easy to train but need lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep them entertained and happy.

Teacup Poodles

Teacup poodles have been bred to be extra-small. They are not an officially recognised breed, but rather have been selectively bred from small Toy Poodles. Along with the common health conditions experienced by the official Poodle breeds, selectively breeding from smaller dogs (also known as the 'runts') has added further health issues such as congenital heart defects.

Further reading

Premium pet food: Is it worth it?

Does your dog have a food allergy?

New puppy guide

What's in your pet's food?

How to read the label on a bag of pet food

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