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Poodle Guide: Toy, Miniature, Standard, Teacup, Shedding, Grooming, Life Span & More


Last Updated: November 7, 2023 | 9 min read | 60 Comments

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Brown Poodle in girl's lap (caption: Poodle Guide)

Depending on whom you ask, the Poodle is considered one of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds, but is that what makes this dog so lovable? This unique breed includes three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy, and is an excellent choice for people with allergies. Read on to find out more about Poodles’ characteristics, including their history, various types, cuddly appearance, intelligence, and overall temperament.

History Of The Poodle

Historical photo of Poodle

Ask most people, and they will tell you that the Poodle originates from France — this is perhaps due to cartoon depictions of the perfumed French Poodle. However, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), this breed originally hails from Germany, where its purpose was to serve as a water retriever. Still, some disagree with this German story of origin and believe the Poodle orginated in Denmark.

The Poodle’s heritage is from the Barbet, the French Water Dog, and the Hungarian Water Hound. Each of these breeds contributed to the “final product” that we know today as the Poodle. The water-loving nature of all three breeds is in the Poodle, and many believe that this is why the breed received its name — a bastardization of the German word Pudel which translates to mean “one who plays in water.”

What Were Poodles Bred For?

The Poodle had many functions throughout history. Hunters used the dog as a retriever when hunting waterfowl, as a gun dog, and even as a truffle-seeking dog. As time progressed, however, the intelligence of this breed became apparent, and the French began using Poodles as circus performers. Through this type of exposure as a trainable and intelligent breed, the Poodle became extremely popular in France, and many began to refer to the dog as the French Poodle.

AKC Logo

The Poodle is recognized by the AKC as a non-sporting breed. Other organizations that formally recognize this breed: Continental Kennel Club, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, Kennel Club of Great Britain, Australian National Kennel Council, National Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, America’s Pet Registry, American Canine Registry, Dog Registry of America, and the North American Purebred Registry.


Over time, the Poodle breed began to take three separate paths. The original Standard Poodle started to diverge into smaller dogs while also maintaining their size; this caused three classes of Poodles. The three Poodle varieties are still recognized today as the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle. While weight differs between Poodle classes, it’s the height that is most important in distinguishing which variety a Poodle belongs to.

Standard Poodle

Black standard poodle standing on sidewalk
Standard Poodle

The Standard Poodle was the first of the Poodle breed to be developed, and is also known as the Caniche, Barbone, Chien Canne, Grosse Pudel, and the French Poodle.

The Standard Poodle is a medium to large-sized breed, standing at 15 inches or taller. It can weigh anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds, with the females averaging between 45 to 60 pounds and the males averaging 45 to 70 pounds.

Miniature Poodle

The Miniature Poodle or Mini Poodle has to be between 10 and 15 inches tall to classify as this type. If the dog fails to meet this requirement, it will be considered either a Toy or a Standard Poodle. The Minature Poodle’s weight is between 15 to 17 pounds.

Miniature Poodle laying in grass
Miniature Poodle

Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle stands up to 10 inches tall. If the dog stands taller than 10 inches tall at the highest point of the shoulders, it can’t be a Toy Poodle and will instead be considered a Miniature Poodle. Toy Poodles typically weigh between 6 and 9 pounds.

The Toy Poodle is currently the smallest of the Poodle breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, breeders are in the process of developing two other Poodle classes.

Newer Poodle Classes

Toy Poodle
Toy Poodle

There are two more Poodle classes that the AKC does not yet recognize. The Moyan Poodle (also called the Klein Poodle or Medium Poodle) is between Miniature and Standard Poodle sizes.

Breeders are also working to develop a much more miniature Poodle known as the Teacup Poodle. How big do Teacup Poodles get? Teacup Poodles are one of the smallest dog breeds and only get up 9 inches tall and only weigh up to 6 pounds.


Grey Poodle sitting

The Poodle has a long and straight muzzle with long ears that hang close to the head. The dog’s tail may or may not be docked. The feet of the standard Poodle are pretty small.


The coat of this breed is perhaps one of its defining characteristics. It’s a single coat and has a corded or curly appearance. They also have a coat of hair, not fur.


There is considerable variation in the color of the Poodle coat. Still, it should always be solid in color — however, some breeders are working on breeding parti colored Poodles that don’t currently meet show standards. The most commonly seen coat colors in the Poodle are blue, black, gray, silver, apricot, cream, brown, white, red, and café-au-lait.


The Poodle is most commonly recognized for its traditional hair clip. While many believe that this clip is for visual appeal, it actually originated for a much different reason. As a hunter and retriever, the Poodle often found itself in the elements, and this led their handlers to develop a clip that best protected the dog without hindering it. The clip features hair on the legs; this is intact to prevent sharp reeds from cutting the dog’s legs while retrieving game and also to help trap warmth and avoid chilling.

Do Poodles Shed?

Unlike other dogs that shed frequently, the Poodle is not a shedder; however, it still requires regular grooming and clipping to maintain a healthy and manageable coat.

Are Poodles Hypoallergenic?

No. But, since Poodles have hair, not fur, and they’re low shedders, they’re considered low allergy dogs. While non-shedding or low-shedding dogs produce less hair around your home, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. Discover which other dog breeds are low-shedders.

Do You Have A Dog Allergy?

If you suspect you may have a dog allergy, you can learn more about the severity of it by taking this at-home allergy test.

Poodle Grooming

Dog being groomed (caption: How To Groom Dogs)

Grooming your Poodle is an essential part of care. It’s vital to clip their coat and maintain a regular grooming schedule. You should bathe and clip your Poodle once every couple of months or less if deemed necessary.

Grooming can be expensive, but it’s a must for anyone considering owning a Poodle. If you cannot financially commit to regular grooming every four to six weeks for your Poodle, you may want to consider another breed that requires less maintenance. Another option is to learn how to groom a Poodle at home to save on grooming costs, but it’s recommended that you only attempt to do this with instruction from a professional.

Before you get started, you’ll need to get the best grooming tools for Poodles. You’ll need the best shampoo for Poodles, the best dog grooming clippers for Poodles, and the best brush for Poodles.

Poodle Hairstyles

Next, you need to think about Poodle hairstyles. There are various styles, from a Poodle with long hair to a shaved Poodle. Poodle hairstyles are known as clips. The most common clip for pet owners is called the Lamb Clip or the Puppy Clip. This variety of cuts simply involves cutting the hair closely all over the body.

Other popular Poodle clips include the Continental Clip, the Modified Continental Clip, the Town and Country Clip, the Miami clip, and the Kennel Clip.

Poodle Temperament

The Poodle is a graceful and proud dog, and when raised in a healthy household, they are a cheerful breed. This breed can become a very highly strung dog and experience separation anxiety when not trained and socialized well. A lack of exercise (both physical and mental) can also lead to these types of behaviors.

Our experts explore some frequently asked questions related to a Poodle’s personality.

Are Poodles Smart?

Grid of various smart Dog Breeds (caption: Smartest Dog Breeds)

Poodles are ranked #2 as the smartest breed by a leading dog expert.

Are Poodles Aggressive?

This breed is not usually aggressive; however, aggressive behavior can develop without proper training and socialization. The Poodle can be used as a guard dog in some circumstances depending on the dog’s overall personality, so it’s possible to train them to be aggressive when necessary.

Are Poodles Mean?

Poodles are very sensitive. If they feel anxious or unsafe, they can be mean. With early training and socialization; however, they’re very loving, gentle dogs.

Are Poodles Good With Kids?

When socialized from an early age, the Poodle does very well with other animals and children and is also relatively friendly with strangers. This breed is a very family-oriented dog that thrives on companionship.

Do Poodles Bark A Lot?

Poodles are average barkers. They do not bark excessively and rarely bark for no reason. Since they are one of the most intelligent breeds, they can be trained easily to reduce barking.


Doggy Dan with 2 dogs (caption: Doggy Dan Trainer Review)

Poodles don’t thrive as an outside dog or spending a lot of time alone. It’s important to socialize and begin training this breed as soon as possible to ensure a healthy and well-rounded adult dog.

The Poodle is a particularly sensitive breed to the tone of voice, so Poodle owners need to be firm but not harsh. A calm and confident owner is best for the Poodle breed.

If you’re looking for help with how to train a Poodle, our experts are here to help. We have tips on finding the right trainer and online training resources like Doggy Dan.

Health Concerns

Dog belly with skin infection (caption: Dog Skin Infections)

Some of the most common health concerns for Poodle owners to look out for include:

  • Cataracts
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Runny eyes
  • Skin conditions
  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Canine Bloat (in larger poodles)
  • Premature graying

Most dog breeds have some health concerns, and many of these can be avoided by researching a dog’s genetic lines before adopting a puppy. If you’re getting a Poodle, make sure that you conduct thorough research to know that your dog comes from good genetic stock. It’s also important to know that even dogs from the best genetic lines can experience health concerns that can be costly. That’s why we recommend you get pet insurance at an early age to help cover future vet expenses.

How Long Do Poodles Live?

This is a long-lived breed with an average Poodle lifespan of 12 to 15 years. The long lifespan of the Poodle is something that you should consider when you’re deciding if this is the right breed for you. Any dog is a commitment; just be aware that for a Poodle, this commitment could be longer than many other dog breeds. However, different types of Poodles have different lifespans.

How Long Do Standard Poodles Live?

The Standard Poodle lifespan is about 12 years.

How Long Do Minature Poodles Live?

The Miniature Poodle lifespan is a bit longer, around 14 years. (Small dogs tend to live longer than larger ones.)

How Long Do Toy Poodles Live?

The Toy Poodle lifespan is the longest at about 16 years old. Teacup Poodles live about as long.

How Much Exercise Do They Need?

The Poodle is a generally calm and inactive dog when indoors, but they must receive sufficient exercise to stay healthy. A daily walk is a must for this dog, but they also need off-leash playtime and more rigorous activities to keep them fit and happy. The smaller Poodle breeds can get away with less exercise; the larger Standard Poodle must receive more daily exercise.

Mental exercise is also an essential part of owning any Poodle. As the world’s second most intelligent dog breed, keeping this dog stimulated to avoid problem behavior is crucial. Activities that poodles enjoy include retrieving, agility work, watchdog work, learning new tricks, and competing in obedience trials. If you’re unable to provide these types of activities, combine regular exercise with problem-solving toys and games to encourage psychological growth and exercise.

Do Poodles Like Water?

Many people wonder, are Poodles water dogs? Originally bred as a water retriever, the Poodles of today still love the water and are great swimmers. This breed’s coat is low maintenance and dries quickly when it gets wet.

What Is The Best Food For Poodles?

Dog eating food out of bowl with silverware (caption: A Complete Guide To The Best Dog Foods)

It’s always best to reach out to your vet when trying to decide what to feed your pup. Once you know what will meet their needs, you can read up on what our experts recommend for the best dog foods for Poodles. Our experts can also guide you on the best puppy food for Poodles.

Gary The Goldendoodle laying on dog bed

Designer dogs are trendy, and Poodles are part of a lot of mixes. Some of the most popular Poodle mixes include:

  • Bichon Poodle mix (Bich Poo)
  • Shih Tzu Poodle mix (Shih-Poo)
  • German Shepherd Poodle mix (Shepadoo)
  • Chihuahua Poodle mix (Chi-Poos)
  • Husky Poodle mix (Huskypoo)
  • Maltese Poodle mix (Maltipoo)
  • Golden Retriever Poodle mix (Goldendoodle)

How Much Is A Poodle?

Puppies peeking through fence (caption: How To Find A Reputable Dog Breeder)

If you choose to get a Poodle from a breeder, you can expect to spend between $700 and $1200. Be sure you choose a reputable breeder to ensure the health and safety of your puppy. You could also consider adopting a Poodle from a rescue organization. This option can be much less expensive, but you may have to wait an extended period to receive a rescue pup.

How Much Is A Toy Poodle?

Toy Poodles are a bit more expensive than a Standard Poodle. If you want to get a Toy Poodle from a breeder, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $1,500.

What To Expect When You Get A Poodle

This three-minute video from Relax My Dog talks about six things to expect when you get a Poodle.

Is A Poodle The Right Dog For Me?

The Complete Guide To Poodles

While many people jump at the chance to own one of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds, it’s essential to understand the amount of responsibility that this label brings. It’s critical to meet this breed’s needs when you consider whether a Poodle is suitable for your household. For more information about this breed, check out The Complete Guide To Poodles.

If you’re away from home all day and cannot provide companionship and exercise for your dog in the form of a mid-day walk, or if you don’t want to hire a dog walker or dog sitter, you may want to reconsider owning a Poodle and look into other dog breeds.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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