Poodles and their variations are some of the most popular dog breeds in the United States as well as the world over. In fact, the American Kennel Club ranks the Poodle as the seventh most popular dog breed in America! Poodles are popular for many reasons; not only are they fluffy and cuddly, but they are also some of the most intelligent of all dogs.
Poodles were originally hunting companions. They were chosen because of their intelligence, but also because of their unique hair—that’s right, hair. Poodles do not truly have fur. They have one coat of hair that is soft and curly. It is much like human hair rather than the fur of an animal.
Another reason, perhaps the chief reason Poodles are popular today, is that Poodles are considered to be low-shedding dogs or hypoallergenic breeds. Like human hair, when the hair of a Poodle falls out, it often goes back into the coat. This can cause tangling and matting if not frequently groomed. However, since most people don’t notice a lot of hair falling out of a Poodle’s coat, they often label them as a “low-shedding” breed. People then tend to think that Poodles won’t cause allergic reactions in humans; hence the “hypoallergenic” label.
The truth is Poodles do shed, but not in the same manner as other dogs. The hair will go back into the coat, as previously stated. Plus, due to the way their coat is, they don’t release dander (basically dead skin) into the air when they shed. So, while Poodles are marketed as a non-shedding breed, they are not one-hundred percent allergenic.
The fact that Poodles are so smart, sweet, and non-shedding has caused individuals to seek out both traditional Poodles and to begin inter-breeding Poodles with other types of dogs that have great qualities. These poodle mixes are not considered “mutts” as they once would have been. Today, they are called “hybrid” breed dogs because they are specifically bred to bring about a newer, better breed that has the best qualities of both pup parents.
First, let’s take a look at the three types of traditional (full-breed) Poodles. Keep in mind that these are the ONLY Poodle breeds recognized by the AKC .
1. The Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is often the dog that we imagine from dog shows; the Standard Poodle was once a part of circus shows, too! This is the largest Poodle of the three varieties recognized by the AKC; it is also the Poodle that was used to accompany duck hunters in France centuries ago.
The Standard Poodle stands about fifteen inches at the shoulder; however, when measuring from the top of the head to the feet, the Standard Poodle is often twenty to twenty-three inches in height! Most Standard Poodles will range in weight from forty-five pounds (this is the lowest weight a female Standard Poodle will achieve) to nearly eighty pounds (the males typically reach the tallest and heaviest measurements).
Standard Poodles as they were bred were not only adept and intelligent hunting dogs but they were also utilized as guard dogs! They are alert and observant; they might not attack strangers, but they would bark and let property owners know that someone strange was on the property. They ARE brave and would protect their owners if they felt they needed to, but, today especially, Poodles are not thought of as intimidating dogs.
The Standard Poodle is the variation you think of when you picture dog shows. They often have a distinctive haircut (some of these are even AKC approved!). They come in a variety of colors from black to cream to a tan or reddish-brown color. Their hair will be curly, and they require frequent grooming in order to keep their hair from matting. Now, grooming need not mean a trip to the groomer once a week; however, you will need to brush the Standard Poodle’s hair at least a few times a week to prevent tangling as well as use the best dog shampoos for them when bathing.
2. The Miniature Poodle
The Miniature Poodle is actually considered a mid-sized Poodle. Miniature Poodles were achieved by breeders mating smaller Poodles together in order to get a smaller dog. When Miniature Poodles were developed, they were NOT bred to a different breed of dog in order to get a smaller dog. Unfortunately, sometimes this involved breeding the “runts” of the litter together in order to achieve the smaller size dog.
Some dog historians believe that Miniature Poodles (along with Toy Poodles) were developed for the Parisian bourgeoisie. This probably took place sometime during the 1400s (yes, Poodles have been around for a very, very long time!) However, these smaller Poodles also had a working purpose! The Miniature Poodle was used to sniff out truffles in the woods (Truffles are actually a type of fungi found in the woods; they ARE used in a culinary sense, but they start out much like a mushroom!) Of course, when these dogs weren’t hunting (Standard) or sniffing out fungi (Mini Poodles), they were awesome companion dogs.
Today, many Mini Poodles are strictly companion dogs, and they are often quite spoiled. This can actually be a detriment to the dog, but more on that later.
3. The Toy Poodle
The Toy Poodle is also the result of breeding increasingly smaller full-bred Poodles in order to achieve a smaller dog. The Toy variation is still recognized by the American Kennel Club because it IS still a purebred dog.
Toy Poodles typically weigh ten pounds or less; the average weight is eight or nine pounds. These little darlings are typically between eight to ten inches when measured at the shoulder. These Poodles are definitely lapping dogs; they were bred for sheer companionship when the Standard Poodle and the Mini Poodle both had jobs to do. In fact, companionship IS the job of the Toy Poodle! They were called “sleeve” dogs back in the 1400s; they literally fit in the sleeves of their owners.
The Toy Poodle of today is just as popular as a companionship animal. They are smart and protective of their owners. In fact, without proper training, the Toy and the Mini Poodle will often become the “Alpha” dog of the home—plus, they’ll even try to persuade you to do their bidding!
Other Varieties of Poodles
There are actually FIVE types of Poodles; however, only the Standard, Mini, and Toy Poodles are recognized by the AKC as the breed standard. There are two varieties not considered the “hybrid” Poodle: the Klein Poodle and the Teacup Poodle.
The Klein (Moyen) Poodle
While the AKC does not allow the Klein Poodle as a standard, the United Kennel Club (which is more of a European standard) does allow this version of the Poodle to compete in dog shows . The Klein Poodle is typically between fifteen and twenty inches in height; they weigh between forty and fifty pounds.
The Teacup Poodle
Very small Poodles are often labeled as “teacup” Poodles. There is no official breed standard for Teacup Poodles in either the AKC or UKC standard. In fact, the size and breeding intentionally to get this size Poodle is typically frowned upon. Why? Remember how smaller Poodles were bred to smaller Poodles—often the “runts” of the litter—in order to get a smaller dog? Well, today we know that while a “runt” that survives is definitely a great dog, some of them can develop life-long health issues that make their lives difficult. They should never be bred as any genetic issues they have can appear in the puppies, who can, in turn, continue passing down the genetic abnormalities to their pups.
Furthermore, many “runts” may not be healthy enough to experience repeated breeding. This is why the breeding of “teacup” Poodles is thought of as unethical.
Hybrid Poodle Breeds
There are multiple hybrid Poodle breeds. They include:
- the Golden Doodle – a Poodle and Golden Retriever mix
- the Labradoodle – a Poodle and Labrador Retriever mix
- the Cockapoo – a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mix
- the Maltipoo – a Maltese and Poodle mix
- the Yorkipoo – a Yorkshire Terrier and a Poodle mix
- the Cavapoo – the Poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix
- the Shih-Poo – a Shih Tzu and a Poodle mix
- the Chi-Poo – the Chihuahua and a Poodle mix
- the Pekapoo – a Poodle and a Pekingese mix
- the Pugapoo – a Pug and a Poodle mix
There are more Poodle mixes, but this could be a never-ending list as Poodles can be mixed with any other purebred dog for a Poodle mix. It is important to remember that most Poodle hybrids are intentionally bred to bring out a pup with the best of both parent breeds’ characteristics.
Other Poodle Basics
Poodles require a great deal of grooming. It is important for Poodle owners to brush the dog’s coat at least every other day to prevent tangling. Many Poodle pet parents take their dogs to the groomers every three to six weeks. However, you can do a bit of grooming yourself at home if you feel confident enough.
You can wash your Poodle at home too! Be sure to use a gentle, all-natural shampoo and conditioner on Fido so his hair is soft and shiny. Only wash him once a month unless he gets very dirty. Brushing frequently will keep his fur quite clean in the meantime.
Training is highly, vitally important for Poodles. If not, a spoiled Poodle is smart enough to “take over.” They will learn to do whatever is necessary to get their way. They also need to be occupied; of course, lots of exercise and some fun mental activity dog toys can accomplish this. Your Poodle is really looking for you to take leadership; he truly wants to please you.
Poodles are very affectionate, which can lead to the spoiling aspect. However, begin socialization and training when they are young dogs. Life will be much more enjoyable if you do! Poodles will get along with most other dogs and with strangers. However, they are very alert and will definitely let you know if something is amiss around the house.
Poodles tend to live a long time, but that does not mean they aren’t prone to some health issues. The following are common health issues in Poodles:
- Cushing’s disease
- Addison’s disease
- bloat (gastric dilation-volvulus)
- hip dysplasia
- sebaceous adenitis
Poodles are also susceptible to lots of eye issues.
1. How many different types of poodles are there?
The AKC recognizes three types of Poodles: the Standard, the Miniature, and the Toy. However, there are also the Klein (Moyer) Poodle and the Teacup Poodle. Don’t forget the various hybrid mixes of Poodles as well.
2. What are the 4 types of poodles?
The four types of Poodles are the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, the Toy Poodle, and the hybrid Poodle breeds.
3. What are the five types of poodles?
The three types of Poodles recognized by the American Kennel Club include the Standard, the Miniature, and the Toy Poodle. However, there are many Klein Poodles across the United States (these are slightly smaller than the Standard Poodle but larger than the Miniature Poodle). The Teacup Poodle is another type of Poodle, but it is typically the result of the unethical breeding of very small and sometimes unhealthy dogs.
4. Which poodle mix is best?
That will depend upon your personal needs and wants in a dog as well as the one that best fits your lifestyle. Many pet parents love the Goldendoodle, a mix between a Golden Retriever (also very smart and very loyal) and a Poodle. Labradoodles are also popular. However, those who want a smaller Poodle mix may want to consider a Maltipoo or a Cavapoo.