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Country of Origin: France

Coat: Two types—curly has naturally harsh texture, dense throughout/corded hangs in tight, even cords of varying length

Colors: White, cream, brown, apricot, black, gray, café-au-lait, blue, silver|also red, silver beige, multicolored [UKC]

Other Names: Caniche


Height: Over 10–15 inches

Weight: 15–20 pounds [est.]

Registries (With Group): AKC (Non-Sporting); UKC (Companion)


Height: Over 15 inches

Weight: 45–70 pounds [est.]

Registries (With Group): AKC (Non-Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)


Height: 10 inches and under

Weight: 4–8 pounds [est.]

Registries (With Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)


The Poodle is believed to have originated in Germany, where pudel refers to playing in the water. But it was in France that he became truly celebrated, and that is the country where the Poodle as he is recognized today is said to have truly taken shape. In France, the breed is known as Caniche—a derivation of the words chien (“dog”) and canard (“duck”). Both the French and German names for the dog relate to his proficiency as a hunter of waterfowl. His ancestry is said to include the Barbet (a now-extinct French water dog) and the Hungarian Water Hound.

The French admired the Poodle’s versatility—he could go from being a tried-and-true retriever by day to a stylish and dignified companion by night. For a time he was also used to sniff out truffles—a culinary delicacy. It wasn’t long before he became popular with the French aristocracy, and Poodles can be found in many paintings of the 15th century onward. His quick intelligence and charm also found him favor as a performer, and since the dawn of European circuses, Poodles have entertained as trick dogs. The exaggerated pompons were clipped to match those of the clowns.

Although today’s Poodle clips seem excessive to some, they did at one time serve a practical purpose. Hunters wanted him to be able to swim more easily and faster, but they didn’t want him to get cold. They shaved his neck, legs, and tail but kept pompons of hair where they felt that needed protection: on his chest, hips, and leg joints. There are several standardized clips that Poodles typically sport today, although they are often embellished at grooming contests—clipped to portray scenes or fashion styles. This harkens back to a time in European history when Poodles were clipped to show a family’s coat of arms, an owner’s monograms, the French fleurs-de-lis, or to sport elaborate mustaches and beards.

Miniature and Toy Poodles were bred down from the Standard Poodle to their current height limitations and are considered the same breed, judged by the same standard.


The Poodle is a lively, clever dog who is also very in tune with his family. Active and intelligent, he is good natured if not somewhat shy and reserved around strangers. Socialization brings out his confidence and cheerfulness.


Exercise: Poodles enjoy the outdoors and the physical and social benefits of going for walks. They excel at dog sports and activities, including obedience, rally, agility, and flyball, and they love to perform tricks.

Grooming: Poodles require a lot of attention where grooming is concerned. Their naturally curly and dense hair is practically nonshedding but grows out fairly quickly, and they are typically clipped every six to eight weeks. Most owners take their dogs to a professional groomer who knows about the different clips. In between visits with a professional, the coat should be brushed regularly. White dogs tend to have tearing around the eyes, which needs to be taken care of.

Health: The average life span of the Poodle is 10 to 15 years.

Training: All of the Poodles are highly trainable. Intelligent and sensitive, they are eager to please and do what is asked of them. Using positive, reward-based methods, they can be taught any number of requests, games, and sports

Find a Nylabone chew, treat, or toy for your Poodles or small dog!

Excerpt from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 TFH Publications, Inc.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

World Atlas of Dog Breeds Book

Other Books on this Topic:
Poodles (Animal Planet™ Pet Care Library)
The Toy & Miniature Poodle (Terra Nova)

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