Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, the poodle has been one of the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the United States since the 1950s. The poodle pranced into the No. 1 position in the 1960s and became the first breed to hold the crown for two decades, thus earning the distinction of being the most popular dog for 22 consecutive years (from 1960 to 1982).
As of 2020, poodles still rank No. 6 in the AKC's top 10 most popular breeds list. The family-friendly poodle fits the bill whether you're looking for an athletic companion who will accompany you on long walks, warm your lap, or simply entertain you with their goofy antics. One of the three poodle size variations of AKC-registered poodle breeds, standard, miniature, or toy, could be a match made in heaven!
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Oodles of poodle spin-offs
It's no coincidence that so many of the crossbreeds in recent vogue have poodle parentage in common. The breeders of affable, curly-haired goldendoodles, Labradoodles, and schnoodles desire the intelligence, beauty, calm temperament, size, and low-shed, non-allergenic coats that the poodle's genes bestow. The hybrid partners include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and giant, standard, or miniature schnauzers.
And don't forget cockapoos, Bernedoodles, doxiepoos, Chipoos, Pomapoos, and Peekapoos: liaisons between purebred poodles and cocker spaniels, Bernese mountain dogs, dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians, respectively. One of the three sizes of a purebred poodle is the proud mom or dad of these lovable "doodles," "oodles," and "poos."
However, the outcome of these "designer dog" pairings is not as predictable as in purebreds. Poodle hybrids can be vastly different in appearance and size, with wide variation across the board in coats, from soft and fluffy, to curly, to slightly wiry. And since goldendoodles are known to shed and mat like a golden retriever, and also need to be clipped thanks to ever-growing hair like the poodle, you'll need both a vacuum and a groomer. Nevertheless, the popularity of anything poodle just keeps growing.
Purebred poodle breed standard
No matter what size poodle you're considering, all three AKC-registered poodle sizes possess the same square, well-proportioned conformation, dignified demeanor, and intelligence. In fact, the AKC official breed standard is the same for all three sizes, except for height. The elegant-looking poodle, of every size, carries himself proudly, moves soundly and effortlessly, and "has an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself," states the standard.
Coat type and colors
All three different poodle sizes have a curly, naturally harsh, dense coat that is low-shedding and considered hypoallergenic. They are tolerated well by people who are allergic to pet hair. The other poodle coat is corded with tight cords of varying lengths hanging from the body.
You can choose from a glorious array of colors, including blue, gray, silver, brown, cafe-au-lait, apricot, and cream. Aside from the colors accepted in the AKC breed standard, there are plenty of other color variations out there, such as tuxedo, black, white, sable, brindle, chocolate, particolored, red, and many more. It just depends on the breeding pair's colors. Daily grooming is a must, and the hair continues to grow and needs to be clipped every 40 to 50 days, so have a groomer on standby.
How big do poodles get?
The robust and striking standard poodle is the largest among the three sizes of purebred poodles. They may not look intimidating, but they make excellent guard dogs since they are alert, brave, and protective of their people.
- Height: Over 15 inches
- Weight: 60-to-70 pounds (male), 40-to-50 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 12 years with a median of 11 to 13 years, and known to live 15 years
- AKC Group: Non-sporting
The spunky miniature poodle excels in agility and other dog sports. Miniature poodles are the most popular of the three sizes.
- Height: 10 to 15 inches
- Weight: 10 to 15 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years
- AKC Group: Non-sporting
The energetic toy poodle is no shrinking violet and is as charismatic and playful as her larger counterparts. Indoor games, curling up on the sofa, and the ability to live in a small space makes the toy a great choice for apartment living.
- Height: No more than 10 inches
- Weight: 4 to 6 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years
- AKC Group: Toy
Poodle sizes and health concerns
Overall, the poodle is generally a healthy breed. However, like every other living creature, genetically inherited diseases and disorders occur across all three poodle sizes, with some variations specifically due to size. For example, the larger standard poodle is more likely than the miniature poodle or toy to experience bloat (gastric dilation with volvulus) due to their deeper chest.
Although all three poodle sizes can develop sebaceous adenitis, an uncommon skin condition found in some dog breeds characterized by an inflammatory response against the dog's sebaceous glands, the standard poodle is most prone. Additionally, the standard poodle has more incidence of autoimmune disorders, such as Addison's disease or hemolytic anemia, than miniature poodles and toys.
Hip dysplasia occurs in all three poodle varieties as well as progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, idiopathic epilepsy, von Willebrand's disease, and disorders of the thyroid and adrenal glands. Miniature poodles and toy poodles have more occurrence of two orthopedic problems, Legg-Perthes and luxating patellas, than standard poodles.
Medium size poodle
In addition to the American Kennel Club-registered standard poodle, miniature poodle, and toy poodle, two other sizes are available: the medium poodle and teacup poodle. The medium poodle is bred mostly in Europe, but there are a few breeders in the United States.
Also known as the Klein Moyen, the medium size poodle is only recognized by the World Canine Organization, or Federation Cynologique International (FCI), an international federation of a number of national kennel clubs, which is based in Thuin, Belgium. The medium poodle is considered an undersized standard poodle by the AKC and other kennel clubs.
- Height: 14 to 18 inches
- Weight: 20 to 30 pounds
- Colors: Brown, white, black, apricot, silver
- Life Expectancy: 12 to15 years
- FCI Group: Companion
Micro or teacup poodles
The teacup poodle stands less than 10 inches tall and weighs in at only around 5 pounds fully grown. Derived from the toy poodle, this mini poodle size is the result of breeders mating the smallest or runts of the litter. Unnaturally petite, the teacup poodle, also known as a micro poodle or pocket poodle, is bred for purely economic reasons to meet the demand of a niche market. Unfortunately, most will suffer a multitude of serious health issues due to inbreeding.
The goal of any ethical breeder is to produce a sound, healthy dog that is as close to the breed standard in size, conformation, and temperament as possible. Therefore, aside from the obvious reasons not to buy one, ethical poodle breeders adamantly discourage purchasing teacup poodles.
Poodle temperament and personality
As one of the most charming and affectionate breeds on the planet, a poodle will steal your heart and quickly become your soul mate. When you're thinking about adding a poodle to your family, consider what size appeals to you and if there are any other differences aside from their size. For example, is a miniature poodle as smart as a standard poodle or is a toy poodle as trainable as a miniature poodle? Well, the answer is yes to both questions!
It seems that the poodle temperament, personality, and high level of intelligence are the main attractions for poodle-lovers, more so than their size. Falling in love with these fun-loving, entertaining, and clever dogs is a given, no matter how big or small, because they all share the same characteristics. Although miniature and toy poodles may be more aloof toward strangers than the gregarious standard poodle, all sizes of poodles are known to be fantastic with children, adults, and other pets. From the big guys to knee-highs and sweet, diminutive toys, poodles are poodles, no matter their size.
And far from the pampered, high-maintenance stereotype, thanks to pom-pom-style hairdos, status as celebrity sidekicks, and favorites of European royalty, poodles are, in contrast, quite rugged, active, spirited dogs who are smart as a whip, love to learn, and eager to please. As one of the oldest breeds, they were originally bred in Germany as farm dogs and water-retrievers, ergo their single, water-proof coats and hardy constitution.
Choosing from poodle sizes
Everyone seems to have a size preference when it comes to dogs, but it's more important to choose a dog who fits seamlessly into your lifestyle, keeping in mind exercise requirements and personality. If you're a couch potato, for instance, maybe a standard poodle is a stretch, but a toy poodle may be just the cuddle-bug you're looking for. With three size variations to choose from, the versatile poodle fits perfectly into just about any family.
When you consider the activities you would like to enjoy with your dog, size may matter. For example, if you live in a tiny house, a standard poodle may be too much dog. Although the breed standard height is over 15 inches, many range between 21 and 27 inches!
On the other hand, all three poodle sizes are lively and need daily exercise, with the toy poodle needing the least. They are all enthusiastic walkers, runners, and swimmers, and the beauty of the miniature poodle and toy is they can jump into your lap for a snuggle. All do well in agility, obedience, retrieving/hunting trials, and other dog sports appropriate to their size and skills. Poodles also do well as emotional support animals because they are kind, friendly, loyal, sharp-minded, and affectionate.
Find your poodle
Puppy mills and many pet shops buy their pups by the litter, often arranged by mail, to turn a quick buck. Even if AKC-registered papers accompany your poodle pup, this is no guarantee of health or quality. As always, for any size poodle, it's buyer beware, and whenever you can adopt a poodle or poodle mix from a shelter or rescue it's a great choice because you're saving a life while gaining a wonderful new friend. And don't overlook the gold; yes, senior poodles make lovely companions, too, and most are already trained!
The Poodle Club of America Rescue Foundation and other poodle rescues nationwide have all three varieties/sizes of poodles available for adoption. And with the tagline "embrace your inner poodle," it's hard to resist taking a peek at the poodles available for adoption at Standard Poodles in Need, a Canadian rescue and nonprofit group dedicated to finding loving homes for rescued, able-bodied, and physically challenged standard poodles, miniature poodles, toy poodles, and poodle mixes. Similarly, your local shelter may have a poodle yearning for a loving home.
Buying a purebred poodle puppy
If you choose to purchase a purebred poodle puppy, do your research to find a responsible breeder. The AKC recommends you visit the kennel and meet at least one of the parents and get proof of health screenings, among other things. The AKC website, magazines, and even their TV app, AKC.TV, are all excellent resources for breed info, breeders directory, comprehensive expert guides on training, and tips on raising puppies. The AKC Marketplace lists 100-percent AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters.
How much are poodles? You can expect to pay about $900 to $1,000 for a standard, miniature, or toy, pet-quality poodle from a reliable breeder depending on sex and parentage. A show-quality pup with superior lineage and breeding papers could cost upward of $3,000. For example, toy poodles with prestige parentage can cost up to $8,000.
Regardless of which route you take to find your poodle soul mate, when you do find him or her, you'll have a new best friend who keeps you smiling!
- AKC: Top Ten Breeds of the 1960s
- K9 of Mine: Types of Poodles: Curly Canines From Standard to Toy
- AKC: Miniature and Standard Poodle
- AKC: Toy Poodle
- FCE: Companion and Toy Dogs, Poodles
- AKC: Responsible Breeders
- Poodle Club of America Rescue Foundation Inc.
- AKC Marketplace: Poodle Puppies For Sale
- AKC: Official Standard of the Poodle
- Stunningly Sweet Standards: Explaining Poodle Colors
- Standard Poodles in Need:Animal Browse
- Veterinarians.org: Poodles 101: The Ultimate Guide to the Toy, Mini, and Standard Poodle
- Animalso: A Comprehensive Guide to the Toy Poodle
- Poodle Club of America: Sizes of Poodles