Things You Need to Know Before You Adopt a Poodle Puppy

Is this the Right Breed for You?

The Poodle is a wonderful family companion. He is very intelligent, adaptable, versatile, and has a great sense of humour. There are three sizes to choose from — Standard, Miniature or Toy. The Poodle's coat comes in various colours and does not shed thus making him a good candidate for many allergy sufferers. It's no wonder that the Poodle is one of the most popular breeds of dog. However, as with all breeds, before you consider bringing any dog into your life, there are many things you should know. Once you bring a dog into your home, he becomes a family member and deserves to be treated as such. This is a lifetime commitment and you must be prepared to care for him for his entire life. Here are just a few things that you must consider:

  • While every breed is different and each individual dog is unique, generally a particular breed shares certain traits. Other than size, the three variations of Poodle are very similar in character. The Standard was primarily bred as a working water retriever while the Miniature and Toy were bred as companions.
  • Poodles come in three size variations:

    Standard: Measures over 38.1 cm (15 inches) at the highest point of the shoulder.

    Miniature: Measures 38.1 cm (15 inches) or under at the highest point of the shoulder, but no less than over 25.4 cm (10 inches).

    Toy: Measures 25.4 cm (10 inches) or under at the highest point of the shoulder.

    Note: The Fédération Cynologique Internationale Breed Standard includes a fourth variation in size and these are broken down as follows:

    • Large Poodles : Above 45 cm up to 60 cm with a tolerance of 2 cm.

    • Medium Poodles : More than 35 cm up to 45 cm.

    • Miniature poodles : More than 28 cm up to 35 cm.

    • Toy poodles : Below 28 cm (desirable ideal type, size of 25 cm).

    The Toy Poodle, being the smallest, is a popular choice for apartment dwellers and the elderly. The Miniature is also small enough to adapt well to apartment living but is more suitable as a child's companion than the Toy. The Standard is the largest of the three varieties and is well suited for those seeking a larger dog.

  • Poodles are well known for their high intelligence, ease of training, devotion and sense of humour. A Poodle can master virtually any task asked of him and is often seen working as a Therapy Dog, Assistance Dog, Guide Dog as well as in Search and Rescue. All three varieties of Poodle enjoy such sports as Agility, competitive Obedience, the Show Ring and other activities. The Standard Poodle is the sporting type of the three and enjoys field trials, hunting, retrieving and tracking to name a few.
  • The Poodle is generally very good with children when raised with them. However, the smaller Toy Poodle is better suited to homes with older children.
  • The Poodle is a people dog. In fact, most Poodles think they are people and absolutely insist on being a part of the family. This is not a dog to be left alone for hours on end.
  • Although it is not necessary to keep your Poodle clipped in a fancy show style, the Poodle must be groomed on a regular basis to maintain the coat in good condition and free of mats.

If you are not familiar with the Poodle breed, research is a must — with the Internet today, there is an abundance of information available at your fingertips. The Poodle is a very popular dog and there are several good websites devoted to the breed. Keep in mind, however, that every breed has its negative aspects. Whether it is health problems, temperament or behavioural issues, too large, too small, too loud, too quiet. They are all different and you need to be sure that your choice of a Poodle is the right one, before you make the purchase.

Finding a Breeder:

Once you've made your decision that this is indeed the breed for you, the next step is to find a responsible and reputable Breeder. This is not a task that should be taken lightly and again, research is necessary. The Poodle is considered to be one of the most popular breeds and there are several breeders available. Visit as many as possible and don't be afraid to ask questions. A Breeder should always be more than willing to provide you with all the answers to your questions and then some. The Breeder should be open and honest about health and temperament testing, and provide you with certificates as requested. In return, you should expect to be questioned (or rather, grilled) as well — A responsible Breeder is always very particular about who he/she sells his/her dogs to. If you visit a Breeder and you feel that you have revealed very little about yourself and yet the Breeder is ready and willing to sell you a pup with virtually no questions asked — Walk away! This is not a responsible Breeder. Whether you are looking for a family companion; a show dog; a dog to be trained in therapy or search and rescue; a dog to have fun with in competitions such as obedience, or agility; the most important aspects are the dog's physical and mental health.

A responsible and ethical Breeder's main goal is to produce only the highest quality Poodles that will better the gene pool. The responsible Breeder studies the pedigrees for quality, health, longevity, temperament and working ability, sometimes travelling great distances to find the best male to match the female. The responsible Breeder views health testing of their breeding stock as the norm in their breeding program and will provide you with copies of certifications. Most responsible Breeders are involved in some aspect of competition, whether it is the show ring for Conformation titles or competitive sports such as Obedience, Agility, or Field Trials. While this may not be something you are interested in pursuing with your new dog, it is still an important point in that it helps prove the Breeder's real interest in the betterment of the breed itself. Ask for references from previous puppy buyers as well as information on any clubs that the Breeder may be a member of. Verify these references and check that the Breeder is in good standing with the club(s).

The importance of finding a reputable breeder cannot be stressed enough. It doesn't matter if you simply want a great companion dog and have no intentions of showing, competing or otherwise working with your dog — you still need to find a healthy and mentally sound puppy. The only place to find this is through a responsible breeder.

For more information on finding a responsible breeder, see:

Keeping in mind that you should never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store, and that many responsible breeders do not advertise their puppies in newspapers, the best places to go to find a Breeder include the following:

  • The Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle Breeders section of this website — Breeders listed with links to their websites where you can learn more about them, if and when puppies are available, the pedigrees of the parents are usually available, and some sites have indepth breed information available as well. Please note, in order to be listed on the Canada's Guide to Dogs website, certain criteria must be met; however, we do not recommend, endorse or support any one of these Breeder listings.
  • Poodle Breed Clubs — Several clubs are listed here with links to websites. The clubs are a good place to go to get member Breeder listings. Please note, a Breeder's membership in any club does not guarantee responsible and ethical breeding.

In Canada, in order for any of the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized breeds to be legally sold as "purebred" dogs, they must either already be registered with the CKC or they must be eligible to be registered with the CKC within six months of the date of sale. This is the law. In addition, Breeders in Canada are fully responsible for registering the puppy at their expense. Avoid any Breeder who offers you a puppy at a cheaper price without papers.

Further Information and Suggested Reading:

Health Issues:

Like all breeds, the Poodle is susceptible to certain inherited/genetic health conditions.
See the individual breed pages for further details:

The Standards:

The Poodle Breed Standards are listed on the individual breed pages:

These are the ideals for the breed and describe the Poodle's appearance and temperament.

A Word About Cross Breeds:

The latest fad in crossbreeds — Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Cockapoos, Pekeapoos, etc. — has been to produce "designer breeds" by crossing the Poodle with many different breeds and then marketing them as healthier or otherwise better than the purebred dogs they came from. In the vast majority of cases, these dogs are being produced for only one purpose: making money and not to develop a new breed. While new breeds are always being developed, it takes many years of selective breeding to create a new breed that is true to type and the fact is, the crossing of two purebred dogs does not create a new breed.

  • Is That A Labradoodle? — A must read article regarding the mixed-breed "Doodles" and "Poos". These are not exotic new breeds!

Consider an Adult Dog

Have you considered an adult Poodle? In many cases, the responsible Breeder has a waiting list for puppies and, if you can't wait for the next litter, consider adopting a homeless Poodle from a rescue organization or shelter. Many of these dogs end up homeless through no fault of their own and all legitimate rescue organizations ensure that the dogs are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and they will work with you to ensure that the dog meets with your requirements — the last thing they want is to see the dog come back to them.

Another consideration is that occasionally Breeders may have young adults available. There are several reasons why a Breeder may have a dog available: (1) A buyer may have returned a dog for some reason — In most cases, responsible Breeders will take their dogs back rather than have them go to a shelter. (2) The Breeder may have decided to keep and show the dog for a while. (3) The Breeder may have initially kept the puppy for breeding purposes but has since changed their mind. There could be a number of reasons why a Breeder could have on hand an adult or young adult dog available.

There are many advantages to adopting a dog that is beyond the puppy stage — housetrained, crate trained, obedience trained, socialized, to name a few.

Please note, the information provided here is intended as a guideline to help you in your search for a physically and mentally sound Poodle. Before you buy — Do your research, learn about the breed, and be certain that this is the dog for you. Once you are absolutely positive about it, take the time and effort to find a good Breeder. Remember that this dog will become a member of your family and he should never be treated as anything less.