Most people associate Poodles with the glamour of the show ring, but they were originally bred as working retrievers and are the most active of breeds. They love work of all kinds, excelling at Agility. Obedience and Flyball.


Like so many ancient breeds, the Poodle has its origins in hunting. The breed comes from Germany, the name "Pudel" derived from puddeln, meaning to "splash in water". The French name Caniche is derived from chien-canne, meaning a "duck dog", as the Poodle was a wildfowler. The development of the three varieties as pet dogs began in the 1800s. The Belgians liked big white dogs for hauling milk calls, whereas the French bred small whites, and the Russians liked black miniatures. Although it is doubtful if any Poodles are used as retrievers any more, they betray their wildfowling antecedents by their joy in retrieving games.

The way in which a Poodle is clipped reflects is role as a water dog and is designed to protect the joints in cold water and help buoyancy.


A loving, sensitive breed possessed of superior intelligence, the Poodle becomes totally involved with family activities, particularly with children. It is a sheer delight for novices to experienced dog lovers: if the Poodle is trained with kindness it will be an obedient and much-loved family pet.

must know

Standard Poodles have a low incidence of hip dysplasia. Puppies from all varieties should come from eye-tested parents.


Poodles have a springy movement and invariably look proud and happy. The Miniatures and Toys look like small versions of the Standard. They come in all solid colours and the hairdressing styles vary according to taste, the lion and lamb clips being most often seen. Standard Poodles are 38cm (15in) in height; Miniatures are under 38cm (15in); and Toys are 28cm (11in).

Strangers 3/5

All will bark warnings

Temperament 5/5

Gentle fun-loving breeds playful with children

Exercise 5/5

Should be played with and exercised frequently

Grooming 5/5

Needs combing every other day; should visit grooming salons 4-5 times annually

Other dogs 2/5

They are happy with all non-dominant dogs


The almost perfect pet

General care

All Poodle varieties have an unbounded energy and will take more exercise and play than you can give. Poodles do not moult but they must be combed every other day to prevent tangles. Unless you are a hairdresser it is better to take the dog to the grooming parlour four or five times a year than clip it yourself.

Gallery of Poodle