The poodle is one of the best known dogs worldwide. Its distinct and abundant coat of wool-like texture is the most recognizable characteristic of this breed.
However, there are certain differences according to the type of poodle you are dealing with. Let's explore some distinctive features of each of the varieties you might find.
Where does this breed come from?
This peculiar breed was born as a “water dog”, that is, a dog specialized in hunting waterfowl such as ducks and geese. In fact, its name may come from the French canard, which means ‘duck'. For this reason, its origin is often placed in France, although there are some historians who place it in Denmark and Germany during the 15th century.
Types of poodle: the 5 varieties according to their size
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the British Kennel Club (BKC), there are only three types of poodle: standard, miniature and toy. However, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) adds one more variety: the medium poodle. In addition to this, many lovers of the breed and breeders consider one more type of poodle: the teacup poodle. Since each of these varieties have their own traits, we have decided to tell you all about each of them.
This type of poodle was the first to be recognized. They are considered the original poodle and the largest of the breed, so they are also called the “giant poodle”. This variety of poodle was sought after as a companion dog by many famous people in history – such as Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI – because of its elegant appearance and psychological qualities.
The measurements of the standard poodle vary from 17 to 25 inches in overall height and from 35 to 70 pounds in weight. However, there is a clear difference in size between females and males, the latter being considerably more robust. Another important thing to note is, their life expectancy is quite long–in fact, they can easily exceed 16 years if properly cared for.
Beyond their sophisticated appearance, this type of poodle is energetic, faithful and agile. In fact, they possess a good jumping ability, are surprisingly intelligent and easy to train. What's more, the standard poodle needs to be constantly on the move and mentally stimulated through challenging games. For this reason, advanced agility and obedience classes can help them channel their high levels of energy.
Poodles have a dense, curly coat that requires constant care, so a trim every month is recommended. They are also considered a breed with excellent health, although they can suffer from diseases common to other dogs.
This variety of poodle is defined as the intermediate size between the standard poodle and the miniature poodle. It is true, however, that there is some controversy among pedigree registries due to the fact that some of them do not recognize this type of poodle as an official variety. In fact, confusion between the medium poodle and the standard poodle is frequent
In any case, a medium poodle is one that has an overall height of approximately 14 to 18 cm and a weight between 15 and 26 pounds. Its life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years and it is the second type of poodle to be recognized.
Like any other poodle, the medium poodle stands out for its intelligence and fun-loving, attentive attitude. However, if a medium poodle does not receive proper training, they can develop “small dog syndrome,” in which they believe themselves to be the leader of the pack.
The mini or dwarf poodle is a type of poodle that is smaller than the medium poodle. With an overall height of 11 to 14 inches and a body weight of 9 to 15 pounds, the dwarf poodle has a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years.
In fact, this variety has the longest life expectancy of all, sometimes even exceeding twenty years. Due to all these characteristics, they are the most suitable type of poodle for those who want a poodle that is neither too big nor too small.
Among their psychological traits, they boast intelligence and energy, although they are also a very sensitive and obedient dog, very devoted to their owner. Through proper socialization, the dwarf poodle can interact well with other dogs, pets and children, making them an excellent canine companion for the family.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Toy Poodle is the smallest variety of poodle recognized by the registry and the last to be created.
To achieve this, breeders had to deal with the emergence of complications associated with the small size of these dogs, which resulted from genetic intervention. Although this type of poodle has managed to overcome most of the more serious congenital diseases, it is common to discover complications that continue to demand the work of breeders in pursuit of a healthier breed.
The toy poodle is a really small dog: with an overall height of 9 to 11 inches and a maximum weight of 5 pounds, life expectancy is around 14 to 15 years on average.
Additionally, just like the rest of the poodles, this poodle requires a haircut every 4 to 6 weeks to avoid knots, as well as a calm environment where they have access to physical activity such as running or jumping -never rough games with other dogs. This poodle is characterized by a nervous and shy character, while also being active, adorable and elegant.
Finally, it should be noted that there are many people who confuse this breed as “toy or dwarf poodle”. However, this term is not correct, as the Dwarf Poodle and the Toy Poodle are different varieties.
As their name suggests, the teacup poodle is the tiniest of them all. However, they remain unrecognized by any of the pedigree registries. For this reason, there is no universal standard, although its size is usually less than 9 inches in overall height and their weight is around one kilo. Although they boasts a fairly long life expectancy – between 15 and 20 years – their size makes them prone to health problems.
This type of poodle can be the ideal companion for apartment living. In fact, they are active dogs indoors, although they also enjoy the outdoors and daily walks with their human family.
What type of poodle is right for me?
If you are considering adding a new member to the family and the Poodle is one of your choices, you should know that there are two characteristics that stand out in this breed: intelligence and attachment.
First, the Poodle is considered one of the most intelligent dogs in the world and requires daily exercise and constant mental stimulation. Therefore, you should consider whether you can offer them frequent games and challenges. On the other hand, all types of poodles are very close to their family, so you should also be able to provide plenty of physical and emotional contact.
Poodle best suited to their size
As we have seen, the AKC and the BKC consider only three sizes of poodle: standard, miniature and toy. Although they have many similarities, we can also find some subtle differences in each of them.
Due to their physical characteristics, they need enough exercise to maintain proper behavior at home. Therefore, they are not recommended for people who do not have much body strength or who live in very small houses without outdoor spaces.
Some of the advantages of adopting a Standard Poodle are:
- They are elegant, athletic and robust dogs, while at the same time cheerful and adventurous.
- They have short and curly hypoallergenic coats, so they are suitable for people with allergies.
- They stand out for their great intelligence and ability to read body language. Therefore, they are easy to train.
- They are sociable with other animals and tend to be friendly with strangers.
At the same time, you should keep in mind that:
- You must provide him/her with a calm and controlled environment. Otherwise, he/she will develop nervous, excitable and fearful behavior.
- He/she requires energetic training and exercise that does not include jumping or sudden movements.
- They need to be trimmed every 4 to 5 weeks.
- They can have a certain inclination to bark and to develop serious health problems.
Energetic and mischievous, they need a moderate amount of exercise. They are ideal for families with limited space and small children.
Among the advantages of adding a Miniature Poodle to the family are
- They boast a medium size, neither too big nor too small. That is to say, they can adapt to small spaces
- Like the standard poodle, they are elegant, athletic, active and playful dogs.
- Their coat is hypoallergenic, short and curly, and can be found in different colors.
- They are astute, observant and easy to train dogs.
- Additionally, their interaction with other animals and strangers is positive.
Some additional details you should consider are
- They have a strong emotional sensitivity to stress and tension, and do not tolerate loud voices well.
- Like the standard type poodle, they are inclined to bark.
- If not sufficiently socialized, they will tend to be shy.
- They need a haircut every 6 weeks.
They are the most suitable for older or less active people living in smaller homes. Due to the psychological characteristics of the Toy Poodle, they are not recommended for homes with small or very active children.
The main advantages of having a Toy Poodle as a companion are:
- They are small, elegant and light, so they are easy to take along with you anywhere.
- They adapt well to small spaces and apartment living.
- Their coat is hypoallergenic and they have a long life expectancy compared to other toy-sized dogs.
- They can relate well with other animals, children and strangers.
Some of the things you should consider before adopting a toy Poodle are:
- They require large amounts of attention and displays of affection from their human family.
- They need a relaxed and safe environment.
- They have a shy and timid character, as well as a tendency to bark excessively.
- They often suffer from diseases typical of their breed.
Often, the differences in character between varieties of a breed are notable, but these dogs are an exception. As we have seen, the main distinction between all of them is the size of the Poodle.
Aside from some slight subtleties, whichever type of poodle you choose to add to your family will be affectionate, sociable, intelligent, calm and, above all, noble and sensitive. Undoubtedly, one of the best companions you can imagine.
I'm Violeta, a content writer based in Fuerteventura, Spain. My first roommate, travel and adventure partner was Curro, a beautiful and smart German Shepherd mix. Maybe that's why shepherds are my weakness. However, this doesn't stop me, when I see any dog in the street, to give him a good smile, and if he looks at me, I jump down to greet him.