Poodle vital statistics
Height: from 25cm for a Toy Poodle to 60cm for a giant
Weight: Around 4kg for a Toy Poodle. Around 30kg for a Giant Poodle
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Behaviour: Highly intelligent and very active
Exercise: Medium – about an hour a day
Size: From tiny (Toy Poodle) to large (Giant Poodle)
Dog breed group: Classed by the UK Kennel Club as a ‘utility’ breed
What were poodles bred for?
Poodles were originally bred by hunters to hunt and retrieve ducks from water. They are a European breed that first appeared in Germany around the 14th century. They’ve since become the national dog of France and are now immensely popular around the world.
The shaved and trimmed show dogs you see today have come a long way from those working roots, but Poodles have retained their keen, hardworking brains and there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye.
In fact, those wooly, curly coats are adapted to life in the water. The name Poodle comes from the German word ‘pudel’ meaning ‘splash in water’
How many sizes of Poodle are there?
The UK Kennel Club lists three sizes of poodle:
But there are some ‘unofficial' sizes you might hear about as well.
Giant Poodles are actually just Standard Poodles that are a bit taller. They aren’t a breed in their own right. They’re sometimes called Royal Poodles and are anything over about 50cm tall at the shoulder.
Teacup Poodles are at the other end of the size scale. Again, they aren’t an actual breed – they’re just very tiny Toy Poodles.
Toy Poodles fully grown are only around 25cm tall so Teacup Poodle usually refers to a dog that’s only about 20cm in height and weighing about 3kg or less.
Coat colour and grooming for poodles
‘Poodles that meet the UK Kennel Club’s ‘Breed standard’ are all single solid colours.
If your Poodle’s not one of these colours, that doesn’t mean they’re not a pedigree – it just means these are considered the most desirable colours by the Kennel Club for showing and breeding.
The breed standard colours for poodles are:
Apricot (a creamy tan-orange colour)
Blue (a deep grey)
Poodles with two or more colours in their coat are considered non-breed standard, although they're still very attractive:
Black, apricot, brown, blue, cream, red or silver with white patches
Particolour (mostly white with coloured patches)
Black and tan
Sable (just the hair tips are black and the rest of the hair is a different colour)
There are lots of other beautiful poodle coat colours, like merle (mottled grey) or phantom (mostly one colour, but with splashes of a second colour in a distinctive pattern on the face, chest and legs). They might not fit the highest show standards for the breed but they still have attractive and interesting coats.
Grooming and Poodle cuts
Poodles are pretty high maintenance. Wooly Poodle hair grows continuously and doesn’t shed, so it needs daily brushing and clipping or professional grooming at least every six weeks.
If you’re thinking about buying a Poodle puppy, all that extra grooming is definitely an ongoing cost you should think about at the start.
The way poodles usually have their hair trimmed has become so distinctive that lots of people don’t even recognise an unclipped Poodle in their wooly, ungroomed state.
These are some of the Poodle cut styles your dog can try out:
Teddy bear cut – A teddy bear cut keeps the hair the same length all over your Poodle’s face and body instead of shaving it closer in certain places. It gives a more natural, wooly appearance that can be less fussy to maintain. It’s sometimes called a puppy cut.
Lion cut – This is perhaps the most recognisable and extravagant Poodle cut. It involves a shaved rear end but with bobbles left unshaved on the tail and feet. It’s sometimes called a Continental cut.
Lamb cut – the Poodle’s face, tail and feet are shaved close, but the rest of the coat is left a uniform length. This gives the distinctive puffy ears, topknot and tail tip many people associate with a Poodle.
Shaved – Sometimes Poodles are just shaved all over. It’s certainly a practical and no-nonsense approach, especially to keep them cool in summer. You’ll end up with a very different looking dog to one with a traditional Poodle cut.
Poodle tail – Poodle tails are traditionally shaved but left with a distinctive ‘puff’ at the end. They certainly don’t grow like this naturally - a natural Poodle tail is puffy from base to tip.
Are Poodles hypoallergenic?
Poodles are considered to be hypoallergenic.
They don’t really shed, so they release hardly any dander. It’s why they need regular grooming – their hair will just grow and grow otherwise and end up long and matted.
Poodle temperament and characteristic
Poodles have a reputation for being one of the most intelligent dog breeds around. They're highly trainable and have a strong sense of fun.
Because they’re so clever it’s really important to give them the company and activity they need to keep their busy brains occupied. How about trying some of these tennis ball games for dogs to get them thinking?
They can suffer separation anxiety and become destructive if they’re left alone too much.
Because Poodles are so sociable and loyal they make great family dogs, along with many Poodle crossbreeds.
Common Poodle heath problems
Poodles are a robust breed with few health problems.
When we checked pet insurance claims for all sizes of Poodles in 2021 we found that the most common conditions for them were the sorts of things that are common health problems in all breeds.
The top three were:
Poodles can be more prone to ear infections than some other breeds because of their long ear flaps and because they love to swim.
If you’ve got a poodle that loves to jump in any river, stream or swamp they come across on a walk, make sure you take some extra time to dry inside their ears and to clean them regularly with an ear cleaning solution recommended by your vet.
Although it’s not as common as in some other breeds, Poodles can sometimes suffer from luxating patella. This is where the kneecap moves out of position. It usually needs surgery to put right and it can be expensive. Our average claim for Poodles with patella luxation in 2021 was £926.85.
Poodles also have around a one-in-10 chance of inheriting a genetic condition called Addison's disease. Addisons' disease is an autoimmune condition that affects their hormones.
Poodles with Addision's disease can have issues with their digestion, appetite and energy levels. They are likely to need lifelong medication to control it.
We paid 28 pet insurance claims for Poodles with Addison's disease in 2021. The average claim was for £145.92, but as it’s a chronic condition you’re likely to need to make many claims for the same condition over your Poodle’s lifetime if they develop Addison's.
All of our pet insurance policies are lifetime cover. That means that as long as you keep renewing, your vet fee limit will refresh each year so you won’t run out of cover while your dog still needs it.
Pet insurance for poodles
Thanks to their general good health, Poodles are a fairly inexpensive breed to insure.
For 2020, the average cost to insure Poodles is:
Toy – £406.34
Miniature – £472.86
Standard – £489.17
Our average pet insurance cost across all breeds in 2021 was £474.77, so Poodles are pretty close to the average cost. Toy Poodles are about 15-20% cheaper to insure than the other two types which might partly be because there are so many of them.
We insured over 1,300 Toy Poodles in 2021, which was about the same as the total of Standard and Miniature Poodles we covered put together.
Poodle mixes – doodles and crossbreeds
Poodle crossbreeds are immensely popular because they tend to combine the Poodle’s hypoallergenic coat with the traits of other popular breeds.
According to our data, the top 10 most popular Poodle crosses in 2021 were:
Australian Mini Labradoodle
Cockerpoos were the first designer crossbreed to be developed, back in 1950s America and their popularity has soared in recent years.
They’re a cross between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel, with breeders hoping to combine the friendly and playful nature of the Cocker Spaniel, with the aptitude of the Poodle.
Cavapoos are another Spaniel Cross – this time combining a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. As well as the desirable hypoallergenic traits of the Poodle, breeds aim to eliminate the genetic health conditions that Cavs are predisposed to.
This is the original ‘designer’ breed. It was this cute name for a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle that started the craze for creating mixed-breeds with specific requirements in mind.
The name ‘Labradoodle’ was first coined by Australian breeder Wally Conron in 1988, when he bred one to help a blind woman whose husband was allergic to most guide dog breeds. It soon became popular with dog owners, including the rich and famous – Jennifer Aniston, Elle Macpherson and Graham Norton are all Labradoodle fans.
A cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. This crossbreed was first developed in the 1990s in both North America and Australia. Like the Labradoodle, the Goldendoodle was also created to act as a hypoallergenic service, guide and therapy dog – combining the intelligence of Poodle with the trainability of the Golden Retriever.
a cross between a toy or miniature Poodle and a Maltese. These tiny dogs tend to be affectionate and playful. Their size means they are suitable for apartment living, and the combination of these two parent breeds usually creates affectionate, gentle pooches who make great therapy dogs.
Both Poodles and Maltese dogs are non-shedders and so are considered hypoallergenic. This means a Maltipoo puppy is very likely to be hypoallergenic as well, though this can never be guaranteed.
There are loads of other interesting poodle crossbreeds not mentioned here, like the Pugapoo Pug and Poodle), Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle and the PatterPoo (Patterdale Terrier and Poodle).
And if you think Doodles are all funny little curly haired dogs, think again – we insured 14 Newfypoos in 2021.
Yep, that’s a Poodle crossed with a Newfoundland.
Frequently asked questions about Poodles
Everything else you wanted to know about the ever-popular Poodle.
Are all Poodle mixes hypoallergenic?
There’s never any guarantee that a Poodle cross will be as hypoallergenic as a purebred poodle. Sadly, it’s one reason why many of these crossbreeds find themselves in rescue centres after a previously owner has discovered they shed more than expected.
Do Poodles bark a lot?
Poodles can have a reputation for incessant barking if they’re not well trained. It’s because they’re so clever – they quickly learn that barking gets them the attention they crave, so sometimes they’re accidentally trained to bark more.
If you’re struggling with your Poodle’s behaviour, see if behavioural treatment is covered by your pet insurance. ManyPets covers beahavioural treatment where it’s been recommended by your vet.
Are Poodles aggressive?
Poodles don’t have a reputation for aggression, but they can be quite highly strung, which might manifest as snarling or snapping in some circumstances.
Are Poodles expensive?
Poodles might look fancy, but they’re not actually a super-expensive breed. According to our data, the average price of a Poodle in 2021 was £1,750 and there wasn’t much price difference between Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodles.