Is a Poodle for Me?

If you want to adopt a poodle, you must consider both the attention they need and the cost of maintaining one, in addition to annual vet exams, heartworm prevention and flea and tick preventatives.

The Wonderful Nature of Poodles

  • Poodles are highly intelligent
  • They are the clowns of the dog world, possessing a keen sense of humor
  • Poodles are very loyal to their humans
  • They are also playful, affectionate, good-natured, eager to please, energetic and elegant in appearance
  • Poodles are mild-mannered, yet protective, great family watchdogs, yet gentle with children
  • They are sturdy dogs with life expectancies averaging between 12 and 18 years (depending on size)

Poodles are descended from early German retrievers known as pudels. The word pudel means puddler or "to splash in water".

The stylized haircut seen on show dogs today originated with hunters. The ancestor of today's poodle was stockier, and had a very dense, tightly curled coat that protected the dog from retrieving game in icy water. This style of haircut was designed to allow the dog to swim freely while keeping its major organs warm.

Today's poodles are athletic, intelligent, cheerful, and have a wonderful temperament. Poodles do not shed, and therefore make excellent pets for those with allergies. They come in a variety of colors.

The Poodle Club of America designates three sizes of poodle: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. The club does not recognize sizes called Teacup (very small) or Royal Standard (very large). A poodle with two or more coat colors, often called parti-colored, is not bred or advertised by reputable breeders, who are aware of breeding for good health and even temperament.

Standard Poodle

Skin Care Poodles have dense fur which mats easily. If a poodle becomes matted, their sensitive skin can become irritated and possibly infected. Poodles should be brushed daily and bathed twice monthly with a mild canine shampoo.
Eye Care Proper care must be taken to maintain clean eyes to prevent infection. Many poodles have eyes which “tear” and stain the area below the eye.
Anal Glands Your vet or groomer can manually express the anal glands on a regular basis. Failure to do so could result in impaction, infection or rupture.
Dental Care Poodles are prone to dental problems, which can lead to serious health implications including heart and kidney problems. For this reason, regular dental cleanings by a veterinarian are recommended. This can be avoided, however, with a good-quality dry food and an ample supply of rawhide "chewies" or other treat designed to clean the teeth. Many people also regularly brush their poodle's teeth with specially-formulated canine toothpaste.
Ear Care Poodles have a propensity to develop ear infections. Their full, floppy ears provide the ideal warm, moist environment for yeast and bacteria. Healthy poodle ears should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Although their owners feel they are worth every penny, poodles can be expensive to maintain. In addition to the normal expenses of dog ownership, grooming costs can be high. At a minimum, a thorough grooming is recommended at least every 6-8 weeks.

The following are estimated expenses for a healthy dog. Licenses, treats, toys, leashes, collars, medical care for illness, and so on, are additional and should be considered.

Expense Estimated Cost (Annually)
Annual Checkup/Vaccines $200-400
Heartworm Preventative* $100-300
Flea Preventative $100
Grooming* $200-$700
Food* $200-500

*estimates depend on the size of the dog

Toy Poodles

Toy Poodles

Toys are ideal for older or less-active people, or for those with limited living space. Toys are not recommended for very active young children and should not be left alone with them because of possible injury due to their small size. This is the smallest poodle size. Toy poodles are 10 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulder, and typically weigh less than 12 pounds.
Miniature Poodles

Miniature Poodles

Miniature poodles are taller than 10 inches and up to 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulder. Minis generally weigh between 15 and 35 pounds, depending on their height. This medium poodle size is energetic and needs a moderate amount of exercise. Minis are the most common size we see come into rescue. The medium poodle size is energetic and needs a moderate amount of exercise. They are also good for those with limited living space. However, they can weigh up to 20 pounds, so they are harder to lift for more fragile people.
Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle

Like most large dogs, to support good manners and household etiquette, standards must have regular walks and exercise. Standards are recommended for those who have the body strength to control them. Standards are a poor choice for people who live in small homes without a yard. This is the oldest breed size. Miniature and toy poodles were developed by selectively breeding standards down to smaller sizes. A standard poodle is taller than 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulder, with no upper size limit. Most standards are between the 22 and 27-inch range and weigh approximately 40-60 pounds.

Very Young Puppy to 3 Years Young dogs require a good deal of patience, not to mention time for housebreaking and training. Older family members can find very young dogs to be hazardous, as puppy's exhuberance and lack of training can lead to accidents from tripping over them. Coastal Poodle Rescue almost never places a very young dog with senior citizens. This is not only for the safety of the humans, but because the lifespan of the dog may outlast that of the humans, only to lead to another homeless situation for the dog.
Young to Middle-Aged
3 to 8 Years
Many people find this age to be ideal. Much of the chewing, nipping, and potty accident problems have been resolved, yet the dog still has many good years left.
Senior Poodles
8 to 18 Years

Senior dogs whose lives have been disrupted in their later years have so much love to give and like nothing better than giving it. They tend to rely heavily on their owner for companionship and therefore bond very quickly. The desire to reciprocate the companionship given to them is very strong.

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." -- Bonnie Wilcox Old Dogs, Old Friends