09/01/2020 12:00 AM
The poodle is an instantly recognisable breed of dog. The very word ‘poodle’ conjures up images of frou-frou, overly pampered pets. But there’s much more to poodle life than meets the eye.
For one thing, poodles are often placed in the top five for intelligent breeds of dog. And let’s not forget how well poodles can do when it comes to canine sports.
Also, while the traditional poodle is highly distinctive, there are lots of types of poodle that may not be quite so easy to spot.
There’s a certain amount of controversy concerning the history of the poodle. For many, poodles originated in France – it’s an understandable assumption as they are often called French Poodles.
However, it is widely believed that the breed has its roots in Germany where it served as a water dog used to retrieve game and fowl from rivers and lakes.
The word poodle is also thought to derive from an old German word ‘pudeln’ which roughly translates as ‘to splash in water’.
But this is also disputed, with others claiming the breed originated in Denmark, Portugal, Spain or Africa. Wherever the breed originated, today there are different types of poodles to familiarise yourself with.
Here’s your guide to the different poodle breeds out there. And remember, no matter which type you go for, make sure it’s protected with the right level of dog insurance from the day you bring them home!
For poodle purists, there are only really three types of poodles roaming our parks – the pedigree poodle breeds. There are two more poodle classes – the klein (moyen) poodle and teacup poodle, but these are not yet officially recognised as poodle classifications.
Let’s take a closer look at those pedigree breeds.
The tallest among all the poodle varieties, the standard poodle is at least 38cm in height and weigh up to 35kg.
It was the first of the poodle breeds to be developed and today remains one of the smartest, most trainable breeds. They are elegant and energetic, excelling in obedience and agility competitions.
Standard poodles also make great watchdogs, protective but not aggressive, with an attitude towards people that can range from friendly to politely reserved.
Miniature poodles stand between 28-38cm tall and weigh around 7-8kg – they are small, but not as small as their toy poodle cousins.
They are the most commonly favoured variant in poodle hybrid crossings as their size means they have the versatility to be crossed with a wide range of other dogs.
As with the other two pedigree poodle variants, a tightly-curled, low-shedding coat is a given.
The smallest of the three traditional poodle breeds, toy poodles stand between 24 and 28cm tall and can weigh up to 6kg.
Like all the poodle cousins, toy poodles are extremely intelligent dogs and need a surprising amount of exercise – especially considering their size. Even though they have the word ‘toy’ in their name, toy poodles are not officially classified as toy dogs.
Instead they fall into the utility dog group, reflecting the breed’s working origins.
Today’s poodle mixes come in all shapes and sizes – largely because they are bred with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most popular hybrid poodle breeds out there.
Of all pups with poodle parentage, the cockapoo is the most popular dog type in the UK.
This poodle hybrid is bred by crossing a poodle of any size (although miniature poodles are generally the preference) with a cocker spaniel. It was back in the 1950s that a breeder first made the cross.
Most cockapoos are on the small side and tend to inherit the distinctive, desirable poodle curls. This means they tend not to shed heavily and are less likely to trigger allergies.
As the name would suggest, the labradoodle is a dog with both poodle and labrador retriever parentage. It also holds the title for being the world’s first well-known hybrid dog.
In the 1980s, an Australian breeder named Wally Conlon crossed a labrador with a standard poodle and labradoodle was born.
Today, standard poodles still tend to be used in the breeding process, but miniature poodles can also be used.
Because labradors are relatively large breeds, labradoodles tend to be on the large side as well. They are the third most popular hybrid poodle breed in the UK.
Another popular poodle cross is the cavapoo, bred by crossing a poodle with a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
Toy or miniature poodles are commonly used and the small size of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel means that cavapoos are small (but not toy) dogs – they tend to be a few inches shorter than their cockapoo cousins.
Cavapoos can have a variety of coats, often the preferred poodle-type, and a range of colourings. Cavapoos generally have a quieter nature than cockapoos and are intelligent, fun-loving and great company.
The Shihpoo is a relatively new cross breed using the shih tzu and either a miniature or toy poodle.
The resulting pooch is very small and very cute, with either the curly coat of the poodle or longer, much straighter coat of the shih tzu.
As a result, pups from the same litter can be quite different in appearance. Shihpoos are a popular option among dog owners, thanks to their adorable looks and affectionate nature.
They love being around people but are not yet recognised as an official breed.
The Goldendoodle is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle. Goldendoodles are often considered to have two of the most desirable canine traits – a low-shedding coat mixed with a joyful, friendly, family dog temperament.
Goldendoodles come in standard and mini sizes.
Known as the bichon poodle, poochon or bichpoo, this breed is a cross between a bichon frise and either a miniature or toy poodle.
The bichon poodle was first bred in Australia in the 1990s and has an energetic but adorable personality. They are always a big hit with everyone they meet!
The list of hybrid poodle breeds is fairly extensive, with breeders keen to combine different traits and temperaments.
Here are some of the other cross poodle breeds you may have heard about:
According to the results of Britain's Top Dogs which aired on ITV last year, the standard poodle was ranked 45th most popular pooch, the labradoodle came in at 13th and the cockapoo was named the nation’s second favourite breed of dog (just missing out to the Staffordshire bull terrier).
The poodle is a highly recognisable breed of dog. It’s easy to spot its straight muzzle, long ears that hang close to its head, and small paws.
However, it is this breed’s coat that is its defining feature.
Corded or curly in appearance, a poodle’s coat comes in a variety of colours and is always solid in colour. The most common coat colours for poodles are: blue, black, grey, silver, apricot, cream, brown, white, red and café-au-lait.
The clip (the way in which the coat is trimmed) is another instantly recognisable feature.
Many believe the clip was designed for visual appeal; however, others argue it was developed as a way to protect (but not hinder) these dogs when they were used for hunting and retrieving.
Today, the most common poodle clip is the ‘lamb clip’ or ‘puppy clip’, however, other popular clips include the continental clip, the modified continental clip, the town and country clip, the Miami clip and the kennel clip.
Even if your poodle is not being shown, it is important to keep up a regular grooming schedule.
This means bathing and clipping your poodle once every couple of months – depending on the dog, this can happen less frequently. Grooming can be expensive, but is a must when you own a poodle.
As we have already mentioned, poodles are highly intelligent dogs that can get bored fairly easily if they do not have enough mental and physical stimulation.
Poodle owners need to make sure they give their pets enough exercise, play with them, and keep on top of learning and obedience activities.
Poodles are quick learners and are capable of picking up new commands and tricks with ease – this is one of the reasons why poodles used to regularly appear in circuses back in the day.
They are a playful, patient and loyal breed of dog, but can be fairly reserved with strangers.
Poodles of all sizes are energetic, and while the toy poodle may not need to stroll as far as the standard poodle on its daily walk, it will still need a structured exercise routine.
Your pet poodle is part of the family and you want to give him or her the care and attention they deserve.
Here’s a guide to caring for your poodle to keep them at their healthiest, most sociable, and well-groomed best.
You should walk your poodle for around one hour a day.
Remember that all poodles need to be taken out for a walk every day, regardless of their size. If you have a standard poodle, ideally you will have a back garden big enough to let them exercise whenever they wish.
Smaller breeds will be happy running around your home, larger ones will need more space.
It is important that you follow a regular grooming routine for your pet poodle.
This means brushing their coat once or twice a week if the hair is clipped short. Where the hair is longer, it should be brushed daily. Any matted or tangled hair that cannot be brushed out should be cut out with scissors.
It is recommended that poodles are professionally groomed every six weeks. It is best to get an all-over, short trim as this is the most comfortable for the dog and the easiest for you to groom.
Make sure your poodle gets lots of contact with other dogs and people. Miniature and toy poodles in particular can be especially shy around strangers and may take some time getting used to new faces.
As well as going for long walks, training classes can be a good way for your poodle friend to interact with other dogs.
It is advised that you take your pooch for regular check-ups at the vet. This is especially important if you have a standard poodle.
These larger dogs can be vulnerable to a number of health issues, including gastric torsion, Addison’s disease, and the build-up of earwax.
If you own a poodle – pedigree or hybrid – you will want to make sure you have the right level of cover for you and your dog.
At Purely Pets, we design dog insurance to ensure your pet poodle has the protection it deserves.
Depending on the policy you choose, you can be covered for vets bills for accidents, illness or both – up to a fixed amount. Many policies also cover the cost of dentistry, loss of your pet and overseas travel.
If you would like to find out how to get the right level of cover, Purely Pets can provide you with an online quote in minutes.
Get in touch with a member of our team to discuss your dog insurance options and find the policy right for you and your four-legged friend.