If you are considering adopting a Poodle, or just want to know more about them, we’ve compiled all the information you might need to make informed decisions regarding their care. We’ve included details about this breed’s physical characteristics, activity needs, grooming tips, nutrition, and more. At the bottom of this guide, check out our comprehensive list of all the health conditions we test for here at Embark, as well as recommendations for treatable diseases from our veterinarians.

Your Guide to Poodles

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Poodles are eager, athletic, and wickedly smart pups of remarkable versatility. They also have an amazing ability to learn, and they might just surprise you with their desire to complete tasks, as well as their innate intelligence. Known for both this exceptional intellect, as well as their friendly and active nature, Poodles make very sweet-natured companions. These pups are happiest when they feel included in day-to-day activities. According to Petful.com, Poodles are prone to separation anxiety. If you’re headed to the beach, watching movies on the couch, or stepping out for a run, your doggo will be eager to join you.

You can adopt a Poodle from an animal shelter or find a breeder. It’s important to look for breeders that can provide detailed health records for their puppies (and parents!) as well as genetic testing for health conditions. 

Fun Facts

Here are some fun facts about Poodles:

  • Despite their French reputation, Poodles hail from Germany, where they were called pudel, which is German for “puddle.” This relates to their love for splashing about in water, the AKC reported. 
  • Unlike dogs that shed, the Poodle will grow fur continuously, according to VetStreet.
  • Elvis Presley loved dogs, and he lived with quite a few Poodles at Graceland, MentalFloss reported.
  • According to PawedIn, one special Poodle named Nala presents an awe-inspiring story of intelligence among this breed. Although never trained to operate an elevator, Nala somehow figured it out on her own and uses it to visit the residents at a local nursing home.

Physical characteristics

The Standard Poodle, Toy Poodle, and Miniature Poodle are all recognized by the AKC. Types are allowed to interbreed. According to the website Teacup Dog Daily, the Standard Poodle is the largest type. These pups are extremely athletic, a trait that is evident in their graceful and proud appearance. The lifespan of the Standard Poodle is around 12 years, their height is 18 – 24 inches and their weight can range between 45 – 70 pounds.

The Miniature Poodle is right in the middle; the lifespan of these pups is around 15 years, their height is 11 – 14 inches, and their weight ranges from 12 – 20 pounds. The Toy Poodle has a similar coat to the Standard Poodle and normally stands at about 22 inches. Their weight can range between 4-10 pounds. 

Bringing your new Poodle home

Your dog’s first week at home should be quiet and comfortable. Your pup might adjust more quickly with a consistent routine beginning on their first day with you. Give your new family member ample time to become familiar with their new surroundings. They will need to become acquainted with both you and their new digs (there are so many different smells!). If your new pup is younger than 3 or 4, be sure to take some extra precautions by keeping electrical wires, household plants, and other easily-accessed items out of their reach.

Have you thought of their new name? We understand that picking a name for your pup can be a challenging task; there are so many to choose from! Once you’ve landed on the right one, repetition is definitely key. 

Check out our list of the most popular dog names of 2018 if you are in need of some ideas!


Give particular attention to portion size when feeding your Poodle. According to All Poodle.com, the exact age of a furry friend, his or her health status, activity level, and individual metabolism are all factors in regards to how much your pup needs to eat. The best thing you can do for your Poodle when it comes to diet is to talk to your veterinarian about a meal plan.


Poodles are highly active and require plenty of exercise. According to the website All Poodle Info, when a dog is exercised on a regular basis, it increases blood circulation, helps maintain proper muscle tone, and can help slow the development of arthritis. Most Poodles enjoy a variety of activities, including, but not limited to, catch, follow the leader, and hide and seek.


According to Vetstreet.com, Poodles can be easy to maintain, but be sure to give particular attention to their coat. These pups require grooming every 4 to 6 weeks. Some Poodle owners learn to use clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on professionals. Either way, this aspect of their grooming is essential. Without regular clipping, it could become matted and cause painful skin infections at the roots. Your pups nails will also require regular trimming if they are not worn down naturally through outside play and regular activity.

Health & aging

Your senior Poodle will likely maintain great health when given the correct care by you and your vet. Regardless, they might experience several changes in their health, behavior, and abilities as they age. Some of these changes could include altered vision and hearing loss, changes to their coat, increased separation anxiety, sensitivity, and longer periods of sleep. Getting your pup tested with Embark will arm you with the information you need to ensure your dog is healthy for longer, while potentially avoiding preventable diseases.

Embark tests for the following health conditions that could affect your Poodle:

Von Willebrand Disease Type II: Dogs with this clotting disorder are often at risk for excessive bleeding during surgical procedures; your veterinarian should be informed so that appropriate blood products are at hand in case a transfusion is required.

Congenital Macrothrombocytopenia: This is a benign disorder of platelet production that leads to abnormally large, sparse platelets. Affected dogs typically do not suffer any ill effects from the size or number of their platelets, but their reduced number of platelets on a routine blood panel can be concerning if their genetic status for this mutation isn’t known! This is definitely something to inform your vet about so unnecessary tests can be avoided should your dog have this condition.

Mucopolysaccharidosis Type VI, Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome: A type of lysosomal storage disease, this can cause skeletal abnormalities, growth retardation, and gait abnormalities; it can also require close monitoring and special care measures as dogs age.

GM2 Gangliosidosis: An early-onset form of lysosomal storage disease, this can cause affected dogs to display neurologic signs as puppies or young adults. These include partial or total vision loss, behavior changes, abnormal gait, and seizures. 

Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEWS): A neurologic disease of puppies, those affected are often smaller than their unaffected litter-mates and require intensive nursing care. Without this extra support, puppies often do not survive past a few weeks of age. Affected puppies can develop cerebellar signs and seizures by 4 to 6 weeks of age.

Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Brittle Bone Disease: This is a disease that affects bone strength and flexibility. Affected dogs often present to the vet for spontaneous bone fractures, tooth fractures, and joint pain, signs that can be managed but require close monitoring by yourself and your vets.

Osteochondrodysplasia, Skeletal Dwarfism: A form of skeletal dwarfism, this causes affected dogs to have abnormally short legs but an average sized body.

Recommendations from our veterinary team on treatable diseases above:

Congenital Macrothrombocytopenia: This is a benign disorder of platelet production that leads to abnormally large, sparse platelets. Affected dogs typically do not suffer any ill effects from the size or number of their platelets. Their reduced number of platelets on a routine blood panel can be concerning if their genetic status for this mutation isn’t known. This is definitely something to inform your vet about so you can avoid unnecessary tests and costs should your dog have this condition.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This retinal disease causes progressive, non-painful vision loss. Because of the slow progression of PRA, most dogs adapt very well to their condition and remain comfortable in familiar surroundings. Over time, many dogs with PRA can develop cataracts, which can lead to other ophthalmologic conditions and requires close monitoring in consultation with your veterinarian. While there is no treatment for PRA, some veterinarians do recommend eye-supportive antioxidants thought to slow the rate of degeneration and reduce the risk of cataract formation.

What we have our eye on for the future:

Primary Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMTP): Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP) is an autoimmune disorder causing low platelet count due to platelet destruction by the immune system. Platelets are important for blood clotting and wound healing. When the platelet count becomes too low, the dog is at serious risk of bleeding disorders.

Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, is caused by abnormally low levels of the steroid hormone cortisol, along with others. These hormones are important in many body functions including the stress response and electrolyte balance.

Insulinoma: An insulinoma is a large overgrowth of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas leading to life-threateningly low blood sugar. Treating the low blood sugar is an emergency situation, though treating the overgrown cells may require long-term cytotoxic therapy. Prognosis varies due to a variety of factors, but this condition is rare.

Oral Melanoma: Oral melanoma, the most common primary oral cancer is often very biologically aggressive and must be addressed quickly. Mostly seen in older dogs the most common site for tumor development is the gums. Although melanomas arise from melanocytes, or pigmented cells, these tumors can be pigmented or non-pigmented.

Epilepsy (Seizures): Dogs with epilepsy suffer from recurrent seizures that can vary in frequency, duration, and severity. Some dogs suffer from focal seizures. These dogs may simply stare into space for a period of time, or display abnormal “fly-biting” behavior. Others suffer generalized tonic-clonic or “grand mal” seizures. To rule other causes of seizures out, your veterinarian may run some blood tests. They might also refer you to a board-certified veterinary neurologist for additional testing.

A Guide to Poodles
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