As one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world, the Poodle may also be one of the most misunderstood. For many, the only knowledge of this stately breed comes from observing them in televised dog shows or seeing them depicted in photographs. They're usually shown immaculately coifed, trotting gracefully or posing elegantly, looking aloof and untouchable. This couldn't be further from the truth. Poodles are extremely friendly, athletic, and wickedly smart. And despite their regal bearing, they're up for all the fun and companionship – just like any other dog.
The second most intelligent dog breed (after the Border Collie), Poodles need a lot of engagement and interaction to be happy. This could come in the form of obedience training (advanced obedience for these smarty pants), agility, or other challenging games that will make them use their head. Intuitive as well as attentive, a Poodle is so good at reading their human that they sometimes seem telepathic. With their exceptional brain power, this is not a breed you want to leave to their own devices. A Poodle needs to be involved, engaged, and appreciated as a family member.
What might surprise you about this breed is that they are also exceptional athletes. Poodles excel in sports where retrieving and jumping skills are required and in obstacle competitions that demand speed and accuracy. Because Poodles are so smart, it makes them one of the easiest breeds to train, so what you can teach your pet Poodle to do is limited only by your imagination.
Poodles come in three basic sizes: Standards, which should be 15 inches or taller at the shoulder; Miniatures, which are 15 inches or under; and Toys, which stand under 10 inches. All three sizes should be approximately the same build and proportions by scale.
If you're considering getting a Poodle to add to your family, you should consider their grooming needs. As one of the least shedding dog breeds, you won't have to vacuum as much, but they do need to be clipped every 4-6 weeks to maintain their signature style. They will also need a lot of daily exercise, so you should plan to walk, jog, bike, or play with your Poodle daily if you want their behavior in the house to be calm and appropriate for indoors.
Poodles, if well socialized and exercised, are friendly with people and peaceful and accepting of other pets. They're also alert and loyal, making them excellent watchdogs and wonderful companions.