Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2021

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The term “poodle” refers to a number of breeds of various sizes, from toy to miniature to large (standard), characterized by thick, fluffy fur and pointy snouts. Originally bred as hunting dogs in Germany, their name comes from a word meaning “splash,” owing to their willingness to retrieve game from the water.

These dogs are active, clever, and highly interactive with people, though it can take them a while to warm up to strangers. They train very well and are often the stars at obedience training classes. Poodles tend to get along with children and other pets, though the smaller varieties can be prone to biting.
Table of Contents:

  1. Origins
  2. Physical Characteristics
  3. Common Health Concerns for Toy Poodles
  4. Common Health Concerns for Standard Poodles
  5. General Health Concerns
  6. Personality
  7. Training
  8. Grooming
  9. Energy and Exercise
  10. Feeding
  11. Insurance

Breed Function: Companion, Water retriever, Performer

Also known as: Caniche, Barbone

Life span: 10-13 years

Average Size of Toy Poodles: Less than 10 inches

Average Weight of Toy Poodles:  4 to 8 pounds

Average Size of Miniature Poodles: 10-15 inches

Average Weight of Miniature Poodles:  12-8 pounds

Average Size of Standard Poodles: 15-21 inches

Average Weight of Standard Poodles:  45-65 pounds

Origin: France and Germany (1500’s)

Temperament: Lively, Intelligent, Devoted, and Obedient

Family: Gun Dog, Companion, Water Dog

Common Health Issues of Toy and Miniature Poodles: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Patellar Luxation, Legg – Perthes, Epilepsy

Common Health Issues of Standard Poodles: Trichiasis, Entropion, Lacrimal Duct Atresia, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Distichiasis

Poodle Breed Origin

poodle pet insurance

The Poodle breed is officially recognized as originating in France, although some trace its origin to Germany.

The Poodle was designed to be a water retrieving dog, known in Germany as “Pudelhund”—a name that is derived from the word “Pudel” meaning “to splash” and the word “Hund” meaning dog.

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) states that Poodles descend from a cross between the French Barbet and the Hungarian water dog.

The breed was standardized in France, where it was commonly used as a water retriever.

In the present, French people refer to Poodles as “Caniches”, a name that is derived from the word cane (the female of the duck), since this type of breed was mainly used for duck hunting.

Given their popularity in France, Caniches became established as its national breed. The Poodle is well known for being a regal companion to the societal elite. It was the favorite breed of the French aristocrats, such as Louis XVI who had a pampered toy Poodle.

Several paintings of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya show that Caniches were also the principal pet dogs of the late 18th century in Spain.

This popular breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1887. The Poodle has contributed to many other dog breeds, such as the Miniature Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer, and Bichon dog breeds.

Throughout history, Poodles have served several functions, including a guide dog, guard dog, military service dog, and circus performer.

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Poodle Physical Characteristics

  • Size
    • Standard Poodle: Over 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulders.
    • Miniature Poodle: 15 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders, with a minimum height in excess of 10 inches.
    • Toy Poodle: 10 inches or under at the highest point of the shoulders.
  • Gait. According to the AKC, Poodles should have a straightforward trot with light springy action and a strong hindquarters drive. Their heads and tails should be carried up.
  • Hair Coat. The coat of the Poodle can be either curly or corded. The curly hair coat should have a naturally harsh texture with an even density. The corded hair coat should have hanging even cords of varying length.
  • Poodles should have a moderately rounded skull, with a slight but definite stop. Their cheekbones and head muscles should be flat. They should possess a long, straight and fine muzzle.
  • Eyes. The eyes of Poodles are very dark, oval in shape and positioned to create an alert intelligent expression.
  • Neck. The AKC mentions that the neck of Poodles should be well proportioned, strong and long enough to permit the head to be carried high and with dignity.
  • Tail. The AKC states that the tail of Poodles should be straight, set on high and docked of sufficient length to ensure a balanced outline. However, Pet Insurance U, as well as many veterinary medicine professionals, strongly oppose to performing cosmetic surgical procedures in animals. The American Veterinary Association (AVMA) states that “performing a surgical procedure for cosmetic purposes implies the procedure is not medically indicated…there is no obvious benefit to our patients in performing this procedure…the only benefit that appears to be derived from cosmetic tail docking of dogs is the owner’s impression of a pleasing appearance”. You can read more about the welfare implication of tail docking here.
  • Legs. Poodles have strong, smoothly muscled legs.

To read more about the Poodle’s breed standard, download the Official Standard of the Poodle by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Common Health Concerns of Toy and Miniature Poodles

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This disease occurs when the cells of a dog’s retinas degenerate. A gene mutation is responsible for the problem. It is, therefore, imperative to know the breeding history before acquiring a puppy in order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, but affected dogs can almost always live full lives if kept indoors.
  • Patellar luxation. The kneecap or patellar luxation can occur for a variety of reasons, usually because of a congenital defect that prevents the patella from staying seated in its groove. Many cases of patellar luxation are mild and do not require surgical treatment, though, in more severe or persistent cases, surgery will be needed to prevent future complications.
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. Also known as hip joint disintegration, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease occurs when the head of the femur, which is one of the long bones of the hind leg, degenerates progressively. The exact cause of the Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is unknown. It is a hereditary condition most commonly seen in miniature, toy, and small-breed dogs, who are five to eight months in age.
  • Epilepsy. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes repeated seizures over a period of time. The condition can be caused by genetic abnormalities or unknown reasons. If left untreated, seizures can become more frequent and severe.
  • Hypothyroidism. A very common endocrine disease where the body produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. It can be associated with keratoconjunctivitis sicca—also called “dry eye”.
Health Condition Risk Profile Avg. Treatment Cost
Epilepsy Medium $205 to $15,025
Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease Medium $ 2,000 to $12,000
Patellar luxation Medium $1345 to $2955
Progressive Retinal Atrophy High $166 to $2000
Hypothyroidism Medium $30 to $60 per month throughout your dog’s life

Common Health Concerns of Standard Poodles

  • Trichiasis. An eyelash disorder found in dogs where the eyelashes grow towards their eye. The eyelash hair can come into contact with and damage the cornea or conjunctiva of the eye. It is caused by an abnormal facial conformation and some breeds are genetically predisposed.
  • Entropion. This congenital condition occurs when the dog’s upper or lower eyelids roll inward toward the inside of the eye. Poodles with this condition will show visible signs of abnormally rolled eyelids, pain, and swelling of eyes. Treatment consists of the surgical replacement of the eyelid. If left untreated, entropion may lead to corneal ulceration and vision loss.
  • Lacrimal duct atresia. Tear or lacrimal duct atresia refers to a condition where the opening of this duct does not form. The blocked tear duct does not allow the draining of tears to the nasal cavity and results in excessive eye discharge.
  • Cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye, resulting in blurry vision. Smaller cataracts are not likely to affect a dog’s vision, but even the small ones must be regularly monitored to prevent blindness. Old age, disease, and eye trauma can cause cataracts, although they most commonly stem from inherited conditions. Poodles can develop cataracts with microphthalmia, a condition where a dog has cataracts along with abnormally small eyes. In many cases, surgery can restore vision loss due to cataracts, and many dog insurance plans cover up to 100 percent of the cost of cataract surgery.
  • Glaucoma. This is an ocular condition caused by the increase of the pressure inside the eye. It is a frequent cause of blindness in both humans and animals. The fluid that fills the eyes keeps the eye pressure; this fluid is constantly moving in order to keep a balance. If there is an increased amount of this fluid inside the eye, the pressure increases and glaucoma develops. This increased pressure causes pain and it can damage internal structures of the eyes, leading to blindness.
  • Distichiasis. This disease involves the growth of eyelashes where they normally would not grow, it can affect both upper and lower lids of one or both eyes. The condition becomes particularly problematic when the eyelashes protrude inward, irritating the dog’s cornea.
Health Condition Risk Profile Avg. Treatment Cost
Trichiasis High $350 to $2,000
Entropion Medium $305 to $1,490 per eye
Lacrimal duct atresia Medium $350 to $1000
Cataracts High $3,507 to $3,784
Glaucoma High $75 to $1,500
Distichiasis High $ 1,500 to $2,000

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General Health Concerns of Poodles

Poodles are for the most part healthy dogs, with the toy and miniature varieties living around 15 years and the larger, standard variety a few years less.

The varieties vary somewhat in their susceptibilities to various canine illnesses, but all are at risk for the following:

  • Addison’s Disease. This condition results when the adrenal gland produces too little adrenaline; affected dogs are lethargic and suffer gastrointestinal problems. Blood analysis is required to diagnose the disease, which can be difficult to distinguish from other ailments. Treatment involves lifetime administration of drugs that compensate for the defective gland.
  • Bloat (gastric dilation volvulus, stomach torsion). The stomachs of these dogs may become distended and actually twist within their bodies as a consequence of excess intestinal gas; symptoms include a bloated abdomen, drooling, and unproductive vomiting. Without immediate treatment, usually surgery, a dog stands a good chance of dying.
  • Hip Dysplasia. These dogs may inherit a condition where the hipbone fails to fit correctly into the pelvis. Over time, wear and tear can cause these joints to become inflamed, resulting in pain and restricted movement. The condition can often be reversed with surgery. Owners are urged to ask breeders for confirmation that the hips of the parents are not affected, though this does not guarantee that puppies will not develop dysplasia.
  • Hypothyroidism. This condition occurs when a dog’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in a lack of the necessary hormones that the thyroid produces. Symptoms include hair loss, skin problems, weight gain, and lethargy. Blood analysis is used to confirm the presence of the disease; treatment involves daily administration of an artificial hormone to replace what the thyroid no longer produces.
  • Tracheal Collapse. This condition presents with a “honking” cough and occurs when the rings of cartilage that make up the windpipe become weakened and collapse. Diagnosis is confirmed by fluoroscopy and radiography; treatment involves the administration of steroids to combat inflammation, and surgery may be required to reconstruct the trachea.

It’s hard to realize when you take home that frisky puppy, but your poodle is likely to face one or more of these or similar illnesses in the course of its life. Treatment such as surgery or lifelong drug therapy can run to hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, and it is often impossible to know when a medical issue will arise.

The right pet health insurance plan can help to ensure that your poodle will receive the best care possible from puppy to old age.

You can learn more about other genetic diseases in Poodles and other breeds on the Guide to Congenital and Heritable Disorders in Dogs published by The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Poodle Personality

Poodles have a sweet and loving temperament. They are often described as intelligent, loyal and mischievous. These affectionate and cuddly dogs, love to participate in family activities. They are active, alert, playful, and are often said to have a human-like personality and intelligence—they are easy to train.

Poodles are known for being protective of their families. They make excellent watchdogs—if a stranger approaches your house, they will let you know with a warning bark. Even though they are very affectionate with their families, Poodles need a little time to get to know new people.

When properly trained, Poodles can be very calmed and have an excellent disposition. It is important that they get a proper amount of exercise to prevent destructive behaviors.

Training a Poodle

Poodles are very smart and easy to train. Just like other hunting dogs, they thrive on human leadership and need to feel that they are part of a group—their family. Poodles should be socialized and trained as early as possible. They can become destructive if not trained appropriately.

It is a good idea to train Poodle puppies to heel on the leash so that they do not bolt out doorways and gateways before their masters, this will teach them who is the pack leader.

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Poodle Grooming

Poodles have an abundant hair coat, which requires frequent grooming. In addition to regular baths and brushing, grooming this breed involves checking their ears, eyes, claws, and teeth. The AKC recommends grooming your Poodle weekly to keep his/her coat clean, shining, manageable and, more importantly, to maintain good health.

A regular grooming schedule allows us to detect any skin abnormality, fleas, and ticks, ear infections, among other health problems. Grooming is also an excellent opportunity to bond with your Poodle and to reinforce your leader position.

Most Poodles need to have their hair coat professionally groomed every 4 to 8 weeks depending on their lifestyles. If you don’t have much time to groom your Poodle, it is best to keep his or her hair coat short—this will keep your dog comfortable and will make things easier for both of you.

Bathing frequency depends on your Poodle’s lifestyle. Very active dogs or dogs that spend too much time outside need more frequent baths. Poodles are susceptible to allergies and other skin problems, so you might need a medicated shampoo. Ask your veterinarian about the best shampoo for your dog.

Since this breed has abundant hair, you can dilute your shampoo before application and this will help you achieve an even application. Always dry your dog’s hair coat thoroughly, paying special attention to the ears, because humidity can lead to ear infections.

Poodle Energy & Exercise

Training is definitely necessary for hunting breeds such as the Poodle. The working heritage of Poodles means that they are active dogs. This breed needs a great amount of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. When not exercised properly, Poodle can become anxious and destructive.

In order to meet their exercise needs, you can take your Poodle on daily walks, jogs or runs. Remember to keep your dog walking beside or behind you, that way your Poodle will learn that you are the pack leader.

If possible, teach your Poodle to do a job around the house, for example, you can teach him/her to bring you the newspaper every morning.

Having daily chores will keep your Poodle busy, and it will prevent him/her from becoming anxious or developing destructive behaviors. In order to prevent obesity, it is important to feed your Poodle according to his/her physical activity level.

Nutrition & Feeding Poodles

Your best options for feeding your Poodle are commercial dry food (kibble) or canned food, and homemade meals. There are several types of commercial dog foods—how should you choose the best one for your Poodle?

You should consider your dog’s size, age, and activity level. It is important to understand that dogs, just like us, need a nutritionally balanced meal with an appropriate amount of calories.

Dog food contains a combination of ingredients, including meat, grains, vitamins, minerals, fats, and byproducts. This combination is balanced to meet the nutritional requirements of dogs. If you prefer to feed your Poodle a homemade meal, you should make sure it is nutritionally balanced.

Dr. Paula Terifaj from Founders Veterinary Clinic in California has developed a nutritionally balanced homemade dog recipe that you can use to feed your dog. You may also want to consult your dog’s veterinarian before you start feeding your Poodle with homemade meals.

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Poodle Pet Insurance

Poodles have an average life span of 10 to 13 years. This breed is susceptible to various congenital and hereditary conditions such as trichiasis, entropion, lacrimal duct atresia, cataracts, glaucoma, and distichiasis.

There is no way to know for certain if your Poodle will suffer from any of these illnesses, but the possibility is always there, and every dog will require special care as it gets older. The right pet health insurance plan can help keep you from the added burden of financial worries when your dog requires medical care.

The first step to a healthy and happy Poodle is finding a reputable breeder who can provide genetically fit puppies. The second step is to train your dog well and give it plenty of healthy food, exercise, and love.

For many owners, the third step is to purchase a pet health care plan that helps to keep vet bills predictable and to ensure that you can focus on helping a sick dog to recover rather than worrying about the cost of treatment.

When choosing your pet insurance plan, it is a good idea to check if it covers the hereditary conditions mentioned-above. Taking this precaution can save you lots of money and headaches.

The following pet insurance companies allow you to choose a plan that covers hereditary or breed-specific conditions.

Need help to choose the right pet insurance for your Poodle? Take a look at our Pet Insurance comparison chart.

Is A Poodle Right For You?

A Poodle may be right for you if you want…

  • a small/medium-sized dog
  • a dog with a beautiful hair coat
  • a dog that is peaceful with other pets
  • an energetic, smart and easy to train dog
  • a sociable dog that is good with kids
  • a dog to take out for daily walks or runs
  • a playful dog
  • a service dog

A Poodle may NOT be right for you if…

  • don’t want to spend a considerable amount of time and money to groom your dog
  • you spend long hours working outside of your home
  • you do not have time to take him/her out for daily walks
  • you want a lap dog who does not need lots of physical activity
  • you do not want to deal with potential congenital health problems

For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.

Other articles you may find helpful: 

Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

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