• Overview

    Although Poodles are used to standing out because of their high-maintenance hairdos, they can back up their style with some serious substance. Poodles love spending time in the company of their families, but because of their intelligence, they expect to be treated like the characters they are.

    Not all Poodles are lap dogs. These clever, lively dogs come in three sizes. Standard Poodles weigh between 45 and 70 pounds, but many end up weighing up to 20 or 30 pounds more than average. The Toy Poodle stands less than 10 inches tall and averages between 6 and 9 pounds. Miniature Poodles, because of their average size, have become the most popular.

    View Grooming Diagram for poodle
  • Personality

    The Poodle, no matter his size, is an active, intelligent dog with a proud carriage. The temperament varies slightly with the Poodle's size. Toy Poodles have a tendency to be more sensitive and shy than their larger cousins. Standard Poodles are often more dependent on their owners for attention and affection, but can be wary of strangers and make good guard dogs. Smaller Poodles can be somewhat high-strung around other dogs, but larger Poodles can occasionally be willful or protective.

    Although Poodles are quick learners, eager to please their masters, take care not to let their mischievous behaviors become habits. Because they are clever dogs, when Poodles become bored or feel mistreated, they quickly find ways to occupy themselves. No matter his size, your Poodle will need plenty of outlets for his energy. They are often excellent swimmers and appreciate learning games. Poodles love spending time in the company of their families. They can be sensitive to their owners' moods, so a reward-based training system is most effective for these people-pleasers.

  • Coat Care

    The poodle's crisp, curly coat comes in black, white, brown and gray, and is less frequently seen in café-au-lait, apricot, cream and blue. Poodles have no undercoat, so their dense, curly coat is generally hypoallergenic. Many allergy sufferers find that they can live comfortably with a poodle. Poodles are famous for their creative hair styles because their distinct coat texture can be groomed and manipulated into a variety of shapes and clips. The breed originally worked as water retrievers, where their seemingly outrageous show clips served a practical purpose. The trimmed back legs allowed Poodles to swim quickly and easily through the water. The hair, left around the joints and chest, protected them from the cold and allowed them to swim for long distances in chilly temperatures. Today, the Poodle is shown in four clip styles accepted by the American Kennel Club. Most Poodles who spend the majority of their time outside the show ring are trimmed in a variation of the puppy clip, with relatively short hair all over the body excepting the shaved paws, muzzle and tail. Despite their classification as a non-shedding dog, Poodles' loose hairs become caught in their coats, so they need to be brushed daily with a slicker brush. Poodles also have sensitive ears and paws, which can collect painful debris outside.

    Even if you choose to style your Poodle with a more low-maintenance puppy clip, he will still need to be bathed, brushed and clipped every three to six weeks to avoid matting and tangling and to keep his coat looking healthy and clean.

Brushing

No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils.

Dogs with curly or wavy coats are very susceptible to mats and tangles and require daily or every-other-day brushing. It's why they are categorized from moderate to high on the coat maintenance scale. The use of a slicker brush is necessary to remove tangles. When encountering stubborn mats or tangles, use liquid detangler or baby oil, gently massaged into the trouble spot. Remember to gently brush your dog without excessive pulling. And don't forget to brush the tail and feet. A light mist of detangling spray after brushing helps remove loose fur and leaves the dog with a great shine.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but breeds with curly and wavy hair should be done more frequently, usually in the six-to-eight week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

Hair Clipping

Poodles also have sensitive ears and paws, which can collect painful debris outside. Keep the hair around your Poodle's ears and paws trimmed so your dog stays comfortable and clean. He will appreciate a quick trim between full cuts.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Curly and wavy coated dogs have large, sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Poodles are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.