Are Poodles Good Dogs For First-Time Pet Owners?

It seems like everywhere you look these days, there is a Poodle or Poodle-mix dog breed to be found.

And no wonder why!

Poodles are popular. That’s because they make a good choice for the first-time pet owner.

I myself fell in love with Poodles at an early age. There was something about their elegant (yet athletic) bodies and expressive faces that just made my heart melt!

In fact, The Spruce Pets places Poodles at #8 on their list of 10 Best Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners.

Thinking about adding a Poodle to your life?

Read on to discover why this dog could be your perfect introduction to pet parenthood.

Written by Jen, proud owner of a 3-year-old Great Dane/Poodle mix named Luna, who is her once in a lifetime “heart dog.”

Jen specializes in the care and training of large dog breeds. She particularly enjoys working with Great Danes (for their big, goofy natures) and Poodles (for their intelligence).

6 Excellent Reasons Why a Poodle is the Best K9 Companion

Just like people, dogs come in all shapes and sizes.

It is important for first-time pet owners to do their own diligent research on what breed suits their lifestyle best.

But generally speaking, Poodles are a fabulous pick for the following reasons.

Poodles are adorably cute!

Poodles might have originated from France, but today they are known worldwide for their fabulous hairdos.

Those round balls of fluff around their heads and ankles give them a distinctive teddy bear appearance that is a crowd favorite at dog shows.

Similarly, their long snouts and soulful brown eyes are irresistible to dog lovers.  In terms of facial expressions, Poodles are a dog breed that clearly shows their emotions.

One look at my dog’s big brown eyes, and it’s like we know exactly what she’s thinking.

When it comes to haircuts, there are also dozens to choose from.

These range from classic to trendy and fun! If you want to show off your sense of style and are something of a “canine fashionista,” then be sure to check out the article titled 50 Poodle Haircuts You’ll Definitely Love on Hairstyle Camp.

For example, did you know Poodle have the perfect hair for tying up in pretty bows? Add a little pink ribbon for the ultimate “princess” look. 

Miniature and Toy Poodles look adorable with bobs.

On the other hand, there’s nothing more majestic than a Standard Poodle with long athletic legs all ending in a fluffy poof of black or white fur around their ankles and tail.

Hypoallergenic = helpful for people with allergies

Achoo! Do you find yourself sneezing around dander?

Do your partner’s eyes get red and itchy whenever they pet a dog?

Being allergic to animals is no fun.

Luckily, there are certain breeds that are non-shedding, single coat, and have almost zero drool.

Enter, the pretty Poodle!

Since their hair grows (rather than sheds) Poodles don’t leave fur all over the house.

According to the American Kennel Clun (AKC), Poodles are blessed with a fur type that is “virtually hypoallergenic.”

That means very little hairs getting stuck on your clothes, furniture, on the rug, in the car, etc.

A fast brush once or twice a week – in addition to regular professional grooming and vacuuming – makes the Poodle a top choice for families with allergies.

Not too big, not too small

Chihuahuas are too small. Irish Wolfhounds are far too big.

For the newbie pet owner, a Poodle can be the ideal size for both apartment and house dwellers alike.

Poodles comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.

They are all technically the same breed, just different heights and weights.

DogTime breaks it down into the three universally recognized categories below. 

Standard: 45-70lbs

Miniature: 15-17 lbs

Toy: 6-9 lbs

This wide range in size makes it easy for novice dog owners to pick a Poodle that fits their unique lifestyle and canine comfort levels.

This wide range in size makes it easy for novice dog owners to pick a Poodle that fits their unique lifestyle and canine comfort levels.

Think about your specific lifestyle needs and wants.

Looking for a dog you can carry around in your arms or who can ride the subway in a purse with you?

A Toy Poodle is lightweight enough to do so.

Or would you prefer a bigger pup who can keep up with you on long hikes in the woods?

Standard Poodles will thrive on at least 1 hour of exercise per day, and will be more than happy to trot alongside their owner!

The same can be said about living arrangements. As a breed, Poodles are very versatile.

People who live in smaller apartments/condos will have no problem fitting in one of the smaller sized Poodles. Their tiny bodies barely take up any room! Just a comfy bed, food and water area, and somewhere to keep their leash and toys is all the space they require.

However, Poodles also will thoroughly enjoy having free space to run and play.

A home with a grassy backyard is ideal for Poodle owners interested in training or agility.

My girl Luna gets two walks per day, plus roughly one hour of free backyard time to sniff, play with her puppy friends, nap in the sun, and just generally enjoy being a “dog.”

Enchanted Poodle points out that Poodles are energetic dogs. But so long as you make sure they get enough exercise every day, you’ll have no issues keeping them in homes of any size.

Poodles boast super high IQ. Actually, they’re the Einstein’s of the dog world!

Want a dog that has beauty as well as brains? None beats the Poodle.

According to The Smart Canine, when it comes to intelligence and obedience, Poodles hold the #2 spot on a list of 138 dog breeds.

They are smart and trainable.

They learn new commands and tricks quickly, often on only the third or fourth try.

Which is pretty amazing!

At their heart, Poodles are people pleasers.

They aren’t stubborn.

This makes them an excellent pick for first-time owners who have no prior dog training experience.

For example, Poodles can be taught to sit, shake, down, speak, wait, roll over, come, and so on…often learning these basic commands after only a few tries!

Interestingly, research done by The Smart Canine found that the average dog can learn a new command after approximately 25 – 40 repetitions. 

Yet a Poodle will learn after only 5 tries – wow!

Stranger danger! Poodles are great watchdogs

Does the sound of woofing drive you bonkers?

Naturally, those looking to add new a dog to their home might be worried about barking.

After all, some dog breeds are notoriously noisy. Some guard and growl.

Others – like the Golden Retriever – are more likely to greet an intruder with a wagging tail and kisses.

Poodles are a good mix of both personalities. They are moderate barkers.

While a Poodle is unlikely to aggressively defend your home, they will definitely alert you to a guest at the door or a passerby out the window.

Remember, Poodles are smart dogs. They won’t bark 24/7 for no reason at all.

While some dog owners feel dismayed upon learning that Poodles have a moderately loud bark, the good news is that Poodles are easily trained to bark less.

How?

First, determine what the noise trigger is. Perhaps they need a potty break, are scared of loud noises (like fireworks or a thunderstorm), are bored, hungry, or excited. In these cases, barking will stop once the trigger ends.

A Poodle who is barking like a watchdog simply needs to be taught that (while their efforts are appreciated!) they aren’t constantly necessary.

Socialize your Poodle to stimuli, reassure them that everything is okay, and try to let them know there is no real danger.

Ultimately, Poodles will learn when to bark and when to be quiet.

Longer than average lifespans

It’s a fact of life that dogs don’t live long enough.

Many would-be pet owners are hesitant to add a dog to their family for fear of falling in love and then losing their fur baby far too soon.

And while there is no guarantee, Poodles are celebrated for their longevity. 

Veterinarians at PetMD put the average life expectancy of a Standard Poodle at 12 years. This is far better than my second favorite dog breed, the Great Dane, which has a life expectancy of only 8 – 10 years. 

Toy Poodles have an even better chance of reaching their golden senior years. All Poodle Info shares that it’s not unheard of to find a Toy Poodle living to be 14 or 16.

For a first-time dog owner, this is a BIG plus.

The Downside of Owning a Poodle if You are Inexperienced 

Now, it would be irresponsible to say that poodles don’t come with any challenges…

To decide if a Poodle is right for you, first weigh the pros and cons.

Be honest with yourself!

Are you ready for a dog who is crazy energetic, requires constant affection, and costs a fair chunk of change to groom?

Think about these 2 concerns.

Health Issues are Frequently Seen in Poodles

A purebred Poodle may face more health issues than other breeds.

The Poodle Club of America explains that hereditary problems like hip dysplasia, cancer, Addison’s disease, and epilepsyare all genetic issues to watch out for.

Furthermore, Poodles who compete in sports events like agility, dock diving, or retriever hunt tests need to be careful with regards to injuries and sprains.

Always have an emergency fund saved up if you opt out of getting pet insurance.

Like all dogs, Poodles require regular veterinarian checkups and vaccinations, too.

So be sure to consider these annual costs before getting a Poodle. 

Costs for Grooming Quickly Add Up

Some dog breeds require very little grooming…but not a Poodle!

Due to the curly nature of their fur, they need frequent clipping and professional grooming (every 4-6 weeks, minimum).

A Poodle whose fur gets neglected will become covered in mattes, knots, and tangles –ouch!

To avoid skin infections and being forced to shave bald, owners need to invest in regular grooming.

But a trip to the salon can run anywhere from $35 – $140 for a basic groom.

Fancier clips in popular styles, such as these will all be on the higher end:

  • Teddy bear
  • Lion
  • English saddle
  • Lamb

In summary, Poodles demand a significant amount of money to properly care for.

So, be prepared to budget accordingly!

Is a Poodle the Right Breed for You?

The American Kennel Club found that Poodles are the seventh most popular breed in the U.S. – no surprise there!

Millions of people fall in love with this breed. Whether Toy, Miniature, or Standard size, there is a Poodle out there for everyone.

Overall, Poodles make a good choice for first-time dog owners who are willing to dedicate the time and energy it takes to raise these wonderful pets.

Curious about other top dog breeds? Click here for Dachshunds and here for Great Danes.

Photo by Steven Van Elk.

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