Breed of the Month

The Poodle

bark busters

published September 2018

Often perceived as a "show dog," elegant and groomed, Poodles are considered the second most intelligent breed after Border Collies.

Regal in stature, proud, and particularly family friendly, you'll often find a Poodle with its head held high supported by a long, strong neck. Don't be fooled however; Poodles love to work and to play!

The Poodle

Physical Characteristics

According to the Australian National Kennel Council Poodles come in three sizes:

Toy: under 28cms tall, 3 – 4 kgs.

Miniature: 28 – 38cms tall, 6 – 7 kgs.

Standard: 38cms and over, 20 – 31kgs.

The Poodle is unique in that it has hair versus fur. Crossing a Poodle with various other breeds is so popular, because their hair is hypoallergenic, ideal for people severely allergic to dog dander. Additionally, Poodle hair is odourless, so no need to worry about having a stinky dog!

Poodles coats are very curly, wiry, and dense. This dense waterproof coat keeps them protected when swimming, but it also means that it does not stop growing and will need regular clipping and grooming, if you want to keep them looking elegant.

The traditional haircut of the Poodle had a purpose! The “lion cut” kept joints and important organs warm while these dogs often splashed around chasing waterfowl in cold water. The rest of the hair was often clipped short to prevent tangling.

Poodle coats come in a range of colours including black, tan, white, grey, silver, brown and crème. Early aristocrats used to dye the Poodle’s coat to their desired colour.

Today’s Poodle has an expected lifespan of 10-15 years.

The Poodle


Would you believe the Poodle was originally bred as a duck hunting dog? These Poodles were larger in size weighing between 18 – 32kgs. There is controversy surrounding the Poodles’ origin as some sources credit Germany and others France. The word Poodle comes from the German word pudel, or pudelin, which translates to “splash in the water.” Appropriate given their love of water and swimming ability. The French word for Poodle is Caniche, derived from chien canard, which translates to “duck dog.” Poodles have become so popular and adored in France they are now the national breed!

Small Poodles (now called Miniature and Toy) were bred with other small Poodles and trained to sniff out truffles in European forests.

Poodle-like pictures have adorned Egyptian and Greek artifacts and tombs dating back to the first centuries B.C.

Early gypsies found the Poodle to be great circus dogs, trained to do tricks, such as balance a ball on their nose, while wearing fancy costumes. Gaining in popularity, the merchant class began to “fluff and puff” their dogs as well, leading to what we now know as show dogs.

The Kennel Club in England first registered the Poodle in 1861, and the American Kennel Club followed suit in 1866.

The Poodle

Personality and Temperament

Poodles are known for their sense of humour and playfulness. They are natural born clowns! They get along well with other pets and children and can easily outwit even their pet parents.

Poodles can be stubborn so consistency in training is key. Although there are three sizes with many similarities, there are key differences as well. Standard Poodles are the most obedient, like to have a job, and are shyer than the smaller versions. Miniature Poodles are the most active of the three and are probably the best if small kids are around. Toy Poodles make great lap dogs and companion dogs but can be “yappy”. Miniature and Toy Poodles are more mischievous than Standard Poodles.

Many pet parents treat the toy and miniature sizes as princes and princesses which is how they get their “prissy” reputation. It is important to remember they are dogs, not dolls, or your spoiling will result in destructive behaviours. Your Poodles want to be with you every step of the way, from the ruggedness of throwing a frisbee to the gentleness of visiting your parents at a nursing home. They never want to leave your side!


Like any breed, the Poodle needs to be socialised with other dogs. If you have a Poodle puppy, make sure you set up playdates with other dogs you know who are well behaved. You don’t want your dog to suffer from any trauma at a young age by being introduced to an overly aggressive dog. This could lead to a fear of other dogs. Dogs learn best from other dogs but they can develop bad habits too.

Poodles can be stubborn so consistency in training is key. Although there are three sizes with many similarities, there are key differences as well. Standard Poodles are the most obedient, like to have a job, and are shyer than the smaller versions. Miniature Poodles are the most active of the three and are probably the best if small kids are around. Toy Poodles make great lap dogs and companion dogs but can be “yappy”. Miniature and Toy Poodles are more mischievous than Standard Poodles.

Be very wary of dog parks before your Poodle is 12 months of age. Too often puppies are bullied or intimidated by older or bigger dogs. The same holds true for doggie day care.

There is no real way to anticipate how your dog will interact with a large population of different dogs and no way to guarantee if a troublesome dog will be present at a park or day care.


One of the most challenging tasks to having a Poodle is keeping it well groomed. Because of their hair, Poodles can be high maintenance in the grooming department. They don’t shed, which is what makes them great dogs for people who have allergies. Instead their hair keeps growing and is wiry, unmanageable and dense if not cut every three to six weeks. Because of their curly hair, they are susceptible to ingrown hairs. Also, because Poodles tend to have more hair in their ears than other breeds, they need to be cleaned regularly so air flow can travel in their ear canals. Poodle hair can be easily matted so it is important to brush your Poodle’s hair twice a week.

Many Poodles have fancy haircuts, but the most common cuts are the Lion Clip, the Puppy Clip, the Continental Clip and the Bikini Clip.

Poodle puppies need to start having regular dental care at two months and will have their adult teeth by 8 months. Brush your dog’s teeth with pet toothpaste because human toothpaste can upset their stomachs if swallowed. Like some other breeds, their eyes tend to weep, so wipe them daily with a warm cloth or pet wipes.


Breed Traits

The Poodle’s intelligence requires this breed to be kept mentally and physically challenged. A Poodle whose mind is engaged is much less likely to display unwanted behaviours.

Unique Traits:

  • Standard Poodles are known for their prowess in obedience, tracking, rally, and agility trials.
  • Good with children and other breeds.
  • Respond best to voice tones versus punishment.
  • Poodles “hairdos” originally had a practical factor – they were sheared for hunting so water didn’t weigh them down in cold water.
  • Second most intelligent breed – only a Border Collie is considered “smarter”.
  • Apart from barking, Poodles are considered one of the least problematic and most stable breeds.

It is also important to establish leadership with this breed as their intellect can often be a forerunner to assertive/pack-leader behaviour.

Poodles don’t like to be alone, and are extremely family friendly, which can often cause separation anxiety. Gentle and sensitive, Poodles respond best to encouragement and praise rather than strong discipline or a harsh voice.

Barking is nearly always an issue. It is not wise to encourage your Poodle puppy to bark! They will find their voice soon enough and then you will need training to address this unwanted behaviour.

Although we often think of Poodles with bouffant hairdos and an air of distinction, make no mistake that the Poodle is a working dog and does best when it has a job to do.

Poodles are extremely diverse dogs. They have won “Best in Show” from the Westminster Kennel Club five times – in 1943, 1956, 1961, 1973 and 1991. They love to learn and have been known to perform some impressive tricks.

Fun Facts:

  • Although the ANKC only recognizes 3 types of Poodles (Standard, Miniature, and Toy) there are two other types: Klein and Teacup. The size of a Klein is between a Standard and a Miniature, and a Teacup can weigh less than 1 kg.
  • Poodles prefer people to other dogs.
  • Early art depicts the Poodle on the European mainland as early as the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • During the 18th century, smaller Poodles became popular as dogs of royalty.
  • Elvis loved Poodles and had a large collection at Graceland.
  • The 1950s Poodle skirt was a nod to the Poodles popularity.
  • Poodles were featured in films such as Interview with a Vampire, The Burbs, and Zoolander.
  • The colour and coat of a Poodle puppy may change as it matures.


of the Breed


  • Funny, smart, adventurous.
  • Intelligent, loyal.
  • Athletic.
  • Eager to please.
  • Great family and companion dogs.
  • Rarely aggressive.
  • No shedding.
  • Hypoallergenic.


  • Agility.
  • Guide.
  • Obedience.
  • Therapy.
  • Tracking.

This Month's Bark Busters Trainer

Christie Price

In my 15 years of being a Bark Busters trainer, I've worked with all sizes of Poodles and many ‘doodle’ dogs. Give me a Poodle any day of the week. Regardless of size, they are a cheerful breed. The Poodle is a graceful and proud dog and is said to be the second-most intelligent breed. And because they require calm and confident owners, which are key components of a good Bark Busters client, they are exceptional students. Give a Poodle consistent, firm guidance or he will walk all over you!

The Toy and Miniature Poodles can be yappers, jumpers (and biters). This is fairly typical of all small breeds that are over overindulged, coddled and over-handled. The barking is a result of no leadership in the home. Small dogs figure out pretty quickly that if they jump on a human, they get petted, which just rewards bad behaviour. Since dogs generally are not fans of being picked up, they may growl and snap when approached. They may also do a 'head fake' when someone walks over just to give them a pet. I say to clients – remember, you're not picking up an 30kg Rottweiler! Why are you picking up your 5kg Poodle? The hands always should be associated as a positive and by minimising picking up and getting the dog to come to you (not going to the dog); it's easy to change the dog's mind that hands are a good thing.

While the Poodle has always been a popular dog, it's been the butt of more jokes as a prissy dog with some of those wacky, frou-frou hairdos! Good thing the Poodle has a highly developed sense of humour! In actuality, the Poodle is a water retriever, a working dog, far from prissy, and requires physical and mental exercise to keep it stimulated and engaged. They have great temperaments and adapt well with children and other dogs. As born performers, these dogs thrive doing skillful activities like agility, obedience, tracking to herding and make great assistance or service dogs. And through the years there's been a Poodle or two in the circus.

Poodles love to learn and are pleasers. Daily programming, recall, distance control, attentiveness training and lead work will help maintain your leadership and enhance your relationship. Oh, and there's not a Poodle on the planet that doesn't love problem-solving toys like a GameChanger®!

"Poodles are Labradors with college educations. After a day of retrieving, your Lab wants to curl up in front of the fireplace and take a well-deserved nap. A Poodle wants to be the fourth at the bridge table and tell naughty stories!" – Ann Rogers Clark



Everyday Illnesses and Injuries

Your Poodle’s health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to vomiting and diarrhea, a 2-year-old Poodle is more likely to develop Addison’s disease, and a senior Poodle may suffer from hip dysplasia or arthritis. Poodles also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—they’re prone to allergies, and because they’re energetic and active dogs, they can suffer from lameness and limping.

If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.

Genetic Health Concerns

Like many popular breeds, the Poodle has a number of hereditary health issues, like hip dysplasia and allergies. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.

Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.

Many rescue organisations also check for common ailments before making them available for adoption.

At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Poodle:

  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Addison's disease/hypoadrenocorticism.
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Lameness and limping.
  • Allergies.
  • Masses.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Arthritis.

Preparing Yourself

As a pet owner, you should expect to pay for basic veterinary care like vaccines, spay/neuter, and annual checkups. Many pet owners don't consider the unexpected illnesses and injuries that can occur throughout a pet's life, and they don't prepare for them. Medical insurance can help a pet owner prepare.

Training Your Poodle

National Trainer Jeff Drier

Poodles are typically very intelligent dogs, which is one reason they are cross bred with so many other breeds to make oodles of doodles. They are also energetic dogs. This combination can make them challenging dogs to live with.

Exercising their brains is a requirement for Poodles. If you don’t keep them busy, they’ll make up their own games, which can tend towards chewing and other destructive behaviours. Practicing basic obedience is certainly a good way to engage their brains. Teaching them tricks is another good tool to use.

Their intelligence makes them very trainable and they often excel in obedience school and even competitive obedience events. The combination of high energy and intelligence make them good candidates for agility competition, if that is something that appeals to you.

Most Poodles readily take to water. They were originally used to retrieve game from water during hunts. Their love of water and high energy can make them competitive dock divers, which is one of the relatively new sports for dogs combining chasing and jumping with swimming and retrieving all of which can come very naturally to these canine athletes.

If you have a pool and let your Poodle swim, make sure you teach it where to exit the pool. Dogs naturally try to get out where they enter so teaching them to always go to the steps is vital for their safety. Watch as Marc Deppe one of our trainers explains and shows the process of teaching your dog how to safely exit a pool.

Due to their intelligence and athleticism, Standard Poodles can make good service dogs, especially performing physical tasks. As with every dog there are pros and cons to their personalities and characteristics. Poodles can be independent and therefore a bit aloof so they are typically not good therapy or emotional support dogs.

Poodles are working dogs and need to be stimulated both mentally and physically and look out when they aren’t. This is often when Bark Busters trainers are called. Our trainers have the knowledge and experience to help you channel your Poodles’ intelligence and energy in positive ways allowing you can live together in harmony and instead conflict.


Behavioural Issues

Poodles are extremely smart, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need dog training. In fact, you have to be careful so your Poodle doesn’t outwit you! Our Bark Busters trainers consider them good students with a keen passion to learn.

They are fast learners and once they know what you want, they get with the program. Gentle, consistent training is all that is required when training any breed and Poodles are no different. However, because of their high intelligence, they might try to turn the tables on you and look to train you.

As with any breed, you must establish yourself as the “pack leader” or else your Poodle will take charge. When we say you need to be the boss, we don’t mean your dog will lose his enthusiasm or spunkiness. Instead, he will know you are serious about rules and establishing boundaries. If you don’t want your dog barking uncontrollably at the front door, chewing through your favourite shoes, or walking you versus you walking him, your Poodle will need training.

Bark Busters bases its training on the way dogs naturally communicate – through body language and voice tones and dogs respond to these methods. When your dog listens to a command, you reward him with praise and petting. When he doesn’t, you address his undesirable behaviour with a tone of voice and body language. NEVER is there a reason to lay an unkind hand on your dog. You can correct your dog without being cruel. The only thing that physical violence will teach your Poodle is fear.

Instead, our dog training will evolve into a relationship with your dog based on love, trust and respect.

At Bark Busters. we want to encourage you to love your pet. When you are picking him up for a snuggle, never try and control him. Dogs and especially Poodles, hate being controlled in this way.

Don’t pick your Poodle up to stop him from an undesirable behaviour. Instead, address the behaviour by using communication and education methods.

Your Bark Busters trainer can further advise you on how to train your Poodle, to help you understand and overcome the following behaviour problems with your Poodle:

  • Stubborness.
  • Biting.
  • Nipping.
  • Separation Anxiety.
  • Lead Training.

Contact your local Bark Busters trainer for more information on dealing with and understanding your Poodle.

Selecting the

Right Puppy

When you are choosing a Poodle puppy, there are many factors to consider, particularly when it comes to size. For instance, Standard Poodles tend to be calmer than Toy Poodles or Miniature. If you have small children, a Toy Poodle might not be the best choice as they can be hyper. The first thing you must decide is what do you want in a dog? Do you want a “show dog”?

When you get a new puppy, speak to your Bark Busters trainer about training for your dog. A show dog particularly will need training as they have to learn to behave around other dogs and people.

A show dog, one that is capable of winning ribbons, usually comes from a reputable breeder. A good breeder should provide you with the genetics of both of the parents, any health issues, vaccination schedules, worming instructions and registered.

If you are looking for a family dog, there are many rescues and shelters that are breed specific. Having trained more than one million dogs worldwide, your Bark Busters trainer will tell you it’s a myth that shelter dogs come with more baggage!

If possible, observe the puppies in their natural environment. The puppy who sits off to the side by himself may be calm but harder to socialise. The alpha pup may push the other dogs away for food and jump on them, but can be more bull-headed and difficult to train. As you observe the different personalities and temperaments, you’ll get an idea of which puppy you want to take home.

Make sure that you are ready for the grooming responsibility of a Poodle because their hair can be high maintenance. Also, Poodles are not used to extreme temperatures and flourish indoors.

Here are some tips for bringing home a new puppy:

  • Bring along a helper to bring your puppy home because he may find the car ride scary. Some dogs even get car sick!
  • Puppies may be skittish about their environment. Don’t bombard them with new sights, sounds and people all at once when you walk in the door. After you give them time to toilet, introduce them to where they will be sleeping (either a dog bed, or a crate) so they have their own place to call home.
  • Dogs like repetition. Establish the best time for eating, playing and toileting outside, so your puppy will know what to expect. Your puppy may cry for the first couple of nights as he is not used to being away from his Mum and littermates.
  • Keep your dog on the same food he was on. If you want to change it in the future, do so gradually.
  • Your pup will appreciate social time and alone time. He may complain at first, but don’t go running every time he barks or yips – this is attention seeking behaviour and can lead to separation anxiety.
  • Make sure to get your puppy an identification tag in case he runs off. Check out our Bark Busters WaggTagg™ further on in this article.

Your Poodle Has

Four Basic Needs

Every breed of dog has four basic needs: food, shelter, security and entertainment.


The size of your Poodle will determine the amount of high quality food your dog needs to eat. Bark Busters has found that certain foods can adversely affect your dog’s behaviour. You will want to check with your vet on the best nutrition for your Poodle.


Every dog needs its own den, a quiet place they can go when things get chaotic. Many Poodles do well with crate training because they feel more secure in small spaces.


Did you know that many dogs misbehave because they don’t feel safe? As pet parents, we have an obligation to make our dogs feel secure in our leadership. They look to us for guidance, love, respect and rules. This is where dog training plays a big part in ensuring that you provide your pet with all their basic needs.

This is where dog training plays a big part in ensuring that you provide your pet with all their basic needs.


Because Poodles are known as smarty pants, it is important to keep their minds learning and active. A bored Poodle is a destructive Poodle!

Entertainment is not just about toys, although educational toys are an important part of their entertainment. Remember to play with your dog and have fun! You can start out by hiding treats, then encourage him to find them. Praise him when he does and add a degree of difficulty each time.

You have to be mindful that your dog has a brain and they need to have that brain stimulated daily. Educational toys such as the GameChanger® by Bark Busters is such a great behavioural tool.

See details about the GameChanger® further on in this article


Games To Play With Your Poodle

Although we often think about exercising our dogs, we rarely think about playing with them. Poodles love to play and it is a great way to release stress for both of you.

It is important you choose games you both like to play. Know that Poodles are faster than humans, so if you like to jog, a Standard Poodle can be a great jogging companion. Along the way, you can stop to play Hide and Seek, hiding small treats or objects for your dog to find. Poodles also like to play Catch Me, where you dart behind trees or bushes and it is their job to find you.

Remember that Poodles were originally bred as duck retrievers, so they love to play ball or Frisbee. Vary the game by bouncing a ball against the wall and having your dog catch it on the rebound. Poodles generally love to swim, so frolic with them in a pool, lake or pond.

Poodles love toys – soft toys, balls, Frisbees and more. Because they love to think, The GameChanger® , developed by Bark Busters Home Dog Training is one of their favourite toys. The GameChanger® is an interactive toy, meaning your dog has to work to get the treats out. It also satisfies your dog’s natural desire to chew and prevents boredom.

Poodles are intelligent, playful, extraordinary companions who are always lovingly at our sides. Playing their favourite games is a gift we give to our dogs and to ourselves.

Lost Dog

Bark Busters

Help Reunite Pets and Their Doggie Parents with WaggTagg™


If your dog has ever escaped from a backyard or lead, you know the terror that strikes your heart. Because Poodles are so quick, they can disappear in a flash. That’s why Bark Busters developed the WaggTagg™ pet identification tag that makes it easy to find a dog who is lost.

If your dog runs away, it’s probably not because he doesn’t love you … it’s because he is frightened. As a pet parent, you simply register the WaggTagg™ into the data base, identifying four people that should be called if your dog gets lost (vet, neighbours, friends, etc). The WaggTagg™ contains a QR code unique to your dog. The finder just scans this QR code with his/her mobile phone and your contacts are immediately notified.

Although Bark Busters also recommends microchipping your dog, a "chip" reader is not always available when the dog is found. For instance, many vet offices are closed at night or on the weekend. A WaggTagg™ lets you be quickly reunited with your dog any time of the day or night!

Speak to your local Bark Busters trainer about our free WaggTagg™ that is included in all Bark Busters training sessions.

Bark Busters’ WaggTagg™ really works and gives dog lovers peace of mind. To date it has been responsible for reuniting over 75 lost dogs with their pet parents.

You can also add your Bark Busters trainer as a contact. You need not worry that any personal details are revealed to anyone. You simply get a message saying your dog has been found with the finder’s contact details. There are no ongoing fees or renewal fees ever.


Helping You Lead

Walking Your Poodle Correctly

Poodles aren’t always great at walking on a lead. That’s why Bark Busters developed the WaggWalker®, a revolutionary harness that keeps your dog from pulling you down the street.

This harness is unique in the world of walking aids for dogs because it uses sound to educate your dog where it should walk and not to pull. The chain at the front of the harness makes a clicking sound when the dog steps out of place and reminds the dog where it should be walking.

So take the lead and get tails wagging with the WaggWalker®.

Your Bark Busters trainer can advise you on the best walking aid for your Poodle as well as advice on the size most suitable for your Poodle.

Dog-walking Facts:

Dogs are natural pullers and when you fit a fixed collar or fixed harness or lead, they will naturally pull against this. A tight lead serves no purpose other than to encourage your dog to pull you down the street.

This constant pulling on the lead can also damage your dog’s skeletal frame and place pressure on its neck and joints.

Your local Bark Busters trainer can advise you how to address any walking issues you have when walking your Poodle.

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