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Standard Poodles are athletic and intelligent water dogs originally bred to hunt waterfowl. They have a soft, curly coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, red, silver, brown, and parti-color (white with solid color patches). The Standard Poodle is a medium- to large-sized dog, measuring 18-24 inches at the shoulder and weighing 40-70 pounds.
Caring for a Standard Poodle
Poodles are generally a good-natured breed. They have a curly haircoat that has a long growth cycle, making them prone to matting. Regular and consistent grooming by a professional will help keep their coat healthy and prevent tangles. Along with grooming, Standard Poodles also require regular exercise and training to keep their minds and bodies happy.
Standard Poodle Health Issues
In general, the Standard Poodle is a healthy breed that’s not especially prone to specific health problems. But there are a few conditions pet parents should watch for.
As a larger dog, hip dysplasia is not uncommon. This is a genetic condition that happens when bones in the hip don’t form properly, causing a loose joint where the bones slip in and out of place. This causes inflammation, scar tissue, and, over time, arthritis.
Idiopathic epilepsy is a genetic seizure disorder that can result in spastic muscle movements, loss of consciousness, urination, and defecation. Seizures typically last less than 1 minute, and dogs with idiopathic epilepsy typically return to normal within a few hours.
Standard Poodles with idiopathic epilepsy usually begin having seizures between 2-5 years of age. Epilepsy and seizures can be controlled with medications prescribed by your veterinarian.
Von Willebrand's Disease
Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood-clotting disorder that, while more common in Poodles, is rare overall. Von Willebrand’s disease makes blood slow to clot—or makes the blood not clot at all. This can be dangerous if your dog needs surgery or becomes injured, but your Poodle’s DNA can be tested for this condition.
The Poodle’s hair type makes them more likely to have skin conditions such as allergic skin disease and sebaceous adenitis (an autoimmune condition that attacks the skin’s oil glands). They can also grow sebaceous cysts on their skin, which are benign wart-like growths that don’t typically cause problems unless they become inflamed or injured. Your veterinarian should evaluate any concern with your Standard Poodle’s skin.
Standard Poodles can develop gastric dilatation and volvulus, or bloat. A surgery called gastropexy can help prevent this life-threatening condition by tacking the stomach to the dog’s abdomen wall. This procedure is often done on deep-chested dogs during their spay or neuter surgery.
Poodles can also suffer gastrointestinal upset if they eat human foods. Any signs of gastrointestinal distress, such as retching, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite, should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
What To Feed a Standard Poodle
Standard Poodles are athletic dogs and require a nutritionally complete diet meant for large breeds. If your Poodle exercises several hours a day, a sport-type diet is recommended because it provides increased calories. Avoid human foods and table scraps to prevent gastrointestinal problems.
How To Feed a Standard Poodle
It’s important to match the Standard Poodle’s calorie intake to their lifestyle and energy. Poodles have a very lean body type and are predisposed to arthritis caused by hip dysplasia, so it’s important not to overfeed them and to pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations on your dog food bag.
Poodles should be fed twice a day. If your dog tends to eat too quickly, which puts them at risk for vomiting and bloat, use a slow feeder bowl for meals.
How Much Should You Feed a Standard Poodle?
As noted, Poodles should be fed twice daily. While it’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s feeding recommendations, the average Standard Poodle will eat 2-3 cups of dry food daily.
Pay attention to your Poodle’s weight. As athletic dogs, they can use up their daily calories if they are always on the go, but weight gain can increase their risk of pain from hip dysplasia or arthritis. If they are losing weight, you can increase their intake by 10-25%. If they are gaining weight, decrease their intake by 10-25%. Your vet can help you navigate this balancing act.
Nutritional Tips for Standard Poodles
Because Standard Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, they should be on a joint supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin. Use caution in choosing over-the-counter supplements, as many do not contain the amount of ingredients listed on the package. Your veterinarian can tell you their preferred brands—some popular choices include Dasuquin and GlycoFlex.
Behavior and Training Tips for Standard Poodles
Standard Poodle Personality and Temperament
Standard Poodles generally have a kind and friendly personality, but they are very energetic and do best with regular exercise and training. They like having a job to do and are eager to please, making them highly trainable.
As long as your dog has an outlet for their energy, Standard Poodles do well with children. But know that a rambunctious Standard Poodle might be too energetic for small kiddos and, because of the breed’s large size, might accidentally knock over children during play. Always supervise children and pets when they’re together.
Standard Poodle Behavior
Most Standard Poodles are friendly and eager to please. They enjoy meeting new people and are adaptable to new situations. That said, they can become agitated if they are not receiving enough exercise and mental stimulation, so it’s important to exercise them for at least 60 minutes per day.
Standard Poodle Training
The Standard Poodle is eager to please and easily trainable. In fact, they have a long history as performers in the circus and on stage because of their trainability.
Most Poodles will respond to basic obedience training quickly. Poodle parents should work on more advanced training, like teaching tricks, puzzle games, and agility to keep their dog mentally stimulated and happy. Standard Poodles are intelligent and proud—and appreciate a challenge.
Fun Activities for Standard Poodles
Standard Poodle Grooming Guide
One reason why Standard Poodles are a sought-after breed is because of their long, curly coat. While there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, Poodles do shed less than many other breeds. Because of this, they can be a good fit for some people with dog allergies.
The Standard Poodle’s skin can be sensitive, especially in dogs with lighter-colored coats. Regular bathing every 1-2 weeks with a moisturizing shampoo keeps the skin clean and healthy. The hair coat plays an important role in protecting the skin, too, so avoid having their hair cut all the way down to the skin.
The Standard Poodle’s long, curly coat is prone to painful tangling and matting. Weekly bathing with a moisturizing shampoo paired with daily brushing helps to prevent tangling. Along with regular at-home care, you’ll need to have your Poodle professionally groomed every six to eight weeks to keep their fast-growing hair short enough to stay tangle-free.
Most Standard Poodles don’t require specific care for their eyes. That said, lighter-colored dogs can be prone to tear staining. Wiping the tears from their coat frequently and using a probiotic such as FortiFlora or Angels’ Eyes wipes can help prevent the color change.
Standard Poodles are able to grow hair in their ear canals, predisposing them to ear infections. You can request that your groomer pluck or clip the ear hair, and using a drying ear cleaning solution weekly can help to prevent ear infections.
If your Poodle develops ear infections frequently, having the ear hair plucked and using a medicated ear cleaner 1-2 times per week will help prevent future ear infections. It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian about any ear-related concerns.
Considerations for Pet Parents
The Standard Poodle requires a home with active pet parents who have the time and energy to provide their dog daily exercise and mental engagement. A good example is a home with multiple adults and/or older children who will spend their day playing with their dog. A fenced-in yard is ideal, but not essential.
A family interested in advanced trick training or agility would be best for a Standard Poodle. These pups also require daily brushing, weekly bathing, and professional grooming every 6-8 weeks to keep their coats healthy, which is another time and financial commitment that a new Poodle parent must be willing to make.
Standard Poodle FAQs
Is a Standard Poodle a good family dog?
Standard Poodles are generally good family dogs, as they are friendly and enjoy interacting with people.
Are Standard Poodles smart dogs?
The Standard Poodle is a very intelligent dog. They are eager to please, are very trainable, and they excel at agility, tricks, and hunting.
What are Poodles known for?
Historically, Poodles are water dogs, which means they were built to flush and retrieve bird and other game for hunters. Their intelligence, athleticism, and trainability made them a staple circus performing act for hundreds of years.
What’s the difference between Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles, and Toy Poodles?
The most obvious difference between these poodles is size:
Standard Poodles: 22-27 inches at the shoulder
Miniature Poodles: 13-15 inches at the shoulder
Toy Poodles: 10 inches or less at the shoulder
That said, there are personality differences as well—Miniature Poodles and Toy Poodles tend to be lower energy and more anxious than Standard Poodles. Miniature Poodles and Toy Poodles are also predisposed to patellar luxation, a congenital problem with the kneecaps.
Featured Image: iStock/ivanastar
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