Many people dream of hitting adulthood and being able to get their own place, pick their own furniture and generally be independent.
I, on the other hand, could not wait to live on my own and finally get the dog I had always longed for. As a child, I had loved visiting friends who had four-legged furry family members but as we lived in an apartment with a “no pets allowed” rule I could never have one of my own.
I know I’m not alone. Dogs are more popular than ever and not everyone will have grown up with family pups. It is a bit of a strange one though, you spend your life dreaming of a pup of your own only to be overwhelmed by breed choice. What breeds are good for novice owners? What breeds should be avoided? Where on earth do you start?
Poodles are a great first dog but will require lots of owner input. They bond well with their families and are easily trained. Their coat will need regular combing and grooming to keep it healthy. Lots of physical and mental stimulation will be required to keep them out of trouble.
We can’t possibly review every breed out there. However, what better place to start than with the necessary ingredient for every Doodle cross, the Poodle. In this article we will look at whether this elegant and brainy pooch is a good choice for first time dog owners.
Table of Contents
History of the Poodle
The Poodle tracks back to 15th Century Europe where it was the favored hunting companion of the wealthy and royals for their skills in retrieving shot game from waterways and ponds. For years there was some spirited debate as to whether the breed truly originates in Germany or France. For the most part, many of the kennel clubs have decided on France. However, the breed has strong roots throughout Germany and remains popular across both Europe and the United States.
The original Poodle was a large breed dog, however as people began to take notice of their natural intelligence and loyal nature, they made the leap to companion dog. This led to selective breeding to try and reduce the size to make them more appealable to the esteemed ladies of the 19th century seeking a lap dog. As a result, we have the three sizes of Poodle seen today.
It is the Poodle’s prestigious history with the rich and high society that encouraged the elaborate grooming styles that their densely curled coats can sustain.
Fast forward to modern day and the Poodle is much less commonly used as a water dog although their smarts still lend them to working roles as assistance dogs. They are favored pets and regularly tread the boards of pedigree show rings and agility contests
For a more in-depth article on the Poodle, breed be sure to check out our other article The Poodle: From History to Health
Poodle Personality Traits
Being initially bred as working dogs before making the shift to companion pet, the Poodle is hardwired to want to be with humans. Consequently, the breed is incredibly loyal by nature to its owners and members of its household.
It is this fierce bond that Poodle’s make with their owners that make them somewhat indifferent to strangers that has led to a perception sometimes that they are aloof. While some dogs will happily roll over for belly tickles from anyone, the Poodle will make strangers work for their affections.
Poodle owners often delight that once their dog has bonded to them, they will get a glimpse at their lively, fun-loving nature not to mention a hefty dose of Poodle mischief-making. Blessed with brains in addition to beauty the Poodle can get leave their owners dumbstruck at some of the antics they get up to.
Some of my favorite anecdotes from a Poodle owner’s group include the Poodle who figured out how to open just about every kitchen cabinet in the house, regardless of the height and another that learned to bark while looking out the lounge window at each mealtime to get their owners to come through and look while the dog sneaked back into the kitchen to pinch their owner’s meal.
Rest assured life will not be dull with a Poodle in it.
Getting a Poodle is a commitment just like any other dog however Poodle’s in particular, don’t do well with long periods at home alone and won’t tolerate being kept as outdoor dogs.
Are Poodles Easily Trained?
A hefty measure of smarts mixed with an athletic and energetic streak makes the Poodle a willing student. Training isn’t just a fun distraction for your Poodle it is a genuine requirement. If a Poodle isn’t challenged intellectually and given an outlet for their boundless energy, they can swiftly develop less charming habits like nuisance barking or becoming destructive.
The good news for novice owners is that the breed will quickly pick up basic obedience training which can build confidence and create a positive bond with your pup. For the owner looking for even more fun activities to share with their dog, Poodles will enjoy a whole array of other training including agility and scent work to name a few.
How Easy are Poodles to Look After? Exercise, Grooming, etc
Poodles are not known for being low maintenance. We have already outlined that they will need their brains challenged to be happy however add to the list that they will need regular exercise and some pretty intensive grooming.
The good news is that if you are naturally active and outdoorsy, your Poodle companion will fit right in. Even the grooming can become a good opportunity to get one on one pamper time in with your pooch. If you can’t commit to daily exercise, it will be essential to consider dog walking services or a doggy daycare service.
Starting grooming young with familiarising your Poodle to the feel of brushes and the sound of the dryer can stop them developing fears. Daily brushing and 6 to 8 weekly groomer visits will keep your Poodle in tip top shape.
What Kind of Family Will Each Poodle Size Fit With?
One of the major appeals of the Poodle breed for first-time owners is the flexibility of different sizes and a plethora of color combinations that exist.
The Toy Poodle is a great choice for those living in apartments or with limited outdoor space. This size will still require daily exercise however the shorter duration needed means they may appeal to older or less physically able owners. The smallest Poodles are not the best choice for young families as children may accidentally injure their smaller frames.
The Miniature Poodle is a slightly more robust offering that may appeal to more active families or those with children who still want a dog that can be easily transported.
The Standard Poodle is for the most active of prospective owners. With stamina and energy for days, they make excellent running buddies and will keep pace on even the most challenging hikes.
Poodle Best Bits
It is impossible to spell out every single positive Poodle trait in one article however we’ve trimmed it down to the key points below.
Good for your Mental well Being
The Poodle is frequently used as a therapy or assistance dog given their affinity for humans and their loving nature. Even the worst day can be made better by coming home to an over-excited Poodle welcome. Many owners remark on their Poodle’s “sixth sense” to know when their owners are upset or troubled.
Encourage Exercise and Outdoor Activities
You simply cannot be a lazy bones with a Poodle in the house. They simply won’t allow it. In a world where many jobs are desk based, making us more sedentary than ever, having a pet Poodle will encourage owners to build in daily physical activity and get out into their local parks and nature.
Low to Non-Shedding
For families where a member has sensitivities to pet hair or dander, the Poodle can offer a realistic option to still have a pet dog. While no dog is ever truly hypoallergenic, the Poodle’s trademark curly coat means they shed much less hair or skin cells than other breeds. Another bonus is that Poodles do not drool excessively which can be another source of allergen for some people.
A Hundred Different Looks
When people think Poodle, the elaborate cuts favored in pedigree show rings come to mind. Shorn faces with elaborate patterns of puffed hair can be intimidating for the novice owner. Good news though the grooming options for your Poodle are effectively endless.
Some choose to leave their coats longer and shaggier while some prefer all over short clips to avoid matting or tangling.
In addition, the Poodle comes in just about every color imaginable. Even in the same litter, there can be variations in color and markings meaning that their will be a Poodle out there to please just about every taste.
Join the Fan Club
Poodles are extremely popular throughout the United State and Europe which means by becoming a Poodle owner you become part of an already existing society of breed enthusiasts. The internet is awash with websites and groups for like-minded Poodle lovers meaning there will always be people to ask questions and share your experiences with.