Poodle Care

The Standard Poodle: intelligent, friendly, elegant, proud--and one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. These dogs are beloved everywhere for their athleticism, their hypoallergenic coat, and their dignified appearance. Overall Standard Poodle care will take a moderate amount of work, and will need to include a good bit of daily exercise, a lot of grooming--and of course, plenty of TLC!

Below you'll find plenty of details on how to take care of a Poodle: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more are covered here. (And though this breed has Standard, Miniature, and Teacup size varieties, these Care sections cover the larger Standard Poodles only.) Get answers to your questions about caring for Poodles in the following sections!

Poodle Breed Development

As a medium- to large-sized breed, Standard Poodle puppy development typically spans 18-21 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: For puppies, the Standard Poodle growth rate is steady in height and length for the first 9-10 months, then those growth rates slow while the adolescent "fills out" some with muscle and fat. And when do Standard Poodles stop growing? These dogs normally reach their adult height and weight (an average of 20 inches and 60 pounds) at about 12 months of age.

Social Development: Pups reach adolescence at about six months, sexual maturity at 9-10 months, and full mental maturity by 21 months.

For further details on Standard Poodle development, see the following:

Poodle Exercise Needs

These dogs are energetic and athletic, so Standard Poodle exercise needs are fairly high. Breed members are also incredibly intelligent, so they'll need a variety of activities that both condition them physically (walking, fetch) and stimulate them mentally (games, canine sports). They make good jogging companions as well.

How much exercise does a Standard Poodle need? Adult Poodles, depending on their age and overall activity levels, will need about 60 minutes of dedicated exercise each day. You can start exercising your Standard Poodle puppy when it's three months old by taking it on short walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the pup grows.

Precautions with Standard Poodle exercise:

  • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're nine months old
  • A leash is recommended when exercising in public
  • Yards should be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off
  • Possible separation anxiety; exercises should be done together with people
  • Might get cold easily; best not to exercise in freezing temps

Owners will do well to have their Standard Poodles working out every day. While they're usually friendly and good-natured, without consistent activity these dogs will become anxious, disobedient, and destructive. Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! A few Poodle workout ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging: Two 20-minute walks (or 15-minute jogs) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: Standard Poodles love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor activity; give the dog a healthy treat when it finds you
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, Poodles enjoy the company of other dogs
  • Canine Sports: These dogs can excel at obedience or agility trials and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity

When indoors, giving your Standard Poodle access to balls or toys will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks or jogs after breakfast and dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Poodle Maintenance

Overall, these dogs need moderate maintenance--but they need a lot of grooming. While Standard Poodle shedding and drooling are minimal, daily coat care is a requirement.

Poodles have medium-length, wavy to curly coats. Poodles don't shed much at all--but that's because the shed hairs become trapped beneath the curls.This means that owners will need to brush their Poodles daily with a slicker brush.Without daily brushing, the coats will become matted, tangled messes! These dogs also need regular trims to keep the coats looking good. While some learn to trim the coats themselves, most owners rely on monthly visits to professional groomers. As long as Poodles' coats are regularly maintained, hair cleanup won't be necessary.

And Poodle drooling isn't an issue. If your Standard Poodle is drooling excessively, it might be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Poodle Diet

The Standard Poodle diet, like that of all breeds, will need to include animal proteins and healthy carbs, vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. This means the best Poodle dog food is premium dry kibble, as it contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients. In fact, one premium brand has food specifically tailored for this breed: Royal Canin Poodle Food (which includes Royal Canin Poodle Puppy Food, Royal Canin Poodle Junior, and Royal Canin Poodle Adult) is designed to fulfill these dogs' dietary needs at every life stage.

But how much to feed a Standard Poodle? Adults will need about three cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. Portions of food for Poodle puppies are a bit smaller: depending on a pup's age, about two cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months of age.

For more info on feeding a Poodle, see this handy Standard Poodle feeding guide:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in slowly increasing amounts with each meal, for one week.

Try if possible to stick to the above-listed portions. If constantly overfed (and under-exercised), these dogs will easily become overweight--and fat Poodles will have numerous health problems and potentially shortened lifespans. You can help control your Standard Poodle's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Standard Poodle is overweight, try this simple test: run a hand along the dog's side, and if you can't feel and ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!

Living Environment

Standard Poodles are definitely inside dogs. While they'll need a good bit of outdoor exercise each day, these dogs will be much happier living inside with their human family members. And for the Standard Poodle, apartment living is fine--just make sure you take them out to stretch their long legs on a daily basis!

As to climate: Standard Poodles will adapt well to hot temperatures--but in cold weather, Poodle dogs catch a chill pretty quickly. Overall, this breed is better suited to life in mild to warm climates.