Is the Standard Poodle the Best Dog for You?
Why Should You Get a Standard Poodle?
If you are looking for a dog that is extremely intelligent, good-natured, and fun-loving, the Standard Poodle should be at the top of your list. As a longtime owner of Standards, I can attest that they are fantastic dogs and one of my favorite breeds. If you talk with people that have or have had Standard Poodles in the past, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who does not have something good to say about this breed. Here's just a few of their positive qualities:
Beautiful and Hypoallergenic
Standards are great for people who are allergic to dog hair, as this breed does not shed. Your house will stay much cleaner with a Poodle living in it. They come in many different colors, such as White, Black, Apricot, and Silver. There are even multicolored Poodles, otherwise known as Parti Poodles.
Intelligent and Athletic
These dogs are so smart, they actually learn and understand many different words. Some Standards also excel at agility, as they love to compete and are athletes by nature. Standards are a durable and strong breed that make great walking and hiking partners.
Affectionate and Loyal
Standard Poodles love to be with their people: They are happiest when they are following you around the house and sleeping in your bedroom. They thrive on attention and will reward you with loads of affection. They will be protective of their family and will alert you when strangers are near—yet they also love kids and get along well with almost any other pet you may have. Standard Poodles are proud and have an air of royalty to them, and they will return the love showered upon them many times over.
Things to Think About Before You Get a Standard Poodle
As great as Standard Poodles are, they do have a few drawbacks:
Weight and Size
Some full-grown male Standard Poodles can weigh up to 80 pounds or more. Smaller-framed or elderly folks can be easily overpowered by an adult Standard unless these dogs are trained from an early age not to pull on the leash. Standards also like to play rough: If you have little children underfoot, you may want to wait to get a Standard until the kids are a little older.
Tip: Maybe a Mini or Toy Poodle would be a better choice. They have the same great personality as a Standard Poodle in a smaller package.
Feeding a Standard Poodle can get rather expensive due to their larger size. Standard Poodles need to be fed high-quality food to stay healthy and look their best. For a large Standard Poodle, expect to go through 30 pounds of premium dog food every month or so. If you have not priced premium-quality food lately, you may be in for sticker shock. One bag of Solid Gold Barking at the Moon dog food (which we feed our dogs) costs approximately $53 for a 30-pound bag.
Tip: Please do not think of skimping and buying cheap grocery store dog food: The money you thought you saved will be spent on vet bills. Quality food will make your Standard grow into a beautiful and healthy adult.
This breed's hair grows constantly. Your dog will need to be groomed on a regular basis or you will have one shaggy-looking Poodle on your hands. Expect to take your Standard to the groomer every month or so. Since they are a larger breed, grooming can get rather expensive.
Tip: I would recommend learning to groom your Standard yourself. While the initial grooming supplies can be rather expensive, they will pay for themselves many times over with the money you save in the long run. Plus, grooming strengthens the bond with your Poodle. Poodles—if properly trained to be groomed as pups—love all the attention on the grooming table. I made the choice to learn how to groom my Poodles many years ago. Oftentimes when we are out in public with our Standard, people will actually come up to us and ask, "Who grooms your dog?" I am always glad that I took the time to learn how to groom Poodles.
Intelligence and Energy Level
If you want a dog that you can leave in the backyard for hours at a time, a Standard is not the best choice. You would have one unhappy dog on your hands, and he would be sure to let the neighborhood know of his displeasure by barking excessively and causing a scene. These dogs are too intelligent to neglect. Standards are such intelligent creatures, in fact, that they will often try to outsmart you. Standards have a long puppyhood and will not begin to mellow out until they are almost three years old. They will need to be kept active and exercised a few times a day to keep their energy level in check. They love to play fetch or go for walks.
Tip: Be prepared to devote at least 30 minutes twice a day for playtime with your Standard Poodle. Also, these dogs can do exceptionally well in obedience training, but some can be a little stubborn and may need ongoing refresher training.
While most Standard Poodles are healthy (and can live an average of 14 years or sometimes even longer), some can be prone to genetic problems.
Tip: The best thing you can do is get your Standard Poodle from a reputable breeder. Find one that tracks health issues and has had both parents tested for these issues. Avoid pet shops and puppy mills, as they generally do not care about the longterm health of your pet. Most do not do the necessary health testing, and it can be very heartbreaking to lose a Standard Poodle at a young age. Check the Poodle Health Registry, which is where you can research pedigrees and verify which tests the breeder has done.
Additional Resources: If you would like to read more, please visit Poodle Club of America. They provide some really good information and are a great resource on genetic testing in Standard Poodles.
Poodles May Seem High-Maintenance, But They're High-Reward
Please do not let some of this information scare you from getting a Standard Poodle, but simply use it to make an informed decision. Any purebred dog you can research has their share of genetic issues, and it is always best to know ahead of time what you are in for rather than learn after the fact. For some, Standard Poodle may not be the best choice, but others may do the research and find that a Standard Poodle is the only breed of dog they will ever want to own. To me, the only thing better than having a Standard Poodle in your life is having two!