Do Poodles Make Good City Dogs?
Poodles get a bad rap.
People think they have a goofy name. They think they’re prissy. They think they look silly.
But “people” couldn’t be more wrong. Poodles are super-smart, energetic, affectionate, excellent family dogs. They are also very well-suited for apartment and city living.
Poodles are members of the Non-Sporting Group. They come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. The Standard Poodle is the largest. A typical male stands more than 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs 40 to 55 pounds. A male Miniature Poodle stands between ten and 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 12 and 15 pounds. Male Toy Poodles are ten inches or less and weigh five to ten pounds. Poodles generally live 14 to 18 years.
Most people think Poodles originated in France. (“People.” Again!) But most Poodle aficionados agree that they probably arose in Germany. Their early name was Pudelhund: a dog that splashed about in puddles. They were bred to be water retrievers. Their coat is water-resistant which helped with swimming.
While their origins are in Germany, it was in France where they became popular. King Louis XVI fell in love with Toy Poodles, elevating the breed to the unofficial national dog of France.
Poodles are among the most popular dogs the world, the American Kennel Club ranks them as the sixth most popular breed in the United States. The AKC says they are the most popular dog in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The New York City licensing department says Toy Poodles, Standard Poodles, and Miniature Poodles rank 26th, 27th, and 29th, respectively, in popularity in the Big Apple.
Poodles are famous for their coats. They come in almost every dog fur color imaginable, including black, brown, apricot, white, grey, silver, and beige.
There’s a lot of discussion about whether Poodles have hair or fur. The bottom line is that they are the same thing, click here for an explanation from Scientific American.
What distinguishes Poodle’s coats from most other dogs is that they do not have double coats. Poodles have a single layer of dense curled fur. It grows more like human hair and that’s why Poodles need so much tonsorial attention. If left to grow on its own, a Poodle’s hair will grow very long. Eventually it will tangle up into matts, giving the dog a look like a Puli or Komondor.
Many people believe that Poodles are hypo-allergenic. This is not entirely true. Most dogs shed dander every three to four days. Poodles (and some other dogs) shed from their skin every 21 days or so, greatly reducing the amount of dander that can trigger allergic reactions.
Poodle Coat Care
There are a number of ways to manage a Poodles’ coat. You can use the most famous clip: the Continental. Poodles with the Continental cut are the fluffy, pom pom-festooned looking dogs you see in a show ring. It’s a very difficult cut to achieve and maintain. It’s also the clip that makes most people think Poodles look like silly, prissy dogs.
More common is the Sporting Cut. (See Chanel in the pic at the top of this post.) The hair in a Sporting Cut contours, more or less, with a Poodle’s body. Other cuts include the English Saddle, the Modern, the Puppy, the Cupcake, the Teddy Bear, and the Dutch. Click here to learn about these cuts and more at the Animal Wised website.
And here’s a handy diagram created by the folks at the Poodlefun website.
Do Poodles Bark a Lot?
Standard Poodles are not really known as dogs that bark excessively. The smaller versions, like many other smaller dogs, tend to bark more.
UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart devised a system of ranking breeds along a line of thirteen different attributes. A score of one means that the dog in question was unlikely to exhibit a particular trait, a ten means that the dog had a high probability of demonstrating that quality.
In terms of barking at inappropriate times, the Harts give the Standard Poodle get a five rating, right in the middle. Toy Poodles and Miniature Poodles both score nines, not so good. The Harts say that if you’re looking for a watchdog, a Poodle might be a good bet.
Click here for more on Urban Dog’s take on barking.
VetStreet and Dog Time give them scores of two and three, respectively, for their tendency to bark (that’s on a scale of one to five, a score of one meaning they bark less.)
Are Poodles Easily Trained?
It is super important for your Urban Dog to be well-behaved. You want your dog to have good manners in your building’s common areas. Poodles are overachievers in this category! They obey first commands more than 95% of the time or better according to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who studies dog behavior. That means it takes about five repetitions or fewer for them to learn new commands. Poodles are largely believed to be the second smartest dogs, after Border Collies. If you tell them not to bother that little old lady in the elevator, they will listen.
The Harts agree, saying Poodles, of all sizes, are easily trained and easily house-trained
How Are Poodles with Strangers, Children, and other Animals?
Poodles generally get along well with others dogs, cats, and people.
The Harts give each type of Poodle a different score when it comes to snapping at children. Standards score the best, getting a four out of ten; Toys get get a nine; and Miniatures score a six. If you’re looking for a dog more suited for kids, you should consider the Standard.
The Harts say all three types of Poodle generally get along well with other dogs and strangers.
Do Poodles Require a lot of Exercise?
Poodles are pretty energetic dogs. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They can be pretty rambunctious when they are young. If you are seriously considering getting a one as your Urban Dog, keep this in mind. An under-exercised and under-stimulated dog is never a good thing.
Taking Care of Your Poodle
As mentioned above in the discussion on Poodle’s coats, they require a fair amount of grooming. To repeat: that beautiful coat does shed, especially during the change of seasons.
And like many pure-breed dogs, there are lots of warnings against conditions and diseases. You can get a comprehensive list here at the Prestige Animal Hospital website. One things to watch for is obesity.
The Bottom Line
So, are Poodles good apartment dogs? Yes, absolutely! They are good bets to be your Urban Dog.
The Vet Street and Dog Time websites both say they score five out of five — perfect! — when it comes to whether they are apartment-friendly. Toy and Miniature Poodles appear on lots of lists for “Best Apartment Dogs.” And if you keep your Standard Poodle active, engaged and well-exercized, they can thrive in cities as well.
For tips on how to find a pet-friendly apartment in New York and other cities read Urban Dog’s guide. Bigger dogs like the Standard Poodle pose a particular challenge, but don’t worry, you can find places that accept large breed dogs.