Top view of cheerful smiling young woman palying with poodle dog indoors at home

Poodles: The Smartest Dogs?

Are Poodles Smart

One of the most common questions I hear is, “Are poodles smart dogs?”  In my experience with two toy poodles that were family members, I believe I know the answer. Not only are poodles very intelligent, but they are also mind readers.

Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They are easy to train and do very well in agility competitions, where their intelligence is a definite advantage. The Border Collie is the only dog breed that may be as smart as the Poodle.

Poodles Come In Different Sizes

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes three different Poodles sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. They are the same breed, the difference being how tall they are. The smallest, or toy Poodle is 10 inches or under at the shoulder; the miniature Poodle is between 10 to 15 inches, and the standard Poodle is over 15 inches tall.

All three size poodles have the same body proportions. If you enlarge a toy poodle photo, you will have a photo of either a miniature or a standard Poodle. The breed standards for dog shows are also the same. You can review the AKC breed standards HERE.

The toy poodle can weigh as little as 4 pounds, while the standard Poodle can tip the scales at an impressive 70 pounds!

Not only do Poodles come in different sizes, but they also come in many colors. Either black or white seems to be the most common color, but they can also be brown, blue, gray, silver, cafe au lait, silver beige, cream, apricot, and red, to name a few. They can be multi-colored, but the AKC will only allow Poodles with solid color coats to compete in conformation contests.

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Here is the AKC take on the three Poodles:


Agile, intelligent, self-confident
AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 7 of 196
Height: No more than 10 inches
Weight: 4-6 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10–18 years



Active, Proud, Very Smart
AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 7 of 196
Height: 10–15 inches
Weight: 10–15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10–18 years


Active, Proud, Very Smart
AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 7 of 196
Height: over 15 inches (standard).
Weight: 60-70 pounds (male), 40-50 pounds (female).
Life Expectancy: 10–18 years

Poodle Size Comparison:

Are Poodles Good Family Dogs

Poodles are great family pets. The smaller poodles may be a little high-strung and not as tolerant of children as the larger or standard-size poodles. Due to its small size, the toy poodle can become frightened if cornered and may act out. So if you have toddlers, the toy poodle may not be a good choice until the kids grow up and respect the dogs’ sensibilities.

No dog likes that, but some breeds are more tolerant than others. The standard Poodle is kind, gentle, and very good with children. Kids should be taught to treat pets respectfully and not pull on the dog’s fur or ears.

Are Poodles Smart Dogs

Poodles are affectionate dogs and tend to love everyone in the family. They are not usually one-person dogs. There are exceptions, however, and one of my miniature poodles preferred women. I can’t say I blamed her for that!

Every dog breed poses a risk to anyone allergic to dog dander. Because poodles are intelligent, poodles are relatively easy to housetrain. They are also  hypoallergenic, making them a better choice if someone in the family is allergic to dogs.

 Are Poodles Good Watchdogs?

Poodles are good at alerting when they hear something and will sound off when someone is at the front door. They are not aggressive, usually, so they can not be relied on as guard dogs. You can train poodles to be more aggressive and maybe trained as guard dogs, but this is not a common practice.

Sometimes Poodles have a relatively sophisticated hairdo, which makes them look, some would say, like sissy dogs. But don’t be fooled by those looks! Underneath are real dogs and great athletes who can hold their own with any breed.

The Poodle is probably not your best choice if you need a guard dog. There are several other breeds that are good family pets and protectors. These include the German Shepherd, which is also a very intelligent dog and a popular dog breed.

Are Poodles Good With Other Pets

Poodles are generally not aggressive toward other dogs or animals. They are peaceful and accepting of other dogs as long as they are properly socialized. Proper training will take time and patience.

Generally, poodles behave well with cats. Growing up with a cat will probably result in your Poodle believing the cat deserves the same respect as other family members. Also, the cat may be the troublemaker and not the dog!

Can Poodles Be Left Alone?

Most poodles can be left alone for several hours once they are adults. Younger dogs can not hold their business for as long, so you may use training pads or a crate if you don’t want to clean up doggy messes in the living room.

No dog likes being left alone. Toy poodles are probably more prone to separation anxiety than bigger poodles. The toys tend to become more dependent on their owners and may have “accidents” in the house when left alone for too long.

Dog separation anxiety is a common problem for dogs because they are social animals and get stressed when left alone for long periods. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may become destructive or try to escape. Because the Poodle is so intelligent, you should ensure it is secure and can not find a way out.

The ASCPA has an extensive article on dog separation anxiety’s causes, symptoms, and treatment. Visit their website for more information and guidance if your dog needs help.

Where Do Poodles Come From

The Poodle’s exact origin is still debated, with some claiming it came from German Waterdog and others suggesting it came from the French Barbet, a water dog. They are frequently called “French Poodles,” so they must come from France, right? Well, maybe not. They may not have started in France. Would you believe they began as duck hunters in Germany? Not so fast, the French may argue.

The Poodle’s hunting instinct has primarily been bred out of the dog, but they still can hunt, track, and retrieve from the water.

Should I Get A Poodle

The short answer is yes. The Poodle is intelligent, affectionate, loyal, and a great companion. They love kids, at least the larger poodles, and will get along with other family pets. The Poodle came to the United States in the 1800s and, for many years, was the country’s most popular breed. It still ranks consistently in the top 10 favorite breeds, and I see no reason for that popularity to decline.

With the wide range of colors and sizes the Poodles come in, you will find one that fills your doggy needs! And remember, the Poodle is a brilliant dog.

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