Is a Standard Poodle Right for Me?

Standard Poodles are amazing dogs. And I’m not just saying that because I love poodles! 

Spoos, as they are often referred to by fans of the breed, are loyal, kind, patient (unless they are little puppies watching you dish up their food), and they bond with their people like no other dog I’ve met. 

And I’ve met many breeds. 

They also make exceptional service dogs. One service dog organization I’ve been in contact with told me they prefer working with Spoos over any other breed. Now that’s a compliment!

Standard Poodle Highlights

  • They have a curly, low-allergen coat.
  • They shed very little, but do need frequent brushing and grooming.
  • They are athletic and energetic, but once they’ve had their exercise they will happily lay beside you for hours.
  • They are scary smart. You can actually see them thinking and reasoning things out.
  • They are easy to train and love learning new tricks.
  • They love to play, and to work.
  • They take guarding their space and their people seriously.
  • They will happily alert you to a stranger’s presence. Sometimes Gracie’s deep, booming alert bark actually makes me jump!
  • They are not the prancing prima donnas most people assume they are.
  • They are strong, intelligent, loyal, protective, and sensitive to the needs and emotions of those around them.
  • If they are given a task (such as being a service dog) they dedicate themselves to their work. 

Is a Standard Poodle the right dog for you?

Standards are not the right dog for everyone. Here are a few of the things you might want to consider.

Teething and Chewing

The puppy phase is both grueling and gratifying. They teeth faster and harder than any other breed I’ve worked with. For Gracie, we had at least twelve bones scattered around the house. When she’d pick up something she shouldn’t to chew, like my favorite socks or shoes, we’d give her love and put a bone in her mouth. Diligence saved all but one of my shoes.

They Grow Fast

Our dogs are larger Spoos and they grow fast! This means they require high quality food to ensure they have adequate calcium, protein, and other minerals they need to grow strong bones and muscle connections. Lack of proper nutrition as a growing pup (the first year to eighteen months of their lives) can lead to weak muscles and bones, heart problems, and other health problems. 

We start our puppies on Diamond Large Breed puppy food ($35 – $45 a bag depending on your location) as soon as they are ready for food. One bag will last most poodles about a month. Our puppies grow fast and strong, and the food really makes a difference. Part of our contract with those who purchase our puppies is that they will continue to feed that puppy food until at least the puppies eighth month, and then they must continue to feed high quality food. 

Grooming is a Thing

Grooming is an absolute necessity with Standard Poodles. They don’t shed large amounts of hair like most dogs, and when they do release hair it can easily tangle into their coats and form tangles and mat up. If you see little tumbleweeds of poodle fluff floating around your floor, you are past due for a trim or major brush out. 

Poodles ideally require daily brushing. I will admit that when I have mine in a short maintenance trim we get by with once a week and after any hikes where they may pick up dust and twigs. If you have a longer cut, or one of the fancier poodle cuts, daily brushing is absolutely necessary. 

I know of some standard poodle owners who do their own bathing and trimming. I have the needed equipment, and I have no problems bathing my poodle horde, but I prefer using a groomer for the major trims and clips. Occasionally I will do the maintenance trim and run them in for face, feet, and sanitary. Grooming can run anywhere from $45-$100 dollars a month, depending on your location.

The Puppy Phase

You don’t know energy until you’ve met a poodle puppy. And that energy lasts until some magical moment right around their second birthday. Sanity can only be achieved through regular exercise, play, and brain stimulation. A bored poodle puppy can wreak havoc. Because they are growing so quickly, you also have to make sure they don’t overdo the physical exercise. You new puppy won’t be up to five mile hikes for a year or two. I include how to scale up your puppy’s walks in my new puppy guide. 

Vet Expenses

Here’s the good news! If you feed them well and make sure they get the appropriate exercise, your vet bills will be limited to yearly vaccines, wormings, and heartworm and flea and tick prevention. You’ll need to budget up to a $1000 a year (depending on your location) for preventatives.

Your puppy will also need spayed or neutered. Some people prefer to let their pup reach a certain stage of bone growth (about 12-18 months) before they spay or neuter to allow the dogs full advantage of their hormones in the growth process. The down side of that is the major increase in expense for your spay or neuter. The largest part of that fee is the anesthesia, and a big dog takes more to stay safely asleep.

In my experience, and on the advice of my vets, we prefer to do spay and neuters between three and five months of age. It’s easier on the dog and I’ve not noticed any decrease in growth size. We recommend against using corporate vets (like those in pet stores, or vet chains). They tend to recommend many unnecessary procedures because they are paid by the surgery. This isn’t speculations! Your local vet will always be able to provide you with more familiar and personalized service for your Standard.

The Joys of Standards

Those are the major expenses and inconveniences, and in my opinion the joy of owning and being owned by a Standard more than make up for all of them! 

That said, they are not the least expensive dog to own. If your budget doesn’t allow for proper upkeep and maintenance, it will be detrimental to the dog. No one wants to hear that, but know that I had to wait almost ten years before I could afford my first Standard Poodle. The wait was worth it!

Still not sure? I highly recommend you check out AKCs breed info for Standard Poodles. You can also find out more information on The Poodle Club of America’s website. And check out other breeds while you are there. I always want to make sure each family finds just the right puppy. 

Ready for your Standard Poodle puppy? Check out our available puppies now!

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