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  • Post published:04/05/2021
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Do Poodles Make Good City Dogs?

Poodles get a bad rap.

People think they have a silly 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 pretty well-suited for apartment and city living.

do poodles make good apartment dogs
Chanel (Photo: Natalie Siebers)

Poodle Profile

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 many Poodle aficionados agree that Poodles 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.

They don’t have many breed-specific health issues. You can read a detailed account of possible health problems here.

Poodles are among the most popular dogs the world, with the Miniature ranked ninth by the American Kennel Club.

Are Poodles Good Apartment Dogs
Maud Earl’s “Ch. Nunsoe Duc de la Terrace of Blakeen” 1935

Poodles’ Coats

Poodles are famous for their coats. They come in almost every dog fur color imaginable, including black, brown, apricot, white, grey, silver, and beige. They even come in more than one color, those Poodles are called Parti-colored or Phantom Poodles.

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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 form Scientific American.

What distinguishes Poodle’s coats from other dogs is that they do not have double coats and that the hair (or fur!) grows in. 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. That means 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.

It’s also often said that Poodles coats 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.

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.

Getting a Continental Clip at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

More common is the Sporting Cut. (See Chanel in the pic at the top of this post.) This is when the Poodle’s coat is cut to more or less contour with its 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 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? Are Poodles Easily Trained?

Poodles generally get along well with others dogs, cats, and people.

As mentioned above, they require a lot of grooming, but that is offset by the fact that they don’t shed very much.

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 when it comes to being well-trained. 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.

Poodles are not really known as dogs that bark excessively. UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart devised a chart ranking dogs by the likelihood of barking at inappropriate times. On a scale of one to ten — with one being the least offensive barkers and ten the most excessive barkers — Poodles get a five rating. Click here for more on Urban Dog’s take on barking.

All of this means that Poodles are good bets to be your Urban Dog. The Vet Street website says 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.

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