Dog Breeds Dog Training

Are Poodles Good With Kids? – The Parent’s Guide to Raising Poodles

Written by Richard Jeng

Poodles are known for their proud yet affectionate personalities and poofy hypoallergenic coats. As a result, they’ve become one of America’s top family dogs. But as a concerned parent, you may be wondering if they’re safe for children.

So, are Poodles good with kids? Poodles get along great with children, depending on the Poodle size. Overall, Poodles are loyal, patient and affectionate with the family, including the children. Toy Poodles may be too fragile to handle a child’s rough play. But as long as kids respect the dog, the child-dog relationship will thrive.

Over the years, Poodles have become highly popular family dogs for a reason. They’re very personable dogs that tend to develop great relationships with children. But why? Here are the reasons why Poodles are great with kids.

RECOMMENDED: What Were Poodles Bred For?

Why Poodles Are Good With Kids

When picking out a dog breed for your family with kids, the number of excellent options are endless. However, there are a number of reasons why all Poodles are among those top choices. Read on to find out why Poodles and kids are a match made in heaven!

The Poodle’s Loyalty

When you think of the most loyal dog breeds, you may consider the German Shepherd or a Doberman. Or perhaps, the Akita Inu who may wait years for its owner’s return. But believe it or not, Poodles are some of the most loyal dogs you can find.

And according to Play Bark Run, Miniature Poodles some of the most loyal in the canine kingdom. Though, we think this really applies to Poodles of all sizes: Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodles.

Standard poodles are the best dog you can have. They’re very protective and loyal. Will walk with you for hours or keep you company in bed all day if you’re sick.

– Lcw579 (Chrono of Horse)

The story goes: Alexander Pope, the 18th century poet, was once saved from murder, all thanks to his Standard Poodle. When intruders broke into his home one night, the Poodle selflessly attacked the the stranger to give Pope a chance to flee from danger.

We can’t guarantee that all Poodles will be as brave and loyal as Pope’s Poodle. However, it’s not unusual to witness Poodles stay by your side or defend you from a perceived threat. This quality makes them perfect for kids, as they’ll be your second pair of eyes.

The Obedient Poodle

Poodles are one of the most obedient breeds in the world. No, really – only the Border Collie scored higher when it comes to obedience intelligence. In a trial by canine psychologist, Stanley Coren, dog intelligence was measured with the following criteria:

  1. The number of repetitions needed to learn a new command.
  2. The success rate that a dog will obey a known command on the first try.

Being the second most obedient dog breed is nothing to scoff at. And when you consider that 138 breeds qualified for the rankings, it makes this feat that much more impressive. But why would an obedient Poodle be good for kids?

Simply put, more obedient dogs are easier to control. When a dog listens to commands, it makes playtime with the children and dog “safer” for both parties. If the Poodle is playing a little too aggressive, it’ll be easy to get them to stop.

Also, an obedient dog can be excellent for the kids if they’re involved. Obedience training is one of the best ways to foster a trusting relationship with human and dog. So having kids partake in this activity will only help develop their relationship with your Poodle.

Poodles superb at learning basic commands, but they also love performing new tricks for the kids! They’ll keep each other occupied for hours, making it a huge win-win for parents.

Active Poodles

With an elegant stride and a dignified demeanor, it’s hard to tell that Poodles are energetic dogs. But, they’re very active dog breeds! So much so, that the AKC calls them one of the 15 most active dog breeds.

Poodles were bred to be hunting companions. But don’t worry, Poodles didn’t actually hunt game. Instead, they were dogs that retrieved shot game from rivers, lakes, swamps, hills or really anywhere. For this role, they had to be active with high stamina.

I don’t know many Standards to be hyperactive or neurotic, but have seen that more with the smaller poodles. I find them fairly active dogs, though not border collie active.

– Townsend (Chrono of Horse)

Because they’re such active dogs, they’re able to keep up with equally energetic children. Not all dog breeds are suited to play with kids, such as the calm Shih Tzu, but these dogs have the ability to play for hours on end.

Highly Adaptable Dogs

When it comes to adaptability, Poodles are among the best. They’re great for apartment life or a big-yard home. Poodles thrive with single owners, but also with large families. As such, they will be able to adapt to kids too.

In Coren’s intelligence study, he suggested that obedience & working intelligence were not everything when it comes to measuring dog IQ. As a matter of fact, a more crucial factor may be adaptive intelligence.

Adaptive intelligence refers to the dog’s ability to learn for itself. For instance, how good are they at solving problems or learning from previous experiences? In my opinion, this is the most important aspect of dog intelligence.

Fortunately, Poodles have high adaptive intelligence. They’re not all about tricks and bids. Poodles are also highly capable of learning from humans, which makes them better at understanding the actions of kids.

Some dog breeds may interpret the rough play of a child as a “challenge” or an aggressive action. In response, aggression may be directed back at the kid. But Poodles are intelligent enough to understand that the child is playing.

Allergy-Free Home

Dogs are great additions to any family. However, allergies can be a real concern for those that are allergy-sensitive to dogs. You have a few options: deal with it, get a hairless dog or bring home a hypoallergenic dog breed.

The good news is, Poodles are hypoallergenic! According to the Animal Planet, 7 out of 10 kids develop allergies to pets if both parents are allergic as well. Even if both parents aren’t affected, it’s possible for kids to develop pet-allergies on their own.

With that said, Poodles offer a hypoallergenic coat that rarely sheds. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll lose hair like humans do, but they won’t shed like most dogs.

What mainly causes the allergic reaction is called dander, which is essentially dead skin cells. Just think of it as dandruff on dogs. When a dog sheds, dander is released into the air, thus triggering the reaction. This doesn’t happen with Poodles.

Poodle Size Matters For Kids

The origins and history of the Poodle can be traced back thousands of years.

When it comes to the size of the Poodle, it matters for the kids. According to AKC’s breed standard, there are three size variations for these dogs: Toy, Miniature and Standard. All of which, have great personalities that’ll mesh perfectly with children.

SizeHeightWeight
Toy Poodle9 – 11 inches6 – 9 lbs
Mini Poodle11 – 15 inches15 – 17 lbs
Standard Poodle18 – 24 inches45 – 70 lbs

But depending on the child, the smaller variations may be too fragile to withstand the rough play of kids. If you’re a parent, you know just how rowdy kids can be. They may tug at the ears or tails, and even try to ride the dog. I’ve personally seen this myself.

And while Standard Poodles are sturdy and durable dogs large enough to deal with this, it may not be the case with the Mini – and definitely not with the Toy. That said, it’s important you teach your children how to respect these smaller dogs.

For older kids, all three Poodles would be fantastic. However, I would recommend the Mini or Standard Poodle for younger kids that don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions yet. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend babies to play with dogs.

Training Poodles For Children

The Poodle was originally bred for many jobs, including hunting and water retrieving.

Before letting your kids play with the Poodle, no matter what size, it’s important to train your dog first. You’ll need to prepare both the canine and kids on how to interact, in addition to setting guidelines and rules for playing.

Poodle’s Exercise Needs

Before you let your kids interact with your Poodle, it’s probably a good idea to “tire out” the dog. This makes them less hyperactive and energetic, which is ideal for a first-time meeting of the two. You don’t want your excited Poodle jumping everywhere.

Like we explained, Poodles are active dogs. This can be a good thing, but also a bad thing if the energy is not dealt with. If your Poodle doesn’t get enough exercise, it could lead to destructive behavior, which no parents want around the kids.

It’s recommended that Standard Poodles get at least an hour of physical activity each day. For Miniature and Toy variations, 30 minutes daily may be enough, though it really depends on the individual dog.

Fortunately, all Poodles love to play. As such, there are many great and fun ways of getting their necessary exercise in. Because Poodles were retrieving dogs, it makes a lot of sense they like playing catch. And because they’re water retrievers, Poodles love to swim.

Obedience Training With Kids

While it’s always a special moment having your children train your Poodle, we suggest that the basics be taught prior to interaction. That said, the best way to “child-proof” your dog is by teaching them: sit, down and let go.

By teaching these simple obedience commands, you’re able to assert control over your dog, thus establishing better communication with the Poodle. In addition, you’ll be able to quickly stop any aggressive play should it come to that.

Dogs need to be fed, groomed, and exercised. These are all tasks that children, especially elementary-age kids, can be involved in!

– Laura Garber (Woofgang Training)

Given the Poodle’s high obedience intelligence, training them will be a breeze. But after this hurdle, it may be a great idea to get your children involved in the training in addition to all other dog-human activities.

The more involved your children are with obedience training and the day-to-day life of the dog, the more comfortable your Poodle will be playing with them. But no matter how old the kids may be, it’s important to supervise interactions in the beginning.

Respecting the Poodle

Parents should also consider training the children prior to all poodle-child interactions. In other words, you’ll need to teach the kids how to respect the dog. And when it comes to a smaller variation, it’s even more important.

The first step in the process should be establishing rules when they’re interacting with the dog. Though it may depend on the situation and dog, here are some rules you may want to include in your own list:

  1. No pulling on the tail, ears or the Poodle’s puffy curly coat.
  2. Never ride on the back on the Poodle.
  3. Respect their boundaries – don’t get too close when they’re eating their food or sneak up on them.
  4. Do not yell or make loud noises at or around the Poodle. It may startle them.
  5. Don’t let the Poodle jump on you. It may lead to more aggressive behaviors.
  6. No biting, hugging or pinching the dog. Your Poodle may feel threatened.
  7. Never run at the Poodle. Approach the dog slowly and calmly.

Of course, there may be more to this – but this list is a great start. However, the best way for the children to learn respect is by showing them. Like dogs, kids learn the best from other humans, and especially from the parents.

Try to be a role model for your kids and lead by example. Every time you interact with the dog, let them observe. At the same time, you can explain what you’re doing differently and how to approach them correctly. This may be the most effective way.

Depending on the age, not all children will be able to learn how to respect the dog. If that’s the case, you may want to wait until the kid is old enough to learn. When it comes to child-safety, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Continue Socializing

After these two steps, it’s not over yet. Continue the socialization training with your Poodle and kids. And if possible, socialize your Poodle with kids from all ages.

The sweet-spot for socializing is between 3 and 12 weeks of the dog’s life. During this time, it’s crucial that they meet as many people as possible, including other dogs. However, you may want to supervise and educate kids that approach your dog.

This activity will help your young Poodle become acclimated to the various smells, sights and sounds of children. Once they’re used to them, it’ll be more difficult for them to develop a fear of kids, thus preventing unnecessary aggression.

The most important part about socialization training is to make the experience as positive as possible. In other words, use positive reinforcement and give your Poodle praises and treats when they’re behaving well around kids.

According to the AVSAB, improper socialization may lead to behavior problems, such as aggression and aloofness later in the dog’s life. The window period is relatively short, so make sure this becomes a priority for your Poodle pup.

Poodles and Infants

Poodles were originally bred for a lot of different tasks.

Just a little advice for parents with infants: all three Poodles may not be the best choice with a baby in the household. It’s not because they’re aggressive dogs, but because some may be big barkers.

Though they may not bark as much as Chihuahuas or howl as much as Huskies, Poodles may bark at certain sights and sounds. And of course, some Poodles will bark more than others. You’ll need to see based on individual dog.

My poodle alerts moderately to outside noises. If a delivery person comes to the door, she launches into hysterics. Otherwise it’s more of a low woof, maybe a rumbly growl.

– Peggytheparti (Poodle Forum)

However, infants and barking don’t mix. In fact, infants and any loud noises are certainly not a good match. So if your baby is highly sensitive, which most of them are, you’ll want to reconsider bringing home a Poodle.

But if your heart is set on the Poodle breed, don’t worry. There are ways to train a Poodle not to bark. Once again, they’re intelligent dogs and should have no problems learning to be quiet. Still, be aware that extra training may be necessary.


So how do your Poodle and kids get along? Let us know in the comments section below. And if you have any tips for parents – sharing is caring!

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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