What’s not to love about the Poodle? They’re loving, energetic, loyal and friendly dogs. But hold on, there are a few challenges that a many Poodle owners have shared – enough to make potential new parents pause and reconsider.
So before you welcome this curly companion into your home, let’s spill the kibble on the 9 things Poodle owners wish they knew before. We’ll even explain how Poodles can be a complete nightmare if you’re not ready for them!
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1. The Poodle isn’t 100% hypoallergenic.
Poodles have been aggressively marketed as “hypoallergenic dogs” in recent past. However, that’s not completely true. You see, Poodles are low-shedding dogs that don’t shed nearly as often as most of the other breeds.
And while it’s true that low-shedding dogs release much less dander into the air, dander isn’t the only allergen that the Poodle can produce. If you didn’t already know, dander is the tiny dead skin cells that are constantly shed from your Poodle’s body.
These cells contain proteins that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. It’s like dandruff in humans.
However, a Poodle’s saliva also contains proteins that can cause an allergic reaction. So when your dog licks its fur…or your face, those allergens are being transferred to you.
But the good news is that when you compare all dog breeds, the Poodle will trigger fewer allergic reactions than others. Just don’t expect them to be 100% hypoallergenic, especially if you’re highly allergic to dogs.
2. Poodles will be more expensive than you think (hidden costs)
Imagine this scenario. You’ve always wanted a Poodle, so you’ve been putting aside money every single month in order to buy one.
Once you’ve finally saved up enough money, you shell out the thousand dollars to buy a Poodle from a reputable breeder. You’re all set, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of “hidden costs” when it comes to owning a Poodle.
For example, you’ll have to consider the cost of meals and treats, which can cost you $500 per year! Now don’t forget all the vaccines, which are pretty much mandatory if you want to keep your pup safe.
And because Poodles are such intelligent dogs, you’ll definitely need a lot of toys and dog puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated. After all that, there’s the dog bed, collar, leash and even the dog crate.
However, if you want your Poodle to maintain a signature look with one of their many unique and popular cuts, you’ll probably need to spend a lot of money on regular grooming.
And assuming your dog is completely healthy, it’s still recommended you take them in for routine care at your local animal hospital, which can add up to a decent annual expense. So, do you still think it’s cheap to own a Poodle?
3. Some Poodles will bark a lot.
Unlike other hunting dogs that needed to alert their owners when they’ve detected a prey, Poodles weren’t specifically bred to bark. However, many Poodles do bark in their line of work.
These dogs were bred for waterfowl retrieving, that is, retrieving aquatic birds after being shot down by the hunter. Barking could have been beneficial during hunting to alert hunters to the location of game or even to signal a successful retrieval.
Because of this, it’s not uncommon for Poodles to bark up a storm. Anything can trigger them, such as boredom, restlessness, separation anxiety, territorial behavior and even to alert their owners of an intruder.
One Reddit user asked,
“We just brought home a mini poo and he’s starting to bark at strangers outside the window. I know this behavior is common with poodles, but we’d like to teach him to be better. Any tips?”
Another Poodle owner replied with an effective solution, saying:
“When she barks at people on the other side of the fence, it’s an immediate timeout where she has to lie down and wait for 2 to 5 minutes. Don’t give them attention or even look at them. They have a short recall period, so “punishing” them after the act is ineffective.”
Barking may be annoying, but it may not be as nightmarish to owners as some other things. But first, let’s talk about something really important.
4. Some Poodle may have a high prey drive.
Because Poodles aren’t the type of hunting dogs to track and chase down prey, many of them will have low hunting instincts. But there will be those with exceptionally high prey drive, which can be a problem for owners.
One owner says,
“I would actually say poodles do have a strong prey drive. My girl is primed to chase all sorts of prey like geese and squirrels. She goes crazy when she sees them. I’ve seen her pacing while having her eyes locked on birds of prey that she sees flying through the air.”
Now while it’s unlikely Poodles will see other small dogs as prey, it can become a problem when you’re outside with your dog. All it takes is one squirrel to send them into a frenzy. And if your Poodle isn’t properly trained, it can be a huge pain getting them back.
But you shouldn’t worry too much if you’ve properly socialized and trained them.
5. Poodles tend to be emotionally sensitive.
If you have a home full of rowdy energetic kids, the Poodle may not be ideal for you. These dogs can be hypersensitive to loud noises and as a result, startle easily. Roughhousing, loud arguing, and other forms of household chaos is a big “no” for the Poodle.
In fact, it may even cause immense stress in these dogs, leading to gastric or psychological issues in the pup. But it’s not just loud noises. Poodles are sensitive to your emotions. If you’re always sad, or even anxious and stressed, it’ll most likely rub off on your Poodle too.
One Poodle owner explains,
“My Poodle, Booker, was extremely reactive to other dogs at first. One of the many components to helping him was learning how to keep myself calm when I saw or heard another dog. My anxiety was not helping his anxiety. So, yes, it’s very much a thing.”
So because of a Poodle’s sensitivity, it’s probably best to always remain calm, happy and positive around your dog – even if that’s not the case.
6. Poodles can have crazy high energy levels.
Maybe it’s their elegant stance, graceful stride, or even their dignified demeanor. Poodles may seem like calm dogs, but that’s certainly not the case.
Like we’ve mentioned, these dogs were bred to swim through bodies of water all day long. This means they had to have high energy levels.
One Reddit user said,
“We tried to pick the chillest pup of the litter, so I’m just imagining what her siblings are like. My poodle is incredibly high energy, and it manifests itself as a ridiculous work drive. Fetch is her favorite game, but she’s constantly trying to work in some way.”
So what does all this mean for owners? Well, you’ll need to keep your Poodle active with 1 to 2 hours of high-quality exercise each day. If you fail to do this, it’ll quickly turn into a nightmare for you.
They may tear up your favorite pair of shoes, wreak havoc on the living room, and maybe even try to escape the house at every opportunity.
But even so, there’s something just as bad as a Poodle without sufficient physical activity, which we’ll get to later. But let’s talk about one of the biggest commitments you’ll have first.
7. Grooming is a huge commitment with Poodles.
Poodles are low-shedding dogs, so you’ll never have to groom them, right? Not quite. In fact, it’s actually the opposite. Poodles don’t shed fur like many other dogs do. Instead, they lose strands of hair…kind of like how humans lose their hair.
But this means that loose hair will get trapped in the coat, instead of falling to the floor. So, regular brushing with a “slicker brush” is needed to help remove any hair stuck on their coats.
Another signature trait of the Poodle’s coat is the curly fur. But just one problem. Curly fur usually means it’s much easier for hairs to get tangled, especially with how hard the Poodle plays.
This makes regular brushing that much more necessary for these dogs. Matting of the fur can be very painful for your dog if you don’t deal with it as soon as possible. So just how much of a commitment do you need for these dogs?
One Poodle owner says,
“I’m a professional dog groomer, so I can throw in my two cents. For a beginner, yes grooming can take 4+ hours. Now it’d probably take me 1 and a half to 2 hours, but that’s grooming everything. The big thing is not letting him get really matted because that’s a whole other thing. It’s much more difficult and risky, and at that point I’d recommend letting a professional do it.”
Now you could certainly go and get your Poodle professionally groomed. But that just adds to the hidden cost of Poodle ownership.
8. Poodles are prone to health issues.
Medical conditions, such as Addison’s Disease or Thyroid Issues, are relatively common in Poodles, but may be out of your control. However, there are a few common health issues that you can look out for and help prevent.
The first is “bloat.” This is a dangerous and potentially fatal condition where gas gets trapped in your dog’s stomach, causing the stomach to twist due to the build-up of gas. Think of it like blowing up a balloon inside your dog’s belly, and then that balloon starts to twist around.
The good news is that you can help prevent this. For example, don’t feed them a large meal all at once, but rather, smaller meals throughout the day.
If you have a Standard Poodle, giving them an elevated food bowl can also help prevent them from swallowing air as they eat their meals. And make sure to limit play time or running right after eating.
Another common issue in Poodles is hip dysplasia – a condition where constant stress and wear to the hips causes a misalignment.
Things such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting excessive jumping, exercising in moderation, and giving them joint supplements, can all help with this.
9. Poodles will need a lot of mental stimulation.
Poodles are incredibly smart dogs. In fact, they’re ranked the second smartest dog breed – only behind the Border Collie. But having a smart dog isn’t always a good thing. This means they require more mental exercises to help stimulate their intelligent minds.
And yes, that translates to even more work for their owners. Daily practice of their obedience training can help with this. Also, you’ll probably need plenty of dog puzzles and toys to keep them busy.
Hide and seek or fun dog games, such as hiding your dog’s favorite treat, are also good options for keeping them mentally stimulated. The options are limitless. It’s just important that you do something daily to keep their brilliant minds occupied.
Are They Worth Owning?
So with all these issues, do I still think the Poodle is worth owning? Absolutely. Poodles are intelligent, affectionate, and versatile companions that can bring joy, loyalty, and a lot of fun into your life. They’ll surprise you everyday and there will never be a dull moment with a Poodle.
Did I miss anything that all new Poodle owners should know before deciding to get one? Let me know in the comments section below!
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