Poodle Breeder Round-Up

In creating the book The Complete Guide to Poodles” (written by Tarah Schwartz and available on Amazon) we interviewed 9 of the top Poodle breeders in the country.  We used their advice and expertise to help make the book the best possible guide book for a new Poodle owner.

But… there was so much good advice in those interviews that we couldn’t fit it all into the book.  So we decided we’d compile the best answers to each question and present them here.  If you are thinking of getting a Poodle, or are a current owner, the advice that follows will be invaluable to you as you proceed on your ownership journey.  Enjoy:

Question #1:  What are your tips for choosing the right Poodle from either a breeder or rescue?

Consensus:
Ensuring that proper health testing is completed on both the parents and the pups is essential in choosing a breeder. Breeders should also be open clear about their breeding intentions and contract specifications. When selecting your dog from either a breeder or a rescue, be sure that you understand what temperament you are looking for and be sure to communicate that need. Reputable breeders and rescues will understand the temperament of the dog and if you clearly communicate that need they should be able to help ensure the best match.

Best Quotes:

Avoid any breeders that advertise a ‘rare’ color, size, or trait. Rare is rarely correct. Health testing is very important when choosing a breeder. What is the breeder breeding for? Are they producing dogs for people that want household pets or for those looking for performance or conformation prospects? Check legitimacy when selecting a Poodle from a rescue. Does the rescue have tax-exempt status? Where do they get their dogs, and how much information can they provide on where the dog came from.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

When buying from a breeder, inquire about the breeder’s health contract, ask if they have the parents on-premises, if you can see or meet them, and find out what behaviors or habits you can expect from this breed. Ask about their vaccinations, wormings, and registration. Inquire about a spay/neuter contract and whether the breeder requires this prior to getting registration papers or after. I don’t have any tips regarding a rescue because usually nothing is known about their background from a rescue.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

If you are looking for a Poodle that best matches your lifestyle or family, go with breeders who do temperament testing. This is done at approximately 7 weeks of age at a breeder and will help place puppies where they will flourish.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

The first thing a person needs to do is sit with their family and discuss where their new Poodle family member will fit in. Do they need a jogging partner, a camping and hiking buddy, a Service Dog, or another type of working dog, or will this new member of the family be a pampered pet and couch potato? This is VERY important to know before meeting with either a breeder or a rescue so that you are able to communicate your family’s needs in regards to energy and temperament.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

Question #2:  What are some of the most unique characteristics of the breed?

Consensus:
This is a rather distinctive breed with several unique characteristics. Many breeders mention the Poodle’s grace and beauty, their low-shed coat, and their desire to please; almost all of the breeders mentioned the Poodle’s outstanding intelligence. These dogs are quick to learn during training sessions, they tend to have an innate understanding of people and exceptional problem-solving skills, and they can adapt their intelligence to many different roles. Not only can Poodles excel in the show ring, on agility courses, in dock diving competitions, and as hunting dogs, but they also make wonderful therapy and service dogs.

Best Quotes:

Poodles are VERY intelligent. They learn quickly which can be wonderful, but also intimidating. Poodles have very low dander and don’t shed much at all, so they are wonderful for those who suffer from allergies. They are also easy to have indoors since they just don’t leave behind fur. They do lose hair, it does not drop off their bodies like other dogs who have fur, however, it generally stays on them until you either cut it or brush it off. Poodles are very diverse in their abilities. They can be trained for hunting, agility, conformation, service dogs, therapy, and so much more. Poodles adapt to their human’s needs and are very eager to please.”
 LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

Their intelligence is incredible. They have a unique ability to problem solve a nearly psychic ability to read their people. I also love the elegance a Poodle possesses when they are gaiting around the yard. They show their class even when they lay down.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

The Poodle has a degree of intelligence unlike any other breed. Having been handling and training dogs for over 40 years; I believe that Poodles are hands down the most intelligent.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

Question #3:  What do most people not know about Poodles that would surprise them?

Consensus:
While Poodles tend to have a reputation as ornamental show dogs, they were not originally intended to be so. Poodles were originally bred to be a water retriever, and many of them are still employed as hunting and retrieving dogs. All sizes of Poodle are athletic and should be given a proper outlet for their energy in order to prevent them from finding their own. They are also extremely adaptable, as well as being people-oriented and loyal.

Best Quotes:

Poodles are not foo-foo dogs. They were bred to be water retrievers. They are very athletic and enjoy a good romp in the yard or even a nice mud puddle. They are so people-oriented and once they chose their person or people; they would turn themselves inside out for them.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

I am always surprised at how many people do not know these dogs are not just pretty ornaments. They were designed to hunt and swim and have a purpose; not to just be pretty accouterments to your life.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

The Poodle is an extremely utilitarian breed. Many of the general public see them with a powder-puff image but they are far from what their exterior portrays. All three sizes are equally intelligent.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

Poodles can pretty much fit into any family environment, any level of exercise, calm families, high-energy families, pretty much a dog they can adjust to any situation or style of household.”
Mary Ann Riess-  Vision Red Standard Poodles

Question #4:  How would you recommend people prepare their home for the arrival of their new puppy?

Consensus:
Poodle puppies are highly intelligent and curious little animals. Ensure that you pick up anything off the floor that you don’t want chewed, especially dangerous items like electrical cords or choking hazards, and make sure that the puppy has a safe area to spend time in when you aren’t able to actively watch them. To be sure that you are training your Poodle, and not the other way around, decide on the household rules before the pup comes home and make sure everyone in the household is on board with them.

Best Quotes:

If you are welcoming a Poodle into your home; you would be best advised to get everything off the floor. Purchase a crate and exercise pen for the times when you cannot directly supervise your puppy. After living with Standard Poodles for over 35 years I can truly say that they are some of the easiest puppies through what can be trying puppy times.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

Make sure all family members are on board with getting a new puppy. Have a family discussion that sets the ground rules. Are they allowed on the couch? Can they eat people food? Where will they sleep? Crawl around the house to see it from your new puppy’s viewpoint. Have a safe area for the puppy to sleep and play.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

New puppy owners should childproof their homes. Puppies are inquisitive and will chew. They need a place for them to be safely confined for periods of time while housebreaking and training them. The little ones often don’t know their limits and may play continually unless they are provided an opportunity to rest. I recommend a playpen or a baby gate for a door like in a bathroom.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Question #5:  What are some unexpected things a new Poodle owner might encounter in the first few weeks?

Consensus:
Poodles are very family-oriented dogs and many new pet parents find that their pup seems anxious, sad, or scared when they first come home. They have just left their parents, siblings, and the only home they have ever known and it may take a little bit before they are fully comfortable at their new home. The other surprise that is in store for a large portion of Poodle owners is how easily they can be trained by their dogs. Poodles are highly intelligent animals that have keen insight into their owners and are quite adept at training humans.

Best Quotes:

A young Poodle pup may be missing their siblings and they may attempt to transfer that connection to you. Older pups may be scared or nervous when they first get home, as they do go through a fear stage at about twelve to sixteen weeks of age. An older Poodle may be confused if they had suddenly lost their previous owner and that confusion may take a while to dissipate, but they fall in love very easily with kindness.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

The most unexpected thing that most new Poodle guardians discover is that they are being trained by their Poodle. As a long time dog trainer, I often have to enlighten the humans about the tactics that their Poodle puppy has been using to train them. We then have a good laugh about it and set about straighten things up.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

The first few nights, be prepared for a lot of crying from your new puppy. They are experiencing anxiety since they are separated from their mother, their siblings, the only humans they have ever really known, and all the other sights and sounds that are familiar to them. This anxiety is very important since it plays a role in your new puppy bonding with you, its new pack. Even though it is important it can be stressful for the new family. New pet parents should also be prepared to be up at least one time each night for potty breaks, maybe even two.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

If Toy Poodles won’t eat when they go to their new home, they can develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Signs of this include listlessness, vomiting or diarrhea, shaking, unstable gait, inability to stand, or unconscious, and death can result if it is not promptly attended to. I advise new owners that they should have Nutrical on hand or Karo syrup so if they see signs of hypoglycemia, they can get their sugar level back up long enough to get them to the vet as soon as possible.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Question #6:  What house-training advice do you have for a new owner?

Consensus:
Poodles tend to pick up house training fairly quickly, with the possible exception of toy-sized variety. Toy dogs, in general, are more difficult to house train and should be taken outside more frequently than their larger counterparts, or trained to use a pee pad or litter box. Consistency and a set schedule are the most important components to successful house training any size puppy. Discuss previously used training methods with the breeder and try and build on those.

Best Quotes:

Consistency; don’t give your puppy free run of the house. Puppies need to go potty approximately every hour per month of life during the day. A two-month puppy will need to be let out every two hours and a six-month-old puppy needs to go out every six hours. Remember they are babies and they will make mistakes.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

Feed at a routine time —go out 20 min after eating and before going to bed. During the first two weeks, I take the pup outside every two hours during daylight hours. If a mistake is made I clean it up with a paper towel and carry it out to the spot that I am training the pup to go potty at.”
Patricia Labate-  Nobility Poodle

Our babies come pee pad and litter box trained and later graduate to going outside. I recommend following the pattern set by the breeder or rescue.”
Martha Carroll- Talley- Custom Poodles

Question #7:  What tips do you have for socializing your Poodle with other pets?

Consensus:
Socializing your dog should be started at as early an age as possible. At home, remember that established pets have seniority and be sure to give them equal attention so they don’t get jealous. Once your Poodle is completely vaccinated, you can begin exposing them to new places, people, and pets. Visit parks and outdoor shopping centers and allow others to pet your dog so it gets used to attention from different kinds of people. Group obedience classes are another great way to introduce your Poodle to other pets in a controlled environment.

Best Quotes:

Take your pup to training classes, outdoor shopping centers, parks and where ever they like dogs. Walk up to people, especially children, and let them pet your puppy, most people won’t resist petting a puppy.”
Bob & Penny Daugherty-  Sundance Poodles

Understand that the puppy is coming into a home with pets that have been there for a while. An older dog may not want to be pestered by a puppy. They will correct the puppy and as long as the older pets don’t hurt the puppy, they are acting within their rights as the senior pet. Greet and pet the older dog first and let them know that you still love them. Make sure they have an opportunity to get away from their new, annoying younger sibling, and have some quiet time alone.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

The puppy should be exposed to all different kinds of animals at an early age, a calm settled personality works best when introducing a puppy to a new animal. Do not pull on the leash or act nervous, instead, act like it’s not a big deal.”
Mary Ann Riess-  Vision Red Standard Poodles

Try to expose your puppy to your world. If you have friends with dogs, you can make playdates. Take your puppy with you anywhere you go that a puppy is permitted. Make sure it has had all its vaccinations first though.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

Question #8:  How much exercise does a Poodle need? What are some good exercise habits to develop?

Consensus:
When it comes to exercise needs, Poodles tend to vary quite a bit from one individual to another. It is important to understand what type of household you have before choosing your pup so that the breeder or rescue can help you to select the right dog for the household. Some Poodles are satisfied with just a single walk and a short play session each day, while others are more energetic and will need multiple walks or active training sessions a day.

Best Quotes:

Poodles are as individual as human beings. That is why you should try to get to know your breeder and your puppy before you pick so your breeder can have a good idea of what you need.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

Exercise is a very important part of living with Poodles. Each dog is an individual and will require different degrees of energy burn off. Retrieving is probably my best go-to exercise. This enables you to get some amazing power exercise in, in a very short amount of time.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

How much exercise a Poodle needs depends on the lines the Poodle comes from. Some are high energy and need to have one to two walks a day. Some don’t need walks at all, only time to play in a backyard to get energy out. This is something that needs to be discussed with your Breeder so that you are paired up with the best fit for your family.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

A nice long walk a couple times a day will keep them mentally and physically stimulated. A naughty Poodle usually needs more exercise. Teaching them to play fetch is a wonderful way to give them exercise.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

Question #9:  How easy or hard are they to train? What advice do you have for a new owner?

Consensus:
Poodles are highly trainable dogs. Breeders extoll the Poodle’s problem-solving ability, their ability to adapt, and their capacity to understand many human words and commands. These traits allow Poodles to not only frequently make top rankings in obedience and agility trials, but also able to to become exceptional canine actors, therapy dogs, or service dogs. They respond to firm but positive training and revel in praise but they do not respond well to the harsher training methods.

Best Quotes:

Very easy to train as long as you are consistent. Tell them to do something once and praise them when they do it. Poodles are very good at training their humans to fill their needs. They really want to please and will do what you want just because it pleases their person.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

Very easy, they are very intelligent. The time spent working with them at an early age is priceless. I talk to my Poodles just like children and use key words that they know and understand. I have had several Poodles that I would not be surprised if they talked back. Some people think I’m nuts but it works.”
Bob & Penny Daugherty-  Sundance Poodles

Poodles are very easy to train. This can go either direction though. You can be trained by your Poodle, or you can train your Poodle. Rule number one is to know what you want before you ask it. Then be consistent and follow through with what you asked! Never be in a hurry when training you Poodle. Always take the time to do it correctly and follow through every time or your pup will see a way around your commands and do as they please. Be a good leader, and always be fair LeeAnne Springer- Springer Clan Standard Poodles

Question #10:  What are some of the unwanted behavior that a Poodle might display, and what advice do you have for dealing with them?

Consensus:
While Poodles are a very popular and versatile breed, they do have their challenges as well. The most commonly cited issues were jumping, mouthing, and chasing. Jumping up on people should never be allowed uninvited, and most breeders caution against teaching them to jump up at all, but mouthiness can be redirected to carrying things, even if that’s just their favorite toy. They have a high prey drive and many of them will hunt and kill birds and small animals if given the opportunity, so it is best not to give them the opportunity.

Best Quotes:

They are retrievers, so they are mouthy. Some Poodles will try to take their human companion’s hand when they are walking. If your dog does this give them something to carry with them on their walk. They also like to poke you with their nose if you walk away and they don’t think they are through playing. Teach them to sit as you go through the gate or door, it helps prevent this behavior and also teaches them that they don’t run through ahead of you.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

Poodles jump. Go to their level to hug them. Don’t pat your chest and let them jump up for the attention. If expecting guests leave their leash on. Teach them to sit by the door with you. Step on their leash so they can only jump that short distance.”
Patricia Labate-  Nobility Poodle

Since the Standard Poodle’s original purpose was a retrieving dog, most are driven to hunt birds as well as other small animals. They do not do well around chickens (they hunt and kill them) and if they are not raised around small animals, a Standard Poodle with a high prey drive will kill most small critters if they can catch them as well.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

Question #11:  Do Poodles make good travel companions? Why or why not?

Consensus:
By all accounts, Poodles make fantastic travel companions. While only the smaller sizes will fit in a carry-on carrier for a trip by air, all sizes enjoy camping, road trips, and other great adventures as long as they get to do it with you and are generally well-behaved. Some Poodles may get carsick the first few trips, but most eventually overcome that tendency, and their low to no-shed coat means that they don’t leave a mess behind.

Best Quotes:

Yes, yes, yes! Road trips are a great way to bond, as are camping and RV trips. The best part is they don’t shed. Poodles love to be with their humans, they love other people and, people are drawn to them and love them right back.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

A Poodle of any size will love traveling. They are bred to be a companion animal and they love spending time with their owners on new adventures.”
Martha Carroll- Talley- Custom Poodles

I think that they make great traveling companions. I do advise new owners to take them for short rides to get them used to being in a car— some will get carsick until they are used to it. The small breed varieties can often be taken on a flight with you in a carry-on carrier.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Question #12:  Do they have any specific dietary needs or differences from other Breeds?

Best Quotes:

Poodles can easily develop allergies. I recommend that people introduce new foods to their puppy slowly. Take your time if changing foods, the process should be accomplished over a long period. Constantly changing foods can be a problem for Poodles as it can lead them to develop allergies that can lead to ear issues and itchy skin.”
Mary Ann Riess-  Vision Red Standard Poodles

I prefer to allow my Poodles to nibble dog food throughout the day. Just like most deep-chested dogs, Standard Poodles can be prone to gastric torsion or bloat. I rarely see an overweight standard Poodle as they seem to eat just what their bodies need.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

As far as their diet, we recommend a smaller kibble for Toy Poodles. Avoid any corn, wheat or soy products. Puppies can be prone to hypoglycemia, especially if weaned on rice and hamburger. Choose a brand of food that contains meat and veggies in lieu of fillers like meat by-products.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Question #13:  What grooming tips do you have?

Consensus:
In order to avoid having their coat mat, Poodles require grooming on a nearly daily basis unless their coat is kept very short, and they should be handled frequently as pups to get them used to being touched on any part of their body. It is important to pay special attention to the length of the hair on their faces, to avoid irritation or injury to the eyes, and the hair between the paw pads, to avoid damage to their feet.

Best Quotes:

Handle your puppy’s feet, muzzle, and ears daily. Make sure they accept you handling any part of their body. Use a soft brush and comb on them every day to get them accustomed to it. Find a good groomer and have them groom the puppy often after their shots are complete.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

The joy of grooming Poodles is that they can look pretty much any way that you would like. I believe they are beautiful as they are; without any pom poms or special fancy hairdos. A shaved down Poodle is a beautiful thing; but if you want them to look more Poodley, or like a schnauzer, or like a lion they can look like that too. I would recommend that all Poodle guardians learn to groom at least a small amount on their own so that they can keep up with general maintenance between groomings.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

Poodles need the hair on their faces clipped short so the hair can not irritate their eyes. Their paw pad hair should be trimmed to avoid mud collecting in the foot and making it sore. The hair around their ears should be kept short so the air can keep them dry, and they should be brushed every day unless their coat is kept very short.”
Sharon Heath-  Kokopeli Standard Poodles

Question #14:  What kind of shedding should an owner expect? Any advice?

Consensus:
Poodles have a coat made of hair rather than fur, so they don’t shed much at all. They do occasionally drop hair much the way humans will lose hairs here and there, but it is generally in very limited amounts. During the spring months, however, Poodles may leave little balls off hair lying around if they haven’t been brushed enough, and until their adult coat grows in, puppies frequently shed a lightweight fluff that tends to float for quite a while before landing.

Best Quotes:

Poodles do shed but even less than we humans shed. Puppies shed their fluff around the house and it is very airborne because of its weight. As far as adults go, there is very little hair ever around the house. The longer you allow their coat to get the more work it takes and the more shedding that will occur. If you brush regularly it will be mostly contained in the brush itself.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

This breed hardly sheds at all, instead their coat will mat if not brushed regularly. All dogs have dander but the Poodle is on that has the least amount. This is what is most appealing of this breed to anyone with allergies.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Poodles have hair— not fur. They drop very little hair. Poodles are considered a breed that does not shed.”
Terry L Creech-  Bear Cove Standard Poodles

Poodles don’t shed the same as other dogs. They do drop hair but it does not generally come off their bodies. It remains in the undercoat and thus needs to be brushed out or you will have a Poodle full of knots and dreads. During the beginning of summer, you can expect to brush more often since your Poodle will be getting rid of their undercoat in preparation for hotter weather. This is a downy, fine, type of hair. If you do not brush it out of their coat, you will notice little hairballs on their bed or other places they sleep a lot. This is a sign you need to brush your Poodle more. The long prog rake or comb will come in very handy for this task.”
LeeAnne Springer-  Springer Clan Standard Poodles

Question #15:  Can you speak to some of the genetic health concerns associated with Poodles?

Consensus:
 While a few health concerns are somewhat size-specific, such as Hip Dysplasia, Sebaceous Adenitis, and digit cancer which are commonly seen in Standard Poodles, and the luxated patellas or the collapsed tracheas that are seen in Toy Poodles, but the majority of the genetic concerns are seen in all sizes. Common disorders with a genetic component include Addison’s Disease, Von Willebrand Disease, and PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy). Poodles that have been bred to be especially large, sometimes referred to as Royal Poodles, may be more prone to structural and skeletal disorders.

Best Quotes:

There are quite a few big genetic health concerns with Poodles, and many are size specific. If a breeder is not addressing issues common to Poodles, then do not acquire a puppy from that breeder. Addison’s and Von Willebrand diseases are prominent in all sizes of Poodle and Hip Dysplasia, Sebaceous Adenitis, and digit cancer in black Poodles is more prominently found in Standard Poodles.”
Sherri Regalbuto-  Just Dogs with Sherri

Hip Dispaysia and Sebaceous Adenitis are common among Standard Poodles. The parents need to be tested for each. Get copies of the testing results.”
Bob & Penny Daugherty-  Sundance Poodles

Toy Poodles can be prone to luxating patellas. I wouldn’t say this is totally a genetic issue as they can result from their diet or exercise as well. I advise new owners to avoid leaving their Poodle on furniture if they walk away from them, and to try to avoid a lot of jumping until they are fully grown. Their legs, knees, and hips are smaller than those of other breeds, so more caution should be used.”
Sharon Hoffman-  Hoffman’s Toys

Make sure to ask your breeder if Addison’s disease is a problem in their lines. If it is, move along; you do not want to deal with that. Stay away from overly large Standard Poodles now being bred with fancy brand names like “Royal”. Poodles are not meant to be 80+ pounds, and it can lead to hip and elbow issues. A Poodle’s average size should be between 45 and 60 pounds.”
Patricia Labate-  Nobility Poodle