Poodles are generally recognized as good family dogs. As with any breed, different poodles can have varying personalities, and other family lifestyles may be better suited to different species or types of dogs.
The question is more complex than it first appears. There are general characteristics about the breed which can vary according to the sub-breeds of Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle, which require discussion before choosing a new pet to become an integral part of the family.
An arguably better perspective is to first look at what makes a good family pet, consider what types of homes are best suited for the dog intended to become a pet, then determine whether the dog is a good fit for the potential new environment.
Let’s examine whether a dog is a good fit for a particular home.
First Considerations for a Poodle as a Family Dog
There’s a dog breed for every type of house, family, and need for companionship. A family who lives on a farm has different needs and expectations than a family who lives in a city apartment. Furthermore, suburban families have different expectations of their pets as well.
Now, there’s no such thing as a perfect pet who meets everyone’s needs. As stated above, every family or household will have different requirements, and so each will need a unique dog.
With that said, a good family dog will hit multiple nails on the head.
Let’s take the poodle, for example. Poodles can guard the home, entertain the children, engage the adults, and remain quietly reserved at appropriate times. This makes them good for a variety of households as far as temperament goes.
However, that only applies if the poodle has been well trained. Any dog that hasn’t been taught manners will not do well with a family. Of course, poodles are known for being exceptionally intelligent and easy to train, which does make them good family dogs in many cases. There are, however, considerations that go into the choice of which dog breed is best suited for your family beyond personality and intelligence.
General Characteristics of Poodles
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that need to be considered before getting a poodle as a pet.
Many dogs, including poodles, are marketed as being hypoallergenic because they have hair rather than fur. At the same time, that likely doesn’t actually make them less triggering to those who suffer from allergies.
Unfortunately, it’s the dander (dead skin), saliva, and urine that trigger allergies, not actual fur. With that in mind, allergy-sufferers should continue to avoid having even a hypoallergenic dog or get used to having watery eyes.
Need Activity and Companionship
Originally bred as hunting dogs, poodles require exercise and comradery on a daily basis. Because they are intelligent and were bred to hunt, poodles need to feel as if they have a specific job to perform, or they can grow bored.
If left alone without proper supervision and companionship, poodles are known to become a bit “skitzy” as they develop unchecked problematic behaviors, including snapping or biting other pets and people in the home.
Plenty of Grooming
One aspect about poodles that is easy to forget is how they need haircuts. They don’t have to be appropriately groomed for a dog show, but their hair continues to grow quickly and needs to be trimmed every six to eight weeks.
Poodles love the process of being groomed, as it requires giving them attention along with a good dose of pampering. They don’t mind getting wet, and poodles often enjoy getting bathed and combed.
Different Types of Poodles
Poodle traits are spoken about in general terms, assuming they come from a reputable breeder and have had appropriate training as puppies.
Individual poodles have unique personalities, and mixed breed poodles can take on the attributes of the breed they were mixed with.
For a purebred poodle, there are three different types that require consideration before choosing which is best for your family pet: standard, miniature, and toy.
Standard Poodles are large dogs. Males tend to weigh 60-70 pounds while females weigh around 40-50 pounds on average. Such size, along with a gentle personality, allows poodles to get along well with children who might play roughly with their companion.
While they can be trusted around family children when trained properly, poodles also make excellent guard dogs. They will defend the house against unexpected threats yet remain loyal to family, friends, and guests. As with any dog, you just need to be sure you introduce guests to the poodle before they enter the house.
Miniature Poodles weigh only 10-15 pounds and are 10-15 inches tall at the shoulder. Because of their smaller size, young children may need to be supervised around them to protect the dog from accidental injury. After all, an injured dog may lash out and nip.
They are also intelligent and quite aware of their surroundings. Miniature Poodles tend to maintain the poodle trait of being protective of the home while remaining loyal to the family members who live there.
However, they may become more irritable when they perceive the home to be threatened and bark more.
Toy Poodles are less than 10 inches tall at the shoulder. They maintain the looks and charisma of the poodle breed but may take on characteristics of the smaller dogs required during the breeding process to produce a tiny version of the poodle.
Reputable breeders will be able to document the lineage of such dogs and describe expected behaviors based on how other pets of the breeding have performed.
When a Poodle Might NOT Be the Best Family Dog
The downside to how well and quickly poodles can be trained is the amount of social interaction they need to accept and adhere to their training. Poodles are a social breed; they need to receive plenty of attention in order to lead a fulfilling life.
If a poodle isn’t adequately socialized as a puppy, they can develop problem behaviors, and if they don’t receive enough attention as adults, they can become depressed.
Additionally, poodles found through less than reputable breeders can create serious health problems as a result of over breeding. If you buy from a breeder, always be sure to do thorough research to avoid this.
An active family can be great for a poodle if the family is busy at home or at local parks where the poodle can be leashed and accompanied.
That said, a poodle may not be the best choice for a family who is constantly involved in work and school activities or vacations, needing a pet sitter or kennel for their dog.
Poodles tend to prefer the stability of being around the same people on a regular basis. Poodles were bred to be attentive and responsive to humans, but that comes with the need for security and sameness. Poodles want to be loved as much by their family as they provide support and love to those around them.
What Makes the Poodle a Great Family Pet?
Generally speaking, a poodle is a great family pet because they are friendly and fun to be around. They get along well with children and adults, as they prefer attention and playfulness as part of their daily life.
They aren’t known for being violent, so poodles are usually safe to have around children and other pets. They become part of the family and expect to be treated as beloved family members.