You may have met some poodles before and assumed they were just really well-trained dogs. While that might be the case, poodles are also quite agreeable on their own.
Growing up, my neighbors had three poodles. The first one was always perfectly behaved and very affectionate. The second was equally well-tempered and friendly. The third poodle had a bad habit of barking at nothing, but aside from that, it was gentle and social.
If you knew my neighbors, you would know they didn’t put much time or effort into training their dogs, yet all three poodles were relatively well behaved and friendly. So, is that just the natural way of the poodle? Let’s find out.
Key Personality Traits
- Very smart
- Not usually aggressive
- Low to moderate barking
- Good with kids and families
- Soemtimes don’t usually love other dogs (beyond the family)
- Very playful and active (even hyper)
- Prone to easy weight gain, depression, and easily learned bad habits
- They are social and are prone to separation anxiety
Personality and Behaviour
Poodles have a good reputation as being friendly, loyal dogs that are easy to train if a bit high-strung. While they are wonderfully suitable dogs for families and individuals, their tendency to be high-strung often comes down to their level of early socialization and training.
Poodles are very intelligent dogs and need lots of mental stimulation. They love puzzles and have a deep understanding of things at an instinctual level.
Poodles are especially easy to train thanks to their intelligence and eagerness to please. They are loyal to a fault and love activities that challenge them.
Poodles also have a lot of emotional sensitivity and react according to your mood and behavior. Due to their level of intelligence, poodles may also have a higher chance of depression if they are left alone or understimulated.
You don’t have to worry about aggressive or violent behavior from a poodle for the most part. Poodles naturally have level temperaments and stay calm in most situations. It’s important to remember, though, that any dog can become aggressive if provoked, and untrained and unsocialized dogs are more likely to get aggressive.
Generally speaking, smaller breeds of poodles like toys and teacups have a higher tendency to act aggressively though some of that reputation is likely due to the lack of training that smaller dogs often receive.
Poodles are excellent guard dogs and will naturally protect their family. Should you get into a situation where your poodle perceives people, or especially other dogs, as a threat, they may step up their aggression quite a bit.
Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about poodles acting aggressively. If they are comfortable and entertained, they have no reason to act out.
Level of Barking
Poodles have a moderate tendency to bark, but their inclination varies considerably based on the training they receive.
A well-trained poodle will rarely bark, while a poorly trained one can pick up bad habits. If you leave your poodle unattended, they may begin barking for attention, and that could lead to a pattern of misbehavior.
Poodles also sometimes act as guard dogs and will bark when people come over or get too close to the house. The better socialized a poodle is, the less likely this is to occur.
Toy poodles are no more likely to bark than the standard breed and have been known to bark far less in some cases.
Behavior With Kids and Families
Poodles are a friendly and loyal breed. They enjoy spending time with people, and while they may not be the most eager to play with children, they do not shy away from it either. Be careful to teach children proper handling methods if you have a smaller poodle like a toy.
You may also need to enact some social training as poodles are often quite shy and don’t like to be away from their families for long periods. Poodles are eager to please and very instinctual, so they are often very effortless to train.
Behavior Towards Other Dogs
Poodles are generally not fond of other dogs. Early socialization helps but given a choice, poodles prefer to stay by their owner and other people.
An unsocialized or poorly trained poodle may become aggressive towards other dogs. Smaller breeds have a higher tendency towards aggression.
Poodles should not be left in kennels and do not do well if ignored. Keep in mind that poodles are essentially hunting dogs and are quite capable of violence, even if they have never shown aggressive tendencies.
Energy Level and Playfulness
Poodles are very energetic. They love to play and run and jump and will do almost anything for attention. Poodles need at least 40 minutes of exercise a day. Depending on the breed, they may need several hours.
All breeds of poodles can jump very high, so make sure you have high fences in place.
The standard poodle breed needs the most exercise and can get fat if they do not get it.
Not only do poodles love to run and jump, but they also like puzzle games that challenge them and feed their curiosity. Make sure you have lots of engaging toys and games for your poodles when you are not around, or they may get bored and temperamental, which may lead to misbehaviors.
As mentioned before, poodles need a lot of exercise. If they do not get enough time to run around every day or if you are too generous with the treats, poodles can quickly become overweight. All breeds of poodles need lots of activity and a carefully monitored diet.
Poodles also tend to become sad, despondent, or even depressed if they are left alone or understimulated. They are intelligent dogs that like to learn and explore and challenge themselves. They also have a very high social need and become lonely quickly.
Additionally, poodles can pick up bad habits like attention barking if they learn that it brings the desired effect. If a poodle is lonely and you come every time they bark, they will quickly learn that barking is a clever way to get your attention.
Poodles are lovely dogs. All breeds of poodles are energetic, intelligent, and loyal. They love spending time with their family and engaging in mentally and physically challenging games. Poodles are good with kids but don’t do the best around other dogs and may sometimes even become aggressive around them.
With early socialization and thorough training, poodles have very few behavioral issues, and most bad habits like barking can be avoided.
For more information on poodles, check out this page on the Best Brush for Poodles and grooming tips.