Poodle Temperament: What’s it Like Owning One?

You have likely seen the common household pet, a poodle many times in your life. However, without owning one or being around a poodle it is difficult to completely grasp their temperament. For this purpose, I am here to give a guide to what a poodle’s temperament is like and what owning them is like.

Poodles are very friendly, active, intelligent, and loyal dogs. They have some strong instincts from being bred as water retrievers. In all types of poodles, they have a high amount of energy and love to play. Poodles fit in easily with families.

As a great fit for your home, poodles have many traits which make them loving companions. By reading on, I will explain each of the poodle’s traits, both good and bad, and I will explain the differences between the different types of poodles.

Poodle Temperament

Poodles are some of the most popular dogs out there. They are hypoallergenic, friendly, and fun, which makes them a top candidate in the pet category.

Before owning a poodle, the most common scenario I saw with poodles was in a park happily running around and playing with their owner. Watching poodles out in the park was part of the reason for me getting a poodle. I could see what fun and loving dogs they were just from watching.

For the same reason I fell in love with poodles in the park, I found that their temperament held true to those traits.

So, what did I learn about poodle temperament after owning a poodle?

1. Poodles are Extremely Loyal

As part of their nature, poodles cling to their owners. Poodles are extremely loving to their owners.

Once the poodle gets to know you, they will become attached. They love to stay by your side and will always have your back.

2. Poodles are Active Dogs

If you have a similar experience to me, most of the poodles you have seen have been running around.

Poodles are very energetic dogs. They often require plenty of exercise.

Here is an example of how active poodles are.

3. Poodles are Easily Trained

Poodles are extremely intelligent dogs. Because of this, they respond very well to human command.

You do not have to be an expert to train a poodle. They learn quickly and easily.

4. Poodles are Alert

In comparison to those dogs who you can throw a toy at them, and they don’t react even after it hits their face, poodles are very different.

Even by touching you poodle and surprising them, they will likely do a little jump. Poodles are extremely alert and aware of everything around them.

5. Poodles are Sensitive to Human Emotion

This is just one of the traits that qualify poodles to be great therapy dogs. They are incredibly aware of your emotions.

Interestingly enough, poodles often mimic human emotion. So, when you are having a bad day, there’s a high chance, your poodle could be having a bad day, too.

Poodles often mimic human emotion. When you are having a bad day, there’s a high chance, your poodle could be having a bad day too.

The Good and the Bad of Poodles

In my opinion, there are so many things that make a poodle great. Their temperament is very impressive. They have many appealing traits.

However, just like with anything else, there will always be some negatives associated.

Bonding
PositiveNegative
Poodles make connections
easily with family members.
Poodles are generally shy
around strangers.

Within your family, poodles will be extremely attached. Poodles connect deeply to their human owners.

Often, poodles actually connect better with humans than they do with dogs. However, around strangers, your poodle’s personality may not shine through completely.

This is because without being attached to a human, poodles are fairly uninterested in others.

AggressionPositiveNegative
Poodles are very rarely aggressive,
especially with their owners.
Poodles will occasionally
bark.

Some dogs have a high tendency to be aggressive. However, poodles are not one of those dogs. Poodles are rarely aggressive.

If they are upset at something, they will not show it through aggression.

However, one sign of aggression that poodles do show is barking. Although their barking is not always a sign of aggression, it is there. Poodles are no extreme barkers. These dogs are typically average in comparison to other barking dogs.

However, because poodles are so intelligent, they can be easily trained not to bark as much.

SocialnessPositiveNegative
Poodles thrive on praise
and attention.
Poodles have separation
anxiety when left alone.

If there were one dog who loved to be loved, it would be a poodle. If you give them the slightest praise, they will be an extremely happy dog.

They love to be around their owner and thoroughly appreciate even the smallest pets. However, because of their love for being around people, they will not do as well when left alone.

If there were one dog who loved to be loved, it would be a poodle.

Poodles can be drama queens when they are left alone. To them, it is the end of the world.

IntelligencePositiveNegative
Poodles are one of the most
intelligent dog breeds.
Poodles have a tendency to
be stubborn.

Poodles rank number two on most lists of dog intelligence. They are extremely intelligent dogs.

There are so many great things that come with have an intelligent dog. They are capable of many things.

However, because of their intelligence, they are not as easily fooled as other dogs may be.

When you’re trying to get your dog to do something they don’t like, they will not give you an easy time. You cannot trick them into thinking it is a good thing.

Your poodle will likely be very stubborn throughout the process.

Outside of these connected positive and negatives associated with poodles, there are still some more positives and negatives of their temperament.

Some negatives associated with poodle temperament are:

  • Poodles are very sensitive. They will not respond well to a mean tone or aggression from their owner or others.
  • Poodles require lots of exercise. Because they are so active, poodles need to be moving around frequently to keep them acting well.
  • Poodles require obedience training. They are very intelligent dogs, so they will learn fast. However, they need to learn obedience just like any other dog.

Some positives associated with poodle temperament are:

  • Poodles are very empathetic. As strange as this sounds, poodles simply understand human emotion. They respond well to your different emotions.
  • Poodles make great watchdogs. Because they are always alert and attentive, they do well as watchdogs.
  • Poodles engage well with people. Although they are a bit shy around strangers, they do not freak out at all. Poodles will be calm. Although they are not comfortable, they will handle it very well.

Poodles are very great dogs. Because of their temperament, you will fall in love with the many great traits that they have.

Of course, they are not perfect dogs. There are negatives associated with poodles.

However, the high amount of positives associated with poodle temperament outweighs the negatives in my opinion.

Varying Poodle Temperament by Type

Up until this point, I have been describing poodle temperament in general. However, there are three different types of poodles.

  • Standard Poodle
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Toy Poodle

These three types of poodles are all different sizes. The standard is the largest of them all, the miniature being the medium size, and the toy being the smallest of the poodles.

All of the points that I have made about poodle temperament apply to each of these poodles. The different types of poodles all have very similar temperaments (which makes sense considering they are all poodles).

Standard Poodles

Rating Scale:

1: Low 3: Average 5: High

Standard Poodles
Sociability1
Energy5
Size5
Mischeviousness3
Fit for Kids
3
Active
3
Good Companion3

As far as sociability goes, standard poodles are not lacking in a bad way. They are simply ranked lower because they are more reserved.

In comparison, to the other poodle types, standard poodles are not as outgoing. However, standard poodles are the most energetic of the three. Standard poodles are the ones who need the most exercise out of all the poodle types.

Also, standard poodles have the most instinctual intelligence. Way back when poodles were bred in Germany to be water retrievers. Because of this, they are great at swimming and as hunting companions.

Because miniature and toy poodles have been bred to be smaller, they have different qualities. They have less of a chance of having instinctual intelligence.

However, because standard poodles have not been bred any differently, they have those traits.

Miniature Poodles

Rating Scale:

1: Negative 3: Average 5: Excellent

Miniature Poodles
Sociability5
Energy3
Size3
Mischeviousness5
Fit for Kids
5
Active
5
Good Companion3

The miniature poodle rates high in sociability because they are very attached to their owners. If you want a poodle that will be following you around everywhere, then this is the poodle for you.

Out of the three types of poodles, miniature poodles are the most active. You will see them running around the most.

The miniature poodle is said to be for good for kids. They are a perfect size for a child to take care of without being too small.

Toy Poodles

Rating Scale:

1: Negative 3: Average 5: Excellent

Toy Poodles
Sociability3
Energy3
Size1
Mischeviousness5
Fit for Kids
1
Active
3
Good Companion5

Note: these ratings are all in comparison between the poodles themselves. In comparison to all dog breeds, poodles would rank differently. However, the average is referring to the average poodle temperament.

Toy poodles are the smallest of the bunch. And, although that does make them incredibly cute, it also makes them less fit for kids.

Children are often not the best at handling smaller and more fragile animals. For this reason, toy poodles, despite their name are a better fit for adults.

Out of all the poodle types, toy poodles are said to be the best companions.

As the smallest of the bunch, the toy poodles will easily stay by your side.


Although there are slight variations between the different types of poodles and their temperaments, they are all in the same general range of each other.

Because they are in the same family, you will have a pretty similar experience with all three of these poodles.

But with the slight variations, it is possible that one type of poodle may be more appealing to you. To me, all poodles are great and have similar enough temperaments that truly it does not make a difference.

How to Manage Poodle Temperament

Luckily for you and I, poodles have a pretty simple temperament to deal with. They are not difficult dogs at all.

However, because of their temperament, there are a few things that you should remember while taking care of your poodle.

1. Give your poodle plenty of play time

If your poodle is acting up at all, there is a chance that they have not had enough time to run around and play.

Give them a nice open area to play. However, your poodle will get their energy out best when you are around.

Even if you are just sitting outside and reading, your poodle will run around more with you there.

2. Avoid leaving your poodle behind

There are some situations where you simply cannot have your poodle there with you.

However, if you are able, it is best to bring the poodle with you. Without you there, your poodle will have bad separation anxiety. So, stay with your poodle as often as you can.

3. Treat your poodle with love

Because your poodles loves praise and attention, you simply have to love your poodle for them to be happy.

If is not necessary, do not use mean tones with your poodle. Use lots of positive reinforcement with your poodle.

4. Take the time to train your poodle

Yes, poodles are extremely intelligent. No, that does not mean that you can avoid training them.

It does not take much to train your poodle to avoid bad behavior and reinforce good behavior.

However, your poodles needs to be taught. They are not naturally obedient dogs.


Aside from these tips about taking care of a poodle, you should follow any step that you would with any other dog.

Although these tips are targeted towards poodles, there are many other things you will need to do that simply apply to all dogs.

Are Poodles a Good Fit for You?

By now, I am sure that you have a good idea of what a poodle’s temperament is like. The next question you should ask yourself is would a poodle fit well into your home?

Here are a few questions to help guide you into deciding if owning a poodle would work for you.

Do you have children?

If you have children, poodles are great for your home. However, you are better off with a standard or miniature poodle. A toy poodle would not fit as well into your home.

How much time do you have for your poodle?

If you are someone with a tight schedule, poodles may not be the best for you. Poodles need time to get attention and to run around. You will need to have enough time to take your poodle out running.

What is your range of motion like?

Unfortunately, if you are not able to move your arms or legs around very much, poodles may be hard to take care of. Although you do not need to be running around with your poodle, they will require you to be near them and play around with them.


Outside of this, most qualities that a poodle has should not require too much extra effort on your part.

Poodles are great dogs. They will always be loyal and loving to you. You can count on a poodle to be energetic and playing around. In the end, I hope it works out for you to own a poodle. I know that I have no regrets in getting a poodle for a pet.

Marryn Jenkins

I am a long time pet lover. There has always been a soft spot in my heart for dogs. Although I have owned many dog breeds in my lifetime, poodles have become my favorite. I have a standard poodle, Sally, and a miniature poodle, Luna. With my experience owning poodles, I am here to help you learn all about this wonderful dog breed.

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