A poodle is not merely a set of pompoms on legs. Originally bred as a working dog, specifically a water retriever, poodles tend to be active, intelligent and, usually, good-natured. One important aspect of poodles is that they don’t leave many hairs behind them, meaning they can be good companions for people with mild allergies. Poodles also tend to be good with children and other pets, including cats, if you introduce the animals slowly and carefully. Bear in mind that a poodle needs a fair amount of grooming and, especially the standard poodle, plenty of exercise.
Walk your poodle daily for an hour or so. Toy and miniature poodles need walking just as much as the larger standard. If you have a standard poodle, also provide access to a securely enclosed yard or garden so he can exercise whenever he wishes. Smaller breeds can run around your home; larger ones need more space.
Brush your pet once or twice a week, if his hair is clipped short. If some of the hair has been allowed to grow long, brush daily. Also, wipe the inside of his ears with a slightly damp cotton ball.
Socialize your poodle by providing him with contact with other dogs and with people. This is especially important with a miniature or toy poodle, which might be shy and sensitive around strangers. Training classes can be a good way for him to interact with other dogs, as well as being helpful to you if you are new to dog care.
Take him to a professional dog groomer for clipping every six weeks. Unless you show your poodle, it is best to get an all-over, short trim, which is the most comfortable for the dog and the easiest to groom.
Take your dog for regular veterinary check-ups, especially important if he is a standard poodle. These large dogs are vulnerable to a number of serious problems, including gastric torsion and Addison’s disease, as well as earwax build-up. Your vet may recommend a series of tests.