French Poodle Facts & Info: Are French Poodles Really French?

French Poodle on the beach

Poodles are the easiest fluffy dog breed to identify because they’ve been around for quite a while and their hairstyles are quite iconic. However, when their many names are already thrown in the picture, the confusion begins.

Some call them simply as Poodles, while others use the term “French Poodles” to address them. This is contended by many canine historians saying that the latter name is misleading.

If you want to find out why, keep on reading this detailed guide. I will not only clear up this old age issue but will also give you some more facts about this breed that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

What Is a French Poodle? Are French Poodles Really French?

The term “French Poodle” is oftentimes used to address the Poodle breed including the standard, miniature, and toy variety. However, using a geographical indicator in this name is extremely misleading because Poodles did not really originate in France but Germany.

The only possible reason why some breeders and pet owners insist on calling this breed French is that they are the national dog of France.

Data suggests that the more modern Poodle lines were developed in this country to be circus performers and duck retrievers. Hence, the name French Poodle.

The funny thing is, in France, Poodles aren’t even called by this name. They are more known to be the “Caniche” which means “duck dog.”

In connection to all these, I would like to add that several breeders claim that the French Poodle is a separate breed. This isn’t true. There is only one Poodle breed and no matter what we call them, their genetic makeup and overall disposition will never change.

French Poodle History and Origin: What Were French Poodles Bred For?

Despite being labeled as “French” Poodles, this smart and active breed did not originate in France. They are actually developed in Germany to be duck hunters and their initial name was “Pudelin” which means splashing in the water.

The very first development of the French Poodle can be traced back to over 400 years ago. Their stunning curly coat is not accidentally created but purposefully achieved to protect them from the cold.

The hairs on their neck, legs, and tail are oftentimes shaved so they can move comfortably in the water.

Similarly, they were bred with excellent swimming skills and above-average canine intelligence, so they can serve as the best water retrievers.

Over time, they moved from the waters to the lap of the nobles as they became favorite pets of European royals. The French Poodle mini varieties were also developed to make them better companions.

It was then discovered that their nose has great prowess in tracking, so they assumed the job of truffle hunters. They are natural entertainers as well, that’s why they were used in circuses as entertainers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the French Poodle toy varieties were bred in America. They feature the same characteristics as the standard Poodle and the only difference is their size.

Are There Other Types of Poodles?

Standard and toy French Poodles running

Unlike Dobermans, Great Danes, and Rottweilers with an American and European type, no such thing exists for Poodles. Again, the name French Poodle is nothing but a misleading title of the breed and should not be used to denote a certain type.

The different types of Poodles that exist center on their size variation. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes three types which are the standard, miniature, and toy.

Meanwhile, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) mentions four types of Poodles in their published standard: the standard, medium/klein/moyen, miniature, and toy.

In recent years, teacup Poodles have also become a trend, so more and more breeders are producing them by using runts or pups with dwarfism. I’ll discuss the differences of all these types in the section for French Poodle weight and height.

Moyen Poodle: What Makes This Medium Furball Stand Out?

French Poodle Appearance: What Does the French Poodle Look Like?

Generally, French Poodles are elegant looking dogs because of their thick curly coat. They are also tagged as true aristocrats due to the way they stand and their magnificent coat colors.

Here’s an in-depth look at their appearance:

  • Head: The top skull is moderately rounded, while the cheekbones are flat.
  • Eyes: Oval-shaped and creates the expression that they are very alert and intelligent. The color is of a darker shade.
  • Ears: The ears are often set at eye level or lower. It sits close to their head and is thickly feathered.
  • Muzzle: Muzzle is slightly chiseled under their eyes and is observed to be straight and long.
  • Neck: The neck is long enough to make the breed look dignified.
  • Body: The ribs are well-sprung and the chest is deep.
  • Tail: The tail is straight and often carried up.
  • Coat: The coat may either be curly or corded. Check out the pictures below to see how these two coat types look like.

Curly French Poodle

Corded French Poodle

The curly or corded coat of a French Poodle comes in 10 standard colors and 18 non-standard color combinations. Check out this article where l have listed all Poodle coat colors and markings, including some descriptions and pictures.

Poodle Colors: 31+ Poodle Coat Colors Explained (With Pictures)

French Poodle Weight and Height: How Big Does a French Poodle Get?

To accurately identify the expected size of a Poodle, here’s what the AKC and FCI wrote in the standards they published:

French Poodle SizeAmerican Kennel Club (AKC)Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
StandardHeight: over 15 inches Weight: 45 to 80 poundsHeight: 19 to 24 inches Weight: 45 to 80 pounds
MediumSize not recognized by the AKCHeight: 14 to 18 inches Weight: 40 to 50 pounds
MiniatureHeight: 11 to 15 inches Weight: 14 to 18 poundsHeight: 12 to 13 inches Weight: 14 to 18 pounds
ToyHeight: 10 inches or under Weight: 6 to 9 poundsHeight: 10 to 11 inches Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Apart from these four recognized sizes, there is also what breeders call the teacup French Poodle. They are essentially smaller than the toy and should not be mistaken as one.

So far, no breed standard covers the size of teacups, but according to the breeders I know, they are usually 5 to 7 pounds in weight and 9 inches in size.

French Poodle Temperament: Do They Make Good Family Dogs?

The temperament of French Poodles slightly differs according to their size. But generally, they are smart, active, trainable, and loyal dogs.

Standard French Poodles are quite energetic. However, when you compare them to the other sizes, they are still more reserved.

The smaller ones are often seen following their owners and entertaining themselves with various activities, unlike the standard-sized pups who love to just chill around with their favorite person.

When it comes to children, the medium and miniature are more recommended because they are slightly larger compared to the toy and the teacup. They are also more active and mischievous, so they can easily adapt to children’s high energy.

If you are worried about their behavior towards visitors, stop your anxious thoughts. French Poodles, no matter what size, are friendly to strangers and other pets in the household. They can also pick up other’s moods, so they will make great therapy dogs.

Truly, French Poodles are dogdom’s prime canines. They aren’t only intelligent, but they also have a certain charm that would make you spend time playing or cuddling with them all day.

Male vs. Female Poodle: What You Need to Know

French Poodle Lifespan and Health Issues

Vet doctor examining cute French Poodle dog with stethoscope at clinic

French Poodles live up to 10 to 18 years. If you consider taking care of them as a priority, they could even exceed this life expectancy. If not, they might acquire one of the following worrisome health issues listed by The Poodle Club of America:

  • Addison’s Disease: This disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism and is fatal among French Poodles. Puppies afflicted with this do not produce sufficient adrenal hormones, leading to gastrointestinal disturbances, lethargy, and canine stress.
  • Chronic Active Hepatitis: This occurs when the liver is inflamed which leads to liver failure. This is a result of an autosomal recessive gene that is present in Poodles.
  • Cushing’s Disease: The signs that your dog has Cushing’s disease are frequent urination, excessive appetite, hair loss, large belly pot, and thin skin. This is a progressive disease and is seen mostly in adult French Poodles.
  • Atrial Septal Defects: This is a rare heart problem that is present among the Poodle population. The heart is observed to have a hole in the upper chambers which can lead to breathing difficulties, coughing, exercise intolerance, and heart failure.
  • Patellar Luxation: This is a common problem of small French Poodles which concerns their kneecap. Their patella slips or dislocates which causes limping, difficulty straightening the Poodle’s knee, and stifle pain.
  • Sebaceous Adenitis: This is a hereditary problem that is common among standard Poodles. The sebaceous glands which are responsible for lubricating the skin and coat are inflamed, so your pup might experience hair loss, flaking, scaling, skin thickening, and sores.
  • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia: This is a congenital problem that prevents the optic nerve to fully develop, leading to blindness.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is a bleeding disorder that is often inherited by Poodles from their parents. Dogs with this condition do not produce enough platelet so their bleeding time is longer than usual.

How Much Is a French Poodle? Puppy Prices and Expenses

On average, French Poodles can cost around $400 to $1,500 when purchasing them from a professional breeder. This price can still change if you plan to buy one who came from a champion bloodline or those with a rare or unique coloration. These pups cost $2,000 to $4,000.

Apart from the initial cost of purchasing a puppy, you also have to buy some essential items so your pet will thrive inside your home.

This includes dog food, crate, bed, food and water bowl, leash and collar, brush, chew toys, training treats, shampoo, urine cleaner, and poop scooper. All these items can collectively cost $318.

Also, Poodles need professional grooming due to their coat. Expect that you will spend $600 to $1,000 a year for this service if you want your puppy to be always presentable.

Watch this video to see how what you’re paying for if you brought your pup to a groomer:


Places to Find French Poodles for Sale or Adoption

Interested in getting a French Poodle? Here is a list of breeders you should get in touch with:

  • AKC Marketplace – This is the widest breeder directory that features a lot of Poodle varieties. All the breeders listed in this marketplace are a member of the organization.
  • PCA National Breeder Referral – This is run by the Poodle Club of America and offers a detailed list of breeders associated with the organization. You can view their website if you need breeder information like phone number and email address.
  • Sturt Your Stuff – This breeding facility is located in an 80-acre ranch outside Wellington, Colorado. All their pups come with pedigree papers and OFA certifications.

Find adopting as the better option for you? Well, here is a list of French Poodle rescues you can coordinate with:

  • The Poodle Club of America Rescue Foundation – This is a non-profit organization run by PCA. The dogs in their care underwent immunizations, vet exams, and spaying/neutering.
  • Carolina Poodle Rescue – You can check out the French Poodles that are ready for adoption in this rescue by simply visiting their website. Just click the dog’s photo and a detailed description of their personality will be available to you.

Commonly Asked Questions

Do French Poodles Smell?

French Poodles do not smell. In fact, aside from being less shedding, they are also one of the cleanest breeds there is. They don’t possess the usual doggy odor which requires some sort of cleaner to neutralize.

Do French Poodles Attach to One Person?

French Poodles tend to be attached to one person, especially if that individual has been very nice and affectionate to them. You can’t rely on this breed when it comes to being fair to everyone because they have their favorites.

Do Poodles Attach to One Person Only?

What Is the Rarest Color of French Poodles?

The rarest French Poodle color is the apricot. This is a dilute of red which is also the last color to be recognized for the breed. Some apricot French Poodles are so light that they look almost cream.

Final Thoughts

Although the name French Poodle is already widely used to address the breed that originated in Germany, I would still recommend that you drop the geographical indicator and call the Poodles as they should be called.

I only used them throughout this article to show that they aren’t a separate breed as some misinformed pet owners insist.

If you come across a breeder who markets his puppies using the name French Poodle, immediately cancel your transaction.

These types of breeders who do not find time to research the origin and proper name usage of the dogs they are selling are obviously just in it for money.

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