The French Poodle – Are These Dogs Really As Chic As We Think?

white french poodle

Poodles are probably one of the most – if not the most – iconic dog breeds in the world. Athletic, charming, highly intelligent, and famous for their beautiful curls, they’re certainly a firm favorite with many families across America. But is there such a thing as the French Poodle? Is it a Poodle mix? And how do they differ from regular Poodles?

Here’s everything you need to know about the Caniche (that’s what the French call a Poodle, meaning duck dog)!

Kid/Other Pet Friendly
General Health
Exercise Needs
Easy To Train
Vital Stats

Breed Group



9 to 15 Inches


7 to 70 Pounds

Life Span

12 to 15 Years

What’s So French About the Poodle?

Most people think that Poodles are French dogs. But actually, these dogs originated in Germany, where their name comes from the German word for puddle (thanks to their water-loving nature). This doesn’t stop people from referring to Standard, Miniature, Toy, and even Moyen Poodles as ‘French Poodles’ though. French Poodles don’t differ from regular Poodles, it’s just a name they’ve adopted over the years.

Despite their German roots, however, Poodles are the national dog of France – which is probably another reason why they get called ‘French’.

cream french poodle on grass

History of The French Poodle

The Standard Poodle was first developed in Germany more than 400 years ago. Their intelligence, waterproof curly coat, and strength made them wonderful swimmers and retrievers. 

What we know as the slightly flamboyant French Poodle coat today actually served a purpose in the past. The dense coat was trimmed around the limbs to let the dog swim more easily but left long around important body parts (head, organs, and tip of the tail) to keep them warm. The look became so famous that many Poodle owners trim their pups today too.

Standard Poodles were bred down to Miniature size too. Because of their trainability, agility, and desire to please, French Poodles were often used as entertainers across Europe. They appeared in many circus shows which is where their coats were also first dyed (like Georgette, the famous Disney dog).

Poodles also have an amazing sense of smell. Miniature Poodles, especially, were used to hunt out truffles in France and other countries in Europe. Their loyalty, fun nature, and good looks made Poodles a favorite dog breed for French nobility – which is how they also became the national pup of the country.

The Toy Poodle was first bred in America in the early 20th century. Americans living in cities wanted a lapdog that would make the perfect companion pup – which the Toy Poodle certainly does!

The Temperament of The French Poodle

French Poodles are energetic, loving, and very intelligent. They need lots of fun training sessions to keep their brains engaged and stop them from getting up to all kinds of mischief. 

Whilst very loving, the French Poodle can be left alone for short periods of time. As long as you provide them with plenty of puzzle games to keep them entertained, they should be happy. 

Because of their intelligence, all the French Poodle varieties are quite easy to train. Their intelligence means they need to be challenged, so canine classes or hiring a dog training might be a good idea. 

Like all pups, Poodles respond well to positive reinforcement, so make sure you praise them when they do something correctly and never scold or raise your voice. They’ll be extra happy to learn a new trick if you reward them with a yummy treat such as watermelon, cucumber, or a couple of peas.

Do French Poodles Bark?

Poodles have a reputation for being quite talkative doggos. The Minature Poodle and Toy Poodle, especially, can be vocal around dogs and people they don’t know. Lots of early training and socialization around dogs can help to reduce barking.

You should also make sure your French Poodle doesn’t get bored. They’ll love playing with other dogs once they get to know them and having plenty of squeaky toys to play with.

How Much Exercise Do French Poodles Need?

Lots. Poodles are active and energetic pups and need at least an hour of vigorous exercise a day. They’ll love swimming, going for runs, and playing in the park. As we mentioned, it’s not just physical for these pups. They need to have their brains exercised too.

brown poodle in snow

The Appearance of a French Poodle

French Poodles come in three varieties.

Standard French Poodle: Grow to be 15 inches tall and weigh 45 to 70 pounds.

Miniature Poodle: Grow to be 11 inches and weigh 13 to 20 pounds.

Toy Poodle: Are less than 10 inches and weigh 5 to 7 pounds.

Standard Poodles are very elegant and agile dogs. Under all that curly coat they have a very strong and muscular body which is why they make such great swimmers. Toy Poodles are much smaller and less athletic than Standard and even Miniature Poodles.

Poodles are thought of as being very aristocratic dogs thanks to the way they stand and move. 

French Poodle Coat Color

The American Kennel Club recognizes 11 standard and 16 non-standard Poodle colors. These include black, cream, apricot, and red.

If you want to compete with your pup or enter them into a show, you’ll need to ensure they have a standard coat color recognized by the American Kennel Club and that they meet the breed standard.

What’s the Rarest French Poodle Color?

The rarest Poodle color is apricot. This is a really beautiful color that is the result of a recessive gene. The color is a very light red color that can be almost cream.

The most common French Poodle colors are white, black, or brown.

French Poodle Coat Type

French Poodles can either have curly or corded hair. Curly-coated Poodles have a more brushed-out look (common in mixes such as the Goldendoodle). Corded Poodles have beautiful, matted coats that form thin cords.

small black poodle

The Health of A French Poodle

French Poodles are generally healthy pups. Feeding them nutritious dog food, giving them enough exercise and love, and regular trips to the vet can mean they have a life expectancy of up to 18 years!

Of course, genetics can also play a role in your pup’s health. According to the Poodle Club of America, these pooches can suffer from the following diseases. 

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Bloat (a slow feeder dog bowl can help)
  • Chronic Active Hepatitis
  • Cushings Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Regular trips to the vet can help to identify anything early on and start treatment. You can also talk to your vet about putting your pup on a fresh dog food diet to improve skin, mood, and digestion.

How Much Does A French Poodle Cost?

French Poodles vary in price depending on a number of factors. Standard Poodles are usually a little cheaper and cost between $500 and $1,500. Miniature and Toy pups can cost between $1,000 and $1,500.

The reputation of the breeder will be a factor when it comes to the price of your French Poodle. Whilst a reputable breeder may drive the cost of your puppy up, it’s really important your get your French Poodle from a reputable breeder. They will be breeding for the future welfare of the breed and will be able to give you the required health certificates.

Unethical Poodle breeders will breed for aesthetics and popularity. You need to make sure you get a happy and healthy dog to look after.

brown standard french poodle

French Poodle Mixes

Poodles are often mixed with other breeds thanks to their hypoallergenic coats. Mixed breeds such as Sheepadoodles, Schnoodles, and Aussiedoodles combine the best of both their parent breeds and (usually) don’t shed as much!

So, if you love a particular dog breed but have allergies or don’t like vacuuming, it’s worth looking to see if there’s a mixed breed available. 

Do French Poodles Make Good Family Pets?

Yes! All varieties of French Poodles make wonderful family pets. Standard Poodles love to be part of active (and preferably water-loving families) whereas Toy pups are happier with a slightly slower pace of life.

This breed is funny, affectionate, and seriously intelligent. So training them isn’t too difficult either. They’re great with young children and are very affectionate with their families. 

Like with other breeds, they need early socialization to sights, sounds, smells, animals, and people. Especially smaller Poodles may get yappy and suspicious of other dogs if they’re not well-socialized.

french poodle puppy

Final Thoughts – Is A French Poodle Right for You?

Poodles are amazing dogs. But it’s important that they will be a good fit for your lifestyle. They need lots of fun exercise, attention, and interesting training sessions to keep them happy and healthy.

They prefer having a yard to play in (not such a problem for Toy Poodles) and will enjoy having a human friend to grow up with.

If you can offer them that, then a French Poodle may be perfect for you!