Different Types of Poodles: Official and Unofficial


Poodles are remarkably popular dogs in the United States.

According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), poodles are the seventh most popular breed, and it’s not hard to see why.

These smart and affectionate dogs have a trademark curly coat, but they are not all created equal.

The AKC only recognizes three types of poodles, but other variations are starting to gain more currency. We’ll outline all of these for you today so you can decide which might make the best pet for your home.

I. Poodle Basics

Poodles today have very laid-lack lives. Originally, though, these dogs were bred for working.

The name poodle is derived from pudel, the German word for splashing in the water. These dogs were water retrievers. While you may look at a poodle’s elaborate coat and think this styling serves no purpose beyond the aesthetic. This coat, though, came about for practical purposes. The trimmed section lightened the weight of the coat so it wouldn’t get snarled up on debris under the water. The length of the hair served to protect poodle’s joints and organs from the icy cold water.

Poodles have distinctive straight muzzles, long ears hanging tight to the head, and very small paws. A poodle’s coat is its most characteristic feature, though. The coat can be curly or corded. While poodles come in a variety of colors, the coat is always solid. The coat is clipped in a very distinct manner, too.

Even if you don’t intend to show your poodle, you should always adhere to a regular grooming schedule. You’ll need to bathe and clip your pup once every couple of months to keep him looking his best. Make sure you factor the cost of grooming in when you’re budgeting.

So, if you want an affectionate furball who will form a close and rapid bond with all the family, you have a few choice to make when you’re comparing poodles.

See our related article on the Best Bark Collars for Small Dogs

II. What are the Different Types of Poodles?

The American Kennel Club only recognizes three types of poodle:

  • Standard Poodle
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Toy Poodle

As you’ll see, some breeders and organizations also recognize other types of poodle, and we’ll outline those below, too.

Firstly, then, a glimpse at the AKC-recognized poodles. These are simply different size variations of the same breed. Some bodies consider the standard poodle is a different breed than miniature and toy poodles.

1. Standard Poodle


The largest of all poodles, standard poodles weigh anywhere from 45 to 80 pounds. Most of these dogs stand from 20 to 23 inches tall.

These dogs are super-simple to train. As such, they make wonderful guard dogs, despite not being too visually intimidating. Alert and protective of their owners, these loyal dogs make first-class pets.

Poodles also get along well with children and with other dogs, making them a smart choice for families.

See related article on the Best Dog Beds for Large Dogs

2. Miniature Poodle


By American standards, miniature poodles are mid-sized, standing between 11 and 16 inches tall. They weigh just 14 to 18 pounds.

Don’t mistake the scaled-down dimensions for a dog lacking in personality. Miniature poodles are bundles of fun and make excellent family pets, especially if you have children in the house.

3. Toy Poodle


The smallest of the trio of poodle sizes recognized by the AKC, toy poodles weigh less than 10 pounds. Most of these dinky pups weight from 6 to 9 pounds. At just 8 or 9 inches tall, these tiny lap dogs make a wonderful addition to any home.

Since these little things don’t need much by the way of exercise, they make a wise choice for seniors looking for some lovable canine company.

III. Other Types of Poodle

Aside from these main variants, you can also find the following types of poodle:

  • Royal Standard Poodle
  • Klein Poodle
  • Teacup Poodle

1. Royal Standard Poodle


Many organizations do not recognize this variant of the poodle, classifying it instead as a standard poodle.

Weighing from 50 to 80 pounds, the royal standard poodle is anywhere from 23 to 27 inches high. This makes them both thicker and more heavyset than a standard poodle. Their feet and chests are also bigger.

In terms of temperament and characteristics, you’ll get the same smart, brave ball of fun as with standard poodles.

2. Klein Poodle

Source: petkeen.com

A klein or moyen poodle is a commonplace variant of poodle in the United States, even if it’s not recognized as a valid variant by the AKC. Many organizations treat klein poodles like standard poodles.

They are superficially similar to standard poodles, weighing 40 to 50 pounds and standing between 15 and 20 inches tall. Think of this variant as a small standard poodle.

Although not recognized in the US or the UK, the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) recognized the medium poodle throughout Europe.

3. Teacup Poodle


Most major breed registries do not officially recognize the teacup poodle. This is an unofficial name bestowed on very small toy poodles by enthusiasts and breeders.

Give the lack of official guidelines, there is no blueprint for sizes, although most teacup poodles will weigh just 5 or 6 pounds.

Buying a dog is an intensely personal decision, but teacup breeds don’t usually make the smartest choice. These breeds are specifically and unnaturally bred to make them so small. Resultantly, these dogs often experience a laundry list of negative health outcomes. Don’t purchase a teacup breed without doing your due diligence.

4. Poodle Mixes


In addition to all the pure breed poodles above, there are many variants hailing from crossbreeding over the years. These hybrids are called doodles.

Here are some of the most common poodle mixes:

  • Labradoodle: Mixing any variant of poodle with a labrador retriever yields the enduringly popular labradoodle.
  • Cockapoo: Crossing any size of poodle with a cocker spaniel results in the cockapoo. These dogs are small and they inherit those trademark curls
  • Cavapoo: If you cross a poodle with a King Charles spaniel, you get the dinky cavapoo. These tend to be slightly shorter than cockapoos. These little dogs are smart and fun loving but quieter than most cockapoos
  • Shihpoo: Crossing a shih tzu with a toy poodle or a miniature poodle generates a shihpoo. Small and super-cute, these dogs can have curly coats, or they can boast long and straight hair
  • Goldendoodle: Crossing a poodle and a golden retriever gives you a goldendoodle, playful and friendly dogs with a coat that doesn’t shed too much. These dogs come in standard size and miniature size
  • Bichon poodle: If a bichon frise and a poodle are crossed, you get the bichon poodle. First bred back in the 1990s in Australia, you can find both miniature and toy bichon poodles to suit

So, these are just some of the more common poodle mixes if you’re looking for an especially characteristic dog.

You should absolutely not rush into this decision, and you should use today’s quick snapshot as the starting point for your research. In the best case scenario, your new furball could be a member of your family for up to 15 years. Make absolutely certain you don’t end up rushing into things and buying the wrong dog for your needs.

Now, before we wrap up for the day, a few words in closing about the different colors of poodle at your disposal.

IV. What Color Are Poodles?

You’ll find purebred poodles in a wide palette of colors, sometimes even a combination of colors.

The most common solid colored coats for poodles are:

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Café-au-lait
  • Chocolate
  • Reed
  • Silver
  • White

Only solid colors are permitted in the rings at AKC shows, but multi-colored dogs appear elsewhere throughout the show.

Some poodles have markings on their coats. These are usually found on coats that are mainly white but have small spots or patches of another color along with potential phantom markings. Phantom poodles are not a different breed, but simply dogs packing two colors. The secondary color features on the feet, face, and tail of this dog.

Sable poodles have hairs tipped with black.

Abstract or mismark poodles are less than 50% white with another color added to the mix.

You can also sometimes come across brindle poodles.

The norm, though, is a poodle with one of the solid colors mentioned above.

V. Conclusion

We hope today’s glimpse at the different types of poodles has illuminated this issue for you and allows you to better decide whether to add one of these charismatic dogs to the household.

Take our advice in mind when it comes to considering teacup breeds. If you proceed with purchasing one of these dogs, be prepared for a more rocky ride.

Stick with one of the classic variants of poodle, though, and you’ll be getting a loyal and lovable pet that will also protect your property and family, even if they don’t exhibit the brawn and bulk of traditional dogs for protection.

Bookmark BarkVA before you go and be sure to pop back soon for more handy canine guides.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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