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Hi there, we've owned multiple huskies so we are well versed with big dog ownership, but I've always been intrigued by poodles because of their curly coats, high intelligence, seemingly goofy characters, etc. Our current husky is a senior and we are strongly considering getting a puppy soon so he/she can learn some behaviors from our dog since he's so well behaved and is truly just about everything an owner could ask for.

Anyway, I've been researching standard poodles for a good while now, but since I haven't actually been around them personally I have a few questions for those who own them. How much do they actually bark, and can you train them to bark less? Huskies don't really bark at all as they just kind of yodel/howl when they get excited or if they feel like sassing you. Our dog can go for days without making a sound.

Can you be honest on how hard the maintenance is of a standard poodle? Huskies, again have very easy maintenance. Just some heavy brushing during warmer months and light brushing during cool months, but otherwise just baths, nail trims and an occasional ear cleaning. I have to admit that I'm intimidated by all the grooming requirements of owning a poodle. Do I really have to pluck the ears as that seems so painful for the dog? How often do the face/booty/paws have to be shaved? What if you like the teddy bear look and want a fluffier face, is this less hygienic? Do you brush them daily to prevent matting? Are some colors more prone to mats? Do you need to brush them after they get wet to avoid matting?

We are fully prepared to put in a lot of work, time and effort training our puppy as we've done this with all of our dogs. Our current husky had severe separation anxiety issues (among other things) when we first got him as a rescue and with a lot of training, he now has no issues with this (my boyfriend is a great trainer). I just want to know exactly what I'm getting myself into ahead of time. Thanks for your input!
 

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  1. Barking varies depending on the dog's personality and experiences. Poodles are by nature watchful, so you will always have some alert barking. You will drive the dog crazy if you attempt to completely prevent the dog from doing what it thinks is its job. However, you can reduce the nuisance barkingvwith appropriate training.
  2. Coat maintenance will be more than with a husky, but household vacuuming will be less. You can reduce the brushing challenge by keeping the dog trimmed short. A monthly trip to the groomer would suffice. I normally keep my boys trimmed very short except for their ears and tails. I let them grow out in winter.
  3. I don't pluck ears. I trim the inner ear hair as short as I can and clean with solutions I get from my vet.
  4. I think you'll find the personality of the dogs a bit different. My experience with Spitz type dogs is that they can be a bit opinionated. They consult with their union rep before deciding whether they want to oblige. Poodles are also opinionated, but it's more like sitting down to watch a romcom with a guy who would really rather be watching football. They say they want to be with you, they say they like the movie, but whenever you come back from the bathroom you find the channel switched to guys running around in cleats.
 

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5. I think parti-colored mat a little bit more, because the white and colored hair have slightly different textures. Mine often formed mats where the two colors met. Additionally, any color will mat if something stuck in the fur acts as a seed for the mat. With my guys that seed can be dirt, a twig, a bur, or slobber from a wrestling session with another dog.
 

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Cowpony is right. I have a miniature poodle so can't speak to standards but mine doesn't bark at all unless playing or if he really thinks there's something highly unusual to alert to. As far as grooming, it depends highly on what clip you want to keep them in and how much you plan to do yourself vs taking them to a groomer. For minimal work, the dog is advised to go to the groomer every 2-3 weeks with alternating bath/sanitary and full groom. Many people do something in between where they take the dog in every 4-6 weeks but then bathe and do sanitary trims at home in between. I do full home grooming which is pretty time intensive. Regardless of what you choose, they do need brushing in between grooming sessions especially when they are young and going through coat change. A teddy bear face is more difficult to keep hygienic because it's constantly getting wet and getting food stuck in the fur. But it can be done and I may be more annoyed by wet mustaches than most people are. It is recommended to shave a puppy's face even if you intend to let it grow out later. It's better for them to get used to the sensation of face grooming while young. Reputable breeders will groom the pup a few times before you get it so it's already had an introduction to the process.

With huskies, you will be used to exercise requirements. But you will probably find the personalities quite different. Poodles do have a range from more aloof to needy snugglebugs, and a good breeder will help to match you with the right dog. Poodles tend to be very sensitive, thoughtful, goofy, and eager to please as long as they don't think the alternative is too fun to resist. Training will probably come more easily to a poodle than your huskies, provided you are creative and make it fun.
 

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Peggy's coat requires virtually zero hands-on maintenance from us, but we keep her in a short clip and have committed to professional groomings every 4-6 weeks. (Our groomer does very minimal ear plucking, and only if necessary to keep them clean.)

The shaved face, feet, and sanitary make a huge difference. Without them we'd have to clean her eyes every few days, watch her paws for debris (or clean snowballs out of them, ugh) and quite possibly have to wipe poop from her butt curls.

As it stands, we just pluck her eye crusties out with our fingers as they appear. I think we're in the minority here, but with her coat this short, that's literally the extent of the grooming we do. She did have some mats during her puppy-to-adult coat change, but that was mercifully fleeting. And her hair was much longer then.

As for barking......
Peggy's an alert barker, for sure. But she doesn't get stuck in yappy fits like our sweet little mini mix did. She barks (sometimes quite ferociously) and then she's done. It helps if we acknowledge her concerns, look out the window or whatever, and say thank you. Then she settles right back down like, "My job here is done."

She's also a growler, and will communicate as necessary to get her point across, sometimes nosing or pawing us quite forcefully. Her intelligence has taken some getting used to. But while it's certainly been challenging, its been equally rewarding.

As long as you use a light touch and fair approach, training might actually be a breeze for you compared to huskies. You may have to adjust your methods, though. Peggy responds beautifully to gentleness, calm energy, and—above all else—consistent positive reinforcement. Physical or verbal force, or anything "alpha," would be a disaster with her.
 

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I have toys, an apricot and a blue (coat is changing from black). My apricot toy is a lot less prone to matting since his hair is finer. Beckie, my blue/black, will get matted on her armpits, ears, tail, thigh, under thigh... all places where it’s really painful to comb matted hair.

In general, apricots are said to have less of a dense coat, so they are easier to brush, and you can do it less often, especially if the coat is kept short. The colors more likely to have thick coats are whites and black. Even though they are more work, the beauty of their coat might make up for it. Or not...
 

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I shaved Annie with a 7f, ears, tail, and all, and didn't need to brush her for more than a month. If you keep the hair short, they are really low maintenance, no more maintenance than keeping a house with a large shedding dog vacuumed - it took me maybe 3-4 hours to shave her down from 6+ inch topknot and tail, would have taken me less if it wasn't for the long hair, and if i didn't still give her closely shaved poodle face and feet.

On the other end - at one point I was spending almost an hour a day brushing Annie's luxuriously long hair, with a 6+ banded topknot, long tail, and long body hair.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You all gave some great information, thank you! And I loved how funny you describe your experiences (e.g. switching the channel to football and saying thank you to their barking). Some of your examples really helped me get a good idea of the poodle personality so I appreciate that :)

I would never want to fully tamper a dog's desire to bark, especially if it's their job. I just didn't know if it was possible to reduce what might be considered, as you say nuisance barking. Our neighbors have three dogs that bark non-stop the moment they are let outside and will continue to bark until they are back in the house. I would never want that and this behavior is what makes me fearful to own anything other than a husky. And since I don't have experience in a breed outside of huskies, I am very unfamiliar with barking and the training possibilities.

The advice and information on grooming is most helpful. I do have a groomer who I take our husky to for baths and deshedding sometimes so I should talk to her and ask about pricing and such. She's ethical and some of her staff are involved in grooming competitions so you would think she'd do a good job with a standard poodle. Don't know why I didn't think to ask her before now.

I am ideally looking for a red or silver standard and good health/temperament are my main priorities. I have also checked out the breeder referral list on The Poodle Club of America's website so hopefully am covering all my bases.
 

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Our neighbors have three dogs that bark non-stop the moment they are let outside and will continue to bark until they are back in the house.
I think that's probably more to do with the owners than the breed (unless you're talking about something like a beagle).

I would never want to bother our neighbours so take a zero tolerance approach to noisy outside behaviour. If Peggy barks in our yard, she is immediately redirected by us. If she continues, she is told to go back inside.

Nuisance barking, in my experience, is generally bored, unsupervised barking. But having more than one dog can also make this more challenging, as they egg each other on.
 

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My husband refuses to own a schnauzer because he grew up living next to three of them, and all three barked non-stop. One of them would bark until it got too hoarse to make further noise. Clearly a dog with insufficient owner supervision.

Pogo and Snarky were notorious in my neighborhood for howling. When they saw another dog they would start barking, then face each other with snouts pointed upwards and hit harmonics off each other. Pogo howled a single time after Snarky died and then never again. I think it wasn't as much fun without having a brother to sing with.
 

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Buck barks for a reason. We investigate, thank him, and command enough. He does not join the Aussie Shepherd next door in a bark off. The Huskies, I’ve met have been escape artists. My Spoo is glued to us. They want to be with their people, unlikely to dig under a fence, unless you’re also digging under the same fence:)
 

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Haha. Misha has exactly one regular trigger for barking. It is a flashing green light that always shines at a house across the street very late at night. It is his nemesis. Every night he wants to go bark at it, and every night I tell him that it's fine and not a problem. He never believes me. He is very quiet other than this! Luckily it only seems to be on after 11 PM.
 

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PeggytheParti, that's a great suggestion in regards to the barking! I feel exactly the same way as you and wouldn't want to be a pain to my neighbors either. And I believe you are right, I think their barking is due to boredom and lack of supervision.

cowpony, sadly I have no idea what types of dogs these are as I've never seen them. They're cooped up in the house then released in the yard and back in the house again. I have not seen anybody walk them. Our husky loves to howl, but only when me or my boyfriend does it with him. It's like you said with Pogo and Snarky, I guess it's no fun when it's done alone.

Mfmst, I am impressed that so many poodles have such good barking manners, including Buck. I will remember your command. Yes, huskies are def escape artists. Luckily our current one is a homebody, but the last pup definitely tested our patience...LOL
 

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I am ideally looking for a red or silver standard and good health/temperament are my main priorities. I have also checked out the breeder referral list on The Poodle Club of America's website so hopefully am covering all my bases.
Hi,

You've got a great start here and lots of good information. It's really great that you found and used the PCA breeder referral. I've been collecting breeder names recommended by PF members thru the years (and a long way to go on it) but there's also a collection of poodle centric resources that you might find helpful.
 
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From the perspective of a brand new Standard Poodle owner, I can tell you that we are 4-months into ownership and are completely hooked on this breed. Prior to the Poodle, we had a Miniature Pinscher and Labs.

As an individual (I don't know about other Poodles), our girl barks during play and when someone pulls into the drive/knocks on the door. She doesn't get caught up in barking fits, though. It's like a few warning barks and that's it. The Min Pin would basically bark from the moment a visitor arrived to the moment they left - SIGH!

Grooming hasn't been awful for us. Yes, you'll need to go to a groomer or do it yourself regularly but to me it beats constantly cleaning hair up off the floor/furniture, etc. like w/ Labs. Also, my poodle girl never really smells. She does like to roll in smelly things like any other dog, but SHE doesn't stink ever.

We love her silly, loving, loyal intelligence. She has been a wonderful addition to our family and I wish you luck in your search :)
 
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