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Hi, y'all. I'm looking for my next farm dog, and I think a standard poodle might be a good fit. I've never known one well in real life though, so I've come here to learn more about the breed and maybe get some pointers on gaining experience before I make a long-term commitment.

I live on a farm with three horses, six chickens, three cats, and two other dogs - one 15 year old Brittany and my 5 year old border collie/Great Pyrenees. In the past I've had working border collies and I'm on my second border/pyr.

The border pyrs have been great. I love that they don't chase horses or kill chickens (the livestock guardian part, I guess), but don't love that they in general have no recall (they're known as dis-a-pyrs for a reason) and ohmydog do they ever shed.

When the Brittany finally passes on to his reward, I'll be in the market for my next farm dog/companion for my remaining border/pyr. I'd like a dog who:
is not dog-aggressive and is OK with Aoife being HBIC;
can be taught to come when I call her;
doesn't feel the need to chase cats, kill chickens, or harass horses;
doesn't shed;
is energetic enough to enjoy being outdoors with me on the farm, secure enough to enjoy travelling to new places with me, but calm enough to come to the office some days and chill enough for the occasional Netflix binge without knocking over the wine or the popcorn.

Do y'all think a poodle might be a good fit? How are some ways I can get real world experience with the breed and see for myself?
 

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Hello and welcome Pearl Grey

I have now owned three Poodle's, a standard and two toys. My daughter who lives at home also has a toy.
In my opinion you would never own a more intelligent breed of dog. They learn so quickly and are so very loyal with an amazing temperament.




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Our first spoo is showing a high prey drive at an early age and we've spoken to other owners who've had a similar experience with theirs. I don't know if Peggy would hurt a chicken, but I'm not eager to find out.

I wonder if there might be someone out there breeding away from this drive?
 

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Hello and welcome Pearl Grey

I have now owned three Poodle's, a standard and two toys. My daughter who lives at home also has a toy.
In my opinion you would never own a more intelligent breed of dog. They learn so quickly and are so very loyal with an amazing temperament.




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I do agree wholeheartedly with this! Peggy was giving me hugs today that would melt the Grinch's heart. She is so sensitive and athletic and eager to work. An exceptional breed.
 

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Hello and welcome! Lots of great info here.

A poodle may be a good fit, as they are intelligent, energetic, and adventurous dogs that can also have a relaxed demeanor (well for spoos at least!) but you may have to put a lot of work into the chickens. There's been a thread about it recently. I'm impressed if your brittany has been okay with them, but as duck dogs poodles can have strong interest in chickens. Their recall probably varies dog to dog, but they are very trainable and I do not think you will have issue if you put the work in when your dog is young. My minipoo is fairly good with recall at only 8 months.

When I chose my mini I was also contemplating small standards, but in the end a mini seemed like it would be more likely to get along well with our pet rabbit. I have been happy with their relationship. The pup grew up around the rabbit and does try to play with him, but has no interest in actually hurting him. I was worried by what I heard from breeders with small spoos. Seemed more prey drive even with cats.

The other thing to be aware of is the intense grooming needs, which is probably the thing that most new owners find the most daunting about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Replying to Peggy [sorry - haven't figured out how to reply to individual posts yet]
I hope breeders for the pet/companion market may breed away from prey-drive. My brother has a young labradoodle who is showing signs of being very drivey, but of course she also has a sporting breed in her lineage so I didn't know if this also might be true of poodles.
I guess the best thing is either to get an individual dog on trial/foster or to get to know breeders in my area so I'll know before making a commitment.
 

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Raindrops - oh, no, my Brittany will go on a chicken-killing spree at the first opportunity. I have a fenced front yard but he can only go in it under supervision, or he digs out.
Re the grooming - I have clippers, and I clip my show horse, so I think I could learn to do a poodle. What I'd really love is a dog I could drop off at the groomer's and have it done. Border collies have some kind of quirky #metoo unwanted-touching issues. So that's not an option with Aoife.
I guess the thing I'm worried about is the sporting background of poodles. I don't in general find sporting breeds a good fit for me. I love non-sporting breeds. I showed chows for a number of years. Not only in the conformation ring but also in obedience. And I get along with working/herding types too. I've had Great Danes, GSDs and border collies.
But hunting dogs? No thanks. Is there a lot of that left in poodles?
 

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Raindrops - oh, no, my Brittany will go on a chicken-killing spree at the first opportunity. I have a fenced front yard but he can only go in it under supervision, or he digs out.
Re the grooming - I have clippers, and I clip my show horse, so I think I could learn to do a poodle. What I'd really love is a dog I could drop off at the groomer's and have it done. Border collies have some kind of quirky #metoo unwanted-touching issues. So that's not an option with Aoife.
I guess the thing I'm worried about is the sporting background of poodles. I don't in general find sporting breeds a good fit for me. I love non-sporting breeds. I showed chows for a number of years. Not only in the conformation ring but also in obedience. And I get along with working/herding types too. I've had Great Danes, GSDs and border collies.
But hunting dogs? No thanks. Is there a lot of that left in poodles?
I think it depends on the line. I personally am a border collie person and grew up with one. I went poodle due to my boyfriend's allergies. I think the killing prey drive is more intense with dogs that are bred for pursuit of live game. Terriers worst, with the locate & flush dogs second. So that would include brittanys. Poodles are retrievers, which from what I've seen tend to not be as bad as the flushers, but they're also multipurpose dogs. Poodles descend from curly coated working water dogs in Europe. There is a whole group of them, starting with the Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian), which contributed to the Poodle (German), Portugese water dog, Spanish water dog, and Barbet (French). Maybe some others as well. But the group of dogs ranges from scent driven (Lagotto) to herding dogs (SWD) and fisherman's dogs (PWD and others). So when you look at poodles, what you've really got is an all purpose dog. Many are good retrievers, but they also enjoy coursing and herding and barnhunt. I think if you want a dog that's good around chickens it'll be half training and half breeding. Talk to some breeders. I was told that more drivey dogs tend to have more prey drive. You may be looking for a less drivey pup.

When I compare my dog to other sporting dogs, I feel like other retrievers are usually much more slobbery and crazy. But my pup definitely has a happy-go-lucky attitude that I appreciate in retrievers. If I were you I'd try to spend some time visiting breeders and see what their dogs are like.
 

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You showed CHOWS in OBEDIENCE??? you my friend could find success with any breed! Lol, I love Chows. I have 2 standard poodles on a farm-like property and they're great. The grooming is really not the problem you'd think, except for burrs at certain times of the year around here. They were pretty easy to train around livestock. And you nailed it about the quiet, calm demeanor in the office or in the house. Ours are like that-- strong, athletic and lots of stamina outside but quiet and calm inside.

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One thing I love about our poodles is their total lack of aggressiveness with other dogs (or humans), although they're good watchdogs and alert us to anyone coming up the driveway

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I have two standard poodles, a GSD and 7 chickens. The GSD took some effort to get him to understand that chickens are no cooperative with being herded. Now he actually is pretty good about watching but not harassing them, although I don't leave him with them unsupervised (but I probably could). Lily is so used to being with them that I will leave her in the yard with them foraging with no concerns and I think she is big and obvious enough to deter overhead predators.



Javelin is a bit of a different story since he arrived after the first round of chickens and I didn't introduce him to them in the same way as the oldsters. He can be excitable around the coop, but not badly and I can easily call him away from the coop as well as from loose birds. He does in fact have a really rock solid and distraction proof recall which I mostly developed by playing with him as a puppy to get him really attracted to being close and then I would trot away. He always followed with enthusiasm. Gradually I dropped the play and just started calling and he always finds me!
 
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My daughter has 4 horses on her farm. My minipoo loves to visit and is respectful of the horses. She loves the barn cat and does well with both my cats and my daughters indoor cats. When my neighbors chickens got loose, my dog walked by them several times over the three days the chickens where running free. Actually the chickens weren’t running, they were just pecking around a flower bed near the road.

My dog does have some prey drive. If those chickens were running around and flapping their wings, my dog would probably chase them. I do think I could train my dog to be calm around chickens but I don’t know if I would trust her to be alone with a couple of chickens running around. She does have a very soft mouth. I’m guessing if she did catch a chicken, the chicken would be completely intact, just scared.

Edited to add my daughter is considering getting a poodle when her rough collie passes on.
 
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The best thing to do is to go visit breeders. Try to see at least three to get a well-rounded view.
 

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Our first spoo is showing a high prey drive at an early age and we've spoken to other owners who've had a similar experience with theirs. I don't know if Peggy would hurt a chicken, but I'm not eager to find out.

I wonder if there might be someone out there breeding away from this drive?
I agree with this and am experiencing the same thing with my first Spoo. He LOVES chasing the cats and knows them by name to where if I say "Hi Moose" he will alert and find that specific cat for me.

GRANTED..... He does not chase squirrels, cars, dogs, birds, etc. He did chase deer ONCE and he got too far from the house and ran back terrified because he couldn't find the house in the woods for a few minutes. Never again will he chase them in our yard. But when we are one walks... he alerts me to them and will have the body language to want to chase the deer.

But with this being said...Poodles are highly intelligent and can be trained to not chase something, unless you want them to. As long as you have the time and do it right, they will learn literally anything!! High prey-drive I believe can be hard to train, but if you have that recall down pat, you should be good to go! Positive-high rewards with the recall and that dog is yours!

My Norman does not shed at all! Just brush his fur and teeth daily and groom every 3-4 weeks and were set!!

I am glad you're researching before getting one! They are incredible dogs. I am sure you can find resources of them being farm dogs!
 

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The breeder I got my Poodle from did a personality evaluation on my dog before I took him home at about 8.5 weeks. They provided the video on a DVD for us. One of the most notable things I took from that evaluation was that he was identified as having a high prey drive.

They were not wrong. We have a relatively small fenced yard, he loves when I let him out of the house, so that he can chase after a squirrel in the yard that he has no chance of catching. He also harasses our cat a little. He has had some limited exposure to horses and cows, and had no problem leaving them alone. We have not had any experiences with chickens.

Our boy is only 2, so he still has lots of energy. He is happy to chill out and watch some TV, if he has had some exercise or other stimulation throughout the day. There are definitely times when he does not like being ignored.

He is not particularly eager to please, but does have mid-level motivation to work for food / treats. He is definitely not the smartest dog I've met either, which seems to go against the popular feedback on the breed.

Hopefully this rambling about my dog is at least a little helpful.
 

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The breeder I got my Poodle from did a personality evaluation on my dog before I took him home at about 8.5 weeks. They provided the video on a DVD for us. One of the most notable things I took from that evaluation was that he was identified as having a high prey drive.

They were not wrong. We have a relatively small fenced yard, he loves when I let him out of the house, so that he can chase after a squirrel in the yard that he has no chance of catching. He also harasses our cat a little. He has had some limited exposure to horses and cows, and had no problem leaving them alone. We have not had any experiences with chickens.

Our boy is only 2, so he still has lots of energy. He is happy to chill out and watch some TV, if he has had some exercise or other stimulation throughout the day. There are definitely times when he does not like being ignored.

He is not particularly eager to please, but does have mid-level motivation to work for food / treats. He is definitely not the smartest dog I've met either, which seems to go against the popular feedback on the breed.

Hopefully this rambling about my dog is at least a little helpful.
Your breeder sounds awesome!! I really wish I'd joined this forum when I was doing my initial research.

P.S. The bit about your dog not being the brightest made me chuckle. He sounds absolutely lovely.

Shortly after bringing Peggy home, I started obsessively researcheing "dumbest dog breeds" and fantasizing about trading her in ?

It's a double-edged sword, for sure. I don't always feel equipped to provide her with what she needs to reach her full potential.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You showed CHOWS in OBEDIENCE??? you my friend could find success with any breed! Lol, I love Chows. I have 2 standard poodles on a farm-like property and they're great. The grooming is really not the problem you'd think, except for burrs at certain times of the year around here. They were pretty easy to train around livestock. And you nailed it about the quiet, calm demeanor in the office or in the house. Ours are like that-- strong, athletic and lots of stamina outside but quiet and calm inside.

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Ha. I used to love a challenge, I guess. But not any more! Your poodles sound like just what I'm looking for. How did you find yours?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I have two standard poodles, a GSD and 7 chickens. The GSD took some effort to get him to understand that chickens are no cooperative with being herded. Now he actually is pretty good about watching but not harassing them, although I don't leave him with them unsupervised (but I probably could). Lily is so used to being with them that I will leave her in the yard with them foraging with no concerns and I think she is big and obvious enough to deter overhead predators.



Javelin is a bit of a different story since he arrived after the first round of chickens and I didn't introduce him to them in the same way as the oldsters. He can be excitable around the coop, but not badly and I can easily call him away from the coop as well as from loose birds. He does in fact have a really rock solid and distraction proof recall which I mostly developed by playing with him as a puppy to get him really attracted to being close and then I would trot away. He always followed with enthusiasm. Gradually I dropped the play and just started calling and he always finds me!
I love your GSD's name! From Harry Potter?
 

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Your breeder sounds awesome!! I really wish I'd joined this forum when I was doing my initial research.
My experience with the breeder was entirely positive. However, when I searched them here, I saw a few posters concerned by how many dogs they breed each year. However, there are a lot of dogs in the breeding program, only some of which live on site, and the two people spearheading the kennel have totally devoted their lives to poodles, and remain interested in the dogs after they are adopted. They sent Willard a birthday card last week!

P.S. The bit about your dog not being the brightest made me chuckle. He sounds absolutely lovely.

Shortly after bringing Peggy home, I started obsessively researcheing "dumbest dog breeds" and fantasizing about trading her in ?

It's a double-edged sword, for sure. I don't always feel equipped to provide her with what she needs to reach her full potential.
Even with my somewhat dopey dog, I still feel like I'm not giving him as much of myself as he deserves. I think we all feel like that sometimes, no matter how much of our time we devote to our dogs.

Even though I make fun of him sometimes, Willard is a good dog, and I'm happy to have him in my life.
 

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I stumbled across our poodles via my sister, who saw an ad somewhere. I lucked out with our two as they are from someone who has a good quality poodle and just wanted to breed her once; should've raised red flags but they turned out to be lovely dogs, and very healthy.

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