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My name is Sid and I live in East Texas. I grew up on a farm and spent my working career in big cities doing all sorts of hardware and software engineering related things. I'm semi-retired now and not as active as I was when younger so, I'm moving away from getting another German Shepard as I realize I don't have the energy to keep that type of dog happy and fulfilled with my lifestyle these days.

I'm looking for a companion animal with a bit of burglar alarm built in (i.e. let me know when a stranger is around). I'm not wanting an aggressive or noisy dog but one that is 'alert' so I know I need to take a look. I should note that I live ~1/4 mile from the county road on 40 acres in rural East Texas so, occasionally we have trouble with drug users either looking for a place to steal from or somewhere to smoke / vape 'dope' and do other things.

I want a large dog so, a Standard Poodle is about as small as I would go. I need a smart dog that easy to train so, Poodles are an easy choice there. The furr blizzard is a real turn off during shedding so, Poodles for the win here too! Being on a farm, I also need a dog large enough and athletic enough to hold its own against random critters and other wildlife and athletic (and smart) enough to get away from other dogs and coyotes if I'm not close by. Being on a rural farm is what it is sometimes and, well drug activity is what is too. :(

If my expectations aren't reasonable, please let me know! If they are, I am interested in learning more about where and how to find a good puppy and what I should expect to pay for one. Obviously, anything to be aware of or look for is important as well because I REQUIRE a sound dog and do not want one with bad genetics that may have personality or health defects (hip dysplasia, deafness, diabetes, etc.).

Best Regards,
Sid
 

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Others will undoubtedly pop in with a guide for finding a physically sound puppy with a good temperament. There are lots of threads on the topic. But I just want to say that yours sounds like a wonderful home for a poodle. A user by the name of Grannyhorsesitter has her young standard poodle Emma on a remote farm property, and it's worked out very well for her. You can search her posts.

I'd personally look for a breeder who's breeding at the larger end of the breed standard (Peggy's only 45 lbs and 21"), and make sure the breeder understands your unique needs so they can help you select a confident puppy.

Peggy's bark rivals any German Shepherd's, and the breeds are similar in athleticism and intelligence but very different to train. At 11 months old, Peggy seems more toddler than dog some days. And while she's very protective of our property, her barks and growls quickly turn to tail wags as she gets close to any strangers. Then again, she's never met any "bad guys" so who knows. She's such a wildly clever girl, I suspect she'd be able to read their intentions.
 

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That sounds a lot like my German Shepard that stayed with my mother for a while when I moved from Huntsville, Alabama to Tucson, Arizona.

When she took her afternoon nap, she would tell him to crate up and he would take a rest and watch her until she got up. She was surprised the first time she got distracted when she let him out for a potty break. He opened the screen door and the house door and came into the kitchen and sat down while she made some coffee! I still don't know how he figured out the screen door handle "push" button. :ROFLMAO:

He was a bit high energy for her though so, I felt bad about that after the fact because she was not assertive with him so, he was more of a naughty boy around her. As soon as I walked in, she was amazed to see his change in demeanor and the way he basically just shadowed and stared at me all day, except for when he found a stick on the ground or saw her firewood pile. He was totally 'stick crazy'! One day he even pulled a ~15' long tree branch to the house that fell down from the high wind the night before. He was really proud of himself running with an ~8' foot branch or large piece of firewood in his mouth. He would run back and forth in front of me looking at me saying 'look at me!'. I still miss him and his enthusiasm for life on the farm.
 

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My poodle is high energy. She loves visiting my dad on 100 acres and being able to RUN. Like a shepherd, she needs a lot of mental work to be happy, but is smart, and easy to train. Most poodles I have met are not particularly good guard dogs. Annie is a great alarm dog, more because she is barking because she is so happy to SEE people, but not naturally suspicious.

I love poodles, dont get me wrong, but have you considered a Bouvier or a Giant Schauzer? Both non shedding breeds and a bit better watch dogs. Both are on my "maybe one day when I dont live in an apartment or in the city" list.

There is a pinned thread somewhere here about finding a good breeder - many are passionate about healthy dogs, and do a lot of testing.

As for size, my Annie is 50 lbs, and has brothers from the same litter that are 40 lbs and 80 lbs, so it's something I would ask the breeder about.
 

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Call Nancy Wilson at Bar None Poodles near Corpus Christi. Buck is a fearless hunter and an alert, but not an obsessive, nor false alarm barker. We have 4 acres, you have 40. The great thing about a poodle is they always want to be with you. If you need a dog to independently patrol and run a fence line, a poodle wouldn’t be my choice. If you would like a large-ish breed that you can tell to go to the fence and let you know, do consider a standard.
 

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My poodle is high energy. She loves visiting my dad on 100 acres and being able to RUN. Like a shepherd, she needs a lot of mental work to be happy, but is smart, and easy to train. Most poodles I have met are not particularly good guard dogs. Annie is a great alarm dog, more because she is barking because she is so happy to SEE people, but not naturally suspicious.
Alarm dog sounds like just what I want. Having a guard dog terrorize or hurt a kid that put a fishing pole in my front pond would be heartbreaking On the flip side, pilfering my barn for chainsaws or other tools... :mad:

Another thing that I have considered is the general public reception to my dog at a Lowes, feed stores, etc. My German Shephard was 96lbs at 11 months and was super friendly with typical puppy/adolescent energy and curiosity. People literally cringed when they saw him come their way. A Poodle or retriever would be less intimidating in public which is a good thing. Staying at a hotel with a large German Shephard is also not going to happen where I travel though, a large Poodle likely would not raise eyebrows and would probably be a good icebreaker for hotel staff to talk to me and 'pet' my dog.

I love poodles, dont get me wrong, but have you considered a Bouvier or a Giant Schauzer? Both non shedding breeds and a bit better watch dogs. Both are on my "maybe one day when I dont live in an apartment or in the city" list.
I had another friend with a Schnauzer which was a really nice dog but, he was a bit aggressive for me and definitely a bit high maintenance though, I question his living environment (big city) being the best for him. I also have a less than pleasant memory of a Schnauser with a Dudley Do RIght who felt compelled to try and seize my pick-up with a drug stop (love being an out of towner somedays traveling America's backroads).

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Chessie) is one that Animal Planet indicates about the same 'percentage' match as a Standard Poodle. I'm not sure I want a sporting dog that is a strong swimmer. A Chessie is probably the next most likely 'good match' for me. I really like bird dogs but, I don't have the energy to keep up with them and I don't hunt with dogs so, that's a category I will avoid. Plus, my friend generally has a bird dog I can adopt for the afternoon if I feel the urge!

A retriever would be fun though and, nieces and nephews would have fun throwing frisbees and tennis balls to him. Heck, I could probably be convinced to get some retriever toys to throw in a pond for him when the kids come out!
 

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The Animal Planet write-up on poodles has some flaws. The biggest one is that it lists poodles as being hard to train.

We had a Chessie at one of the barns where I kept horses. Her desire to stick close to her human was similar to a poodle. Her energy level outdoors was one notch down from my poodles. She would happily play, but she didn't waste energy running in circles for no reason. She would steal anything you set down: gloves, baseball caps, the boot you were trying to put on.
 

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...

We had a Chessie at one of the barns where I kept horses. Her desire to stick close to her human was similar to a poodle. Her energy level outdoors was one notch down from my poodles. She would happily play, but she didn't waste energy running in circles for no reason. She would steal anything you set down: gloves, baseball caps, the boot you were trying to put on.
:ROFLMAO: Sounds like my Beagle in Junior High School! These days, with work I bet I could assert my Alpha role a bit better and cut some of the stealing.

Regarding Animal Planet, I liked the 'breed selector' a lot better when it was part of Purina. Since then, it appears to have been dumbed down a bit and definitely isn't maintained by knowledgable people like it was.
 

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I've found that going full-on alpha doesn't really work with my guys. They aren't werewolves; they don't really buy in to the alpha concept. They merely look at me with an expression of "WHAT is your problem?" Push harder, and they decide I'm being a jerk. Then they do the bare minimum to get by without provoking me.

I think in their eyes I'm a cross between mom and the entertainment director. They go along with things they might not like because they are sociable, the same way people put up with getting stuffed into a taxi and going out to sing karaoke.
 

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Poodles have webbed feet and strong retrieving instincts. Peggy's happiest with a frisbee in her mouth and it's a struggle to keep her out of the bathtub. 😂

She'd also respond poorly to anyone trying to assert "dominance" over her. Poodles require consistency, fairness, and a light touch. They thrive on positive reinforcement, whether that be in the form of treats, toys, or fun. They're real clowns, but sensitive. Very sensitive.
 

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I agree with what others have said. A poodle might be good for you but they are very sensitive and have a human quality to their personalities. They get their feelings hurt. They get frustrated. They want you to be their partner in crime. They make you laugh constantly. They are also high maintenance in grooming. Being in a rural area, you will have an easier time keeping a short coat so your dog isn't picking up burrs and such. This just requires regular grooming appointments every 6 weeks or so.
 

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Thanks! It's good to know the Alpha dominance behaviors that worked so well with my German Shepherds isn't a good idea with Poodles.

Obviously, I'm a bit biased by what worked best with my German Shepherds which is part of the reason I'm here. I want to make the best choices for both myself and the dog!
 
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