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I have been researching poodles for about 6 months now. I have had shelties my whole life and I am looking into a new breed for a few reasons and poodles seem to fit the needs. I now have 3 people in the family allergic to dogs. My family has been highly afflicted with Lyme disease so I want a dog that has either very little coat or a coat that can be clipped very short in tick season. I like to hike and want an "off-leash" dog that is responsive and obedient. I spend time at the beach and need a dog that does not get over heated and enjoys the water. I also need a dog that is calm in the house and flexible when it comes to his environment. I know a lot of what I want can be satisfied with a Labrador retriever, but I just seem to avoid that breed for some reason. Today I have been trying to look up wether light colored poodles, when clipped short, will sun burn. Thank you!
 

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Hi, and welcome! Poodles are generally obedient, I certainly would trust my toy Poodle over my Jack Russell to come back if he got loose! They are very sensitive dogs, however, and will respond more negatively than most to traditional training techniques. They do have an ‘off’ switch.

You’ll find that Poodles are variable on how much they enjoy water. They were bred to be marsh dogs, so they are more comfortable in ankle deep water rather than full-in, although you’ll certainly find Poodles that practically live in the water!

As for your grooming question, it depends on how short you clip the coat. Most any dog will sunburn if their coat is clipped short enough; which is one of the reasons why husky owners are discouraged from shaving their dogs down, for instance.

You may want to consider a chewable for ticks; my two were on it last year and there were no ticks at all. This year, we have shortish hair and collars, and while the ticks have been dead, I am still finding them. You can also get a vaccine for your dog for Lyme disease, if it is a great enough concern. My JRT mix just got hers a couple days ago.
 

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Welcome! Good for you for doing proper research. Pale colored poodles may burn if clipped super short but I've also seen some where the owners clipped them gradually shorter and allowed the skin to naturally tan so they would not burn. It does change the skin color to make it darker, so this may defeat your purpose of tick-spotting. But I think you will find a safe length that is short enough to please you and protect from the sun. Probably clipping with a 5 blade would be safe while still short. We have had some members that live in very bad Lyme areas and they have said pale poodles were preferable for tick spotting.

But, if ticks weren't in the equation, I'd caution that a pale dog shows dirt much more easily than a dark dog. For a hiking companion you may be seeing a lot of muddy hocks and pasterns. As long as that doesn't bother you then you should be okay. You may find that an apricot would be the best of both worlds. They turn paler as they age, often fading to cream.
 

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I love how much care you're putting into this process. Not only will it pay off with the companion of your dreams, but research is pretty fun, isn't it?

I've actually been considering a sheltie for a future dog. The biggest difference you'll probably find between them and poodles is the way they orient to their humans. The herding breeds in our classes only have eyes for their handlers. Peggy, on the other hand, has her eyes on all things at once.

I'd say a cattle dog might be a perfect fit for you from an obedience perspective, but I've known some who really struggle to settle inside. Peggy's got a great off-switch. And she's infinitely trainable, just not in that dogged tireless way that herders demonstrate.

She also loves splashing and wading in water. And her coat is so rugged, clippped short it requires virtually no attention from us. (She's professionally groomed every 4-6 weeks.)

As far as heat goes, she's not as comfortable in the sun as, say, my parents' chihuahua. But she's smart enough to seek out a cool drink or shade when she needs it.

And flexible? Hmmm. My experience with poodles is they thrive on routine and being able to predict what's next. So this can make them a little challenging in new environments. They can also be neurotic if left alone too much or under-socialized. But all of this is manageable with early and consistent positive reinforcement training.
 

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With a poodle you can kiss all those shedding issues goodbye along with any doggy smell unless they’ve rolled in something. Poodles are MENSA level smart and require firm, fair and finesse with training. We keep Buck in a short trim and sunburn has never been an issue. Good thing, ticks aren’t a huge problem here, because he’s black.
 

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Welcome - you have picked the perfect place to come to answer your research on poodles. I have a black standard and because he roams in fields and woods, I keep him in a short cut (7 for summer) which would be easier if I had trained him to accept grooming as a puppy. No sunburn issues and I keep him on Bravecto which is a 3 month chewable that takes care of ticks which are prevalent in our area. Also good for fleas and maybe mosquitos - I can't remember. Like that it only takes 4 doses per year. After the ease of the Bravecto, the great results make me reluctant to even consider a monthly chew.
 
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