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Okay... So we are looking for a dog that our boys (7 and 2) can grow up with. My wife's family has really bad allergies and so if we ever want to take our dog with us it really needs to be a dog that doesn't shed much. A Standard Poodle seems to make a lot of sense for us.

I have been warned by a few people that standard poodles tend to bite, and that they aren't as sweet as other breeds.

My question is, for those of you who have had standards with young kids, what has your experience been? Are they good with kids? Will they play with kids? Again we want a dog that our boys can grow up with and will bond with them. My research says a Standard would be great, but I'm hearing other people say the opposite.

Help me out here. Thanks!
 

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As puppies, poodles are often exceptionally mouthy. All puppies will bite to a degree, and retrievers tend to be especially orally fixated. Some poodle pups take this to an extreme and can be little terrors. But they do grow out of it! By 8-9 months the mouthing should be mostly gone and as adults they should not be mouthy at all. They make great family dogs as long as you have a training plan to teach them good manners as they grow. It is strongly recommended to take a puppy class and obedience classes with a good trainer to help guide you.

In regard to sweetness, dogs are individuals. Some poodles are cuddlebugs that love to be pet show affection readily. Others are a bit more aloof and show affection in more subtle ways. Puppies often go through aloof periods and become more affectionate as adults. Poodles do not usually have a lab or golden retriever temperament, and tend to be more intellectual and sensitive. But they form very deep relationships with owners and I wouldn't say they aren't sweet. Going to a highly reputable breeder that temperament tests and pairs pups with owners based on temperament is a good way to improve your chances of getting the perfect puppy for your family. If you can, meet the breeder's dogs and see if they're the sort of dogs you're hoping for in a family pet.
 

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I think a spoo would be a great family dog. We haven't had our dogs with any young kids in our family. My nieces were already both a couple of years older than your boys, but Lily has seen lots of kids and is really super with them. Javelin is a very bouncy boy and your 2 year old might get him worked up if there was a lot of running, squealing flappy arms, but we now have neighbors with very young girls and he has improved greatly with some training where he can watch the girls run but has to mind me. The important thing for any combination of a dog and very young children is they both need to be trained to understand the other. Puppies and young dogs need to get used to the things children do, but also the children need to learn how to have appropriate relationships with their dogs. Even your 2 year old should be taught how to get obedience and respect for social position (not dominance but people always hold a higher position over the dog) just as parents always hold a higher position over children. Parents have experience and judgement that is better than that of children and any person should hold that position over any dog. Dogs are like permanent toddlers and great toddlers have great parents who understand that a feral toddler won't turn into a good adult. As an example your older boy could be in charge of an organized delivery of one meal a day (under your supervision of course).
 
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When we got ours he was one year old with basic training and housebroken. No biting or mouthing. Iived with my sister and together we had six kids, ages 3 to 13. Plus, two others, 5 and 8. Of course, each year they got older. He was great with the kids. They loved him.
 

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Peggy's dad is amazing with kids of all ages. Peggy probably would not be.

It really does come down to the individual dog's temperament, and also the quality of their early exposure to kids. Have you had dogs before? Standard poodle sensitivity and intelligence does require some dog savvy. But a great positive reinforcement trainer can help you get up and running.

My friend got a Golden Retriever puppy the same time we got Peggy, and he struggled. He has kids roughly the same age as yours, and the biting was very hard to manage. The puppy also decided the toddler's potty training "deposits" (okay, poops) were meant for retrieving. Eek!

I'm sharing this because any young dog comes with challenges.

Peggy is the cuddliest, most loving girl we could ask for. She watches over us, learns FAST (sometimes too fast), and I think any child would be lucky to grow up with a spoo. Even Siba (best in show at Westminster) is known for being a loving companion to her handler's toddler son.

Actually, her breeder's Facebook page is a great one to follow for a glimpse into family life with a spoo: https://m.facebook.com/Stone-Run-Standard-Poodles-211200595662240/
 

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I imagine there are SOME Standard Poodles who would not be good with kids. Just as there are some dogs in every breed not good with kids. But I look at my Standard boy & if he had children that were his, oh my. I can imagine if the kids got into trouble he'd be in line getting his scolding with the children, complete with pouting & big sad eyes. He would be the sort of dog hiding under the table to eat their broccoli so they didn't have to until I caught them :) Mr. Layne is a protective Standard but he would have done well with children. Like most youngsters he'd have to learn the rules, just as he's learning the rules of how to live with two very tiny Chihuahuas. He can play bite with our tiny Tinkerbell & not hurt her however if he ever gets carried away... she will pinch him which is her way of correcting him. She is sharp & she doesn't go easy on him when he messes up. He will then lick at her & try again but more careful. It's the same with children & puppies/dogs. They have to learn how to interact with each other. It's natural for children & dogs to be drawn to each other. And as smart as the Poodle is... there is no telling the mischief they can do together ;)

You'll want to find a breeder who understands what your family will need. You're not going to want a puppy with dominance issues or who is shy & has a hard time with the noise & activity level of your children. So it's as much about picking the RIGHT dog as it is picking the right breed. In our house there were 3 kids: my brother (typical active ornery farm boy) & 2 girls (both of us were tom boys). I however would sit for hours just watching the dogs or the livestock. As a 4 year old, 2-3 hours of sitting in one place just observing. So keep that in mind too. Think about the type of kids' personalities & you'll want to mesh the right puppy personality & energy to those kids/adults in the household.
 

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Standards make excellent family dogs, but a factor not mentioned is the need to honestly assess the adults in the family’s ability to train one of the smartest breeds. Spoo’s are slow to mature, so by the time the toddler is five, hopefully earlier, you are well on the way. They’re big dogs compared to a toddler, any tears are the fault of the adults in the household, not the exuberant, teething Spoo puppy.
 

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Have you considered a young adult/adult spoo? Having raised puppies with very young children, if I were to have a do-over, I would look for an adult dog that was a good fit. Your children would learn to care for a pet, without the crazy puppy stages and when a bit older, your family could consider adding a puppy that the kids could really enjoy and be a part of raising.
 

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I once had a family who came back to buy another standard poodle 12 years after buying their first one from me. They told me that their first poodle had saved their son's life, so they had to have another. The family had been visiting relatives when their toddler started wandering close to a water-filled ditch in the back yard. Somehow their poodle know that was dangerous, so he grabbed the child's clothing and hauled him back up to where the rest of the family was.

If you google "best dog for kids", standard poodles (and minis) are usually among the most highly recommended.
 

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When we were going through puppyhood with Buck, a mom in Austin PM’d me that they had gotten a “show fail” female from my breeder. I can’t recall how old the poodle was, but she arrived home fully house trained and she and her five year old boy were instant besties. I had never considered asking about an older dog. ( P.S. a show failure doesn’t necessarily mean poor conformation, more likely the dog didn’t have that “look at me” confidence that brings the points.) Excellent point to ask for an older dog or an “easy keeper” as Lily CD recommends. Being clear with your breeder, about your experience with dogs and the household will yield the best fit.
 

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Having a young son (4.5yo) with tons of energy is exactly why we went with a standard. Have there been tears? Yes. SPOO puppies have a lot of energy and are ready to go at the slightest prompt. Your SPOO puppy will quickly equal, then overtake, your younger son in size. Puppy biting is an unavoidable fact of owning a puppy. As parents, it’s our responsibility to ratchet down the intensity of play if it gets out of hand. All of this said, Happy and my son have a wonderful relationship – like a brother and sister. She’s been great with other visiting small children and is usually at the center of play. As she’s gotten older, she’s learned to self-regulate and is gentler and jumps up less. I did my homework before deciding a Standard poodle was the best fit for my family. My “must haves” were health, good temperament (w/ kids), athleticism, longevity, trainability, non-shedding (for my wife), and finally be robust enough to handle play with small kids. Generally, I think a Standard checks all those boxes. We have zero regret. Good luck with your decision. 1600868011604.jpg
 
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