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Experiences of (miniature) poodle ownership please?

(25 Posts)
PossiblePoodleParent Mon 03-Aug-20 17:34:54

We have had a plan to get a family dog for a long time. We are still some way off it actually happening, but starting to get serious about it now. So we're finishing off puppy-proofing the garden (6ft fences just in case!) and actively researching suitable breeds and looking at Kennel Club registered breeders that are close enough to visit a few times and for the pup to be OK on the journey from breeder to us when it's finally time. Top of the list at the moment is a miniature poodle, and there's a KC registered assured breeder about 45 minutes' drive away from us.

Originally we were thinking 'adopt don't shop', and getting a rescue. But having volunteered as dog walkers at a local shelter (pre-lockdown) we've realised that we're unlikely to find the right dog for us, especially at the moment with so many people having sought out dogs during lockdown. Our local place won't consider us for most rescues because (1) our daughter is 9 and (2) eventually, the dog will need to be left at home alone for short periods of time (up to three hours) maybe 2-3 times per week. We also have two cats, who I think will cope pretty well with the careful introduction of a small puppy but who would freak out if we brought a fully-grown adult dog, probably with behavioural problems, into our home.

So basically this is us:
- me and DH, in our early 40s
- DD, age 9 (she'll be 10 in the autumn)
- SheCat, who will be 3 in the autumn and HeCat, who has just turned 2.
- DH has mild allergy to long-haired moggies, but is fine with our two short-haired ones and was also fine with our previous short-haired kitty. Nevertheless, want to ensure that our pup is unlikely to make him allergic!
- We're not ones for taking long countryside walks (well I am, but DH and DD aren't!) but would expect to take the dog out at least twice a day for at least half an hour, longer on weekends.
- I work almost full time but don't ever expect to return 100% to the office and will hopefully be home quite a lot of the working week. Should certainly be able to work from home when DH has to be out at work.
- DH works part-time, sometimes from home and sometimes out of the home. Rarely out at work for more than 2-3 hours, and only once or twice a week.
- In-laws live locally and happy to help out with dogsitting, good friend round the corner with lots of dog training experience very keen to help out as much as possible.
- Elderly neighbours next door probably willing to have dog from time to time if we're out, or in an emergency.
- Happy to try and find part-time doggy daycare if need be, although I suspect we can manage without. Dog would likely only be left for 2-3 hours at a time and certainly not every day.
- Currently doing LOTS of reading e.g. Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy and fully understand I will be sleeping on the couch next to a crate for several weeks and getting disturbed sleep for toilet training!
- Realise that getting a puppy, especially with cats in the house, will require military level planning. Looking at permanent gate across the understairs area (where the most favoured litter tray is), classifying certain rooms as dog-free zones. And realise that all this will need to be done well in advance of puppy actually arriving.

So... do we sound like good candidates for a miniature poodle? Is there anything we need to consider that we might not have thought of? Are there other breeds we should consider? Want to go full pedigree if possible, so we can find a KC assured breeder. Not keen on buying from amateurs who have just bred the family dog and created a little of cockapoos or labradoodles or whatever.

All advice welcome!

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PossiblePoodleParent Mon 03-Aug-20 17:38:11

Gah, 'LITTER of' in the penultimate paragraph, not 'little of'!

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MissShapesMissStakes Mon 03-Aug-20 18:42:43

Hi.
I have a mini poodle. He was our first ever dog. He's two now and my kids are now 8 and 11.
To be honest sounds like you've put a great amount of thought and research into it.
Mine is certainly fine when left 2-3 hours a couple of times a week.

We live with/next to my parents and so he sees them a lot. We share a large garden with them. On the odd occasion we have gone out for longer than a couple of hours my parents have looked after him. However he's not happy about this arrangement (as lovely as my parents are) and he will stay by the front window mostly waiting for us to come home or just sleep. He's pretty mardy about it.

He's never been a chewer or destroyed anything. He also slept right through the night from night 1! More luck than anything we did though.

He's been quick to train (apart from lead walking which is hit and miss. But then our consistency has also been hit and miss).

He has one walk a day which can be from 30 mins to a couple of hours. We all spend a lot of time in the garden or at the allotment too and he will come with us and mooch about/play ball/ get in the way too.

I will say he doesn't sleep a lot in the day. Poodle's are bright and sociable with their family and so if we are doing anything other than sat on the settee then he is with us joining in. So there isn't much 'off' time. If he's bored and we aren't paying him attention when he wants it he will bring a ball or toy and chuck it at me.

As soon as we settle down though then he's snuggling up with one of us. We had said he wouldn't be allowed on the settee but he's so clean and tidy most of the time and loves his cuddles. We gave in quickly.

I'm allergic to most dogs. But not at all allergic to him. Plus there are no dog hairs anywhere. Ever! It's great. He can sit on my black trousers and leaves no sign!

Grooming is pretty important with a poodle but it also depends on the cut your dog has. Mine is kept short all over and so only really needs a quick brush through a couple of times a week. I do have him at the groomer every 5 weeks or so which is £30 a time.

Mine loves chasing anything - cats, pigeons, balls. But I think it would be different if he had met a cat as a puppy and we had socialised him properly.

Poodles can be a bit vocal. But that's a training issue really. Ours now will bark at the door (but I like that as I don't always hear the doorbell) and will sometimes bark in the garden if he hears another dog barking But he knows what I mean when I tell him quiet and he does usually stop.

Poodles are really great dogs and I wouldn't have any other breed now I've had him. Though of course parentage is as important as breed. You need to know the temperament of the parents too. I do think training and parentage are more deciding factors than breed.

Newjez Mon 03-Aug-20 18:59:43

All of the above. I grew up with poodles and they are lovely dogs.

A couple of things I'll add.

All our poodles have attached to one person in the family, and they will tolerate everyone else, but they are devoted to that one person.

Our first poodle had bad knees which needed a very expensive operation. It can be typical of the breed sadly, so think about insurance.

Grooming to remove grass seeds is important, especially around the feet.

Our first poodle was domineering of bigger dogs, mainly because she an adult when we got an English setter. But this shouldn't be a problem.

We did have two at one stage with the idea they would keep each other company. But they weren't really interested in each other.

PossiblePoodleParent Mon 03-Aug-20 19:00:06

Thank you @MissShapesMissStakes, that's really helpful and your dog is gorgeous!

Yes I'm a bit of a one for thinking through and researching - perhaps too much so, sometimes - but I figure this isn't something to go into lightly or without being fully prepared. A friend had a very bad experience buying a pup from a backyard breeder who was only interested in the cash. I want to make sure that we do this 'right', both for the dog's sake and for ours!

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PossiblePoodleParent Mon 03-Aug-20 19:04:07

@Newjez thank you. This makes me slightly worried:

All our poodles have attached to one person in the family, and they will tolerate everyone else, but they are devoted to that one person.

I am under no illusion as to who will be doing the vast majority of the care and training. DH is keen, but more for DD's sake than because he's really desperate to take on a dog. And she's only 9 and obviously can't be expected to take the lead on anything dog-related. But she will be utterly distraught if the dog ends up wanting me and only me (which is exactly what happened with the cats). And DH will be miffed too, as while he'll happily let me do all the research, prep and work after pup arrives he will magically expect the dog to love him unconditionally! I have to admit, my experience of dogs thus far throughout life has been that they're super enthusiastic about getting attention from anyone in the house, even visitors in some cases...

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MissShapesMissStakes Mon 03-Aug-20 19:29:12

Our mini seems to have favourite people for different purposes. I'm the top feeder and place to rest on the settee at night. I'm also the one who seems to know what he's trying to tell me easiest.

My dh is top choice for ball throwing, my 11 year old is the favourite for tug of war games, and my 8 year old is the one who is his favourite for brushing and general fussing attention.

Saying that he will happily do any of those things with all of us. Just if I was standing next to dh then he would bring the ball back to dh every time (he throws further and doesn't ask him to lie down before I throw). Equally if I was on the settee next to dh then he would snuggle up with me. But if I wasn't there he'd happily snuggle to whoever was there.

He very much enjoys guests too and is always pleased to see other visitors.

I think it's about making sure you are all indispensable for whatever reason.

MissShapesMissStakes Mon 03-Aug-20 19:30:56

Also my dh was the same. I did all the research and chose the dog. I did all the training and feeding and do all the maintenance jobs (claws, working etc). But dh is adored unconditionally.

moredogsthansense Mon 03-Aug-20 19:39:22

I have two miniatures, and they're great dogs. Make sure the breeder health tests - need recent eye test on the parents plus blood test for prcd (a type of retinal disease). Have a look at the Poodle Training Club website - lots of people there doing fun stuff with poodles. Remember that a good KC breeder will not necessarily have the sire of the litter on the premises (although they might) - a good breeder will use the right dog for their bitch, not the nearest. If they don't give you the third degree in questioning whether you are a suitable home, or aren't happy for you to visit and view the litter a couple of times, don't buy.
One of ours would be CEO of a multinational company if she were human, the other would be playing bass guitar in the garage. Very strong individual personalities, lots of fun, very athletic, need firm handling when bloody-minded, but wonderful dogs to live with. Good luck!

PossiblePoodleParent Mon 03-Aug-20 22:19:46

Thank you @moredogsthansense and @MissShapesMissStakes! Feeling tentatively very positive about it all now, although it'll potentially be a long time before we actually have a pup. Haven't even spoken to the breeder yet to find out when litters are planned and when the next one with any not-yet-reserved pups will be born!

Absolutely taking on board the advice about a good breeder, thanks - will be expecting a good grilling and would ideally want to visit before the pups are born, plus at least once or twice while they're still with their mum. I'm hoping that, being KC certified and with a recent successful Assured Breeder inspection, I should be safe enough?

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Newjez Tue 04-Aug-20 07:36:04

PossiblePoodleParent

*@Newjez* thank you. This makes me slightly worried:

All our poodles have attached to one person in the family, and they will tolerate everyone else, but they are devoted to that one person.

I am under no illusion as to who will be doing the vast majority of the care and training. DH is keen, but more for DD's sake than because he's really desperate to take on a dog. And she's only 9 and obviously can't be expected to take the lead on anything dog-related. But she will be utterly distraught if the dog ends up wanting me and only me (which is exactly what happened with the cats). And DH will be miffed too, as while he'll happily let me do all the research, prep and work after pup arrives he will magically expect the dog to love him unconditionally! I have to admit, my experience of dogs thus far throughout life has been that they're super enthusiastic about getting attention from anyone in the house, even visitors in some cases...

When we had two poodles, brother and sister, the male chose my mother as their favourite person, and the female chose my father.

Saying that, either of them would happily sit on my lap for a cuddle. But if my mum or dad walked in the room they would go to them.

I do think this is common with many small dogs though.

Juiceey Tue 04-Aug-20 11:10:37

Hello! I have nothing to compare it to, having never had a dog before, but we got our mini 10 weeks ago and he is a DREAM <3

He is definitely most attached to DW but I wouldn't say he tolerates the rest of us, he loves us all in different ways. Like if we're on the sofa he always sleeps on me. He adores 10 year old DS but gets so hyper and bitey and humpy!

He slept through from day 1, and is super smart- training has been so fun and relatively easy.

He's a velcro dog which is a pain as you can't wee without him but I secretly like it.

If you're on Facebook, join the group "Toy and Miniature Poodle Club UK" it's great!

Juiceey Tue 04-Aug-20 11:11:56

And here’s the proof of cuteness:

itsonlyforevernotlongatall83 Tue 04-Aug-20 11:19:23

Heres my girl with her Whippet sisters, she is loving, playful and very smart! Great temperament but can be clingy, also to add needs a good hair cut monthly which unless you do yourself is costly!
All in all, I'd definitely have another in a heart beat!

ditavonteesed Tue 04-Aug-20 11:24:03

My mum got a miniature poodle puppy last year, we got a Dalmatian puppy at the same time. What I will say is the poodle is considerably more bonkers than the Dalmatian although she is the sweetest dog, very attached to my mum won't let her out of her site even if there are loads of other people around. And so clever, she does so many tricks.

PossiblePoodleParent Wed 05-Aug-20 11:49:18

@Juiceey @itsonlyforevernotlongatall83 @ditavonteesed thank you! Juiceey your pup is absolutely adorable, so is your girl ItsOnlyForever!

I'm going to try and call the nearest breeder again today (didn't answer last time) and see if we can start the ball rolling. :-) Probably need to 'book' a pup for 6-12 months from now if we can, to give us time to save up the purchase price and start gradually buying all the equipment we'll need!

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Juiceey Wed 05-Aug-20 13:48:52

Good luck!

Wolfiefan Wed 05-Aug-20 13:52:28

Unfortunately KC Assured doesn’t actually mean the pup will come from a really good breeder. I wouldn’t be looking at the closest. Go via the breed club or society. Make sure you know what tests parents should have before breeding. Eyes? Hip scores? What health conditions are they prone to?
I don’t think that you’re overthinking it at all. Too many stories of puppy farms and dogs dying from Parvo.

PossiblePoodleParent Thu 06-Aug-20 12:54:59

Thank you @Wolfiefan - so if they're an Assured Breeder, inspected just a year ago, it's still not safe to assume that they will be a good breeder? Crikey. Yes I will of course check on appropriate tests and ask to see results. Have had a quick look already as part of my research but will look in much more depth once we're at the stage of actually 'securing' a breeder and discussing everything with them.

Goodness yes, too many heartbreaking stories and too many unscrupulous 'breeders' out there. Breeding the family pet to make a quick buck, not caring where the pups go as long as the buyer has the cash. Or even just ignorance; wanting to do the right thing but not having the knowledge and expertise to properly support their bitch through pregnancy and birth / properly handle the early socialisation of the pups. As I think I mentioned earlier in this thread, a friend has fallen victim to one of these people. Although thankfully their puppy is healthy, they are really struggling with becoming new puppy parents and didn't (before purchase) and aren't (after purchase) able to get any help or advice from the 'breeder'.

Is it really OK to potentially get a pup from a breeder a very long way away? I'm worried about how stressful it will be for the poor little thing, having to endure a very long car journey with strangers right after having been ripped away from their mother and littermates. I know they quickly bond with their new human family (and I'm prepared to sleep next to the crate etc to ensure that happens quickly!) but obviously on the day they're collected we will just be strangers. Especially if the breeder is so far away that we can't reasonably travel there to visit multiple times during the pup's first 2-3 months of life. I was thinking with the closest breeder (still 45 minutes away) we could visit to see the mum before the puppies are even born and discuss everything with the breeder, then visit two or three times to start bonding with the puppy before they're old enough to leave mum.

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PossiblePoodleParent Thu 06-Aug-20 13:01:47

Have just sent a message to the Miniature Poodle Club now; thank you for that tip. smile

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Wolfiefan Thu 06-Aug-20 13:56:04

My first had a three hour journey home. My second there was an awful delay and I think it took us 5 hours. She slept most of the way.
The biggest issue is if they are sick or toilet in the car! We were lucky.
Husband drove and I sat with pup in the back
Look into the KC Assured scheme. It offers breeders free advertising and discounts. It means they can only breed from KC reg dogs. So pedigree. They have to have an “inspection” but I can’t see details of what’s allowed. How many bitches can they have? How many litters can each have? How young/old can they breed? What tests are mandatory for each breed?
It’s certainly no failsafe.
Good luck with the club! As and when we can maybe try and get to a show and meet some in RL. Put faces to names of breeders and ask questions. I found that really helpful.

Lou98 Fri 07-Aug-20 22:50:23

It sounds like you've thought about it all and you sound like the ideal family for a dog.

Mini poodles are very intelligent and loving dogs. Definitely a good choice.

One thing I'd add to your list though is to factor in the cost of grooming, they have very thick, curly coats which can get marred easily which is painful for them. Professional grooming is recommended every 6 weeks and on average costs about £40. Of course some groomers will be cheaper and some will be more but the average for miniature poodles is about £40.
Depending on the length you keep them too they will need a good comb out ideally for a minimum of 15mins every day (unless as PP said, they are kept short)

PossiblePoodleParent Sat 08-Aug-20 16:27:04

Thank you @Lou98, yes good point. We would be thinking of a regular trim, pretty short all over without going as far as the shaven look (Really not a fan of the whole Lion Trim thing...) So a quick brush every day, with more brushing as the hair gets longer and the regular groomer visit approaches? Around £40 every six weeks shouldn't be a problem, it's less than £10 a week so I'll just have to make sure it gets put aside weekly. Rather amusingly our doggy will be the only family member visiting the hairdresser... I cut my own, DD is growing hers and isn't interested in a trim for a long while, and poor DH just uses a razor as he doesn't have enough hair to be worth allowing what's left to grow!

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Lou98 Sat 08-Aug-20 20:32:26

@PossiblePoodleParent Yeah, I personally love a short fluffy look on poodles, I'm a groomer myself and it's one of my favourite grooms to do. Keeps them looking a bit fluffy still but means it's a lot more manageable being short!
I'd recommend getting yourself a metal comb, you can get them online or pet shops but they're the best to brush them with to avoid the matts. There are a lot of brushes out there but the majority of them just brush the top of the coat and the matting starts at the skin. As basic metal comb is by far the best, and they're cheap to buy too which is a plus!

Haha, I get a lot of customers that come in joking about how they spend more on their dogs hair cuts than their own, it's very true, we do love to spoil our pups😂

PossiblePoodleParent Sun 09-Aug-20 10:35:51

Thank you @Lou98, I have added ‘get metal comb for daily grooming’ to my Puppy Info list! smile

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