Any parent considering bringing a puppy home has a lot to consider.
But perhaps the most critical consideration is whether the breed is suitable for households with kids, especially those with young children.
You want a dog that will be your child’s best friend, who can play with and protect them, but that won’t be a danger.
So how does the Poodle stack up? Is this breed kid-friendly?
Poodles are excellent with kids. They are affectionate, loyal, and can easily be trained. They are adaptable and will make a great companion for kids.
Traits of Kid-friendly Dogs
There’s nothing quite as beautiful as watching your pup become a loving member of your family.
And the good news when searching for a new furry friend is that plenty of dog breeds make wonderful family pets. But how do you ensure the best fit?
What specific qualities make a dog good with children?
In general, the best breeds for family life are the ones that adapt well to life in a home.
They also tend to be the dogs that make the most natural “nannies” for children. Plus, the most kid-friendly dogs possess most of the following traits:
Poodles tick every one of those boxes.
Poodles have lots of energy, they love to play, and they are friendly.
Despite their somewhat uppity reputation, they have all the makings of the perfect companion for kids and adults alike.
Why Poodles Are Excellent with Kids
Let’s take a closer look at what makes this breed an ideal family dog.
Other breeds, such as German Shepherds, may come to mind when you think of loyalty.
You may even remember the Akita Inu (named Hachi) who waited years for its owner to come back. But when it comes to loyalty, you can count on Poodles to be there for you.
Whatever you’re doing, your Poodle will want to be right by your side.
They’ll stand watch by your bed if you’re sick, and they’ll want to defend you from any perceived threats.
Poodles are also a highly alert breed, so they are quick to let you know if someone is approaching your home.
This quality is an excellent one if you have kids because a Poodle won’t hesitate to act as a guardian of sorts.
One of the best parts of having a dog is the affection they show you, and Poodles are not stingy with their love—quite the opposite.
They relish every opportunity to demonstrate how much they love you, and they’re always ready to cuddle up with you on the couch.
While anyone can benefit from having such a loving dog, this affectionate personality is especially wonderful for kids.
It’s not unusual for children to have difficulty expressing their emotions, and receiving affection from a Poodle can be soothing. Petting a dog can also help calm little ones.
Nobody wants a disobedient dog, but families with young children have a greater need for a well-trained pet.
Luckily, Poodles are highly obedient, which makes them easier to control. Poodles listen to your commands, which creates a safer environment for both your kids and your dog.
If your children are old enough, obedience training is a fantastic way to involve them with the dog and develop a bond.
Plus, Poodles are natural pleasers that love performing tricks. Having your children teach your dog tricks is an excellent way to keep both parties entertained.
Poodles are highly athletic animals with lots of energy.
If left to their own devices, they might play all day long. In this sense, the breed is a perfect match for children, who also have an endless supply of energy.
If you have a yard, you can just open the door and let them entertain one another.
Poodles thrive in practically any environment.
They are happy to live in an apartment or a big home.
They will be your best friend whether you are single or have a large family. But most importantly, they adapt well to kids.
What’s more, Poodles have high adaptive intelligence. Adaptive intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to learn for itself—in other words, how good is the dog at taking experiences and learning from them?
How good are they at problem-solving?
In the case of the Poodle, very good. And they’re not just good at learning tricks; Poodles also learn from humans.
Their ability to learn from humans is good news for families with kids, as this intelligence makes them better at understanding the behavior of children.
This fact is especially true when it comes to playing.
Poodles are smart enough to know that rambunctious play from children is not aggression; it’s merely playing.
Consider Poodle Size
Now that you know about the Poodle’s excellent qualities, let’s discuss Poodle size. There are three size variations for this breed.
- Standard—Height: over 15 inches, Weight: 40 to 60 lbs
- Miniature—Height: 10 to 15 inches, Weight: 15 to 20 lbs
- Toy—Height: up to 10 inches, Weight: 5 to 10 pounds
For adult owners with no children, Poodle size is mostly a matter of preference.
For kids, size variation should be carefully considered.
Standard Poodles are the best fit for most families, thanks to their patient and energetic personalities.
They’re also the largest of the three size variations, which means standard Poodles can tussle with your children with no problem.
You won’t have to worry about your kids hurting the dog.
Miniature Poodles are also an excellent fit for a lot of families, especially those that live in apartments.
Of the three sizes, minis may be the most affectionate. They’re quick to snuggle up with you on the couch or in bed, and they love being the center of attention.
Plus, although they’re much smaller than standard Poodles, minis are big enough to withstand some rough play.
Regardless, parents must teach their kids how to handle the dog.
Toy Poodles are the smallest members of the Poodle family, and they can work well with kids—as long as your children know how to treat the dog with respect.
However, they may be too fragile for rough or rowdy kids, as they are easily hurt and can feel threatened by small kids. Toy Poodles may even snap if they feel in danger.
All three versions are fine for older children, but if your kids are very young, a standard Poodle is generally your safest bet.
Whatever size Poodle you choose, keep in mind that teaching children to respect dogs is critical. Parents should help children understand that dogs are living beings and not toys.
Teaching Children to Respect the Poodle
So how do you ensure that your children will respect their new furry friend?
You should begin this process before your dog comes home.
Even the most kid-friendly dogs require careful preparation before introducing them to the family. Setting expectations will help ensure that your children respect the Poodle.
Interacting with the Poodle
First, ensure that everyone knows how to interact with the new pup.
While Poodles are not aggressive dogs, like any breed, they may be provoked by certain behaviors.
Children should know what not to do to avoid being bitten:
- Screaming. Poodles are sensitive to sound, and they can become distressed if children scream in their ears.
- Taking the dog’s toys. Tell your children to avoid taking a toy directly from a Poodle’s mouth.
- Rough play. Teach children how to pet and play with the Poodle, discouraging rough play.
- Bothering the dog when eating. One of the easiest ways to elicit aggressive behavior from a dog is by bothering her when she’s eating. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid interrupting your Poodle when eating.
Caring for the Poodle
Additionally, it’s critical to make your expectations about caring for the dog clear.
The best way to foster respect for your dog is to involve every family member in the care of your Poodle.
Even the youngest members can help with tasks like feeding or brushing as long as an adult supervises them.
It’s also helpful to set a schedule, so every person understands what’s required of them.
Training Your Poodle to Be Good with Children
Of course, you should take steps to ensure your Poodle gets along with your children.
- Training. Well-trained dogs are safer for everyone, as you can assert control over them and establish communication when needed. Begin obedience training as soon as possible so that you can correct undesirable behaviors.
- Socialization. Improper socialization can cause behavioral problems down the line, so socializing your Poodle pup properly is critical. The window for effective socialization is short, so be sure to start introducing your puppy to other dogs and people as early as possible.
If you’ve always wanted to have a Poodle, there’s no reason not to adopt one.
This breed makes an excellent addition to households with children, as there is a very low risk of kids getting hurt by the dog.
They offer endless amounts of love and affection for the whole family, and with their intelligence and trainability, the Poodle gets an all-around enthusiastic recommendation.
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