Are Poodles Good for Older Adults? (Experts Weigh In)

Categorized as Poodle FAQs, Poodle Breed Information

It’s estimated that nearly 15 percent of the entire United States population is currently made up of senior citizens. And this number is only going to grow: in recent years, the elderly population has been on a steady increase.

As people age, their bodies begin to change. A lot of these changes are obvious—you may notice seniors moving a little slower or not hearing as well in one ear—but it’s important to remember that older adults might be experiencing physical and mental health struggles you can’t see

This means that seniors may feel a deep need for support and companionship, but might not be able to articulate those needs clearly.

Poodles can be a great choice if you’re looking for emotional support and companionship. They are intelligent and sensitive emotional dogs that are often used for emotional support, guidance, and therapy work.

In this article, I will explain everything you need to know to decide whether a poodle would be a good choice for an older adult or not. 

Are Poodles Good for Older Adults?

I live in a popular retirement destination, and there are quite a few seniors here who own standard poodles.

Some seniors here own standard poodles because poodles are less likely to cause allergic reactions than other dogs, and they don’t shed very much. Standard poodles are also considered to be intelligent and easy to train.

An Older Couple With a Miniature Poodle
An Older Couple With a Miniature Poodle

Many of these seniors have told me that since standard poodles are so much work, they end up hiring professional dog walkers or trainers to help them out with the most difficult aspects, such as giving them enough exercise and obedience training.

While many seniors hire help, a significant minority try to care for the dogs themselves. However, caring for a poodle is challenging—especially if you live alone and have no one to help you.

Poodles are intelligent and highly sensitive animals, though; they can get a good read on their owners. This sensitivity is an asset to seniors who may need assistance with daily tasks.

Poodles are known for their loyalty and will remain by their owner’s side, even if they need help getting up or walking. They have been known to gently nudge seniors who have fallen and may be able to sense when something is wrong.

Poodle ownership can provide companionship and assistance to seniors, but it also comes with challenges. Poodles require a lot of care, including regular exercise, grooming, and obedience training. Seniors who live alone may find it difficult to meet all of the needs of their poodle without hiring outside help such as dog walkers or trainers.

Despite the challenges that come with standard poodle ownership, these dogs make loyal and loving companions for seniors in need of assistance.

What’s The Perfect Poodle For a Senior

If I were to buy a poodle for an older adult, I would look for these qualities.

  • Size: Miniature Poodle or a Moyen Poodle 
  • Color: Apricot, Red, Gray, Parti, Sable, or a Phantom Poodle
  • Temperament: Mild, not too energetic 
  • Age: 2-3 Years Old 
  • Socialized: Yes
  • Obedience Classes – At least a couple
A 2-Year-Old Red Miniature Poodle
A 2-Year-Old Red Miniature Poodle

Let me explain the reasons for producing these specifications.

I chose the miniature poodle because they are the perfect size for a senior. They are not too big like the standard poodle, nor too small like a toy poodle.

If the poodle is too small like the toy poodle, there’s a possibility that it might get stepped on by its senior owner and cause them to trip.

Standard poodles may develop a habit of jumping on people and because of their size may knock over older adults who are not very steady on their feet.

If not trained properly, standard poodles have a tendency to nip their owner’s hand—their razor-sharp teeth can easily puncture an older person’s skin with even a playful nip.

Standard poodles also have a lot of energy and are much more difficult to manage than their smaller counterparts.

Miniature poodles are also easier to groom than larger standard varieties, with less hair and a more petite body.

It is important not to choose a poodle with dark furs, such as the black poodle or chocolate brown poodle. Darker coats are more difficult for seniors to see in poor lighting than those that are lighter, which can be hazardous for you if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be.

Poodles typically mellow out around age two, making them less excitable and easier to handle than when they are young. As poodle puppies can be a lot sometimes, this is an important consideration for older owners looking for companions.

A mild-mannered poodle can make an ideal pet for the elderly.

Poodles that are socialized from a young age will develop into calm, well-mannered dogs who respond to their seniors’ commands rather than act out, as poodle antics can be particularly dangerous for older people.

Owners whose poodles obey commands are happier with their pets as compared to owners whose pets do not.

Poodles Need Regular Grooming

If you’re an older adult considering getting a new pet, you may be considering a poodle. Poodles can make wonderful pets, but they do have their own requirements.

Poodles need regular grooming to keep their long hair soft and matte-free. If you don’t have time for daily grooming, this might not be the best pet for you.

An Older Woman Taking Her Poodle to The Groomer
An Older Woman Taking Her Poodle to The Groomer

Long hair is beautiful, but it can get tangled easily. Just brushing a poodle’s coat can be time-consuming, as well as expensive if you don’t do it yourself. And if you don’t take care of your poodle’s fur, it can become matted and unkempt very quickly.

Poodles have hair, not fur. This means that, unlike fur, poodle hair doesn’t shed once it becomes long enough. Instead, it tends to curl up into a ball (a “poodle puff”) and keep growing until you cut it—which means that if you don’t take your poodle to a groomer every month or so, its hair will get out of hand pretty quickly!

Because of their long hair, Poodles can get ear infections, so you need to check your dog’s ears regularly and clean them if necessary.

You will need to bathe a poodle at least once every two weeks. If the dog gets dirty more often than that, you will need to bathe them more often.

Finally, you should make sure that your poodle’s nails aren’t too long. An older person’s skin is more fragile than the skin of a younger person and can be more easily punctured by a big-nailed poodle.

This can be easily taken care of by hiring a poodle groomer, but it will cost money to do so. This is why it’s important to weigh the time and financial commitment of taking a poodle to the groomer every month before you get one.

Poodles Have Razor Sharp Teeth

Poodles are playful dogs that love to play. They are very intelligent and easy to train, but they can also be mischievous. One of the most common causes of injury to elderly people is a poodle bite.

A Black Labradoodle With Her Razor Sharp Teeth
A Black Labradoodle With Her Razor Sharp Teeth

Poodles have razor-sharp teeth that are used for hunting small animals in the wild. Even if your poodle is not trying to hurt you, a light nip could still pierce your skin and leave you with a wound.

Even though it’s common for poodles to bite when they are teething as a puppy, it’s important for you to teach them how to behave around humans from an early age so that they don’t continue biting once they’re older.

Poodles, especially Standard Poodles, like to reach up and grab people’s hands–even when they are no longer puppies.

My neighbor has a similar problem with his friend’s doodle. As an elderly man, his skin tears easily, and always comes home from visits to their house covered in puncture wounds.

My best recommendation is an excellent indoor crate/exercise pen combination and puppy classes followed by basic obedience training with a positive reinforcement trainer. This will help your poodle understand what behavior is acceptable and what’s not.

Poodles Are Jumpy

A Black Cockapoo Jumping on an Older Lady
A Black Cockapoo Jumping on an Older Lady

Even if your Standard Poodle has a gentle personality and rarely jumps, he or she will still have instinctual urges to jump. Even if these jumping incidents are rare and isolated, they still pose a risk.

Standard Poodles weigh anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds, and with their large frame can produce a great deal of force when jumping. Enough force to push someone over. Especially considering they have springs for legs!

A standard poodle’s feet are very powerful—they can generate enough force to push someone over in an instant.

When introducing a poodle to seniors, help the poodle get acquainted with the person by having them seated when the poodle is first introduced. This helps minimize the chances of the senior being startled and falling over by the poodle jumping.

What Size Poodle Would Be Best For a Senior?

When it comes to picking out a dog, there are a lot of factors to consider. Do you have kids? How big is your living space? Is it a good idea to choose a breed that doesn’t shed much?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when considering what size poodle would be best for your senior family member is whether or not they can see well.

If the answer is no, then you’ll want to make sure that any poodle you choose isn’t too small and will still be able to navigate around your home without too much difficulty.

Different-Black-Poodle-Sizes

A miniature poodle weighs anywhere from 5-13 pounds and stands up to 15 inches tall at the shoulder. Toy poodles weigh around 2-6 pounds and stand up to 12 inches tall at the shoulder.

Both sizes are known for their beautiful coats and gentle temperaments, but they are not recommended for seniors with vision problems because they can easily trip over them if they stray too far from their side!

Standard Poodles on the other hand are a good choice for seniors with visual impairments. They are large enough so that they can be seen from far away and their size makes them less likely to accidentally get stepped on or tripped over.

Do Standard Poodles Make Good Pets For Seniors?

Poodles are available in three sizes: Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Standard Poodle. They all make wonderful companions, but which one would be best for a senior?

An Old Lady With a White Standard Poodle
An Old Lady With a White Standard Poodle

The Standard Poodle is the largest of the three sizes. This breed tends to have more energy and requires more exercise than the smaller varieties. However, they are also more likely to jump up on their owner or other people if not trained properly.

Standard Poodles are not recommended for seniors because:

  • They have a tendency to jump,
  • have a tendency to bite (be it playful or otherwise),
  • need more exercise,
  • they are taller and heavier which can be a handful to deal with, and
  • can easily knock someone over

However, it is also important to note that standard poodles are really popular among seniors and I personally have seen a lot of seniors happy with their standard poodles.

This is not to say that a standard poodle isn’t an option.

For an elderly person, a mild-tempered standard poodle that has been well socialized and has taken at least a few obedience classes can be a wonderful companion.

A standard poodle’s size as well as its deep bark can make a senior feel protected which would be significantly reduced if it were a miniature or a toy Poodle.

Do Miniature Poodles Make Good Pets For Seniors?

The reason why miniature poodles might not be the best choice is that miniature poodles are a bit larger than toy poodles yet not too large like the standard poodle.

Are Poodles Good for Older Adults? (Experts Weigh In) 1
An Old Man With a Miniature Maltipoo

This means that if you have visual impairment or trouble seeing small objects (such as a toy poodle), it would be easier to see and keep track of your miniature poodle.

Miniature poodles are smaller than miniature poodles and therefore more manageable for seniors. In my opinion, an oversized miniature poodle would be the best size for seniors. They would be large enough to be easily seen yet not too large so they can knock someone over.

Miniature poodles are highly social and dependent on their owners; they would be the perfect companion for a senior who lives alone and wants to have someone to keep them company.

Miniature poodles are also extremely intelligent, which means that they can be trained easier than other breeds of dogs. This would make it easier for seniors to train their mini poodle because it will often respond more quickly than a less intelligent breed would.

Miniature poodles are more naturally docile and less energetic than standard poodles, which also makes them easier for seniors to care for.

Owners of miniature poodles find that their dogs are less likely to jump on them than standard poodles, and if they do, they’re quick to recognize and correct the behavior with relative ease.

A drawback of owning a miniature poodle is that it’s not as intimidating as the standard poodle, which is larger. Miniature poodles also bark at a high pitch, unlike their larger counterparts, which boast deeper barks.

Do Toy Poodles Make Good Pets For Seniors?

Toy poodles are one of the most popular dogs in the world. They usually weigh between six pounds to nine pounds. They have a height of 9 to 11 inches when they stand on all fours. The average lifespan of toy poodles is 12 to 15 years.

An Old Lady With a Silver Toy Poodle
An Old Lady With a Silver Toy Poodle

They’re small, cute, and friendly—and they don’t shed! But do toy poodles make good pets for seniors?

The answer is “it depends.” In fact, there are a few factors to consider before deciding if a toy poodle is right for your senior loved one. First, toy poodles need lots of exercise and attention.

Their owners will need to spend time playing with them every day. Seniors who live alone or don’t have much time to spend at home may want to look at other breeds that require less involvement from their owners.

Second, toy poodles are more dependent on their owners which means more caring duties for seniors. Toy poodles tend to bond with one person in particular, which means that your senior loved one will need to take care of their pup daily.

Toy poodles are more difficult to see for elders, who may not be able to see as well as they once did, especially if they have cataracts or blindness in one eye. One can easily step on them if they are not careful.

Of the three sizes of poodles, toy-sized ones are the least well suited for elderly owners.

What Color Poodle Is Best For Seniors?

As you age, your eyesight is not what it used to be. You may have trouble seeing in dim light and may have difficulty seeing colors. If you are looking for a poodle that will be easy on your eyes, here are some options to consider.

Black and White Poodle Puppies
Black and White Poodle Puppies

Dark-colored poodles, such as brown, black, and blue poodles may be too difficult to see properly—especially at night. And if your senior citizen is colorblind, it could make things even more challenging.

Poodles with light-colored coats (such as white poodles and cream poodles) tend to get dirty more quickly than other kinds of poodles, so they need to be bathed and groomed more often.

A happy medium would be to get dark poodles like a sable poodle or gray, but not too dark. Or, you could choose a light-colored breed like red or apricot that isn’t so easily stained either.

So go ahead and pick out whatever color suits your needs best!

Poodles Are Expensive

If you’re a senior citizen, you may be thinking about getting a new furry friend. We know that poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds, but they can be expensive to buy. You might be wondering just how much it costs to own one of these pampered pooches. 

Poodles are known for their intelligence, show dog legacy, and hypoallergenic coat. All of this makes them quite an expensive dog breed—and not just because they are small!

Miniature Poodles tend to cost more than standard Poodles due to their popularity as well as their smaller size and less amount of hair (which means less maintenance).

Poodles are beautiful dogs, but they can be expensive purchase for seniors. If you’re considering a Standard Poodle, you may need to budget anywhere from $800 to $2000, depending on the breeder and the dog’s lineage.

A Miniature Poodle could cost even more: starting at around $1000 and going as high as $3000 or more. This is mainly because of their size and their popularity.

In addition to the price of the dog itself, there are other expenses associated with owning a poodle: food, grooming, training classes, and more.

Don’t Shop, Adopt!

Adopt a Poodle, Don’t Buy One

A poodle can be a great choice for seniors looking for a new dog to love, but they do come with a price tag. And not just any price tag—a pricey one! If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be! There are plenty of poodles that need homes and would love to be part of your family. 

You can adopt one from your local shelter or even take in a stray that you find wandering around town. If you’re looking for a poodle and are concerned about the expense, check out your local shelter or rescue organization. These organizations often have many different breeds of dogs available for adoption, including poodles! 

We encourage all seniors to consider adopting a rescue animal rather than buying from a breeder—not only will you get an amazing new companion at a fairly low cost, but you’ll also be saving lives by opening up space in shelters so they can help more animals find their forever homes. 

The ASPCA estimates that about 920,000 animals are euthanized each year in shelters across the country! So if you want to give a dog a home and save it from being put down, here’s your chance!

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

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