Are Poodles Healthy Dogs? [Poodle Experts Answer]

By Nancy Williams •  Updated: 07/22/22 •  13 min read

Poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. For good reason too! Poodles are cheerful, friendly, and loyal—and they look pretty darn cute too. So if you’re thinking of bringing a poodle into your home, you might have some questions about whether or not poodles are healthy dogs.

So, are poodles a healthy dog breed?

The poodle breed is generally considered a healthy dog breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, like any other dog breed, they are prone to certain health conditions and diseases with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Sebaceous Adenitis, and Addison’s disease being the most common diseases in the breed. A reputable poodle breeder will be able to provide documentation of genetic testing, like hip scores and inbreeding coefficient among other necessary tests for both parents to help you choose a healthy pup for your family.

In this article, we’ll talk about whether or not poodles are a healthy breed of dog, what health issues poodles commonly face, and how you can keep your poodle healthy.

Poodle Breed Stats

A young happy white poodle in the arms of her owner

What Diseases Are Poodles Prone To?

Like all dogs, poodles are prone to diseases. Some of them are common while some of them are rare. However, if you take good care of your poodle, he will be able to live a long and healthy life.

The four most common diseases poodles are prone to are Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Sebaceous Adenitis, Addison’s disease, and Hip dysplasia. 

These aren’t the only problems that poodles might encounter as they age, but they’re the most common ones you’ll want to watch out for as your pup grows up.

A sick maltese poodle with medicines

Here is a list of some of the most serious poodle diseases:

Effect of Inbreeding on a Poodle’s Health

Poodles are prone to a wide variety of autoimmune diseases, but sebaceous adenitis (SA) and Addison’s disease (AD) can be especially difficult to manage.

It has long been believed that SA and AD were introduced into the breed through extensive inbreeding—most of which occurred during the mid-twentieth century, when a small group of dogs whose offspring all won prizes at shows were used repeatedly as parents.

Some poodles are so inbred that they are almost a separate species and are banned from being sold under the label of dogs in the EU.
Some poodles are so inbred that they are almost a separate species and are banned from being sold under the label of dogs in the EU.

Over time, the offspring of these dogs and their descendants were widely used by Standard Poodle breeders in North America. They were also exported to countries such as the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Australia & Continental Europe.

Due to inbreeding over a period of two decades, 50–60 % of an average Standard Poodle’s ancestry can be traced back to a few lines. This excessive inbreeding has created a severe loss of genetic diversity.

So what can you do?

Well, a product such as Embark Breed & Health Kit can help you get all the data you need. Not only will embark let you know how much your poodle is inbred, but it will also give you a detailed report listing what your pup is REALLY made up of.

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Embark Breed & Health Kit also gives you detailed medical reports, relatives, traits, and much more.

Poodle Insurance Considerations

Poodles are known to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders and may be prone to genetic disorders like hip dysplasia.

Some policies will only cover you for up to 6 months after the initial diagnosis, while others may offer lifetime coverage. However, if your dog has a genetic disorder such as hip dysplasia, he may have problems throughout his life that need to be managed by regular visits to the vet.

When looking at insurance policies, make sure you read the fine print and look at any limitations or exclusions which might affect your dog’s condition.

Here are some of the types of coverage that make a good insurance plan for poodles:

Which Poodle Size Is the Healthiest?

There’s no doubt that in general, the larger a dog is, the more health problems it is prone to having. Even in the case of poodles, this is true. Standard poodles have more health issues than Miniature and Toy Poodles.


So what should you do? The best thing to do is talk with your vet about what kind of breed would be right for your lifestyle and living situation before you decide which one to get.

They’ll be able to tell you if there are any specific health problems that might come up with one type over another based on your living situation (and any other factors).

It’s important to realize that there are different kinds of health problems associated with each size of poodle—and this can make a big difference in how healthy your pet will be throughout its life.

The following diseases are more likely to affect standard poodles than the other sizes of this breed:

Not all diseases are more likely to occur in Standard Poodles, Miniature and Toy Poodles have their own set of health issues to deal with.

Here are some of the health issues that are more common in Mini and Toy Poodles as compared to Standard:

Are Male Poodles Healthier Than Females?

It has been established that female dogs, on average, live longer than males. This is also true for poodles.

A dressed up poodle couple

Intact male dogs tend to live a bit longer than female dogs, but among neutered dogs, it is plainly evident that females are outliving males.

Female dogs were more likely than male dogs to die from cancer or diabetes mellitus, whereas males were more likely than females to die from trauma.

When we compare the longevity data of intact males, intact females, and neutered females, we find that neutered males have the highest cancer deaths as compared to the other two. This is because neutering a dog increases cancer rates significantly.

Taking all factors into account, we find that sex accounts for only a small percentage of why some dogs live longer than others and what causes them to die. How you take care of the poodle— the lineage, nutrition, and exercise—plays a major role in shaping his health and overall longevity.

Will Neutering/Spaying Make My Poodle Healthier?

The simple answer: yes.

But there’s more to it than that.

Let’s start with the basics: what are neutering and spaying?

Neutering (also known as castration) is the removal of the gonads in male dogs.

Spaying (also known as ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of a female dog’s reproductive organs.

Both procedures are performed under anesthesia so that your pet can stay pain-free during recovery.

A neutered goldendoodle

Neutering or spaying your dog is one of the most important things you can do to ensure his health, both physical and mental. Here’s why.

Why is it so important?

For starters, when you neuter or spay your dog, you’re reducing their risk of certain types of cancer by as much as 90%. That’s huge! And it doesn’t just protect them from cancer—it also protects them from other diseases like pyometra (an infection in the uterus), which can be fatal if left untreated. It also helps prevent urinary tract infections and testicular cancer.

But it goes beyond that—neutering/spaying also has benefits for your dog’s behavior and overall well-being.

Because neutered dogs are less likely to roam and fight with other dogs—which means less chance of being hurt or killed by a car or another animal—there are fewer medical expenses associated with their care later on in life because they won’t need surgery or medications due to injuries sustained during fights with other animals during their years as sexually mature adults before being fixed.

Are Some Poodle Colors Healthier Than Others?

It is believed that some poodle colors, such as red poodles, phantom poodles, and parti poodles, are less healthy than other color variants of the poodle breed.

Although I would like to believe that all poodles are created equal, the stats prove otherwise.

A red black and cream poodle

Because people demand red poodles more than they do other colors, there are a lot of breeders trying to cash in on the market. This has created an environment where unhealthy poodles are bred to produce as many red poodles as possible to meet the demand.

This is the same with parti poodles and phantom poodles. Their recent popularity has increased the demand for these unique-looking dogs.

However, if you choose to go with a responsible breeder who health tests their dogs before breeding them and tries to eradicate the breed’s primary issues, then your chances of getting an unhealthy dog should drop significantly.

In general, poodles come in a variety of colors, and their health depends on the individual needs and circumstances of these dogs—such as how much exercise they get, and what sort of diet they are given among other factors.

Recommended Tests for Poodles

A vet doing a routine check on a miniature poodle

Poodles are great dogs. They’re smart, they’re active, and they’re fun to be around. But they can also have some health issues that require special attention. Here are some of the recommended tests you should make sure your poodle gets done.

Recommended Tests for Standard Poodle

For Standard Poodles, these are some of the recommended tests you can get to help ensure your standard poodle’s health:

  1. Hip Dysplasia: OFA or PennHIP Evaluation
  2. Yearly Eye Exam
  3. OFA Thyroid Evaluation
  4. OFA Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) Evaluation
  5. Heart Evaluation
  6. DNA Test for Neonatal Encephalopathy with Seizures (NEwS)
  7. DNA Test for Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD)

Recommended Tests for Miniature Poodle

For miniature poodles, these are some of the recommended tests you can take to ensure your mini poodle’s health:

  1. DNA Test for prcd-Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  2. Yearly Eye Exam
  3. Patellar Luxation: OFA Evaluation
  4. Hip Dysplasia: OFA or PennHIP Evaluation

Recommended Tests for Toy Poodle

To ensure the health of a toy poodle, the following tests are recommended:

  1. DNA Test for prcd-Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  2. Yearly Eye Exam
  3. Patellar Luxation: OFA Evaluation

Recommended Vaccines for Poodles

The importance of vaccinating your dog cannot be overstated, as the procedure provides protection against numerous diseases that can be dangerous or even fatal.

A poodle mix getting their recommended vaccines

The state requires all dogs to be vaccinated for rabies, but there are several other vaccinations that can protect pets from serious diseases and infections.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, here is a list of vaccines that are considered Core Dog Vaccines:

Core puppy vaccinations and dog vaccinations are crucial, as all dogs face a universal risk of exposure to serious diseases. They may also spread disease to other animals—and even people!

Apart from Core Vaccines, here is a list of Non-Core vaccines that are useful to fight off some serious issues:

Although these vaccines are not as important for most dogs as the Core vaccinations, they can still be crucial to protecting your pet and keeping them healthy.

At your dog’s next appointment, talk to your vet about which non-core vaccines might be appropriate for your pet and they will review and recommend the ones that make the most sense for your poodle.

In most states, owners must have their dogs and puppies vaccinated against rabies; however, the specific time frames for puppy vaccinations and dog vaccines vary by state.

How Much Exercise Do Poodles Need to Stay Healthy?

Poodles are a very active dog breed. They need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy, so it’s important to give your poodle the physical and mental stimulation they need.

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That’s not to say that you should be running marathons with your poodle every day—that would be overdoing it! Instead, your poodle will be just as happy with walks around the block and playtime at home. As long as there is plenty of physical activity in their daily routine, they will feel content.

The question of how much exercise your poodle needs depends on the individual dog—some poodles can be couch potatoes while others speed demons! As a general rule, however, most poodles can benefit from at least 40 minutes of exercise every day.

Optimal Nutrition to Keep Poodles Healthy

Poodles are a beautiful breed and make excellent companions. But keeping a poodle healthy is not always easy.

If you want to keep your poodle healthy, you should start with the right nutrition. The best way to do this is to feed your poodle a high-quality diet that includes a variety of foods.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that not all food is created equal. Some foods are better for dogs than others, and some foods can cause health problems if they are eaten too frequently or in large quantities (such as table scraps).

Young pregnant black poodle

For example, if your dog has allergies or other digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting, you should avoid giving them table scraps because they might be causing these problems. If your dog doesn’t have any digestive issues, then table scraps may be okay on occasion but should not be given regularly or in large amounts.

In addition to keeping your dog healthy by feeding them only high-quality foods that do not cause digestive issues or allergies, there are ways that you can help them stay healthy by providing them with optimal nutrition overall including vitamins and minerals in their diet.

This will help ensure that their diet is balanced and contains all of the nutrients they need to stay healthy. It’s also important to pay attention to how much of each nutrient they’re getting, as well as how much protein or fat they’re receiving.


Here’s the thing: Poodles are healthy dogs. They live long lives and have very few health conditions to speak of. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t get sick, or that you can’t do anything to help keep them healthy for as long as possible.

The most important thing you can do is research your breed and find out what kinds of health conditions they’re prone to, so that you can prevent them from occurring in the first place. If you want to take it a step further, talk to your vet about how you can best mitigate those risks.

And remember—just because your dog has some health issues doesn’t mean he isn’t worth loving and taking care of. With some extra care and attention, you can make sure your poodle lives a long and healthy life!

Nancy Williams

👩🏻‍🦱 Hey, I'm Nancy! Over at PoodleGo, I'm "that passionate poodle lady". At home? Mom to 3 kiddos 👶🏻, ruled by 2 diva poodles 🐩, and one dramatic Persian cat 🐈‍⬛ who thinks he’s king. Poodles might seem all glam, but they’re more than just fancy fur. Dive into PoodleGo and discover the magic behind these curly superstars ✨. For some behind-the-scenes poodle tales 🐾, don't miss our newsletter 💌. Let's embark on this fluffy journey together! 💯