The Poodle often strikes people as too fancy for hard work. So it comes as a big surprise that this curly-haired pooch actually comes from a true working dog background.
In short, these dogs are amazing athletes! They can do it all, from swimming to jumping to running flat out in a burst of speed.
In this article, we explore the topic of the Poodle dog’s top speed. How fast is a Poodle? Let’s find out!
How Fast Is a Poodle?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Poodle’s top speed is around 30 mph. This is for the standard size Poodle, the largest size this dog is bred in today.
However, miniature and toy Poodles can be quite speedy as well, which means you want to be sure your home and yard are escape-proof from day one.
Watch a Champion Poodle Run An Agility Course
The Crufts Dog Show is one of the best-known and highest-profile international canine competitions in the world.
In this video, Scrappy the Poodle does an incredible job navigating a complex agility course at top speed.
Poodles Are Amazing Canine Athletes
The standard Poodle, which was the founding original breed size and the only breed size for hundreds of years, is a truly remarkable four-legged athlete.
As the Poodle Club of America points out, there are a wide variety of canine athletic events and activities that Poodles typically enjoy and excel at.
Here are some of the suggested activities that you and your Poodle can enjoy together:
- Scenting (nose work).
- Field events.
- Search and rescue.
- Dock diving.
Not only can getting involved in these types of canine sports help your Poodle burn off all that energy so you can enjoy a calm life at home together, but these athletic pursuits will keep your Poodle trim, fit, strong, and healthy throughout life.
Poodles Are a Great Breed Choice for Runners
As Outside Online points out, Poodles make great canine running partners if you happen to enjoy running.
Poodles are smart, energetic, and made for endurance sports such as a nice long jog.
But it is important to make sure your Poodle puppy is done growing before heading out for an extended jog together. Otherwise, there is a risk of causing irreparable bone or joint problems in later life from too much exercise too soon.
Poodles Have Always Been Gun Dogs, First and Foremost
Most people think Poodles are a French dog breed. As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, Poodles are the national canine of France today.
But the Poodle got its breed start in Germany. The very first job the Poodle had was working alongside humans as a duck-hunting dog.
This explains why Poodles are such all-around outstanding athletes. They needed to be able to run fast to retrieve prey, often by picking their way through dense underbrush and then swimming out into a very cold body of water to get the downed bird.
As Gun Dog Magazine points out, while ducks might not seem to be particularly fearsome prey, the word “duck” is generally applied to geese as well. And a wounded adult goose can make for a mighty adversary!
So Poodles had to have soft mouths so they wouldn’t mangle the game as they brought it back to their owner. They had to be fast and fearless. And they needed to be strong.
And although many people take one look at that fancy coat and assume Poodles only know how to prance around the show ring, that dense, double-layer coat has always served a surprisingly functional purpose, not unlike a water-repellant and very warm winter coat.
The Legendary Iditarod Sled Race Once Hosted an All-Poodle Sled Dog Team
Today, only certain dog breeds are even allowed to compete in the Iditarod, the iconic 1,150-mile sled dog race from Anchorage, Alaska, to the tiny town of Nome.
But once upon a time, a musher (sled dog handler) entered the Iditarod with a dog team comprised entirely of standard Poodles!
As it turned out, it was the Poodles’ coats and feet that caused the breed such troubles on the course and resulted in the team being pulled off the course. Only certain dog breeds have the paws and coats to withstand that type of extended extreme cold.
In terms of sheer athletic prowess, however, it would have been well within the Poodle’s native abilities to compete in such a race.
Why Isn’t the Poodle Classified As a Working Dog Breed in the AKC?
If the Poodle is so fast and such a fantastic canine athlete, you might be wondering why the American Kennel Club has classified this dog breed in the non-sporting group.
However, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the official purebred registration oversight group of Canada, does classify the Poodle as a sporting group breed.
As this popular Poodle Forum for owners points out, the question of why the AKC decided to place the Poodle in the non-sporting group remains unanswered.
It is possible the strange classification is because the Poodle is bred in three sizes and the miniature and toy Poodles are too little and delicate to assist with duck hunting duties.
But this is just a theory, and as such is one theory among many.
The AKC’s non-sporting group is not meant to suggest the included breeds do not have any working dog or sporting/gundog abilities but rather to indicate these are all-purpose dogs with many possible uses to people.
In this way, the non-sporting group functions similarly to a miscellaneous breed group, where the dogs are sufficiently unique to nearly require a category all to themselves. The Poodle certainly does seem to meet these criteria with such an all-around athletic skillset.
A Word of Caution About When to Get Started in Canine Athletics
While standard Poodles, in particular, are high-energy dogs that love running and jumping and swimming and hiking and staying active, you want to be cautious about letting your dog exercise too much too soon.
Like most large and giant size dog breeds, standard Poodles grow up more slowly than do smaller dog breeds.
As Poodle Mojo breeder explains, it can easily take 18 to 24 months before a standard Poodle puppy has reached adult height.
Since Poodle growth is only measured by height and not by weight or body size, it is the height that will be your most important measurement for determining when your Poodle puppy is fully grown.
But height is not the only measurement you need to track. As Ready to Go Vet Rehab explains, at the end of each long leg bone is a soft bit of cartilage called a growth plate. The growth plate is what tells the bone when to stop growing.
When your Poodle is done growing, the growth plate will harden, and your dog’s skeleton will stabilize. If your Poodle is allowed to exercise too enthusiastically or vigorously before this occurs, there is a risk of permanent skeletal and joint damage.
Your canine veterinarian can do X-rays to verify that the growth plates have closed and your dog has reached their full adult height. After this occurs, it is safe to enroll your Poodle in any canine athletics you want to participate in.
Start Your Poodle Out Slow and Build Up to Endurance Sports
Even though Poodles are natural athletes, you don’t want to just start out from day one to run a marathon with your dog.
Just like human athletes, canine athletes need to work their way up to becoming good at endurance sports. Your dog needs to build strength little by little like you would.
For example, if you want to jog with your Poodle, don’t go three miles the first day. Start with a quarter or half a mile of jogging and do the rest as a walk. Gradually work up to the three-mile mark to give your dog’s muscles time to heal.
Training Your Poodle Athlete
Poodles are not only great canine athletes, but they are also top scorers in overall canine intelligence, according to Science Alert.
In fact, in one respected intelligence test, Poodles came in second in dog smarts out of 79 purebred dog breeds, according to nearly 200 expert canine trainers. This means Poodles are predisposed to learn quickly and be eager students.
So you shouldn’t have any trouble training your Poodle to learn new tricks and compete in canine athletics involving endurance, agility, problem-solving, and persistence.
However, because Poodles are so smart and sensitive, you only want to use positive (reward-based) training methods when training your puppy.
This way, you will motivate your Poodle to race to the finish line at top speed because they want to please you.