Standard Poodles are a dog breed unlike any other. With their fine and fancy fur coats and royal prancing gait, even people who don’t know anything about dog breeds can usually name the Poodle on sight.
What many people do not know is that Poodles are bred in three sizes today: standard, miniature, and toy. The growth pattern can be remarkably different for different sizes of poodles.
In this article, we give you a big picture overview of what to expect during your standard-size Poodle puppy’s growing up period. This will help you prepare for your Poodle’s transition from a tiny puppy to an enormous adult dog.
When Do Standard Poodles Stop Growing?
Like all large to giant breed dogs, standard Poodles have a longer growth cycle than do small to medium size dogs.
standard Poodles can take up to 24 months or even longer for your Standard Poodle to achieve their full adult height, weight, and size.
This also means that until your standard Poodle is full-grown it is vital not to over-exercise your dog to avoid damage to the bones, joints, and tissues.
Watch a Standard Poodle Grow Up from Puppyhood to Adulthood
In this owner-made YouTube video, you can watch four standard Poodles growing up from puppyhood to full-size adult dogs.
When you first see the puppies, they are about the size that a miniature Poodle adult would be. By the time they finish their growth, it is hard to believe they were ever such small puppies!
Why Do Standard Poodles Take Two Years to Grow Up?
The main reason it takes standard Poodles so much longer to reach full adult size than it takes miniature or toy Poodles is that standard Poodles have a lot more growing up to do!
These dogs are going to be very tall, which means long bones, bigger joints, and a great deal more internal development as well.
What Does the Poodle Purebred Dog Breed Standard Say About Average Poodle Size?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) keeps the most current dog breed standard for each dog breed that is AKC-registered in the United States.
The breed standard is submitted by the official dog breed club to the AKC.
The Poodle Club of America specifies that purebred adult standard Poodles will be “over 15 inches tall.”
That is it. That is the only specification that new standard Poodle owners have to go by to figure out when their Poodle puppy might be done growing.
What About Standard Poodle Adult Weight?
When it comes to estimating whether your standard Poodle puppy has achieved their full adult weight, the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed profile page does state that adult standard Poodles typically weigh between 40 and 70 pounds.
The AKC breed profile page also states that female adult standard Poodles often weigh as much as 10 pounds less than do adult males.
However, this information is nowhere to be found within the breed standard you just read about in the previous section here. It is not clear from the AKC breed profile page how this weight information was compiled.
What Is a Typical Growth Cycle Like for a Standard Poodle Puppy?
As Arpeggio Poodles breeder points out, size charts are just estimates of a Poodle puppy’s adult size.
There can be some variance that is driven by genetics, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and other factors as well.
Because the current purebred standard Poodle dog breed standard does not specify a minimum or maximum adult weight, the only standardization breeders have to go by size-wise is height.
This means that the only way to estimate what your standard Poodle puppy’s adult weight might be is to learn as much as you can about the weight of both parent dogs and guesstimate from there.
Here is a general height-based growth stages chart from Poodle Mojo breeder that you can use just to give you an idea of the major milestones of your Standard Poodle’s growth and development from puppyhood to adulthood.
It is also important to note that canine height is measured based on the dog’s height from the bottom of the paw pads to the tops of the shoulders (sometimes referred to as the “shoulder girdle” or “withers”).
Eight weeks old
The average height is 12 to 13 inches.
12 weeks old
The average height is 14 to 15 inches.
16 weeks old
The average height is 18 to 19 inches.
Six months old
The average height is 21 to 23 inches.
Two years old
The average height is 24 to 27 inches.
Is There a Reliable Way to Tell When a Standard Poodle Puppy Is Done Growing?
Other than measuring your standard Poodle puppy’s height according to the timeline you just read about, you might be wondering if there is any more reliable way to determine whether your puppy is finished growing.
Happily, there is another way to tell. But it requires taking your Poodle to the veterinarian for X-rays.
As Ready to Go Vet Rehab explains, the best way to tell if your puppy is completely finished growing is to have your dog’s veterinarian take X-rays of your dog’s growth plates.
The growth plates are special sections of the leg bones located at the very top of each long bone. They are actually made of cartilage and they stay “open” or soft until the leg bone has completely finished growing.
Your veterinarian cannot tell just by looking at your standard Poodle whether the growth plates have “closed” or hardened. The only way to tell is to take X-rays that show this area of the bone.
Once the growth plates have closed, this means your Poodle has reached their full adult height.
However, your Poodle may still continue to increase in weight and fill out after the skeleton is fully formed and the growth plates have closed.
Why Is It So Important to Know When Your Poodle Has Finished Growing?
At this point, you might be wondering what the big deal is about standard Poodle growth rates. Why is it so important to know exactly when your Poodle has finished growing?
The reason has to do with those “soft” areas at the tops of the leg bones – the growth plates.
Standard Poodles are incredible canine athletes and they love to run and jump and swim and stay active.
But if you let your still-growing standard Poodle puppy start exercising intensely before those soft growth plates have closed, there is a very real chance the growth plates and the bones or joints will be damaged.
Once the soft cartilage of the growth plates is damaged, there is no way to go in and repair it. This can cause a domino effect to where the joints and soft tissues around that bone also become malformed, with lifelong health issues being the sad result.
How Does Spay or Neuter Impact Standard Poodle Growth Rates?
As if this wasn’t already enough to worry about, the timing of when you spay or neuter your standard Poodle puppy can also have its own impact on how long it takes your puppy to grow up.
There is scientific research to support delaying spay or neuter surgery until the growth plates have hardened. This is because spaying or neutering your puppy too early also delays the closure of the growth plates.
As Animal Muscle Release Therapy explains, when the closure of the growth plates is delayed, your Poodle may keep growing beyond what is normal for the breed.
Specifically, research has shown that spaying or neutering a puppy before that puppy has had their first birthday can cause a much taller adult puppy!
Since standard Poodles are already very tall, to begin with, this is a strong encouragement to talk with your dog’s veterinarian about the best timing for the spay or neuter surgery.
Skeletal and Physical Issues Associated With Abnormal Poodle Bone Growth
Another concern is that when the bones continue to grow beyond what that puppy’s body was originally programmed to do, the surrounding soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles) may not keep up.
This can cause both a malformed appearance in adulthood and also chronic physical health problems that may be treatable but are not curable.
One of the most concerning such issues is hip, elbow, and shoulder dysplasia. Dysplasia is a condition where the major joints do not develop properly early in life.
Minor dysplasia issues are often treatable with physical therapy and medication. Major dysplasia problems are only treatable through what amounts to a full joint replacement. This is an expensive major surgery.
What Level of Exercise Is Appropriate for a Still Growing Standard Poodle Puppy?
One of the most important parts of raising a large breed puppy like the standard Poodle is knowing how much exercise is not enough, just right or too much for each life stage.
You now know that standard Poodle puppies can take up to 24 months to reach their full adult height and that the only way to know this has occurred is to have your veterinarian X-ray the growth plates in the leg bones.
But until that happens, how can you know what type and level of exercise are safe for your puppy to enjoy? After all, exercise is also important to help your puppy develop strong and healthy bones and muscles.
Plus, you want to tire your puppy out so they don’t keep you awake all night long!
See Spot Run Rehab has published a helpful guide for dog owners that you can refer to.
You can use this as a general guideline but should defer to your dog’s veterinarian for more specific guidance tailored to your own Poodle puppy’s growth progress.
12 weeks old or younger
A very young standard Poodle puppy will still be working on developing balance and learning to navigate different types of surfaces such as grass, tile, wood, concrete, etc.
You don’t want to let your young puppy try to climb stairs (up or down) or anything higher than a very gentle incline (such as up and down a driveway).
You won’t want to take your young puppy for any walks. Rather, just focus on gentle free play and let your puppy rest whenever they get tired.
Three to six months old
Starting around the age of three months, you can introduce your standard Poodle puppy to stairs.
Use leash walking sessions as training sessions and keep training sessions reasonably short.
Free play continues to be the priority to let your puppy develop better motor coordination and fitness in a self-paced way.
Six months to growth plate closure
Standard Poodles typically love to swim and swimming is a great non-load bearing fitness activity for older Poodle puppies.
You can continue leash walking at this age but for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Low jumps are also okay at this stage as long as your veterinarian agrees.
Post-growth plate closure
Once the X-rays confirm that your Standard Poodle puppy’s growth plates have closed permanently, you can allow your adult Poodle to enjoy the full range of canine athletics that Poodles typically excel in.
However, aim to keep exertion sessions short to allow for still-maturing soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Just as with your own fitness program, you want to ramp up fitness gradually to avoid injury.
There is no doubt choosing a large breed puppy as a standard Poodle comes with a longer-term commitment to overseeing healthy growth and development.
However, when you understand what is at stake and why it is so crucial to let your puppy grow up fully before doing intense exercise, it can be a lot easier to stay patient.
Your canine veterinarian should always be your ultimate resource to measure your puppy’s growth progress and ensure good health into adulthood.