Poodles are one of the most charming breeds of dogs, capable of stealing a piece of your heart forever—leaving enduring memories long after they’ve departed for the happy hunting grounds. Though it’s not something we like to think about as fur-parents, the sad truth is that our fur-babies will not live as long as us—making it prudent to prepare ourselves for the inevitable by knowing our canine friends’ expected life span.
What’s the Average Lifespan of a Poodle?
There are different types of poodles, and the life expectancy for the different types varies. The Poodle Club of America recognizes three different types as follows:
- The Standard Poodleis over 15 inches at the shoulder, averaging between 22 and 27 inches.
- The Miniature Poodle is between 10–15 inches at the shoulder, with the average being between 13 and 15 inches.
- The Toy Poodleis 10 inches or less at the shoulder.
Assuming it’s in good health, a toy or miniature poodle could live to the ripe old age of around 15 years old. The life span range for miniature poodles ranges anywhere between 10 and 17 years, and between 10 and 18 years for toy poodles.
A healthy standard poodle’s life expectancy would be around 12 years (ranging between 10 and 15 years).
Why Do Some Poodles Live Longer Than Others?
This is one of the most important aspects of the poodle’s care regime. A poor diet can lead to malnutrition and illness, conditions which may affect their longevity. Conversely, too rich of a diet or overfeeding can lead to obesity, which is a condition associated with multiple health risks.
2. Environment and Conditions
A happy dog is usually a relaxed, healthy dog. Keeping a dog happy and content is largely a function of providing them with the environment and living conditions in which all their needs are met, allowing them to thrive. The appropriate environment would need to be assessed on an individual basis. For example, one dog might flourish in a bustling, busy, and noisy householdm while another might find this environment excessively stressful.
Without exception, all dogs require clean living conditions: clean air, access to healthy food, and fresh water; as well as regular exercise, mental stimulation and, of course, lots of love!
3. Living Quarters
A toy or miniature poodle may be more comfortable living as an indoor doggie, while a standard poodle may prefer to spend the majority of their time outdoors and keeping active. Regardless of this, the chosen living arrangement should be comfortable, warm, and clean—having access to high-quality food and fresh, clean water at all times.
If these basic conditions are not present, the result could be physical, mental, and/or emotional distress, which are factors that could all shorten a doggie’s life.
In general, small dogs tend to live longer than big dogs. As mentioned, a larger standard poodle would generally not be expected to live as long as either a toy or miniature poodle. Likewise, if your standard poodle is a particularly big guy or gal, although it’s not a given, you might consider that his or her size may result in a shorter-than-average expected lifespan.
Under normal circumstances, there is no indication that sex plays a role in longevity, however, it has been noted that sterilization status does. Female dogs that have been spayed live 23% longer than unspayed females on average, while neutered males live roughly 18% longer than unneutered males.
6. Genes and Breeding History
Like most breeds, poodles are susceptible to certain diseases and health conditions. Although it’s not always possible, particularly if you are adopting a rescue, knowing the health history of the parents and even the lineage of the poodle can help to give peace of mind that they will be at lower risk of developing these genetic conditions.
Alternatively, if you are aware of certain conditions in his lineage, then provisions can be made to prepare for this eventuality. To this end, it is always a good idea to use a reputable breeder who can provide these assurances and certificates.
A poodle’s healthcare regime is also one of the most important aspects that will directly impact their longevity and quality of life. It’s important to ensure that they have all their regular and necessary veterinary checkups, as well as any other veterinary attention that will help them lead a long, healthy, and happy life.
The Four Life Stages of a Poodle
Poodles may be considered puppies up until one to one and a half years of age for the toy and miniature types, respectively, and up to two years old for the standard poodle.
Poodles enter adolescence between the ages of four to six months. This is the phase where they are still technically a puppy but transitioning into an adult.
Toy and miniature poodles are considered adults from one to one and a half years old, respectively, whilst standard poodles are only considered to be adults when they reach two years old. By this stage, they have finished growing, and the playful puppy behavior will have diminished significantly.
Toy and miniature poodles are said to be seniors around the age of eight to nine years old, while the standard poodle will officially reach senior status at seven years old.
How To Tell Your Poodle’s Age
One of the best indicators of age in a dog is its teeth. If their teeth are still bright white but they’re not a small puppy anymore, chances are they’re not older than a year old. Between three and five years old, there is likely to be some tartar buildup and a noticeable yellowing of the teeth. The older the dog, the more advanced these observations will be. A very senior dog, around 10 years old, will likely even have some teeth missing.
A dog’s appearance, shape, and athletic ability will change with age—so these are all good indicators of the progression of years. Middle-aged to senior dogs tend to carry weight around their spines, and may be starting to exhibit some occasional arthritis-associated stiffness. A very old pup indeed may exhibit geriatric atrophy, giving them an emaciated appearance. They will probably be very stiff-gaited or even partly immobile, and you can be almost certain that they are in the very twilight of their years.
Grey hairs are also a good indicator of age, particularly on the muzzle. Generally, the greater the grey coverage, the older the dog. You can also expect a decrease in athletic exuberance with the advancement of the years.
There are many factors which contribute to the longevity of your beloved poodle. The good news is that many of them lie within your realm of control. As devoted fur-parents, these are aspects of our doggies’ well-being to which our attention is devoted anyway. With all of these needs met, your poodle will live a full and happy life, and more than likely exceed their average life expectancy.
Featured Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock