Whether they are standard, miniature or toy, the little balls of fluff also known as poodle puppies are almost too cute for words. Because of the "cuteness factor," it can be hard for a potential poodle owner to choose the right puppy.
To further complicate the puppy-choosing process, the owner-to-be, especially a first-time owner-to-be, can be overwhelmed by complicated or conflicting advice on what to look for when choosing a new canine family member. Fortunately, the basics of poodle puppy selection are not too difficult to understand.
Take an honest friend with you, someone who knows beforehand what you want in your adult poodle. While your heart is melting at the box full of button-eyed fluffy cuteness, your friend can stay objective and keep you focused.2
Meet the parents. The best indication of how your poodle puppy will act as an adult is to observe how her parents act now. Ask yourself: Are they friendly? Fearful? Aggressive? Do they display the temperament you want for your dog? If you cannot see and interact safely with both parents, do not get your puppy from this breeder. Tell your honest friend this rule in advance so she can remind you if you weaken.3
Consider the puppy's temperament. Poodles are smart, friendly, cheerful dogs, and puppies should already show the beginnings of those traits. A poodle puppy who cowers in the corner and is afraid to approach you may never grow up to be a happy, confident dog. Likewise, a puppy who constantly barks and tries to seriously attack your shoelaces (not in play) will also not likely grow into the loving, safe pet you want. Look for--and have your honest friend look for--a puppy that is curious, friendly and eager to interact with you.4
Pick a healthy puppy. Even though you are not a veterinarian, you can still make some educated guesses about your potential puppy's health. A poodle puppy with a runny nose, runny eyes, a cough or evidence of diarrhea is not a healthy puppy. If you see any of these symptoms, say, "thank you" to the breeder and look for your new best friend elsewhere.5
Let your heart decide. Honest friend and good advice aside, if you lose your heart to an adorable ball of fluff that's just fallen asleep in your lap, you've probably got the puppy for you. Poodles of all sizes are pretty healthy dogs, so your puppy will be part of your family for a long time. In order to be happy together for that long, sometimes the heart just needs to take over.