The origin of the poodle breed is not known, with countries such as Germany and France laying claim to the dog's heritage. However, it is certain they originated in western Europe as water retrievers, with their thick waterproof coats making them good swimmers. Four different sizes of poodle exist today that have been selectively bred to meet size requirements.
The standard-sized poodle stands 15 inches or above at the shoulder and weighs between 45 and 70 lbs. Standard poodles are slender with long legs and a thick, curly waterproof coat. They are good-natured dogs that have a graceful gait. High intelligence makes them easy to train, and a calm friendly temperament makes them good with children and strangers. They can be trained as show dogs and as a working dog, which was the breed's original purpose.
The Klein poodle is the next size down from the standard, but is only recognized in Europe. Standing 15 inches or more at the shoulder, they are lighter than standards at between 20 to 30 lbs. The breed's coat is thick and curly, and can have colors including white, black, blue and red. They are energetic and intelligent, making them easy to train. The breed can tend to be high strung if not well-socialized and exercised.
The next size down is the miniature poodle, ranging between 11 and 15 inches at the shoulder and 15 to 17 lbs. in weight. Miniature poodles have a more squared body shape than larger poodles, with shorter legs. The breed's thick, waterproof coat can come in a range of colors including gray, cream and apricot. They are an entertaining breed with a high energy level and a love of playing. Just as smart as the larger breeds, they can easily be trained but can be willful at times.
The toy poodle is the smallest version, standing anywhere from 10 inches or below at the shoulder and weighing between 6 and 9 lbs. With an even more squared body shape than the miniature, they are slightly built with short legs. The thick, waterproof coat comes in a range of colors including brown, cafe-au-lait and red. As a small dog, they can be prone to behavioral issues and willful behavior, but a firm training hand can avoid this. They are quick to learn and loyal to their owners.