Poodles are one of the most recognizable dogs in the world, especially with their unique haircuts. Another well-known fact about Poodles is that they are highly intelligent dogs. But looks can be deceiving; they are also known to be quite mischievous. So what about aggression? Does this trait come naturally to the breed or are there any triggers that can set them off? Here is what you will want to know.
So, are Poodles aggressive? Poodles are not generally aggressive, although they can display acts of aggression in response to certain events and actions. For instance, out of fear. Thankfully, poodles are a highly trainable breed and aggression can typically be prevented or trained out of them through appropriate positive reinforcement techniques.
Signs of aggression include barking, snarling, lunging, and as a last resort and in worst cases, biting.
So, you’re going to recognize aggression if it were to arise.
Thankfully, this trait is rare to the breed.
And if it were to arise, the sooner you can proactively put in place a plan and strategy to overcome it, the better.
Thankfully, in most breeds, bad and unwanted behavior can be corrected, stopped, and prevented from happening again.
And with the Poodle you do have a higher chance of success due to their intelligent nature.
With this in mind,
Let us now take a closer look at the average Poodle temperament.
We will then look at some of the potential triggers that can cause aggression in this breed.
Lastly, we will be covering the best proactive approach to preventing this behavior. So be sure to keep on reading!
Average Poodle Temperament
Poodles are known to be playful, active, alert, and high-strung. They were initially bred for hunting according to the American Kernel Club (AKC), so it comes as no surprise to learn of these characteristics and their instinctual desire to retrieve.
Thankfully, while Poodles like to present themselves as proud and dignified dogs, but they love to please their owners.
They are known to be quite affectionate with their family members and can also get along well with other pets in the household if properly socialized with them.
This said, Poodles are also very intelligent and can be stubborn, with a mind of their own.
This mind sometimes gets them into trouble, thinking they’re in charge or becoming destructive when bored or full of energy.
Of course, this needs to be managed with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. This is not the breed to leave lying around the house for hours on end.
Poodles do have a tendency to become aggressive, especially if not properly trained and allowed to continue with the unwanted behavior.
How a Poodle lives, their environment, and how they are raised, can strongly determine how their temperament will be.
Poodles in a loving home, with a strong and loving owner, will less likely become aggressive.
Do Poodles Tend To Bite?
Poodles do tend to bite, more so than other breeds. For the most part, when they bite it’s for a reason, however, it is in their instincts as well. The toy version of the Poodle tends to bite more than the Miniature and the Standard Poodles.
Poodles who are not trained properly will have more of a propensity to bite.
This is one of the reasons that it is vital to get your puppy into training and socialization as soon as possible.
As previously mentioned, Poodles are easy to train due to their intelligence, though you may get a nip or two as they try to assert their dominance.
What Can Make Poodles Aggressive?
There are several factors that can make a poodle aggressive and the aggression can show up in different ways. Poodles can show one, or multiple behaviours that are considered aggressive.
Reasons for Aggression
The top ten reasons, in no particular order, are:
- Exhaustion – Just like people, Poodles can get nippy when they are exhausted.
- High Energy – This seems counterintuitive to the point above, but if they have too much energy, and no healthy way to release it, Poodles can get cranky.
- Genetics – Poodles, like some other breeds, just happen to be a breed that is more susceptible to being aggressive.
- Anxiety – Genetics ties into this factor, as well. As a breed, Poodles are more anxious than other dogs and anxious dogs will react before they think.
- Breeding – A Poodle’s environment, especially when young, can play a huge factor in their aggression. If they are weaned from Mom too soon, or are born to aggressive parents, than their propensity for being aggressive will be higher.
- Fear – Strong emotions can cause dogs, as well as humans, can react first and ask questions later. Much like anxiety, fear can make Poodles snap out.
- Behavior – Without training or socialization, especially from a young age, a Poodle can be aggressive as they don’t know any better and will continue with the bad behaviour as long as their getting away with it.
- Territorial – Poodles are used as guard dogs as they can be territorial and will often act out against strangers.
- Health Problems – If a Poodle isn’t feeling good, they can be aggressive, and it can also be tied with fear.
- Stimulation – If a Poodle isn’t stimulated, both physically and mentally, they can act out. They are highly intelligent, and they need something to do or else they will take out their frustration in a destructive way.
Aggression in Poodles can come out in several different ways.
Below are some of the warning signs you should look for.
Don’t just put them off as “dogs being dogs”, if your dog is showing aggressive behavior, you should try to put a stop to it as soon as you can.
Signs Of Aggressive Behavior
The following are ways in which you may find your Poodle being aggressive:
- Barking – Dogs bark, but it’s how a dog barks that makes it aggressive. You’ll be able to tell the difference in your Poodle’s barks and what they mean.
- Growling – In almost all cases, growling is a form of aggression, it is your Poodle’s way of giving a warning.
- Snarling – Similar to growling, snarling is a progression and is when your Poodle shows their teeth while growling.
- Lunging – This is another behaviour that your dog will do in which you need to differentiate from playful, excited, or aggressive lunging.
- Marking Territory – If you notice your dog marking their territory more often in one area, or more than normal overall, then this can be a sign of aggression. Your Poodle can be trying to assert their dominance.
- Yelping – If your Poodle is yelping and you know they are not in pain, it could be that they are frustrated or mad, and are about to snap. It could be for reasons such as a lot of arguing going on in the household, or other loud commotion.
- Biting – This should be no surprise that this behaviour is considered aggressive. There’s a difference between puppy nipping and biting. This is one behaviour that you really want to nip in the butt before it gets worse.
How To Prevent Aggression In Poodles
The number one way to prevent aggression in Poodles is also one of the easiest. Training and socialization for your Poodle puppy are imperative. If possible, having a trainer who is familiar with Poodles will help tremendously.
Don’t Adopt Too Early
Dogs learn from other dogs, including their mothers, about certain ways to act. If they do not receive these teachings, it could become a problem.
Ensuring that they stay with their mothers until they are old enough to be weaned and having interaction with other dogs can help with aggression.
Ensure that you don’t take Poodle puppies away from their Mom too soon.
Adopt From A Reputable Breeder
Also, ensure that you get your Poodle from a reputable breeder.
Check out their kennels as well as their other dogs so that you can see the environment that your puppy will be born into.
Stopping a behavior right away can help Poodles to learn what is expected of them.
Since they are highly intelligent, they learn quickly, and unwanted actions can be stopped and prevented.
Provide Love And Attention
Providing your Poodle with a loving home, one where they are mentally and physically stimulated can prevent them from being aggressive.
They are an affectionate breed and want to please their owners, so if you show them love then they will want to do whatever makes you happy.
Keep Them Occupied
Boredom and pent-up energy can be prevented by taking your Poodle for a walk, playing with them, and giving them mental activities to occupy their time.
This will help keep them from being destructive as well, saving your furniture and belongings in the process.
Behavioral, obedience, and distraction training techniques are also recommended for this breed.
Each serves a purpose; all will enable you to prevent, correct, or reduce bad behaviors and any aggressive tendencies.
A lot of these techniques can be taught from home, but you can also get in contact with an animal behavioral specialist or dog trainer should the need arise.
Poodles are very people-oriented, so if your training routines are enjoyable and positive, they will be quick to please you. Just ensure that you are consistent with your approach.
Ensure They Are Healthy And Well
One other thing to consider is that dogs may act out aggressively when sick or injured.
They may be trying to protect the wound, injury or not show any signs of weakness and vulnerability.
This usually comes about all of a sudden, or what appears to be randomly or when they are touched.
So, if you notice or suspect they are suffering, you should contact and consult a vet.
With some medication or other modifications you may find that any acts of aggression naturally subside.
Poodles are mostly known for their intelligence and the haircuts that are unique to their breed.
They are often portrayed as smart, proud dogs who can do no wrong. The reality is a little different.
While intelligence and pride are both true characteristics of Poodles, they also can be temperamental and rather aggressive.
Their aggression comes through in a variety of ways, which include biting, sniping, and snarling.
There are several factors that can lead a Poodle to become aggressive, but thankfully with proper training and attention, this behavior can be corrected.
Poodles are a smart breed and are easy to teach, so your efforts will not be in vain.
But remain vigilant.
Poodles can show more than one form of aggression and the more they are able to get away with the behavior, the worse it can get.
At the same time, providing sufficient exercise and mental stimulation is essential for keeping bad behavior at bay.
Along these lines, your Poodle should receive at least two exercise periods each day.
Walking and playing are both acceptable forms of physical activity and keep things interesting for them.
Poodles are good family dogs, if trained and socialized from a young age. They are generally great with children; being affectionate, loving, and gentle. They have a keen desire to please their owners. They are also hypoallergenic and do not usually cause issues with allergy sufferers. They do require a lot of attention, as without it they will become lonely and may begin to act out.
Poodles are likely to be mean as a learned behavior. They may have recognized that displays of aggression get them what they want. They may also have inherited this trait from their parents. This is why choosing a reputable breeder and training/socializing them around many people is so important.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.