The “Royal Poodle”- Buyer Beware

In addition to sharing information about our glorious breeds, we also try to pass along information about what a breed isn’t. 

Like the Alaskan Rottweiler, the “Excelsior Doberman,” and pretty much any “teacup (fill in the breed), the Royal Poodle is a marketing ploy of some breeders selling a Poodle that is larger than is acceptable in the AKC breed standard. That standard recognizes standard, miniature, and toy sized Poodles, and while there is no written “cap” for height in the standard Poodle’s size which can be “over 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulders,”  a “royal” Poodle  is typically over 25 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder, virtually twice the standard’s minimum height.

Some “Royal Poodle” breeders charge a premium for their larger dogs. “To the largest goes the prize,” is not how dog shows work, and thus, Royal Poodles have no advantage in a show ring. In fact, most will be ignored (if not wicketed). Royal sized Poodles are also typically thicker, heavier, have bigger feet, chest and bone structure than acceptably sized Standard Poodles.

Sometimes these large Poodles are marketed as “giant” Poodles, which at least offers some transparency, but by either name, anyone looking for their first Poodle who comes across breeders touting their “Royal” or “teacup” Poodles should steer clear if they want a Poodle that meets the standard established by people who know the breed.  If a breeder doesn’t even attempt to meet a breed standard, some might wonder what else aren’t they doing in the interest of the soundness of their puppies.

Those who already love a “Royal” Poodle should continue to enjoy their dog. Do agility, flyball or therapy dog work. Have fun with the dog, but be advised that breeding him or her – or getting a Royal Poodle expressly in the belief that you’ll get rich, or that you are improving the gene pool, is not likely.

Image: “Sheer Class” by Mark Adlington is available for purchase as wall art, home decor and lifestyle items here.  Sharing this print with this post in no way implies that the Poodle depicted is an unacceptable size.

21 thoughts on “The “Royal Poodle”- Buyer Beware”

  1. There is no limit on the height of a standard poodle other than they must be at minimum 15 inches tall. They can be much larger than 15 inches and still be up to standard like any other size when it comes to proportions as there again, is NO LIMIT on how tall a standard can be. Who wrote this article? Lol yes there is an average size that most Standards typically are but that is not the limit. By breed standard there is no limit, other than 15 inches or taller with no limit on how tall.

    • That’s what i was wondering… Royal Poodles (by definition) fit nicely within the AKC breed standard.

  2. Perhaps the PCA (they who set the AKC poodle standard) should consider establishing an upper limit in height for the standard. But while they’re at it, they should add (as in Europe) the “Klein” or Moyen”, a size between miniature and standard. I have many friends who have “oversized minis” for obedience competition, but at 15-1/2 or 16 inches they are too large to be shown in conformation as miniature poodles and too small to catch the judge’s eye in the Standard class.

  3. Also throughout German history, the larger standards HAVE been called Konig Pudeln (King Poodles aka ROYAL Poodles)…just an FYI.

  4. You show dog folks are funny!
    Some of us just like Big Dogs, and are not interested in winning shows!
    I grew up with a so-called Royal Standard Poodle, and he was great fun! Also very rough and tumble to play with. He was also more noticeable as a deterrent for intruders (first hand experience on that one) being a larger dog, and never had ANY of the illnesses that you mentioned to scare people away from buying such a dog. A competent Vet can evaluate for Hip and Knee issues by x-ray, and simple blood tests to exclude Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism – I test people every workday for the same hormonal deficiencies. I wouldn’t buy a dog with those issues.

    In any event, I suppose if you’re interested in winning the Westminster Dog Show, these things are important to you, these naming labels matter. Some of us just like Big Dogs with the temperament and non-allergenic features of the Poodle. Smile and enjoy them!

    • We don’t disagree, doc, but not every breeder of Royals is upfront, and what you refer to as scare tactics is our way of advising readers to ask lots of questions before getting any dog, let alone one that doesn’t have an AKC breed standard to serve as a guide. For what it’s worth, conscientious breeders who show their dogs breed for soundness, a dog that meets a breed standard enabling the dog do the job for which it was created. The end result should be a balanced, structurally sound dog who would do well at a show, in the field, or as a family companion.

  5. In French the Standard Poodle IS a `royal` poodle. (Caniche Royale)… It is possible in French speaking countries- or bilingual countries that breeders`whose primary language is French that they are doing a direct translation from one language to another.

    All of this should be obvious once a buyer actually researches their breed. As they should before purchase. This goes twice for selecting a breeder…

    • Thanks for an informative comment. Steph, and for the important reaffirmation that researching a breed and breeder are so important!

  6. Hi Robert
    Thank you for your post.
    Do you know of a reputable breeder for a large standard poodle that does not have the three medical issues that you listed?

    I have a 9 year old Standard Poodle 65 lbs and would like a companion for him at least the same size if not bigger.

    Sadly my dog has had numerous health issues and I would like to be careful to seek a reputable breeder the next time I get a large Standard poodle. Any feedback appreciated.

      Tes Ingebritson
      142 Zimmerhanzel Rd.
      Flatonia, TX 78941

      I’m in the process of getting my second Royal Standard Poodle. She’s a great breeder, honest and caring. I highly recommend her.
      Sherald Newberry

      • I also have a RSP from Tes. She is a great breeder with concern for where her dogs go. She also states on her website that “royal” is descriptive, not an AKC designation. My HannaH is great, @ 7 years old, 25 inches and 60 lbs (not overweight, a great size and very solid and strong).

        Fabulous website, whether you buy from her or not.

        Royal standard

  7. We had a “Royal” red poodle for not quite 10 years. He was the best dog I’ve ever owned. Incredibly smart. Loved to learn. Taught him German commands in less than 10 minutes at around 7 or 8 y.o. Put painters tape on the kitchen floor and told him “no”. Never crossed it even when it was removed. His bark was enough to get people to leave the house and do it quickly. Yet he was a loveable dog. He took a bit of me the day he passed. Maybe a lot of me.

    Having said the above, I can tell you he had health issues. He developed some sort of anemia that almost killed him at 6 months old. Spun blood clots that gave him paralysis in his back legs (temporarily: aspirin worked). Steroids fused his growth plates at about 8 months. He survived. Twisted his stomach while he was at a kennel. Emergency surgery. He survived. Had a heart murmur that the Vet said usually doesn’t kill them. It finally did him. Vet said he went out on his own and was surprised he lived that long.

    I have his ashes. My family can scatter his with mine. Probably along with the female (normal standard) we have now. She’s great too but different. Just gotta love standard poodles.

    • I have large healthy standards and and have had for years–upwards of 100 lbs. However, my first standard was a silver 17 1/2 in, small. My Dad and She had the same birthday and she died two days after he did. That was 1982 and I still cannot talk about her without tears. She was my everything and there has never been another one like her.

  8. We have a female Standard Poodle on the small side at 40’ish pounds 4.5yrs old. Brought her home at 8 weeks. I think a good breeder … I asked many questions, I researched all the questions I should ask a breeder. If they became vague, I moved on. I wanted a “Moyen” size (I’m a native French speaker … it’s just French for “Medium” size.) The breeders knew that, so I think they gave us the smallest of the litter. They didn’t let us see the other puppies in the litter, nor where they ‘lived’. I didn’t like that part but went with it as we’d travelled 4 hrs by car to get the puppy. Didn’t want to be too pushy and the puppy was … well, a beautiful puppy! She’s amazing – we adore her.
    MY QUESTION: our breeders also show their Standard Poodles which is 1) great as they must abide by the rules but 2) that means, in the US (NOT in Europe), they have to cut the dog’s tail to conform to the requirements for showing a Standard Poodle (in the US). That means that as a puppy 1-4 weeks old they have their tail cut. OUCH. Why is putting them through this barbaric, painful process necessary?
    I would like to get another Standard Poodle from a great breeder who does NOT cut their tail. Please let me know if you know of such a breeder. Thanks

  9. I have large healthy standards and and have had for years–upwards of 100 lbs. However, my first standard was a silver 17 1/2 in, small. My Dad and She had the same birthday and she died two days after he did. That was 1982 and I still cannot talk about her without tears. She was my everything and there has never been another one like her.

    • There are those dogs – heart dogs, we call them – who forever leave a hole in our hearts that never seems to heal. As sorry as we are for your loss all those years ago, we think you were blessed to have her.

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