Are standard poodles good tracking dogs

Are standard poodles good tracking dogs?

Poodles are sometimes said to be good tracking dogs. Are they? The answer is not simple, and I will do my best to explain why in this article.

I am a dog owner and I love my standard poodle. They are considered as one of the best dogs for tracking, so why not use them as such? Tracking is an important skill to have if you want to find something that has been lost or misplaced.

It’s also a good exercise for your pup! If you’re looking into getting a standard poodle and need some help figuring out which breed would be right for you, this blog post will help provide insight on what they can do.

What are standard poodles?

Standard poodles are dogs that conform to the breed standard of height and weight. 

There are several sizes of poodle, but the only one considered a “standard” size is the one that stands around 38-40 centimeters (15-16 inches) at the shoulder. I will not be discussing any other size in this article.

Why would you want to use a standard poodle as a tracking dog?

Standard poodles are perhaps best known for their search and rescue work. The standard poodle is well capable of carrying out such work, or at least it can be said that they could if this kind of work was done in modern times.

Today we find many working dogs dedicated to SAR work.

For this kind of job the ideal dog is the one that has the most powerful nose, is brave and hardy, works well under difficult conditions (cold/wet/snow), can work even when exhausted, and doesn’t need to be trained for it.

Many of these qualities are found in standard poodles. A poodle’s nose is said to be so good that they can even find people under the snow. 

Poodles are very intelligent and learn tricks quickly (like turning on lights, opening doors, etc.).

They will work even when tired, but only on their terms. They are good in bad weather conditions. And they are easy to train (poodles that are, not the work itself).

Having all of this in mind makes it sound like standard poodles would be really good tracking dogs if anyone ever decided to train them as such. But… why don’t we use them today?

Why can’t we use standard poodles as tracking dogs?

The first problem with standard poodles is their size. Dogs this small will not be able to find lost people or even simply run around looking for them. They are too small and delicate for that kind of work.

Another problem is that they are (were) very expensive compared to other working breeds like the German Shepherds. 

This means that we would need to put up an expensive training program and pay trainers, veterinarians, and other people involved in the job (like the one who trains gloves to lost persons). And this is not cheap.

Of course, you could always get a dog from a shelter, but such dogs will never be as good as the one who is carefully bred for this task. 

So when speaking about poodles, standard or not, you will never hear anyone suggest them as tracking dogs. The only time that they will come up is in the context of their work in search and rescue teams.

So are standard poodles good tracking dogs?

No, they’re not. Not as such and not without proper training (which is both expensive and time-consuming). 

Poodles were never meant to do this kind of work so expectations should always be low when it comes to this breed.

If you are looking for a dog to do search and rescue work, then they might be good. 

But they will never be able to carry out that kind of work on their own or without training which is both very expensive and time-consuming. 

The only thing standard poodles can ever be good at is searching for food and other household items.

If you’re looking for a dog to join your SAR team, then by all means get a standard poodle! 

But if you want a tracking dog or even just an ordinary pet, don’t even consider the standard poodle. Get yourself something bigger and more capable.

How do you train a standard poodle to track?

This is a very difficult question to answer. I’ve seen many people who train their poodles to track, but never for real search and rescue work. 

It’s my opinion that this kind of training can be done, but only with the right equipment (good knowledge of dog training, good dogs, etc.) and by very experienced trainers. 

I’ve seen people do such work with other breeds, but never with poodles. It’s possible, but very difficult and not advised by me.

Are there any risks or disadvantages that come with using a standard poodle as a tracking dog?

As with all pet breeds, it’s also possible that your standard poodle might have a genetic disorder. 

I can’t tell you exactly what disorders they might have since I’m not a vet nor a breeder.

But if this isn’t enough to convince you, there’s always the fact that tracking training for poodles is very, very difficult and that it takes a lot of extra effort.

The pros and cons of owning a standard poodle as a tracking dog?

The best thing about standard poodles is that they are very, very smart. If you train them for this kind of work then they can do anything.

The worst thing about owning a poodle is that it will cost you lots of money and time to get them trained for search and rescue.

It’s not something anyone could just pick up so you should expect to pay a lot of money.

But if you’re interested in getting one then I advise that you don’t get it for this kind of work.

Just get yourself something else, like an ordinary German shepherd or Labrador retriever. They will love the job while poodles might not be up for all this effort.

Of course, if you have a lot of money and a very good knowledge of dog training then I see no problem in getting one. But again, be prepared to work for this.


We hope you have enjoyed this article on the qualities of a good tracking dog, how to train your dog for tracking, and the benefits of owning a standard poodle. If you are looking into getting one then please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns that may arise in our comments section below!

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