Labrador vs. Poodle – Which Breed is Better?

As a dog lover myself, I love looking into the traits of different dog breeds. Recently, I’ve been comparing Labradors and Poodles to figure out which of these breeds is better.

Well, it won’t be right to name one dog breed better than the rest. But of course, everyone has a preference depending on their lifestyle and needs. Both of these breeds are great for new dog owners. Labradors are exceptionally easy to groom whereas Poodles are not very needy. Both are good around kids and also very playful.

If you really want to look deep into each of these breeds, you’re at the right place! The following comparison will help you decide which of these dogs will be a better choice for you.

Quick Comparison

There is a lot that you need to know before deciding whether you want a Labrador, a Poodle, or both! But first, let’s quickly go through a brief introduction of both these breeds.

Labradors are usually referred to as Labs. They are purebred, extremely friendly, and recognized by major dog clubs. The American Kennel Club lists Labs as a sporting breed whereas the FCI group recognizes them as a part of the retrievers. Generally, they are a part of gun dogs. As for their origin, Labradors have roots in England and Canada.

Labradors are easy to train. Their athletic nature contributes to their high energy. One unique feature of Labs is their fishing skills. Fishermen usually send out Labs into the water to grab the fish and bring it back. These skills are equally prominent in hunting birds and waterfowl.

Poodles, on the other hand, are companion dogs. They are also known as:

  • French Poodle
  • Caniche
  • Grosse Pudel

There are a few more names too. However, the most common and well-known one is simply Poodle. These dogs are a highly popular choice among dog lovers. Moreover, these purebred dogs originated from Germany and France. The American Kennel Club recognizes Poodles as a non-sporting, toy breed. The FCI group mentions Poodles in the list of Toy and Companion dogs.

These dogs come in three sizes; miniature, toy, and standard. As you would have already guessed, Poodles are tiny which makes them even more adorable! They look like a dog that needs a luxurious, smooth life. But in reality, they are pretty strong. Not only are they great hunters, but they are also exceptional swimmers. High levels of intelligence and obedient nature make training them a piece of cake.

Physical Features of Poodle (Video)


Physical Features

Let’s start with the physical traits of either breed. You should be well aware of how your pet is going to look like. The most important features to consider are:

  • size
  • weight
  • height

First, let’s take a look at Labradors. They are short dogs with what is described as an ‘expressive’ personality. However, they are a large breed. Male Labradors grow to a height between 22-25 inches whereas females grow 21-24 inches. Males tend to weigh heavier than females. A male is between 29 kg and 36 kg while a female is somewhere between the range of 25 kg and 32 kg.

Labs come in black, chocolate, and yellow colors. All three are equally adorable. There aren’t a lot of choices here but to be honest, there is no need considering how attractive their dense coat looks regardless of the color. Moreover, their coat is also weather-resistant! The build of Labradors is absolutely perfect. A broad skull smoothly transitions into a sharp jaw. With that, a perfectly shaped short tail gives Labradors a clean look. Their eyes are very attractive. These eyes give off a friendly and kind vibe.

Moving on to Poodles, they are a medium breed. Poodles are known for their curly, dense coat. It may not look like it but the coat is very rough and harsh. Grooming this coat is not only tricky, but it is also an important determining factor in the dog’s swimming skills. These dogs can grow to a height between 13 and 18 inches, regardless of their gender. However, there is a difference in weight in males and females. While male Poodles can weigh up to 34 kg, females do not exceed a limit of 28 kg.

As for their bodies, they are pretty athletic and square. But, their coat can help you play around with how they look. The way it is groomed can make their faces look rounder, their bodies look chubbier, and their legs look skinnier! Poodles come in many colors including black, white, apricot, red, brown, black and white, black and tan, grey, silver, blue, sable, and cream.

Training and Learning Ability

Labradors have been named the most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club. This is proof enough that these dogs make great pets. The list of reasons why Labs are so well-loved is long. But one of the major reasons is that they are easy to train. You can start training your Labrador from the age of 8 weeks. Basics such as household manners and commands to sit or stay can be taught in these early days. Some people like to wait until their dog gets around the age of 6 months. But, this can be a bit too late. Here’s the thing:

The first 6 months are when learning is the most effective. That’s why the sooner you start, the quicker your dog will learn.

As for complex training, you should wait a couple of more weeks. Start training for leash walks around 12 weeks. Keep your training methods as positive as possible. Do not opt for punishing methods. Appreciations in the form of words and treats will work best.

Poodles are along the same line in terms of training. Despite their fancy looks, the training process of Poodles is rather simple. All you have to do is include lots of treats in the process and follow a plan. Consistency is key. Usually, when one person is training the dog, there is a similar tone. Make sure to keep your training tactics in line so that the dog doesn’t get confusing signals.

Pretty much the same age limits can be followed with Poodles as with Labradors. Once again, keep the training appreciative instead of punishing. Do not scold the dog if it does something against your command. Instead, offer extra praise when it does follow your order. Since Poodles are smart, they will get the hang of your desired behavior pretty quickly.

What to Feed Poodles and Labradors

Both Poodles and Labradors are energetic and active. Therefore, both need to be fed enough under proper consideration. Their high energy could force them to want to eat more but it is your duty to keep their diets balanced. The amount of food and timing of meals are equally important factors. This is important information that you need to know beforehand so that you are prepared for what’s to come when you get the dog of your dreams!

High protein and fat content are mandatory for Labradors, especially during the first year. On the contrary, carbohydrates have to be avoided throughout their life. This doesn’t mean you should entirely remove carbs from their diet. Just keep the quantity low. Of course, avoid fillers and artificial ingredients at all costs. Make sure your Labrador drinks enough water since they are very bad at keeping themselves hydrated.

It is recommended to opt for sensitive-digestion foods for Poodles. Their sensitive stomachs can react to a number of ingredients, although this varies from dog to dog. Moreover, since Poodles come in three sizes, namely toy, miniature, and standard, their food should also be relevant to their size. Poodle puppies should be given up to 5 meals per day. But as they grow, reduce the caloric intake since they are no more in the growing phase. Around 2 to 3 meals per day are perfect for adult Poodles.

As for the food form, kibbles are definitely preferable for both breeds.  Not only do they keep the dog’s teeth in check, but there is also a lesser chance of overfeeding kibbles. Also, kibbles are cheaper, easier to store, convenient to feed, and travel-friendly. The total caloric requirement of your dog depends on its weight, age, and activity. You can confirm this with your vet for a definite answer. Divide the total calories into 4 to 5 meals per day.

Behavior Analysis

If you ask me, this feature is the decisive factor when finalizing a pet. Here’s the thing:

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how cute the dog is, how many cuddles it gives or how difficult it is to feed.

What matters is that it is obedient enough to be a loving companion instead of causing continuous hassle. No one would want to return home from work to a naughty pet who is likely to create a mess and show tantrums.

Labs are playful. You shouldn’t expect your Labrador to sit around all day. Instead, be ready to deal with their warm and affectionate personality. They are very energetic. Although, one great thing is that since they are intelligent and well-trained, they won’t bug their owners continuously all day long. But of course, they will love all the attention you give them. They are rather social dogs so strangers won’t bug them. In case they are misbehaving, a quick reprimand can fix their behavior. Their obedient nature makes them well-behaved for the most part.

Poodles, much like Labs, love attention. However, one difference between Poodles and Labradors is that if Poodles don’t get their attention, they will resort to attention-seeking habits such as unwanted barking. They also dislike being alone so if you’re not at home for long hours, a Poodle is not the right choice for you. Moreover, as affectionate as Poodles are towards the people they are familiar with, they equally dislike being around strangers. A gathering of unfamiliar people can trigger aggression. Other than that, Poodles are very lively. They love playing and are highly energetic too.

Health Issues

Busy pet parents cannot really manage a pet that is likely to get sick often. The health concerns of either breed are discussed below so you know how much care your dog will be expecting from you.

Labradors have a life span of 10 to 13 years whereas Poodles can live for 12 to 15 years. Both breeds are prone to minor health risks which may end up being fatal if not treated properly. Keep in mind that just because the breed has a potential health risk does not mean that your dog will definitely go through it. With precautions, a good diet, and care, these problems can be avoided.

The most common health problems in Labs are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataract
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Retinal dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia

As for Poodles, the health risks to look out for are:

  • Collapsed trachea
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Epilepsy

Other Related Questions

Which dog is the healthiest?

Health risks are a major issue among dogs. As a pet owner, it gets rather challenging if your dog gets sick often. It is emotionally challenging and can also be hard on the pocket. Among all dog breeds, the Australian Cattle Dog is known to be the healthiest. The Australian Shepherd is next in line, followed by English Springer Spaniel.

What breed of dog is the dumbest?

A dumb dog is neither fun nor obedient. Afghan Hounds are labeled as dumbest dogs. This is because they are hard to train, they don’t understand commands, and also get nervous often. Other than Afghan Hounds, Beagles and Chow Chows also fall in this category.

Are poodles smarter than labs?

The answer to this is pretty subjective, depending on what kind of smartness you’re looking for. Poodles are generally referred to as being smarter than labs but this also makes them trickier. A smart dog will know its way around boundaries. Poodles are more on the clever side. On the other hand, labs are smarter in the sense that they can understand commands easier.

Which dog is the best for a home?

The best house dogs are ones that are affectionate, easy to train, good around kids, and loyal. Poodles and Labradors are two of the best house dogs. Other than them, Bull Terrier, Golden Retrievers, and Newfoundlands are also great options.

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