Poodle breeds include miniature, toy, medium and standard. The medium poodle is a mix between the miniature and standard breeds, but the medium poodle is not recognized by many registries. Poodles come in white, brown, black, grey and apricot. Standard poodles weigh anywhere from 45 to 70 pounds. Miniature poodles weigh between 15 and 18 pounds, and toy poodles weigh 5 to 9 pounds.

The standard poodle is considered the oldest of the three breeds and was originally used as a retriever and gun dog. Miniature poodles were used as scenting dogs for rooting out truffles. Miniature poodles were also used as lapdogs for middle- and upper-class women, as were toy poodles, which were first bred in the 18th century. However, miniature and toy poodles were also used as hunters and bred to possess tracking and herding sensibilities.

Good swimmers, poodles were first bred as water dogs in Germany. The breed was further bred in France, where poodles were used as water retrieval dogs. Poodles were eventually recognized as the national dog of the country due to their popularity. Poodles eventually became popular as show dogs and companions among the wealthy.

All of the breeds are known for being obedient and intelligent.