Are Poodles Good Guard Dogs? 

Poodles come in many sizes, from the tiny tea-cup sized to the larger standard Poodles. A larger dog may be more intimidating, but are Poodles aggressive towards strangers, and are poodles good guard dogs? That very much depends on what you think about when you think about guard dogs and the Poodle personality. 

If you are looking for a dog that will alert you to strangers arriving at your door (or in your garden) by barking loudly, then a Poodle could be pretty useful as a guard dog! But does that mean Poodles are aggressive? Continue reading to learn more about Poodle personality, Poodle temperament problems, and poodles pros and cons!

poodle with blouse

Are Poodles Aggressive?

First, we should establish something: An adult Poodle, or any dog breed for that matter, should not be aggressive without an excellent reason. But what is aggressiveness, and why does it happen? 

If you look up the definition of aggression, it is; “…interaction with the intent of inflicting damage”. Humans consider aggression when dogs growl, often barking or growling, towards other dogs, humans, or even objects. 

However, this behavior in dogs rarely stems from a wish to inflict damage. It is, on the contrary, the dog’s way of “shouting” that it wants more space. The dog didn’t necessarily intend to cause harm. It wants more space- but it comes across as aggressive and wanting to bite and harm.

“Aggressiveness” and Poodle temperament problems appear for a multitude of reasons. However, when a dog displays aggressive behavior, it is, at the bottom line, a stress or fear response- often a combination of the two. 

The Poodle temperament is typically not very aggressive in the word’s true definition, but they do tend to become stressed and anxious. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is sometimes more commonly seen in the smaller types of the breed, the toy, and miniature Poodles, than in the standard Poodle temperament. 

But there isn’t any simple rule of thumb.  

A quick Poodles pros and cons on Poodle behavior would probably look like this: 


  • Intelligent. 
  • Sociable. 
  • Hardworking. 


  • Easily stressed. 
  • Needs frequent grooming. 
  • Easily bored.

However, as a general rule, Poodles are not an aggressive breed!  

Addressing Poodle Temperament Problems

Like all dog breeds, some can have Poodle temperament problems. Poodles are often associated with being nervous and anxious, but there can be many reasons why your Poodle has behavioral issues. 

You can address specific Poodle temperament problems at home by looking up solutions online and talking to friends and family. However, quite a few Poodle temperament problems need the help of a professional to be addressed (and resolved correctly). 

Your veterinarian is the best place to start if your poodle displays temperament problems. Make sure your Poodle isn’t becoming aggressive due to undiagnosed pains or ailments. Humans are often grumpy when in pain or discomfort- our dogs aren’t much different!

Suppose your veterinarian cannot find any reason that may cause your dog to have issues. In that case, the next step is a dog trainer or a behavioral therapist, depending on the severity.

A dog trainer will often give you some great advice, but if the issues are more severe, a behavioral therapist specializing in dogs is the best way to address the problems.  

The Average Poodle Temperament

When I first took my Poodle to an obedience class, I told them I wanted to use him for dog sport. The trainer, who owned large dogs, looked at my Poodle and stated: Poodles are only good for looking pretty. That is not true. 

For whatever reason (maybe it’s the Disney movies with the pink Poodle?), Poodles are often considered “sissy” dogs. That is one of the biggest myths.

A  Poodle personality is generally a breed personality that adapts amazingly easily to your lifestyle and what you can offer them when it comes to exercise and training. But rule number one when owning a Poodle: Your Poodle will outsmart you now and then. It is in their DNA. 

When measured on trainability, Poodles are one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. Making Poodles of all sizes highly suitable for dog training of all types, whether regular obedience classes, rally obedience, or nose work- your Poodle will probably enjoy all of it! 

Being so bright also means that all Poodles need mental stimulation. You don’t have to drag yourself out to the training field in the pouring rain three times per week, but your Poodle will need some stimulation to be happy. This can be done at home, in your garden, on the walk, or even indoors; only your creativity will limit you. 

However, if you are interested in dog sports, the poodle is the perfect breed. With their Poodle personality, trainability, energy, and excellent work drive, your Poodle is likely to excel in anything you attempt with it. But, trust me, you will be the weakest link in your partnership when it comes to dog sports! 

Going on from trainability, we have talked about how adaptable the Poodle personality is. This is very true, but all Poodles will need some exercise. The larger Poodles will often need more than the smaller ones, but you should take out all Poodles for several daily walks.

Their exact energy levels vary from moderate to high, requiring long and brisk walks. If you are the active type, your Poodle will likely also love to come with you for a run, a swim, or running next to the bike- when they are fully grown!

Luckily, most Poodles that get plenty of regular exercise will also love to spend lots of time napping on your couch when indoors. 

Poodles are generally loyal and extremely attentive dogs. If you find it annoying that your dog follows you to the toilet when you get up in the night, don’t get a Poodle. A Poodle will often love and adore the whole family but will bond especially to one person in the household. 

Being so closely bonded to their family, all Poodles need a lot of daily companionships. As a result, one of the classic Poodle traits is that they are very sociable. They are therefore not a dog breed suitable for living outdoors alone. 

However, be aware that even a Poodle that gets plenty of attention may still be prone to loneliness and even anxiety when left alone, so make sure you teach your Poodle to be alone from when they are very young. 

Lastly, Poodles are a pretty sensitive breed. Some individuals may even be a little over-sensitive. Choosing a knowledgeable breeder and socializing your Poodle from a young age is the best way to prevent future issues. 

But even the most socialized Poodle can become a little nervous at times, so remember, don’t ever shout at your Poodle. 

Attempt to always be calm and positive with your Poodle, and it will reward you with unconditional love and an impressive willingness to please you. 

Poodle dog running

The Different Types of Aggression in Poodles

We’ve all seen dogs barking and growling at the end of their lead, but there are many ways dogs can display aggression towards other people, dogs, or even objects. Here are some of the most commonly seen aggressive behaviors. 


Most dogs will bark at some point in their life. Of course, some dogs will bark more than others. Barking can be aggressive behavior, but it can also just be your dog being very excited and happy and letting you know it! 

Persistent barking at one object, person, or dog, however, is often your dog’s way of telling you “something is wrong or scary about this”- it is your dog’s way of defending itself, or you, from whatever is scaring it. 

Often dogs are, unfortunately, rewarded when barking because the object will often “run away.” For example, it may be another dog out on a walk you are scared of and barking at. This dog will then be dragged on by its owner, thereby “rewarding” your barking dog. This makes aggressive barking a challenging behavior to curb. 

Staring and Stiffness 

An uncertain or scared dog will often “stiffen” and stare at the object, making it nervous. This could be because your dog is a little unsure of what is happening and is assessing the situation, but staring straight at another dog with a stiff body- sometimes with a stiffly wagging tail- could be a sign that your dog is becoming aggressive. 


Some dogs may make a “growling” sound when playing with other dogs. As long as their body language is otherwise relaxed and the play is equal, this isn’t something to be worried about. 

Suppose your dog’s body language is very stiff and your dog is growling. In that case, it is aggressive behavior, and you should attempt to get your dog’s attention and remove it from the situation. 


Unlike growling, snarling is when your dog is growling and showing its teeth. This is not playfulness and should be stopped immediately. Not because your dog isn’t allowed to defend itself if necessary, but because the situation can become quite dangerous for all involved quite soon. 

Snapping and Biting 

Biting can be playful amongst dogs, especially when they are puppies. However, snapping and biting other people and dogs can be a sign of aggressive behavior and should at all times be avoided if possible. 

Biting is often a dog’s very last resort. You may not have seen it, but your dog will have been telling the other dog, person, or object to move away long before biting by sending some small signals. Some of these signals can include: 

  1. Yawning. 
  2. Licking its lips. 
  3. Turning its head away. 

If your dog is doing any of these things around other dogs, it may be very well worth removing your dog from the situation. Perhaps another dog is making it uncomfortable, or maybe it has just had enough and needs a break from play-fighting. Listen to your dog; they’re talking to us more than we know! 

10 Reasons Behind Poodle Aggression and How to Remedy Them

Although aggression isn’t common in Poodles, it can happen. Here are some of the most common reasons why a Poodle may become aggressive: 


Some breeds are more prone to aggression, but some lines also become more aggressive than others. Some lines are more suitable for sport and ideal for the show ring. It’s all genetics. A good breeder will know their dogs and will not breed aggressive dogs, no matter how healthy and great they otherwise are, but it does happen. 

The best way to remedy aggressiveness that occurs in several individuals within a genetic line is to seize the breeding of these dogs. 

Poor Upbringing 

The first eight weeks of our dog’s life are essential for becoming a healthy adult Poodle. If your Poodle was born into an abusive environment, for example, at a puppy mill, it will likely be more at risk of becoming aggressive. This can also occur if your Poodle has been weaned too soon. 

You can remedy a neglectful environment through lots of love and training. If it is severe, You may need a behavioral therapist, though. 

Lack of Mental Stimulation

Poodles are very intelligent dogs. If they are not mentally stimulated, they may display aggressive and destructive behavior due to boredom and hyperactivity. 

A dog trainer once told me: A happy dog is a tired dog. This statement may be a little too black-and-white for every situation in dog lives, but it is partly true and worth remembering. If you struggle with ideas to activate your furry friend, the internet is luckily awash with good ideas!

Lack of Activity

As they are pretty high-energy dogs, your poodle will need to go for long walks and have time off-lead where they can run around. If not, they may start displaying unwanted behavior due to being hyperactive.


Leading nicely from my last point, life with dogs isn’t black-and-white, and too much activation can also lead to aggressive behavior. Luckily though, this is one of the more benign causes of aggression. Often it will pass when your Poodle has had some time to relax and recover from their tiredness. 


Many Poodles are quite sensitive dogs, making them anxious if they aren’t socialized properly. Being nervous and scared is sometimes a Poodle trait that can lead them to become aggressive to make the “scary things” go as far away as possible. However, you can help your Poodle’s anxiety and poodle temperament problems through a lot of training! 


Anxiety and fear are two entirely different things. Anxiety can often be helped and curbed in the situation. If your dog is already scared and fearful, you will have to remove it from the situation to avoid aggressive behavior immediately. 

If your dog is scared and fearful, it may react with aggressive behavior, like biting, to get out of the situation if you don’t help. Fear-induced aggression is a profoundly innate fight-or-flight response. Consistent fearful behavior can become very hard to train away, and you will need the help of a professional.  


If your dog is in pain, it may become aggressive. Your dog will do this as a way of staying alive and protecting itself from more pain. For example, if your Poodle is suffering from a painful back, petting it on its lower back may cause it to display aggressive behavior. 

If you suspect your Poodle is aggressive due to health concerns, you should contact your veterinarian. 

Lack of Training and Socializing 

Poodles are pretty sociable animals, with humans and other dogs alike. But being sociable is something they need to learn. If your dog has never seen another dog until it is an adult Poodle, it may become scared and, in turn, aggressive towards other dogs. 

The best way to properly socialize your dog is to think of quality, NOT quantity. So, no, your Poodle puppy does not need to meet every dog out there, and dog parks are generally not recommended for young puppies. Instead, it is all about meeting every well-behaved dog with great dog language and a pleasant attitude towards puppies. 

If your dog isn’t used to socializing, you can train it to even when they are an adult Poodle. In these cases, you can also seek the help of a professional. 


Some things can cause your Poodle to be scared and aggressive for a very long time. For example, if another dog has attacked your dog, it may start having temperament problems. This is because it associates another dog with something terrible or painful happening. 

If your dog has been attacked or something similarly traumatic has happened, it can, in some cases, be “trained away,” with lots of dedication and hard work from you and your poodle.

Our Top Poodle Training Tips

Poodles are brilliant dogs; there’s no doubt about it. This makes them very trainable, and their high work drive and loyalty towards their humans also mean that they will love working with you. Here are a few good ideas if you are new to Poodle training: 

Stay Sweet

Poodles are sensitive dogs. Do not shout at your Poodle during training. It will not make it understand you faster and is more likely to scare it and make it less likely to want to work with you. Instead, positive reinforcement and praise are the way forward with Poodles. If you’re happy, your Poodle is more than likely happy as well. 

As a side note: Do not EVER hit your Poodle- or any other dog for that matter. 

Find the Proper Reward

Some Poodles love food and treats; if your Poodle is a food-lover, then you’ve already got the perfect reward right there! On the other hand, if your dog is not big on treats, you need to find something different. Often a game of tug with their favorite toy can be even better than a treat! 

You Need More Training than Your Dog

More often than not, we humans need more training than dogs. Your dog is generally tuned to your body language, emotions, and temperament. It can read you better than anyone. You now need to learn how to communicate with and read your dog. How can you show it what you want? 

A good tip: Get your dog used to “following the finger” from a young age. It is pretty simple. Point where you want your dog to go, reward when it does. This will teach your dog that it should look out for your hand signals and help you both immensely when you get to the training field! 

Accept the Goofiness 

There’s a reason Poodles are used in the circus. Yes, they are very intelligent, but they also love to perform, and sometimes they are incredibly goofy. Even the most well-trained, obedient Poodle will sometimes decide it has had enough for the day and do a “victory lab” of the agility course, barking like a mad dog.

Don’t get angry. Laugh at your dog and let it have its fun. It will come back and be ready to work in a second.  

Keep it New 

Being so clever, your Poodle will get tired of you if you keep asking for the same trick. So keep it new and change it up now and then. For example: If your dog needs to walk next to you off lead, try switching sides now and then! 

poodle biting a ball

How to Prevent Poodle Aggression

The best way to prevent Poodle aggression is to follow these pieces of advice: 

  • Buy your Poodle puppy from a reputable breeder. 
  • High-quality socializing from a young age.
  • Provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. 
  • Regular vet visits to ensure your poodle is healthy. 


Sometimes things will happen that will cause your Poodle to become aggressive. Even if you are the best dog owner in the world and have done everything right, it cannot always be prevented. Is your Poodle aggressive, and you don’t know what to do? Follow these three steps:

  1. Visit your veterinarian. 
  2. Attempt to identify the cause of the aggressive behavior. 
  3. Seek professional help for your dog. 

Lastly, remember, it is okay sometimes to feel sad, tired, and frustrated when you have an aggressive dog. Talk to your fellow dog owners; they will know and will be able to support you and your dog! 

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