Poodles are known as a highly intelligent, energetic, and sociable breed. They require both physical and intellectual activities. Of note is this breed's keen sense for instinctive behavior. In particular, marking and hunting drives are more readily observable in poodles than in most other breeds. A typical poodle should be reserved with strangers upon first introduction, but after a while should slowly reveal a warm and personable disposition. Snappy, vicious behavior is considered a serious fault in the breed.
Poodles are highly trainable dogs that typically excel in obedience training. A poodle will do well at many dog sports, including dog agility, flyball, dock diving,field tracking, and even schutzhund, and can follow owners on hiking trips or any trip involving swimming, as long as the dog is accustomed to water and swimming.
Of the size varieties, Standard Poodles are the most highly recommended for families with children. They have a kindly demeanor and a love of playing games; despite its dainty appearance and frou frou reputation the Standard won't mind the excited squeals of children at play and will enjoy tumbling around with youngsters playing football or baseball in the park or splashing with them in the family pool. As with all dogs and babies, introductions should be gradual, though most Standards will tolerate a baby and learn to be gentle and will respect toddlers so long as the child is supervised. A Standard Poodle will be fine in a family with many children provided the environment is a stable, orderly, and relaxed, with enough room for the dog to go out and retire to if needed. Miniature and Toy varieties tend to have less patience with young children and might find certain children's antics too much to handle, especially because young children are much larger than they are and may attempt to grab them without understanding how their attempt to hug the pooch is terrifying to a small dog. They are likely to bite out of fear and thus are better suited to homes with teenagers or older children. Poodles dislike being left alone or left out of the family fun and some get anxious at being left in the house alone, but sign of nervousness or neurosis is atypical and not how a poodle of any size is meant to behave.