i love my poodle like crazy. he is mellow and friendly, lovely, amazing, and wonderful, actually, but sometimes a bit nervous when outside his routine. he is a big guy (70 lbs and skinny, though i like to say lanky), so needs lots of walks, offleash running, chasing, and playing.
we cut his hair every 6 weeks or so, with trimming around his eyes in between. we have had him since he was a baby and used to groom him ourselves, but didn't prepare him well as a pup for a life of grooming, so it is a lot of work to do it at home--i usually ended up with a sore back after many hours and he with a few large bald patches from my inability to trim evenly! if you don't do it yourself it is a financial commitment--we left it too long once and the poor guy got really matted, which made it so much worse for him when he finally did get a haircut.
he has food allergies, to what we aren't 100% sure, but we have figured out what he is not
allergic to and have made another financial commitment there--not necessarily necessary, i know there are other options, but we have chosen a food that is good for him, easy(ish) for us, and also relatively expensive. from what i understand, food allergies are not uncommon in poodles, with skin problems in particular for apricots. they can also be picky eaters, about what they eat and how/when why--our guy won't eat if we put his food down and leave. we have to be in the house and usually in the same room with him for him to eat hid meal (we used to free feed him, which he did fine with, though was even a bit skinnier then, but the food we have now is dehydrated raw, so once it is rehydrated we can not leave it out all day).
separation anxiety has not been an issue for us, but we have had him since he was a puppy and practiced leaving him alone for short periods of time from the beginning--he is also not alone very much. he does get along beautifully with everyone in our life and LOVES his extended family, goes easily with them so we always have babysitters and i don't worry about him at all if anything were to happen to me.
he has always been pretty nervous around kids, even teenagers, which i think for us was a matter of lack of exposure--as he knows more kids he is a little more comfortable, but i keep a close eye on him, not because he would hurt them on purpose, but because he doesn't really understand them. the first time he met a baby (my nephew who came to visit when the poodle was 4 months old) he howled and shook with terror in my lap. he has a better relationship with this nephew now, but is still unsure.
the part i really want to share with you though, is that we had a baby this year he's not terrified of them anymore!!), a few days after the poodle's 3rd birthday. it has been hard for him, even though we've been doing the best we can. he was not allowed to sleep in our bed from the moment i found out i was pregnant (though he does have his own sofa in our room and free range of everything but our bed, including his own bed), the intention being that he not connect his exile from our bed to the arrival of ds. upon ds's arrival, we did send a blanket home from the hospital that ds had been swaddled in for a few hours, cut up in little pieces and placed on his sofas, by his water bowl, and in his bed (i don't know if it helped, but we thought it was worth a try). he really disliked the 3, 4, and 5am crying and feeding and being awake at all hours of the night--it made him anxious and he threw up a couple of times (poodles can have sensitive tummies). ds and the poodle still don't interact much (poodle tries to lick ds when guests come over), but hopefully will start soon as ds becomes more aware--my dream is that they become friends and i feel pretty confident anticipating that (***with supervision: poodles use their paws a lot to play and interact).
i had a pretty straightforward labour and delivery, so was able to get out walking with him right away. we also had a lot of support from dh's parents at the beginning to give him snuggles and take him for walks. he was confused and worried about his place, but is settling into it as he realises that he is still very important in our little pack. it has been a lot of work to try to make him feel important and loved, and has been heartbreaking at times when i am about to snuggle down with him and ds cries for something. his behaviour has also changed in the offleash trails and i notice that he is a little more protective and and less submissive, at moments even verging on aggressive with some other dogs (at other times he still cowers in the bushes when we pass certain dogs on some days). it is something i keep a very close eye on, trying to let him know that i am the protector and he doesn't need to act like that with others ( i am not a behaviour expert by any means, we just have talks and i call him away when he is even a little aggressive, and try to be the protector when we are around dogs that seem like they want to be aggressive with him).
reading back over this, it sounds more like our experience in preparing for baby with a dog in general, rather than a poodle specifically, but i think what i am trying to say is that it is a pretty big change and that poodles can be quite anxious--even my guy who is super mellow (for a poodle
) has had an anxious go of it. i think it is worth the effort though, and i think he is already enjoying the fact that he belongs to a bigger pack than he did before.
i don't know that much about breeding, but probably wouldn't buy from the same breeders again knowing what little i do know now, which is not to say that i don't love my dog like crazy and his whole family and anyone connected with the making of him because he is who he is and i love him (didn't i say like crazy???!!), but poodles being particularly susceptible to tummy troubles and torsion, and hip problems, and being bred for looks over health, they are such incredibly lovely dogs and i think it is important to support people breeding who really know what they are doing and are not just cranking out dogs at 1 1/2 to 2 grand a pup because people will pay it. i also know the anxiousness can be exaggerated in some poodles and it is important to find people who also care about the happiness of their animals. there are some people who visit this forum who know a lot about this and if you do decide to go to a breeder, past threads and new questions here would be a good place to start your research on how to do that.
okay, now maybe you know that i love him like crazy, i become a bit crazy about him and could talk about him forever. i hope i don't upset anyone when i say that i think poodles are the loveliest dogs in the world, and that lovers of others will understand that i just happen to have a tall, curly, apricot coloured bias
good luck with your research and also with ttc! looks like your life is only going to get more rich, no matter what kind of doggie you choose.