A royal poodle is not a separate poodle breed. Rather, it is an unofficial description used by breeders to market the largest sized standard poodles. The American Kennel Club defines the standard poodle as being 15 inches or greater at the highest point of the shoulders. Breeders define royal-sized poodles as standing 25 inches or more at the shoulder and weighing more than 60 pounds when fully grown.
Size Matters ... or Does It?
While the AKC requires poodles competing in the standard class to be over 15 inches at the shoulder, most average around 22 to 26 inches. Dogs marketed as royal or giant run from 25 to 31 inches tall at the shoulder. While some breeders charge a premium for larger dogs, they are registered with the AKC as a standard poodle. There is no advantage to their size in the show ring. Carriage, conformation and condition are what judges look for, not impressive size.
No Achoo with a Poo
Like other standard poodles, the royal has soft, curly hair with little to no shedding. This makes them more tolerable for many people who suffer from allergies and come recommended by the AKC for allergy sufferers. However, no dog is completely allergy free. The primary dog allergen that cause people to sneeze is Can f 1. Scientific studies show little difference in the amount of Can f 1 in the coats of different dog breeds. However, less shedding means less allergen building up on your sofas and carpets. Male dogs tend to shed more Can f 1 than females, so if allergies are a factor, consider bringing home a female.
While a soft, curly coat is great for allergy sufferers, royal-sized standard poodles can be a royal pain if you're not keen on grooming. Brush your dog daily to remove mats and loose dirt and bathe weekly to keep the coat clean and soft. A royal-sized poodle needs clipping every six to eight weeks to prevent cording and tangling. Professional grooming can be pricey for these oversized poodles; clipping them yourself requires a commitment of time and patience. The royal-sized poodle is a medium- to high-energy dog who requires daily walks and sustained exercise. His high level of intelligence means you'll need to provide him with stimulating activities to prevent boredom.
Health and Longevity
When dogs are selectively bred to large or tiny sizes, unique health problems tend to develop. Standard poodles are prone to hormonal conditions such as Addison's and Cushing's diseases. Hip dysplasia is another problem for the royal-sized poodles, as well as knee problems. Watch for limping or skipping gait or trouble getting up. While potential health problems affecting the royal standard poodle are many, most dogs live from 12 to 15 years with proper nutrition and veterinary care.