Why Do Poodles Like to Hug? What to Expect

Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, and for good reason. Their boundless affection and loyalty have been captivating human hearts for centuries. 

Among the plethora of dog breeds, Poodles stand out not only for their distinct appearance but also for their unique behavior – the tendency to embrace their owners affectionately, akin to a human hug. 

This heartwarming behavior has puzzled and charmed dog enthusiasts for years, prompting the question: Why do Poodles like to hug?

The Canine Connection

Before delving into the intricacies of why Poodles exhibit this endearing behavior, it’s essential to understand the deep-rooted bond that exists between humans and dogs. 

Dogs, through thousands of years of domestication, have evolved to be highly attuned to human emotions and behaviors. This emotional intelligence enables them to comprehend human gestures, facial expressions, and even our mood shifts.

Poodles, with their innate intelligence and eagerness to please, have taken this connection a step further. Their capacity to interpret human cues allows them to perceive hugs as a positive and affectionate act. 

Just as a dog may offer its paw in response to a handshake-like gesture, they reciprocate what they perceive as a hug – a display of love and affection.

The Comfort and Security Aspect

Hugging is a gesture that transcends species boundaries. Humans hug to convey emotions, seek comfort, and establish a sense of security. Interestingly, Poodles seem to adopt a similar perspective. 

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When a Poodle leans against its owner’s leg or curls up beside them, it’s not merely a physical action; it’s a display of emotional attachment and a quest for comfort.

In the wild, dogs are pack animals that thrive on closeness and companionship. Domestication hasn’t erased this instinctual need for connection. Poodles, through their hugging-like behavior, are essentially seeking a sense of security and warmth. 

By pressing their bodies against their owners, they establish a physical closeness that mimics the security they would feel in a pack. 

This physical touch releases oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” in both dogs and humans, strengthening the emotional bond.

Nature or Nurture?

The question of whether this behavior is innate or learned is a fascinating one. While there is a genetic aspect to a dog’s disposition, environmental factors also play a significant role. 

Poodles that grow up in households where hugging and physical affection are common may be more likely to exhibit this behavior. 

This highlights the adaptable and perceptive nature of Poodles – they learn from their surroundings and adapt their behavior to enhance their relationship with their human companions.

The Role of Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training. When a dog performs a behavior and receives praise, treats, or affection in return, they associate that behavior with a positive outcome. 

Poodles, being intelligent learners, might have recognized the favorable response from their owners when they engaged in hugging-like behavior.

As a result, the act of hugging becomes a rewarding experience for them, reinforcing their inclination to repeat it. Over time, this behavior becomes ingrained in their interactions with humans, solidifying the connection and trust they share with their owners.

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A Lesson in Communication

Communication goes beyond language. It encompasses body language, gestures, and actions. Poodles have become adept at understanding and responding to human cues, and their hugging-like behavior is a testament to this unique communication bond.

When a Poodle leans against you or gently rests its head on your lap, it’s sending a clear message: “I’m here for you, and I seek your affection.” 

Similarly, humans who embrace their Poodles in return communicate their love and care. This cross-species communication strengthens the emotional connection and fosters a harmonious relationship.


The mystery of why Poodles like to hug is a heartwarming tale of emotional intelligence, attachment, and trust. These intelligent and perceptive creatures have woven themselves into the fabric of human life, offering companionship and affection that are unparalleled. 

Through their hugging-like behavior, Poodles remind us that gestures of love transcend language barriers and species differences. 

So, the next time your Poodle leans against you for an embrace, remember that it’s not merely a physical action – it’s a heartfelt expression of their love and their desire to be close to you.