I love both Standard and Miniature Poodles (we had a wonderful mini when I was a kid). I agree with the previous posters about the pet shop pups -- definitely NOT the best place to get a quality dog of any breed. Here's a great book by Michelle Welton that I recommend you read between now and next May. It'll help you select the breed that's suited to your lifestyle and tell you how to select a reputable breeder from which to purchase a pup:http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/
In addition to the health questions, I would also ask the breeder about any titles that the pups' parents have:
**confirmation, which is the "beauty contest" portion of dog shows. Quality dogs are bred to a standard recognized by the major kennel club(s). Dogs coming from sloppy breeders usually don't conform to the standard.
**performance, which is the activities that the breeder participates in with his dogs. This includes obedience, agility, tracking, service dog activities, therapy dog work, etc. You want to buy from a breeder that actually does something with his dogs -- other than just breed them.
**temperament, the personality of the dog. You want to make sure that the dog acts the way it should according to the breed standard. The following or equivalent tests are ones that a Standard Poodle should be able to pass easily: Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Therapy Dogs International (TDI), and TT (temperament tested).
Meet both dam and sire of the pups if at all possible and make sure you're happy with their confirmation and temperament. If you don't like the parents, don't buy a pup. If you or your parents are going to spend the money to buy a dog, do your research to find the best poodle you can. Be prepared to wait for a litter of quality pups. Most breeders will have both "show quality" and "pet quality" dogs in a litter. Pet quality pups usually have some minor flaw that will keep them from winning ribbons in the show ring. If you don't want to actually show your dog in the ring, get a pet quality pup. They should have temperaments that are just as good as the show quality dogs.
I've found that going to local dog shows has given me insight into how the various breeds are supposed to look and behave. Plus, it's great fun.
You have other options than purchasing a dog from a breeder. You could look into adopting a poodle from a breed rescue or shelter. There are many fine pups and adult dogs that desperately need homes.