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Poodles - Choosing a Poodle

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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For centuries, the poodle has been one of the most popular breeds in the world and a symbol of elegance and opulent luxury. The poodle is associated with France, but many countries have laid claim to the breed. Available in three different sizes and many different colors, there is a poodle for every taste.

In 2002, two of the three kinds of poodle have claimed the coveted title "Best in Show" for the two most prestigious dog shows in the world. On March 10, a standard poodle named Topscore Contradiction won Best in Show at Crufts Dog Show, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This particular poodle has made history at Crufts by being the first international pooch to win BIS.

The poodle was one of the American Kennel Club's top 10 breeds for the year 2008. Click here for the complete story on Top Dog Breeds of 2008.

History and Origin

Paintings representing the poodle date as far back as the 13th century. The exact country of origin is not known, but many people feel the breed may have come from Germany. The name "poodle" comes from the German "pudeln" which roughly translates to "splash about in the water"; the original purpose of the breed was a water retriever.

Soon after development in Germany, the poodle quickly became very popular in France and was known as the caniche, or duck dog. The breed is considered their national dog.

The poodle comes in three different varieties; standard, miniature and toy; however, the only difference is the size. The standard and miniature poodles are classified in the non-sporting group by the American Kennel Club. The toy poodle is classified in the toy breed group.

The standard poodle is the oldest of the three sizes and was originally used to retrieve ducks in cold water. Soon after, the miniature and toy were developed. The toy poodle, the smallest variety, was well established in England by the 18th century and was commonly used in circuses and floor shows as dancing dogs. The miniature and toy poodle were also used for hunting and digging for truffles in French forests.

Appearance

Although they come in different sizes, the shape and appearance of the breed is the same. The poodle has a long head and muzzle with long, flat and wide hanging ears. The chest is deep and the tail is set high. Typically, the tail is docked when young.

The hair coat of the poodle is curly and dense with a fine woolly texture and requires daily grooming. There are four common hair clips for the poodle. The most common cut is the "puppy" cut, which is given to all ages of poodles. Another cut is the "sporting" cut, for the active poodle. For the show ring, the "English Saddle" or "Continental" version is typically performed.

Size

The standard poodle stands over 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 45 pounds. The miniature poodle stands 10 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 20 pounds. The toy poodle stands under 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 10 pounds.

Personality

The poodle is a pleasant dog that loves constant company. This dog hates to be alone and prefers the company of people instead of other dogs. The breed also hates to be ignored and does not like being thought of or treated as "just a dog."

Home & Family Relations

Despite being excellent water dogs, poodles also do well as family protectors and companions. They make excellent pets for children as well as the elderly and can adapt to a variety of environments.

Training

The poodle is an excellent swimmer and also does well on land. The breed is very intelligent and thought by many to be the most intelligent of all breeds. They learn quickly and readily, although some dogs tend to enjoy pleasing people by doing tricks instead of learning commands. Poodles have been trained successfully in obedience, hunting and even as guard dogs.

Special Concerns

The hair coat of the poodle requires daily care and grooming. The intelligent nature of the dog leads some to mischief if left alone for an extended period of time.

Diseases and Disorders

Although most poodles are very healthy dogs, poodles may acquire or be born with a variety of conditions. The conditions vary depending on the individual type of poodle. For more information on possible diseases and conditions, go to the following articles:

  • Toy Poodle

  • Miniature Poodle

  • Standard Poodle

    Life Span

    The life span of the standard poodle is 14 to 16 years. The life span of the miniature and toy poodle is 15 to 18 years.


    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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