The Poodle is the 7th most popular dog breed in America.
There is some dispute as to the Poodle’s origins. Some believe the breed originated in Germany as the Pudelhund (a combination of the phrase “to splash about” as an homage to the breed’s love of water and the German word for “dog”), and others argue that it was descended from the Barbet, a French dog, and might have been crossed with the Hungarian water dog.
The French variety was named chien canard or caniche as a nod to its talents as a duck hunter, and in fact, the Poodle’s popularity in France earned it the esteemed title as the country’s official national dog. However, the early German variety of the breed is largely responsible for the Poodle we know and love today which come in three sizes: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle.
Early art depicts the Poodle on the European mainland as early as the 15th and 16th centuries. It was wildly popular in 18th-century Spain, making appearances in the art of Spanish artist Francisco Goya, and as the favored pet of French royalty during that same era.
In the late 19th century, Poodles entered the show ring. They gained American Kennel Club (AKC) recognition in 1887, but by the 1920s, had lost popularity in America. After about a decade, though, the breed began making a comeback, and today, is one of America’s most popular companion dogs.
Thanks to its superior intelligence and trainability, the Poodle breed has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history. It has been used as a water retriever hunting dog (the traditional Poodle clip, although peculiar-looking, actually serves to protect the dog’s joints and organs from the dangers of swimming in cold water), a guide dog, a guard dog, a military dog, a companion dog, and even a circus performer.
The Poodle’s lifespan ranges from 10-18 years.
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The head is slightly rounded with a distinct stop (the indented area between the eyes) and flat cheekbones and muscles.
The length of the muzzle is approximately the same as the length from the back of the skull (occiput) to the stop. Dark, oval eyes are alert and intense. Ears are set at or just below eye level.
The Poodle is one of the smartest dog breeds. Eager to please and easily trainable, Poodles are natural athletes, water lovers, and crave quality time with their people. Poodles are active dogs and require regular daily exercise and consistent training.
All three sizes of Poodles (standard, miniature, and toy) are highly trainable. Personality-wise, according to the AKC, standards are generally the most outgoing and miniatures can sometimes be shy around strangers. Poodles generally do very well with children and other pets.
The Poodle is a non-shedding dog, making it an ideal dog for allergy sufferers, and there are two types of Poodle coats. A curly coat is uniformly dense and wiry. A corded coat hangs in tightly wound cords of even diameter but varying length.
Poodles come in ten solid colors recognized by the AKC including: white, black, apricot, blue, brown, cream, red, gray, silver, and silver beige. Multicolor coats and markings are not considered standard by the AKC.
The Poodle is squarely-built with a level topline, strong, muscular shoulders, strong pasterns and small oval paws. The chest is deep and the ribs well-sprung. The tail is straight, set high, and carried in an upward position.
When viewed from behind, the hind legs are straight and parallel. The Poodle comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy, but all sizes are considered the same breed and are subject to the same breed standard.
Standard Poodles stand over 15” at the shoulder, miniatures stand 10”-15” at the shoulder, and toys stand 10” and under at the shoulder.
The well-proportioned Poodle carries himself in a distinguished manner. Squarely built, he moves confidently and maintains an alert, intelligent expression.
Although generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 10-18 years, Poodles, like other breeds are still prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia eye disease, epilepsy, thyroid and adrenal glad disorders. Different sizes are prone to different issues.
Toy and miniature Poodles are predisposed to Legg-Perthes and luxating patellas (both orthopedic issues), and standard Poodles are more vulnerable to bloat and autoimmune disorders than their smaller counterparts.
Regular, quality veterinary care is essential, regardless of the dog’s state of health. In addition, finding a reputable breeder will go a long way towards reducing the likelihood that a dog will develop certain health issues.
Want to learn more about this four-legged Einstein? The Poodle Club of America is the Poodle’s national breed club, and a great resource for all things Poodle.
Is there a special Poodle in your life? Show and tell us in the comments section below!
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