Poodles have a long history, dating back many centuries. The Poodle is the only breed of dog divided into three official sizes, known as Toy, Miniature, and Standard.
The name Poodle derives from the German word ‘pudel’ meaning ‘puddle’, which is a testimony to the breed’s love of water. They are equally excellent as pets, show dogs and working dogs. Poodles are, by nature, good-tempered dogs who thoroughly enjoy the company of people, making them great companions with versatile, affable personalities. This lively breed is very affectionate and friendly, earning it a place as the eighth most popular dog breed.
Toy Poodle: under 10 inches (under 25.4 cm)
Miniature Poodle: 11 to 15 inches (28 to 38 cm)
Standard Poodle : 15 to 24 inches (38 to 61 cm)
Toy Poodle: 4 to 9 pounds (2 to 4 kg)
Miniature Poodle: 15 to 30 pounds (7 to 14 kg)
Standard Poodle: 45 to 70 pounds (20 to 32 kg)
Average Litter Size: 6
Life Expectancy: 12 – 18 years
Good with Children: Yes
Kennel Club Classification: Utility Group
Poodles come in a variety of colours, and can be either a solid colour or a combination of shades. The patterns on a multicoloured Poodle have different terminology, such as phantom, tuxedo, or parti, depending on how the colours present themselves. Only Poodles with single solid colours should be entered into The Kennel Club’s official shows, as mixed colours are heavily penalised.
Poodles are hypoallergenic which means that they are not prone to shedding, making them ideal pets for owners with allergies. A Poodle’s coat can be clipped into several acceptable styles. Show dogs are usually presented with a distinctive Continental Clip, or an English Saddle Clip. If a Poodle is not going to be taking part in competitions, many owners prefer a more natural appearance for their dog, such as the puppy cut.
Despite the fact that Poodles do not have a double coat, frequent brushing is essential to prevent matting. The ears can be prone to infections, so it’s important to clean the ear canals properly, and pluck out excess hair if necessary. Teeth should be kept clean with regular brushing.
Poodles are generally hardy dogs with minimal health problems, but they may be affected by hip dysplasia, epilepsy, Addison’s disease, canine hypothyroidism, skin conditions, bloat, and eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy. It’s important to check the health history of a puppy’s parents when purchasing a young dog to minimise the chance of any inherited genetic ailments.
Poodles make great family pets, displaying a high level of loyalty and a penchant for games and activities. Standard and Miniature Poodles are more tolerant of toddlers and younger children, whereas Toy Poodles fare better with more mature families.
Poodles make great watchdogs, as they are prone to barking when their home is approached by strangers.
Poodles are very intelligent, putting them up there with the Border Collie as one of the easiest dogs to train. Poodle puppies learn new tricks and commands more quickly than older dogs, but even a mature Poodle will take to training far more readily than most other breeds. Poodles are very obedient and quick to pick up instructions, and they are eager to please their handler.
Treats and hand signals can be used in conjunction with verbal commands when training a Poodle. Crate training can be used if desired when the Poodle is young, as this can be beneficial when house training any dog.
Poodles are energetic dogs, and it’s essential for their mental and physical wellbeing that they are taken for daily walks, ranging from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the size and age of the dog. Regular activities with a Poodle in the garden or house are also important for this active playful breed. Many Poodles enjoy swimming, but make sure the dog is safe at all times.
Poodles do not like to be left alone and inactive for long periods of time, and being confined to solitude can leave a Poodle bored and agitated.
It is a misconception that this breed originated in France, although they have been given the status of France’s national dog. Poodles were very popular with French royalty such as Louis XVI and his ancestors prior to the French Revolution. It’s actually thought that Poodles originated in Germany, and the breed has been depicted in European paintings for hundreds of years. The Dutch painter Rembrandt painted a self-portrait in 1631, and later added a depiction of his pet curly haired Poodle to the portrait.
There are some theories that the breed may have once hailed from Asia prior to reaching Europe, although this has not been proven. The Standard Poodle was the original size of the breed, with the Miniature and Toy being bred later to create smaller sizes.
Poodles have had various uses over the past several centuries, including retrieving ducks and waterfowl due to their love of water and great retrieval capabilities. The easily recognisable pom-pom style of some Poodle coat clips was developed for practical reasons, keeping crucial parts of the dog’s body warm when swimming. Another popular use of Poodles was sniffing out and searching for truffles, as they can smell these expensive fungal delicacies from a hundred yards away.
During the 17th and 18th Century, Toy Poodles were often placed into sleeves and used as hand warmers by aristocracy, earning them the nickname Sleeve Poodles. Meanwhile, Standard Poodles have been used as gun dogs since 17th Century in the military, as they are obedient and do not flinch at the sound of gunfire.
In France, Toy Poodles were often trained to perform tricks and even complex performances in French circuses, as they love attention and are easy to teach. During 20th Century, a great number of celebrities have been known to enjoy the company of Poodles, including Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Barbara Streisand, Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly and Walt Disney.
The King of Thailand rather sensationally owned a Poodle named Foo Foo from 1997 to 2015, which was given a Royal Thai Air Force rank of air chief marshal.
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