The Poodle is a dignified, smart and graceful breed that is said to have been originally bred in Germany in XVII century. It gained general acceptance in the role of a hunting retriever but presently most of its specimens are beloved companion animals or show contestants. Despite its sizeable grooming requirements this breed enjoys wide popularity all around the world.
There are four types of the Poodle:
- the Toy Poodle (height – 24 to 28 cm, weight – 6 to 8 kg),
- the Miniature Poodle (height – 28 to 35 cm, weight – 12 to 14 kg),
- the Medium Poodle (height – 35 to 45 cm, weight – 15 to 19 kg),
- the Standard Poodle (height – 45 to 60 cm, weight – 20 to 32 kg).
The Poodle was developed on the territory of Germany to serve as a working water retriever. According to the prevalent belief the Barbet and the Hungarian Water Hound were primarily utilised in its invention. The sophisticated, complex haircuts that wears the Poodle in the conformation ring are actually a modified version of trims invented to make its work in the water easier. The breeds’ rich coat was shortened in certain spots in order to enhance its mobility in the water as well as to supply it with protection from icy water in vulnerable parts of its body. Thus it resulted into the clipping scheme that became one of the trademark features of this breed.
This dog is still prized as a highly capable retriever of various waterfowl. Its keen nose was also frequently used in the search of valuable truffles, a rare and delicacy variety of mushrooms. The Poodle was a common sight in European countries as early as in the XVIII century, especially in Spain, Germany and France. The breed came in four separate varieties: the Toy, the Miniature, the Medium and the Standard. Nonetheless, in spite of its size distinctions, they were reckoned to be the same breed that was ruled by the common standard.
While it’s rather uncertain when the first members of the Poodle were brought to America, the breed entered the studbook of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1886. During the following decades interest to this dog died down considerably and its active breeding resumed only in 50s of XX century when one of the Poodles won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club.
Over time the Poodle earned goodwill of lots of celebrated people since it was reputed as a «regal» animal. The list of its faithful admirers included Winston Churchill, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Pablo Picasso and Marilyn Monroe. And it still ranks in the top 10 of the most fashionable canine varieties in America and Europe.
Although this obedient, quick-witted and frisky dog is mostly acquired for companionship it retains its terrific hunting skills and therefore it’s frequently used as a water retriever. Of course the Poodle also makes a tough competitor in the show ring.
Playful, outgoing and good-natured, the Poodle is an ultimate canine companion. It’s known for its utmost devotion to its human masters and very loving disposition. This dog needs daily contact with its favourite people since it’s highly susceptible to serious separation anxiety. It feels very keenly the environment in the house and can become very stressed by any kind of negative events in the family. This breed is totally fine with children and can eagerly spend countless hours in their company. However it’s still essential to show your kids how to handle this dog with proper respect.
The Poodle takes all strangers as potential friends so human aggressiveness is uncharacteristic for this breed. Some basic socialisation still should be included in its training regime so your dog will behave correctly in all probable situations. This breed tends to display constant vigilance and usually makes a very dependable watcher. Surprisingly enough but the larger breed members also can be charged with guarding duties as this dog is well prepared to exercise brute force if necessary.
The Poodle loves mixing with other dogs and rarely goes into a conflict with its counterparts. Once properly and timely socialised the breed easily gets along together with one or several other canines. Despite its well-developed hunting instinct it’s usually accepting of individual household cats as well as other types of pets. It’s worth to remember though that this breed still remains an excellent hunter and it’s rather unsafe to trust it to interact with street non-canine animals unsupervised.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine idiopathic epilepsy;
· progressive retinal atrophy;
· sebaceous adenitis;
· Addison’s disease;
· canine hip dysplasia;
· canine von Willebrands;
· canine thyroid disease.
The Poodle requires a great deal of special grooming. Daily brushing is a must if you want to keep its fine curly coat in a good condition. The best instruments for this procedure are a slicker brush and a straight stainless steel comb. It’s also recommended to regularly trim this dog, usually about every 6 to 8 months.
There are several distinctive and complex variants of haircut on this breed, which is virtually impossible to do for an inexperienced person. Without clipping the dogs’ hair will shape naturally into cords, although some owners like that look.
It’s essential to devote enough attention to dental care, especially for Toy and Miniature Poodles. Brush teeth of your pet with a vet-approved pet toothpaste at least on a weekly basis. It’s also important to frequently trim its nails, preferably every week or two.
The training of the Poodle is commonly a very pleasant task. It usually acquires new knowledge with minimum efforts and seeks to make its master happy. It doesn’t need much encouragement beyond kind words and few treats.
Only rough-housing may give rise to wilful streak in this dog so it must be avoided at all costs. As soon as your pet has coped with some basic tricks and commands, it should be graduated on to more challenging agility or obedience training course.
The Poodle may look exquisite and even somewhat fragile but it’s a highly vigorous dog that needs plentiful of physical and mental stimulation. A long and brisk walk isn’t enough to satisfy its inquisitive nature so it should get regular chances to run and explore in a securely fenced territory.
This intelligent dog wants to apply its busy brain as much as its body and obedience and agility training becomes its favourite activity apart from hunting. The under-exercised Poodle will most likely vent its frustration with such a situation by destructive and disobedient behaviour.