Poodle Facts and History
by Jude Iaconianni
The Poodle Breed is lively, fun-loving,
affectionate, and intelligent with a sense of humor many
owners say rivals the best comedians.
In addition to loving life in general, Poodles love people
and people love Poodles. For 22 years,
from 1960 to 1982, the Poodle was the most popular dog in the U.S.,
holding the number-one spot longer than any other breed. In 2006,
almost 30,000 Poodles were registered, making it the eighth most
popular breed across the U.S. This number doesn’t even take into
account the thousands of non-registered Poodles in the country.
In the world of Poodles, there are more
options than you can shake a leash at. The three official
varieties recognized by the American
Kennel Club (AKC) are —Standard (over 15 inches at the shoulder),
Miniature (10 to 15 inches), and Toy (under 10 inches)—
unofficial terms such as Teacups (under 4 pounds in weight), Caniches
(small Standards), and Royal Standards (supersize) are used by
If color is your thing, the Poodle also
aims to please with a palette of coat colors that include white,
cream, café au lait, chocolate brown,
apricot, red, silver, blue, and black, as well as parti-colored (a genetic pattern with white being the dominate
color and a patch work pattern in a secondary color),
Phantom (a genetic pattern resembling that
of a rottweiler or doberman), Tuxedo Pattern (genetic
pattern of solid color with a white chest
marking) or Brindle (black and brown fairly evenly mixed).
AKC recognizes all of the above genetic
patterns but they do not meet Show Quality Standards
however, dogs with patchwork coats are still popular
with some owners.
Not only is there a variety of colors you
have a multitude of choices as to your Poodle’s hairstyle:
corded or curly, continental or English
saddle, Dutch clip, puppy clip, sporting clip, or kennel clip.
Regardless of what “package” you choose,
you will always get the unique Poodle heart, soul,
and character that make enthusiasts claim
the breed is “the best of the best.”
Poodles hair requires nearly the same care
requirements as humans. Regular washings (once every 10
to 14 days), daily brushing and grooming
(every 6 to 8 weeks). They shed minimally at a rate compared
Although there is much debate about the
unique temperament attributes to each size, it is probably
fair to say that Poodles of all sizes
share more personality traits than they differ from each other. Those
Tiny Toys think they can do anything that
the “big guys” can do and do it better. While a lot of
“dignified” Standards would secretly love to be tucked under your arm
and accompany you everywhere. The miniatures are just like its bigger
and smaller cousins, the versatile Miniature plays the middle of the
road between the Standard and Toys.
History books show that curly-coated dogs
of all sizes have been pleasing people for a long, long time.
Poodle historians argue endlessly about
where and when the breed first emerged, some saying Germany,
others insisting on France or Russia; it
appears that the breed reaches back into the mists of ancient
times and still others pointing to the Middle
Ages as the starting point.
We do know that the breed was well
established by the seventeenth century, because writings and
paintings document a famous white Poodle
by the name of Boye during this period. Boye was the
constant companion of Prince Rupert, one
of the royalist commanders in the English Civil War. Because
he bravely went into battle by the
prince’s side and was a very visible and enthusiastic “soldier,” he
became a kind of mascot for the Cavaliers.
For the same reasons, he was hated by the opposing side,
who called him a “devil dog” and set a price on his
head. In the end, poor Boye was killed in battle,
causing his master great grief.
The French staked their claim stating they
created the Poodle and made it the national dog of France.
On the other hand, it seems clear that the
name Poodle arose from the German word pudeln, meaning
“to splash,” something at which the early
Poodles excelled when going about their business of retrieving
waterfowl from water.
The clipping pattern of Poodles originally
arose from their function as a retriever; working dogs were
kept closely trimmed on some areas of the
body to reduce the weight of a waterlogged coat while
retrieving. Longer hair was left over
joints, and around the chest to help those vital parts stay warm. Also
known as "the lion clip" including pom-poms that most people associate
with the well-groomed Poodle.
The pom on the tail is said to have
originated as a marker to spot the swimming poodle easier.
Despite its reputation as a “foo - foo”
dog, the Poodle actually features a squarely built, athletic, and
efficient physical design; again, part of
its heritage as a working retriever. Still, when buying a Poodle,
as with any breed, you should be aware of
health problems associated with that breed, most notably, in
the case of the Poodle, sebaceous
adenitis—a skin disease—and hip dysplasia (in Standards) and
progressive retinal atrophy (PRA;
generally found in Minis and Toys). Conscientious breeders are
working to reduce the incidence of all
genetic health problems; your best defense is to make sure you
buy a Poodle only from such a breeder.
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