The Poodle is a square-proportioned dog with a proud carriage and elegant appearance. The dog should move with a light, springy, effortless stride. The Poodle stems from working retriever stock, and the conformation should reflect this athletic background. The coat is curly, harsh, and dense, forming a water resistant barrier. If corded, it should hang in tight even cords. The traditional show clips stem from functional and decorative tradition. The Poodle is active, intelligent, and elegant. This breed has a proud bearing and air of distinction.
Although the Poodle is most often identified with France, its earliest ancestors were probably curly-coated dogs from central Asia that assisted with herding and followed many routes into various parts of Europe. Interwoven in their ancestry are also several rough-coated water dogs. Perhaps the earliest incarnation of the Poodle was the Barbet, a curly-coated dog distributed in France, Russia, Hungary, and elsewhere. It is the German version, however, that exerted most influence on the modern Poodle. In fact, the word poodle comes from the German word pfudel, meaning puddle or “to splash,” probably reflecting the dog’s water abilities. In France, it was known as caniche or chien canard, both referring to duck-hunting abilities. The Poodle was also drawn into service as a military dog, guide dog, guard dog, wagon puller for performers, and eventually, a circus performer. The coat was shorn close to facilitate swimming, but left slightly longer on the chest for warmth in cold water. Although some believe the puffs of hair around the leg joints and tail tip were for protection when hunting, other evidence suggests that they arose as decoration during the Poodle’s performing days. The Poodle became favored by French aristocracy and eventually became the national dog of France. The characteristic clip was accentuated. In the 1900’s, Poodle popularity in America waned. By the late 1920s, Poodles had almost died out in North America. In the 1930s, the breed staged a comeback that eventually placed the Poodle as the most popular dog in America for decades.
Among the very smartest and most obedient of dogs, the Standard Poodle combines playful exuberance with a zest for life’s adventures. This breed retains its hunting heritage, and loves to run, swim, and retrieve. The dog gets along well with everyone, although is somewhat reserved with strangers. The Poodle is excellent with children.
All Poodles need a lot of interaction with people. They also need mental and physical exercise. A brief but challenging obedience or play session, combined with a walk, should be part of every Poodle’s day. Standard Poodles will need more exercise and may especially enjoy swimming. They should preferably be brushed every other day or weekly for shorter coats. Poodle hair, when shed, does not fall out but becomes caught in the surrounding hair, which can cause matting if not removed. The pet clips are easier to maintain and can be done every four to six weeks.