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One of the world’s most popular dogs, the Poodle enjoys the limelight. Experts describe the Poodle as clever, elegant, and proud. Tucked behind the impressive hairdos, fancy ribbons, and regal attitude is an affectionate friend and winner among dogs.
The Poodle has a rich history that dates back to the first century. No one is certain of its origin. Its earliest ancestors were curly-coated dogs from central Asia. The curly-coated type extended into Hungary, France, and Russia, and was known as the Barbet. In France, the Poodle is believed to be a crossbreed of the Barbet and a Hungarian water dog. It is referred to as the “chien canard” or “caniche”, for its duck hunting prowess. But the dog is so versatile that it found work as a guide dog, military dog, and a circus performer. So adored was the poodle that it became enshrined as the national breed of France.
But the German strain is the type that most influenced the dog we see today. In Germany, it is known as “Pudelhund”. The name is a combination phrase, “Pudel” meaning, “to splash about”, and “hunt”, or “hound”.
European history has seen Poodle depictions in painting and drawings dating back to the 15th century. In Spain, this breed became extremely popular during the 18th century through artists such as Francisco Goya.
The Poodle comes in 3 sizes: Toy, Miniature and Standard. The Standard poodle holds the claim to being the original version, with the other two varieties bred down for the ease of household companionship. In the late 19th century, fanciers began exhibiting the poodle in the show ring. Its iconic haircut was thought to have started as a hunting clip, with hair left longer to protect its joints from the cold. But the accentuated height and fluff were probably further exaggerated for the circus performers.
The Poodle is square, standing as tall as his body is long. He has a long nose, a full muzzle, dark eyes, and long, pendulous ears. The tail is usually cropped. A true sporting dog, his body is muscular and athletic. His coat is his glory; it comes in many colors including bi-color. The hair is thick and notoriously curly, although groomers will blow it straight and hand-scissor it for the legendary haircut.
The registry recognizes three sizes.
Toy: Under 10 inches
Miniature: 10-15 inches
Standard: Over 15 inches
Toy: 5-7 pounds
Miniature: 10-20 pounds
Standard: 45-70 pounds
The Poodle is among the smartest of all dogs. This breed is a brilliant student and adept at nearly any kind of task. His personality is one of fun and happy energy, filled with humor and bounce.
Being a curly-coated dog, the Poodle will need regular grooming. The dog can be prone to ear infections unless the hair is pulled from the inner ear.
Possible Health Concerns
Poodles can be fragile, especially the toy variety. Some of the ailments that plague the breed are:
Depending on the size of the dog, exercise needs will vary. But all poodles need a fair amount of aerobic workout on a regular basis.
Poodles thrive on a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Carbohydrates provide them with the energy needed to stay active while proteins and fat support their lean muscle health, build and repair their immune system as well as the central nervous system. Proteins should make up a huge part of their diet since they make their coats and skins glow.
The Poodle’s grooming needs are best addressed by a professional, although some owners like to let their dog grow out curly and woolly. To that end, be sure to have a veterinarian inspect the ears, cut the toenails, and drain the anal glands regularly.
Here are some more poodle resources:
Poodle Lovers Post: History of the Poodle
AKC.org: Dog Breeds: Poodle