Poodle Is As Poodle Does
— By Walt Day
I read the phrase in the title somewhere, and even though it is a blatant rip off of a line from Forest Gump, I thought it was a pretty appropriate way to describe the world’s oldest water retriever, circus performer and truffle hunter.
Poodles are lively and active dogs, are very loyal and absolutely love (crave?) attention. The life span of the Poodle is about 12 to 15 years or more, with some that I’ve heard of living up to 18. They are a very smart dog – one of the smartest by any method you care to apply. I witnessed a doggy “IQ test” in which the dog’s head was covered by a blanket and the dog timed to see how long it would take to uncover itself. Not surprisingly, the winner was the border collie – with the poodle coming in a very close second place.
The Standard Poodle is the largest of the Poodle breed, standing at least 15 in. (38 cm) at the shoulder, and is more than just a pretty face. Experts agree that the Standard Poodle is one of the oldest breeds specializing in hunting after game in the water, and is still sometimes used as a gun dog. History shows that the Standard Poodles that we know and enjoy today probably developed around the 17th century in Germany. They are most likely descended from early German water retrievers, but may in addition be related to spaniels from the Iberian Peninsula. Although originally a hunting dog, the Standard Poodle today is primarily a companion and show dog. They are proud, elegant, dignified, gentle and good-natured.
The Toy, or French Poodle, is the smallest at 11 in. (29cm) or under at the highest point of the shoulders. Originating from the German “Pudel”, the French developed the “Poodle” into the miniaturized version we know today as the Toy Poodle. These small dogs are almost exclusively companion and show dogs, but can be occasionally seen performing tricks on a stage or in circuses. The Toy Poodle is sensitive and remarkably intelligent.
Dogs ranging in size larger than the Toy Poodle yet smaller than the Standard Poodle are classified as Miniature Poodles. The Miniature Poodle is considered a cheerful, super smart, sensitive and highly trainable companion dog.
The Poodle has a very attractive, sturdy appearance, and displays an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to the breed. Although they come in different sizes, the shape and appearance of the breed is consistent. The general appearance of the body of a poodle is of good proportions, the length of the body generally exceeding the height at the withers.
The coat of a Poodle is curly, harsh and dense. Poodles actually have a double coat that has the quality and appearance of lamb’s wool. It is fine, fluffy, light in texture and knots readily when not cared for. Because of variations in grooming, a Poodle can be the most elegant of dogs or nearly the most wretched. Most purebred puppies will have their tails docked, giving them a distinctive, powder-puff appearance.
The Poodle’s temperament is without a doubt one of the breeds best qualities – however it often depends on its size. There is generally a noticeable temperament difference between a toy, miniature and standard poodle.
Perhaps no other dog has been cross-bred as much as the Poodle to try to enhance two breeds’ qualities. “Poo” hybrid dogs crop up everywhere. Examples include the Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever) and Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever), which were bred primarily as hypoallergenic companion dogs. The appearance of these dogs range from a shaggy looking Golden Retriever to a curl relaxed Poodle, but usually something in between. The Schnoodle (Schnauzer) presents the temperament features of the Schnauzer (liveliness of the Terrier) and the appearance/intelligence of the Poodle. The Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel) has a squarely built appearance with full but less kinky fur. Other variations include the Maltipoo (Maltese), Bich-poo (Bichon Frise), and Yorkipoo (Yorkshire Terrier).
The poodle certainly is a pretty amazing breed. Intelligent and cheery, the Poodle can be counted as one of the most popular breeds of dogs in America, as well as worldwide. The Poodle is commonly acknowledged to be the most wisely intelligent of all members of the canine race. If you are looking for a dog to do just about anything, a Poodle might be right for you. But always keep in mind – “Poodle is as Poodle does”.