Some Basic Facts and A Brief History of the Standard Poodle
Country of Origin: France has been officially recognized as the Poodle’s country of origin, but the Poodle’s earlier ancestors in fact came from Central Asia. The German variety has probably influenced the modern breed most (‘Poodle’ is German for ‘splash’ or ‘puddle’). In 18th and 19th century Europe, the Poodle served a wide variety of purposes, including duck hunting, guiding, and even later as circus performers, from whence the modern grooming style likely arose. The Poodle became a popular pet for the French aristocracy, and in time was officially adopted as the national dog. It would not be until the 20th century that poodles would be imported to America. They gradually rose in popularity and eventually became the country’s most popular dog breed during that time-frame. Famous Poodles include author John Steinbeck’s dog Charley, subject of the book ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’, and even Weird Al’s Poodle Bela, who would humorously sit on his head and pose for the album cover of ‘Poodle Hat.
Size: The Standard Poodle has a shoulder height of between 15-18 inches, and weighs 20-32 kg (some 45-70 lbs). Also, all Standard Poodles are very elegant in appearance, having a long, narrow muzzle, a slight stop (point at which the forehead meets the muzzle), dark eyes and wide ears. Standard Poodles are considered as having flat backs, straight docked tails, and small oval feet. Overall length is approximately the same as their height.
Coat: The Standard Poodle has a distinctive fine, frizzy, and wooly coat similar in texture to sheep’s wool. Solid white is perhaps most common color, but the coat can also be solid grey, brown, black, and even a very unique apricot. There are three distinct grooming styles for Show Poodles: puppy clip, continental clip and what is termed as an English saddle clip. The puppy clip entails shaving the face, throat, feet and base of the dog’s tail. The upper legs and hindquarters are also shaved in the continental clip (currently the most popular), leaving pom-poms effect around the ankles. The English saddle clip is similar in style, but the hindquarters are themselves left mostly unshaved. All show clips require heavy maintenance, thus pet clips commonly entail shorter hair over the entire body. Poodle hair can be formed in a ‘corded’ style, in which the hair is allowed to mat into long, thin rows rather than being brushed out. This is very difficult to maintain, and as such is now somewhat rare. Standard Poodles do not shed, making them a good match for allergy sufferers, for which reason they are commonly used for crossbreeding.
Character: The Standard Poodle is a sensitive, intelligent, lively, playful, proud and most elegant breed of dog. It bonds closely (and quickly) with family members and makes great companions. Standard Poodles are smart, obedient and quite graceful, which makes them one of the most popular pets in the world. They are known to be bouncy, alert and are usually quite eager to play. Standard Poodles are a bit calmer and are far less likely to bark than Miniature and Toy Poodles.
Temperament: The Standard Poodle gets along well with other animals, dogs and children. As such, it is best to begin socializing them as puppies. Standard Poodles will announce the arrival of visitors, but are generally friendly toward them. The animals are highly adaptable and make excellent watchdogs, but as with most little ones may also find their way into some mischief as well!
Care: Show Poodles should generally be groomed by professionals, and will require a substantial investment of both time and money. Poodles that are not intended for show competitions usually have longer hair on the head, legs and ears, and are trimmed every five to six weeks. Standard Poodles have a long lifespan of between 10 and 13 years, but can also be susceptible to cataracts and other possible eye problems, just as those that are not shaven carefully can themselves suffer skin irritations or rashes. Meals should be spread throughout the day to avoid pet bloating, and they will require frequent human companionship and interaction and should not be left to live outdoors.
Training: The Standard Poodle is a highly-intelligent animal, making training a fairly simple process. They quickly understand what is expected of them and can learn a wide variety of tricks and games, and will generally indeed enjoy the training process. Any effort put into training the Poodle will reap its own great large later on.
Activity: Quite expectedly, Standard Poodles will require significant amounts of exercise, and will Poodles long walks and outdoor activities, such as swimming or playing catch, as the Standard Poodle seems always fond of retrieving, due to its origins as a hunting dog, and may also do quite well with apartment life.
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