Poodles are divided into three different varieties, the standard, miniature, and toy. The American Kennel Club, a leading authority on dog breeds, delineates the varieties by size. Standard poodles must be over 15 inches at the highest points of their shoulders. Miniature poodles are defined as 15 inches or less at the highest point on the shoulders and over 10 inches. Toy poodles must measure 10 inches or less at the highest point of the shoulders.
The standard poodle was the earliest variety of this dog breed. It was bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. The name “poodle” was likely derived from the German “pudelin”, meaning to splash in the water.
Many people think of the poodle cut as something invented for pampered smaller dogs to appear cute, but it was actually invented for the standard poodle in its original job as a water retriever. The rear fur was cut off to make the dog able to swim better while the chest hairs were left intact to protect his or her vital organs in cold water. The pom on the tail and the bow on the head were used to help hunters to find and identify their dogs in the water.
The size of the standard poodle has made it useful in many other capacities as well. Poodles have been trained as guide dogs, army dogs, guard dogs, cart dogs and even sled dogs.Prince Rupert of the Rhine, cousin to Charles I of England, is said to have had a white standard poodle named Boy, whom he took into battle with him, and who died in 1644 at the Battle of Marston Moor. Emperor Napoleon mentioned in his memoirs a standard poodle who died at the battle of Marengo. During World War II, in the United States, standard poodles were used to guard defense plants, military installations, and coastlines. Because they are hypoallergenic, poodles make good guide dogs for blind people with allergies. In 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 dog-sled teams made up partly of poodles ran the Iditarod race in Alaska and finished the long, grueling trip through the ice.
Miniature and toy poodles were bred during the Renaissance, when European nobility wanted small dogs for companions. People would carry little poodles around in their sleeves during cold weather. To this day toy and miniature poodles are thought of as companion dogs, frequently carried around in purses or bags. Smaller poodles have been used for finding a kind of fungus called a truffle, because they would disrupt the ground less than their larger cousins. Small poodles were trained by Gypsies to perform tricks and were used in vaudeville and circuses.
In February a male toy poodle named Walker won in the toy dogs division at the Westminster Dog Show, beating a Pekinese, a shih-tzu, and a papillon. Walker was the top-winning toy dog in the country last year, winning more than 30 best in show awards.
Two sizes of Poodles not recognized by the AKC are the Klein and teacup poodles. The Klein is intermediate in size between the standard and miniature, standing at 15 to 20 inches at the highest part of the shoulder. Kleins, or moyens as they are called in France, are usually kept as pets in American homes since they cannot compete in AKC shows. Teacup poodles are the tiniest, being only nine inches at the highest part of the shoulder or smaller. They usually weigh only six pounds or less.
Whatever their size, poodles are known to be one of the most intelligent, trainable dog breeds. If you buy a poodle, socialize it well and train it early to have a well-adjusted, happy companion.
The History of Poodles
Like most breeds, the history of the Poodle is open for speculation. A number of historians believe that the Poodle is the result of crosses between several European water dogs, while others believe that one of the Poodle’s ancestors is the North African Barbet, that ended up in Europe through the Iberian Peninsula. There are even others who stand by their theory that the Poodle descended from Asian herding dogs and then traveled with nomadic tribes to Germany to become a German dog.
Regardless of its origins, one can definitely be sure that the Poodle is a very old breed. In fact, there have been plenty of Egyptian and Roman artifacts dating from the first centuries B.C. that showcase illustrations of Poodle-like dogs.
The Rise of Miniature and Toy Poodles
Many believe that the smaller versions of Poodles first emerged in the early 1400s. Smaller-sized Poodles were bred with one another to create Miniature and the Toy Poodles, in order to delight the Parisian bourgeois.
The Miniature Poodles were tasked to sniff out truffles in the woods, while the tiny Toy Poodles served as trusty companions to the nobility and the wealthy merchant class. Some well-to-do individuals even carried their Toy Poodles in their shirtsleeves, leading to them being called “sleeve dogs” back in the day.
On top of being a favorite among the nobles, Poodles also became very popular among gypsies. The breed excelled as circus dogs. Not only were they trained to perform circus tricks, they were also dressed in costumes to add to their stage appeal.
Modern History of Poodles
In 1874, the Kennel Club in England registered the first Poodle. About twelve years later, the American Kennel Club registered their first Poodle.
While Poodles were registered officially in the late 1800s, it wasn’t until the mid-1950s when the breed gained popularity in the United States. Poodles held the position as the world’s most popular dog breed for more than 20 years, and today remains one of the most popular breeds in America.
Poodles are notorious for their intelligence and ease of training. They are lively, active, fun-loving dogs with a sense of the ridiculous. Poodles thrive on attention and can develop bad habits such as nuisance barking if ignored or left alone.
The smaller poodles can be aggressive to people outside their families or to other dogs. They should have early socialization to other people and pets and a firm hand in training. Poodles can be protective of their families and homes.
It should be remembered that poodles are basically hunting dogs in elegant attire and do require exercise and training to be at their best as companion dogs.
Poodles are “easy keepers,” and guardians should not indulge them with treats too much. They can easily become overweight. Many poodles live a comparatively long life, with the smaller poodles reaching as much as 17 years of age, while the standards tend to live for 12 to 14 years.
Grooming is a fact of life with a poodle. With the tendency of the coat to mat, poodles should have a close clip or be groomed almost daily. Show coats require frequent baths, the tying up of topknots and ear fringes and oiling of the coat to keep it from getting brittle. A steady hand on the scissors is also important.
Poodles are good family dogs — fun, energetic, smart and easy to train. They do best with plenty of exercise for both mind and body and prefer to be with people most of the time. They are not good kennel dogs. Socialization should begin early and include other people, other pets and the grooming routine. These dogs are exceptional jumpers, so be careful with your yard fencing!
The Health of Poodles
By Jane Meggitt
Like all breeds, poodles are susceptible to some genetic health problems.
Poodles come in standard, miniature and toy varieties. As a group, poodles are generally healthy, but individuals inherit from their ancestors a greater or lesser risk for certain health problems. The risk for a particular type of genetic disorder may be high among one poodle variety, while rare in another.
The Healthy Dog
Your chances of owning a poodle who will live a long life unimpeded by health issues are best when you obtain a puppy from a reputable breeder. The goal of such a breeder is to produce pups that are free of genetic disease and with proper structure according to breed standards. The breeder raises the puppies in clean surroundings with plenty of socialization before they go to permanent homes. Such a breeder will provide you with a health guarantee and evidence that the parents are certified free of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
Poodles of all varieties are at risk for hip dysplasia, a heritable disease in which the hip joint is not properly developed. Arthritic bone changes are progressive over time because of the poor fit and instability of the joint. Dogs with hip dysplasia may or may not eventually become lame. Surgery can help severe cases.
Toy and miniature poodles may be at higher than normal risk for patellar luxation, a heritable problem often seen in dogs, in which the kneecap becomes displaced. Surgery may be necessary for repair.
The painful Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is an inherited hip joint conformation problem that causes loss of a blood supply to the head of the femur, resulting in die-off of bone cells, erosion of the hip joint, and lameness.
Among the eye diseases seen in poodles, inherited progressive retinal atrophy eventually renders the dog blind. A specific type of the disease affects toys and minis, with onset at approximately 3 years.
Optic nerve hypoplasia is inadequate development of the optic nerve, so that the dog does not have vision in the affected eye.
As they age, some poodles develop cataracts, which may be surgically removed. Juvenile cataracts, as the name implies, affect younger dogs.
Addison’s disease results from insufficient production of adrenaline by the adrenal gland. Poodles with this condition may exhibit weakness or frequent vomiting. Severely affected dogs may develop heart problems or go into shock. If your poodle is diagnosed with Addison’s, hormone replacement may help.
Another common poodle malady is hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone. Symptoms include constant hunger, itchy and inflamed skin, changes in the coat, and lethargy. Thyroid supplementation relieves this condition.
Like other tiny breeds, toy poodles are more prone to tracheal collapse than the average dog. For safety, always use a harness and leash on your toy poodle, rather than a collar and leash. A harsh tug on a tiny poodle’s collar can cause or aggravate tracheal issues. If your toy poodle coughs and wheezes or has respiratory problems, take her to her vet for a diagnosis.
Poodles are prone to a variety of skin problems, including ear infections. You may notice that your dog has dry, scaly skin, patches of hair loss, smelly ears, or other skin abnormalities. Treatment is generally long term, and we’ll likely try a combination of approaches to determine what is most effective with your dog. The earlier you call to have skin problems checked out, the less likely it is that you will end up with an itchy, bald, smelly dog to take care of. You don’t want that, and neither does she!
Cancer and Bloat
According to Canada’s Guide to Dogs, about 40 percent of standard poodle deaths are attributed to cancer. Standard poodles may also suffer from a rare heart malformation, an atrial septic defect or hole between the upper chambers of the heart. Surgery can repair this defect if it is found in time.
Standard poodles, like all large, deep-chested dogs, are at risk of bloat, also known as gastric torsion. The dog’s stomach fills with gas, expanding like a balloon, and may twist, cutting off blood supply to the stomach and blocking escape of the built-up gases. This rapidly fatal condition requires immediate emergency veterinary care. The exact cause is not known, but preventive measures include dividing your dog’s daily ration into two or three meals; ensuring your dog has a constant supply of fresh water; and refraining from feeding your dog just before or after strenuous exercise.
Spaying or Neutering
One of the best things you can do for your poodle is to have him neutered (called spaying in females). In males, this means we surgically remove the testicles, and in females, it means we surgically remove the uterus and ovaries. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Some male toys and minis have a condition where a testicle stays in the abdomen instead of descending into the scrotum, and we recommend removal of both testicles in that case. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to evaluate and possibly address some of the diseases your poodle is likely to develop.
Taking Care of Your Poodle at Home
Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people. Watch his diet, make sure he gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush his teeth and coat, and call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What to Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere to the schedule of examinations and vaccinations that we recommend for him. This is when we’ll give him the necessary “checkups” and test for diseases and conditions that are common in poodles.
Why Do Poodles Bite – Poodle Biting Issues Explained
Whether you own a poodle or not, most people will agree that these creatures are the cutest things there are, especially the little toy poodles. But if you are a proud owner of a poodle, you would also know that poodle biting is a problem to be concerned about. In fact, poodles are considered to have the highest tendency to bite among all dog breeds.
Even though poodles have this tendency, the good news is that it can easily be resolved. The key is to take note of your poodle’s biting tendency seriously and take corrective action to help the dog understand that biting is NOT ok.
It starts with simple aggression and or barking. When we have a barking poodle on our hands, most of us tend to use scolding or negative reinforcement. This is a big mistake as it only aggravates the dog more which sometimes leads to biting. The key is to not make your poodle be aggravated enough that they get inclined to bite. The way to do this is by understanding the reason why your dog is misbehaving in the first place.
Every time your poodle misbehaves and tries to bite, try to determine the triggers that set off the dog. Is he having territorial issues? If yes, was its territory invaded? Did some thing that happened nearby cause it to be alarmed? These are questions you need to ask yourself. If your poodle is still a puppy and has just started having biting tendencies, then it will be very easy to control them before they develop. A good way to do this is to whine and whimper like a puppy would if it was bitten. This communicates that the biting hurt you. If the problem persists too long and you feel it may develop into a habit, then you may consider regular poodle training.
Source by Lea Mullins