The Poodle…Descendants of the French Water Dog

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The Standard Poodle’s origins are controversial.  France has staked a claim on their origin; the AKC gives this honor to the Germans; yet others point to Denmark.  The Poodle breed may be best known for Cleo, of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” fame.  Miss Piggy owned a poodle named Foo-foo.  The famous Grimaldi clowns developed their act with a clever poodle named “Twinkle”, who enabled them to continue performing well into their eighties.

What is certain about this breed is that they are descendants of the now extinct French Water Dog, the Barbet and possibly the Hungarian Water Hound.  The name “Poodle” is from the German word “pudel”, which means one who plays in water.  This dog was used as a gun dog and as a retriever of waterfowl.  They were also able to sniff out truffles laying underground in the woods.

The Standard Poodle can weigh from 45 to 70 pounds and stand 15 inches or more in height.  They have a long, straight muzzle.  The eyes are oval shaped and set far apart, and are black or brown in color.  The ears hang close to the head and are long and flat.  The Poodle’s coat is either curly or corded.  It comes in solid colors including black, blue, silver, gray, cream, apricot, red, white, brown or café-au-lait.  Today, it is not unusual to see parti-colored poodles, although this coloring is frowned upon in show dogs.  Poodles can live from 10 to 13 years.  They can be considered hypo-allergenic, as they have minimal shedding.  Their coat can become tangled and requires grooming every few weeks.  With a corded coat, a poodle can look as though they have dreadlocks.  These coats are difficult to keep clean and take a long time to dry after washing.

The Standard Poodle is versatile and do well in a variety of environments, including active adults and  families with children.  Poodles are graceful, proud, and good-natured.  This highly intelligent dog is one of the most trainable breeds.  They are also one of the most obedient breeds.  The Standard Poodle is often calmer and less energetic than the smaller varieties of Poodle. All Poodles can become high strung if they do not have the proper amount of exercise.  Daily walks along with a secure yard will provide plenty of activity. Poodles dislike being alone and long to be with their owners.  They are friendly towards strangers and are excellent with children.

Photo: Courtesy of TimWilson via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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