Poodle (Miniature) Guide

Non-Sporting Dog Breeds

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The poodle is a square-proportioned dog with proud carriage and elegant appearance. It should move with a light, springy, effortless stride. The poodle stems from working retriever stock, and its conformation should reflect its athletic background. The coat is curly, harsh and dense; if corded, it should hang in tight even cords. The traditional clips stem from functional and decorative tradition; acceptable clips for show purposes are the puppy (for puppies only), English saddle, Continental and (for some nonregular classes only) sporting.

The miniature poodle is lively, amiable, playful, eager to please, responsive, smart and obedient — small wonder that it has remained one of the most popular varieties of dog for so long. It is sensitive, tending to be devoted to one person, and initially reserved with strangers. It is good with children, other pets and dogs. Some tend to bark a lot.


FAMILY gun dog, companion, water dog

AREA OF ORIGIN Germany and Central Europe


ORIGINAL FUNCTION water retrieving, performer


AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 10-15 Weight: 12-18

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 10-15 Weight: 12-18

OTHER NAME barbone, caniche

Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

All poodles need a lot of interaction with people. They also need mental and physical exercise. A brief but challenging obedience or play session, combined with a walk, should be part of every poodle's day. Standard poodles will need more exercise and may especially enjoy swimming. No poodle should live outdoors. The show poodle should preferably be brushed every day or weekly for shorter coats. Poodle hair, when shed, does not fall out but becomes caught in the surrounding hair, which can cause matting if not removed. The pet clips are easier to maintain and can be done every four to six weeks.
• Major concerns: Pra, Legg – Perthes, patellar luxation, epilepsy
• Minor concerns: trichiasis, entropion, lacrimal duct atresia,
cataract, glaucoma, distichiasis
• Occasionally seen: urolithiasis, intervertebral disc degeneration
• Suggested tests: eye, knee, hip
• Life span: 13 – 15 years
Although the poodle is most often identified with France, its earliest ancestors were probably curly-coated dogs from central Asia that assisted with herding and followed many routes into various parts of Europe. Interwoven in their ancestry are also several rough-coated water dogs. Perhaps the earliest incarnation of the poodle was the barbet, a curly-coated dog distributed in France, Russia, Hungary and elsewhere. It is the German version, however, that exerted most influence on the modern poodle. In fact, the word poodle comes from the German word pfudel, meaning "puddle" or "to splash," probably reflecting the dog's water abilities. In France, it was known as caniche or chien canard, both referring to its duck-hunting abilities. Thus, from herding and water roots the poodle became a talented water-hunting companion. The poodle was also drawn into service as a military dog, guide dog, guard dog, wagon puller for performers and, eventually, as a circus performer. Its coat was shorn close to facilitate swimming, but left slightly longer on the chest for warmth in cold water. Although some believe the puffs of hair around the leg joints and tail tip were for protection when hunting, compelling evidence suggests that they arose as decoration during the poodle's performing days. The poodle found favor as an elegant companion for fashionable ladies. It became favored by French aristocracy and eventually became the national dog of France. Its characteristic clip was accentuated, and a successful effort was made to perfect the smaller specimens. Poodles entered the show ring in the late 1800s. Some of the early show poodles were shown in corded coats, in which the hair is allowed to mat in long thin tresses rather than be brushed out. While eye-catching, the upkeep was difficult and the trend died out by the early 1900s, being replaced by the bouffant styles still in vogue. At the same time poodle popularity in America waned, so that by the late 1920s, poodles had almost died out in North America. In the 1930s, the breed staged a comeback that eventually placed it as the all-time most popular dog in America.