The Standard Poodle

A Little History

The standard poodle originated somewhere in Europe for at least the last 400 years— France is considered the most likely location for its origin, some say Germany. The breed seemingly resulted from combining the barbet, french water dog, and possibly the hungarian water dog. Originally the dog was used as a gun dog, which interesting enough is not recognized in many dog trials today where the poodle is shown in the non-sporting group.  Interestingly, standard poodles show in the gun dog group in the venue we show under, the United Kennel Club.

In the United States in the 1940-1970s a particular kennel became very popular for their stunning dogs. This kennel is well known as the "Wycliffe" kennel. Many people chose to breed to this line of dogs, which were linebredthemselves. At the time linebreeding (breeding back to the grandsire/dam to produce a certain look/temperament etc) was considered not only safe, but desirable to accentuate desirable traits (this method is still in use today).  As a result, the standard poodle went through a genetic bottleneck, decreasing the diversity in our lines and increasing the incidence of health issues, including autoimmune dysfunction. Consequently, it is our goal to seek out as unique of breedings for our dogs as possible, which will include miniature/klein poodles in the future. Visit: The Standard poodle Project for more information

To Dock or Not to Dock:

The poodle on the right is docked, left undocked…not much difference! Both beautiful.

My reasons for not docking or removing dew claws:

I originally decided against docking after reading a research article about spinal cord damage in humans and immune reactions that could prove detrimental to the entire body. Standard poodles often have autoimmune disorders; in fact they are beginning to become more prevalent! I thought, why help that along? The tail isn't the spinal cord, but it contains enough nerves to make me leery of intentional damage to it (called the cauda equina in humans). Additionally, the tail is used to signal other dogs, and also used to help your dog move, stop, and turn. Anyone interested in agility wants those abilities intact, as should any owner. One breeder I know has an entire page dedicated to showing how her poodle uses her tail in movement!  Honestly, I love my full tails and will never dock a poodle again.

The dew claws are used to stabilize the front leg and to grasp things.  Theoretically, a dog without them is more apt to damage their legs while running, doing agility etc. Additionally, there are theories that removal of dew claws can result in osteoarthritis.  I decided I don't want to set my pups up for possible future damage and therefore do not remove dews.  

People argue that dew claws can rip in the woods etc. This argument was the one reason I dutifully removed them in the past. However, after the discussion regarding stabilization of the leg and potential to develop osteoarthritis, I decided the relative risk is worth it.  Half of  my dogs have their dew claws, and none of them have ever been torn (of course the claw must be trimmed like the paw claws). I take my dogs on all sorts of adventures and have never had a problem. But, my dogs actually have torn their paw's claws!! Should I remove them because that happened? Of course not.

Video of dogs using their dew claws functionally here: http://vimeo.com/39124130

Here is a link to an article discussing dew claw use, by Fred Lanting who "has had years of experience as a conformation judge for AKC, SV, UKC, and many other registries, and regularly trains his dogs in schutzhund, trying to live up to the title of his book “The Total German Shepherd Dog” (available from www.Hoflin.com). He consults as a behavioral analyst and training coach, and gives seminars on training, canine anatomy & gait, as well as orthopedic problems"

"I AM suggesting that the first digit on the front limb IS indeed useful and functional. I have bred Terriers, raised and raced Whippets, reared hundreds of my own puppies and adults, worked Shepherds in Schutzhund, handled and judged all breeds, and closely observed all types of dogs. I am sure that vets see some torn small digits, especially the less-developed rear ones, but I have seen countless active dogs break through crusty snow, ice, and very rough brush, work on the sleeve in bite work, and both hunt and lure-course over broken ground with no torn first digits on the forelimb. I have also observed innumerable dogs using that first digit in manipulating bones, sticks up to the size of logs, balls, and other toys. I have seen many dogs use them to get out objects that were stuck between their teeth, and to even to remove (gingerly) material from the eyelids."
http://www.workingdogs.com/doc0019.htm

Have you ever seen a poodle with an undocked tail?  Look through our pages; Bree, Ashes, Lili and Imp are all undocked.  

Personality

One amazing aspect of standard poodles is their versatility. Poodles fill many purposes in the dog world today from hunting, to therapy dogs, or just your plain lazy house pet. This makes them incredible dogs for anyone looking for a large breed dog.

The Standard poodle is an adaptable and intelligent large breed dog. Being that they are very intelligent, they have wonderfully different unique personalities. Remember though, intelligence does not always equate trainability; occasionally a standard poodle will challenge you to motivate them much like a toddler. This is a reason I love them though!!

They aren't always looking to you to entertain them, rather they can entertain themselves that can lead them to trouble. They do enjoy all the same games as other large breeds, such as fetch and tug. They also make good jogging companions, as in the past their lines were bred for hunting and other sports. However, many are happy to just be a companion. In addition, some Standards have a goofiness to them that is hard to explain; they certainly have character!

They are very different from their smaller counterparts- they are calmer and typically don't get "yappy". They are however, considered good guard dogs due to the propensity to bark at strangers at the door.

Energy Level

As poodles are versatile creatures, they can adjust to their owners energy needs. However, most people describe their energy level as a mid range.

My poodles really enjoy their exercise, and if not allowed to play at all during the day they would probably be unhappy (ie- if constantly caged the Standard poodle would be unhappy). They can (and will) however get out their energy by playing around the house and backyard, but prefer other adventures like walking or other exercise.

Coat

The coat of a standard poodle is harsh with a very defined curl. If allowed to grow long without care it is very likely to get matted, thus grooming requirements are quite high. Most people recommend a trip to the groomer every 4-6 weeks, in addition to weekly or more frequent brushing using a slicker and pin brush, and a comb.

We cut our own dogs and groom them ourselves and can help new owners get started doing so if wanted.
I recommend Andis pro clippers for those who want to groom at home; as well as Fromm or Heritage shears for precise scissoring.

Weight/Size

The standard poodle is generally "measured" by their height at their shoulders, and not in weight. The lowest height at the shoulders that is allowed to be considered in competition is 15". Most of our dogs are in the 20" range or higher. Males generally weigh from 50-70 lbs and females 45-60 lbs although there can be greater variation.

Life Span

12-15 years

Coloring

This link can help explain coat color in canines to the scientifically savvy person: http://www.vetgen.com/canine-coat-color.html

When poodles were imported to the United States, breeders considered solid colors more desirable to the parti markings that had been in existance for many years. Thus they systemically removed dogs with the undesirable markings. Now, people believe that "partis" and "phantoms" should not be allowed to be shown, when in fact they were the original colors!!! Seems ironic to me!

"Parti" pups are dogs with at least 50% white on the pup and patches of another color (or more). Tuxedo parti pups are dogs that look like they are wearing a tuxedo. Tuxedos aren't considered parti without the requirement of 50% white on the body. Tuxedo is considered very desirable for people who are interested in their markings. Athena Ceres and Bree are considered Irish Tuxedo marked dogs.

"Mismark" standard poodles are mostly solid with patches of white located on some or all of their chest, chin, forehead, and paws. This is also referred to as "abstract". Sol is an abstract.

"Phantom" markings are also very rare, with markings like a rottweiler. However, the marking's COLOR don't have to be the same as the rottweiler's.

Color in both solid and parti dogs consist of brown (shades of brown include brown, cafe au lait, and silver beige); ee dogs (shades of which include red, apricot, cream and white); and black variants (black, blue, and silver).  Fading/lightening genes will determine if a dog remains "holding" in color or lightens as it ages.  

There is also a marking called "Brindle", in which the dog's coat can take on a boxer type of appearance (although they can have different coloring like a silver brindle) of stripes.

"Sable" markings are an interesting type: they change their coat type over a year or so and generally lighten to almost white/cream, although their ears usually stay dark, or their color can remain a multicolor as they are born. I like the way they look as pups, usually all "brown" mottled with black and white.  Misty and Willow are sables.