Standard Poodle breeds as pets

Standard poodle breeds: their history, sizes, and AKC breed standards for the Standard, Miniature and Toy Poodles.


The Poodle as we know it today comes in three different sizes. These are the “Standard” which are over fifteen inches at the shoulder, the “Miniature” which is to be between ten and fifteen inches and the “Toy” which is under ten inches.

Although all three of these are shown in different classes at a dog show, they all go back to the same roots in history.

There are German writings in existence, which describe a breed of dog that was called the “Pudel.” Pudel in German simply means to splash in the water. The German writings speak of a black, fairly large dog that retrieved waterfowl.

During this time the same breed was found in Belgium and Holland but was used as a working dog and named the “Poedel.”

Eventually the dogs migrated into France where they became exceptionally popular once again as a fowl dog. As their number grew, the French called the hardy dog “Chiencanne” or duck dog.

As the breed migrated further, three distinct body types were established in Germany, France and Russia where the main differences were the heaviness of the bone and the coat’s texture.
Paintings of the time period show the French “Chiencanne” to be of a slighter build than their German cousins. In fact the Pudel is said to have been the stockier, heavier set while its Russian counterpart was slight with higher set legs, almost like the Greyhound.

As these three Poodle types were crossed, there emerged the present day Poodle with its refined structure and two types of coat, curly and corded. Size on the other hand is a result of selective breeding.

As far back as the 15th and 16th centuries, the smaller versions of the poodle, the miniature and the toy are seen in paintings. In England, Queen Anne supposedly saw a group of poodles that danced to music and fell in love with the breed.

The Poodle has had many duties over the centuries such as retriever, working and herding dogs as well as circus performers. They have been companions to royalty and commoner alike. Their quick wit, agility, adaptability and loyalty have made them one of the American Kennel Club’s most consistently top ten breeds with the first one to be registered being Czar in 1887.
The standards set by the AKC call for an active, intelligent dog that is well proportioned, deep chested and squarely built with a proud carriage. To ensure the desired square build, the length from the breastbone to the rump should be approximately the same as the highest point of the shoulder to the ground.

The head should be slightly rounded with a definite stop at the eyes where the forehead meets the top of the muzzle. The muzzle itself is long, straight and fine with some chiseling under the eyes. Teeth should be strong and white with a good scissors bite, under or overshot jaws will be faulted in the show ring. Snippiness from a lack of properly defined chin is also faulted.

The eyes of the Poodle are oval shaped, very dark with a definite show of intelligence. Round, protruding, overly large or light colored eyes are heavily penalized.

A Poodle’s ears hang close to the head and are set at or slightly lower than eye level. The ear leather itself in long, wide with heavy feathering.

Part of the Poodle’s proud carriage comes from its strong, long neck that allows the head to be carried with dignity. The skin should be snug at throat without any sign of excess skin.

The shoulders are strong and smoothly muscled with the shoulder blade laid well back. Steep shoulders in themselves are considered a major fault.

Forelegs and hind legs should be straight and parallel when viewed straight on. When the forelegs are viewed from the side, the elbow should be directly below the highest point of the shoulder whereas the toes of the hind legs should line up slightly behind the point of the rump.

The Poodle’s coat comes in two varieties, curly and corded. The curly coat has a naturally harsh texture and is dense throughout while the corded hangs in tight even cords of various lengths.

The AKC recognizes the “puppy” clip for Poodles twelve months and under. With the puppy clip, the face, feet, throat and base of tail are shaved. There is a pompom of hair left on the top of the head and tip of the tail and the remainder of the coat is shaped to give a smooth, unbroken line.

The second accepted clip is the “English Saddle” and it also shaves the face, throat, feet and base of tail. The difference between it and the puppy clip is the shaved front legs that leave puffs on the forelegs. The hindquarters are clipped close but not shaved except for a curved area on each flank and two bands on the rear legs that appear between two pompoms.

The third accepted clip is the “Continental.” As with the other two, face, feet, throat and base of tail are shaved. The continental clip also shaves the rear legs and hindquarters but leaves pompoms on each hip and around the ankles of each rear leg. There are also shaved bands on the forelegs that will divide the long full coat of the body with pompoms at the base of each leg, just above the feet.

These clips are of course for show purposes and most Poodle owners will go with a variation of the Puppy clip or an easily kept up clip known as the sporting clip. In the sporting clip, the coat is clipped moderately close but evenly overall. As with all the others, the nose, base of tale, throat and feet are shaved.

The feet themselves should be smoothly shaved, small in size and oval in shape. The toes are close, well arched with thick, firm pads. Nails should be kept short and dewclaws may be removed.

All three sizes of Poodles can come in a variety of colors but should be even and solid at the skin. Accepted colors are blues, grays, silvers, browns, café-au-laits, apricots and creams. Some shading of the colors is allowed but a parti-colored dog that is not an even, solid color at the skin is an automatic disqualification.

The standard calls for a dog whose temperament is intelligent, proud and very active. Any sign of shyness or sharpness is considered a major fault although this is rarely a problem with Poodles.

All Poodles are not show dogs but most every one can be made into a wonderful family pet. Many fanciers of the breed will swear they have an uncanny, almost human intelligence with an amazing retentive memory for training. They are eager to show off and play the clown to please their owners while still being able to retain their dignity.

The toy size may be unsuitable for toddlers or small children but make an ideal pet for the elderly. Although active, one of their main pleasures in life is to curl up in the lap or bed of a loved one. They and the miniature size both adapt well to apartment or country life.

The miniature and standard sizes are good for almost any family although the standard will require more room to play and exercise in.  When considering a Poodle, the prospective owner needs to take into consideration the regular grooming involved in keeping the coat up.

A Poodle’s coat grows at an astonishing rate that requires brushing and clipping to keep mats from forming. Although a professional groomer will be the easiest method, there are many fine books on how to do the simpler styles of clipping yourself. Many owners will cringe at the idea of taking the clippers in hand but regardless of the results from your initial efforts, your Poodle friend will still love you.

Smart, active, hardy, loyal, brave, easy to train and loving, what more could a person ask for when looking for a new dog? Just remember one thing once you bring your new puppy home, your Poodle will never consider himself a dog but rather another vital member of your family.