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"To err is human, to forgive, canine."

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The Poodle is a breed of dog. Toy, miniature, and standard poodles are distinguished by adult shoulder height. Poodles come in many colors including black, blue, white, red, apricot, silver and brown. They also appear in parti-color, or multi-colors. While the multi-color poodles cannot be shown in the American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) or any Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) conformation ring, they can be shown in the United Kennel Club (UKC) show ring and in all performance rings.

The FCI lists the country of origin as France, but the breed's true origin is unknown and subject to dispute. Some experts believe poodles may have originated in Russia or Iberia; Germany is also frequently cited, including by the AKC, because the breed's name has German origins. However, it is commonly agreed that the French are responsible for developing the modern breed into its current three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Poodles are one of the oldest breeds of dog and have been popular all through Europe for several hundred years, and poodle-like dogs are found depicted on Roman sculptures.

Poodles are retrievers, or gun dogs, and can still be seen in that role. The show clips evolved from working clips, which originally provided warmth to major joints when the dogs were immersed in cold water. The rest of the body is shaved for less drag in the water. Poodles are skilled at most other dog events including agility, obedience, tracking, and even herding.

They are elegant in the show ring, having taken top honors in many shows. The poodle coat is dense and generally does not shed. As a result, coats in show condition require extensive care and grooming. Most pet poodle owners keep their poodles in much simpler cuts that are easier to care for and require less grooming. Poodles vary in size, so they can accommodate any household size.

The name poodle comes from the German word Pudel, which is short for Pudelhund, which means "splashing dog". This reflects the breed's use as a water dog (the word Pudel is related to the English word puddle).

Unlike many breeds, poodles come in a variety of sizes, distinguished by shoulder height. The exact height cutoffs between the varieties vary slightly from country to country, but in the US, UK and Canada there are 3 sizes of poodle: standard, miniature, and toy.

In FCI countries there is a fourth size variety. The FCI recognizes the "medium" poodle with a height over 35 cm up to 45 cm, and the standard poodle is 45 to 60 cm.

However, there is no "royal standard" or "teacup" or "tiny teacup" poodle other than for marketing purposes.

Most poodles are proportionally long-legged dogs. They have dense, curly, non-shedding hair (not fur) that grows year-round and requires regular grooming. Most are solid-colored, and many registries only allow solid colors in conformation shows. "Parti" (short for parti-colored) poodles have large patches of colors. "Phantom" poodles have the color pattern of a black-and-tan dog, although not necessarily black and tan. Solid-colored poodles may either "hold" their color (i.e., stay more or less the same color throughout their lives) or "fade" or "clear" to a lighter shade. Usually, the ears and the thicker guard hairs hold more of the original color than other fur.

The tail is usually docked in the US, less often in Europe. These days, tails, when docked, are left much longer than in times past. "Bunny like tails" (very short-docked tails) are now rarely seen except among puppy millers. However, docking the tails of a litter is now illegal in the UK.

Poodles have hair instead of fur, causing them to be non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Texture ranges from coarse and wooly to soft and wavy. Poodle show clips require many hours of brushing and care per week, about 10 hours/week for a standard poodle. Poodles are usually clipped down as soon as their show career is over and put into a lower-maintenance cut. Pet clips are much less elaborate than show and require much less maintenance.

Show clips
Many breed registries allow only certain clips for poodles shown in conformation. In American Kennel Club (AKC) shows, adults must be shown in the "continental" or "English saddle" clips. Dogs under 12 months old may be shown with a "puppy clip". A handful of registries, such as the United Kennel Club, allow simpler clips.

Puppy clip
In the puppy clip, the face, throat, belly, and base of the tail and feet are shaved. The coat may be shaped with scissors for neatness. Although this clip appears simpler than the other clips, the length of the hair makes it as difficult (maybe more so) to maintain as the adult clips.

Continental clip
In the continental clip the face, throat, feet and part of the tail are shaved. The upper half of the front legs is shaved, leaving "pompons" around the ankles. The hindquarters are shaved except for pompons on the lower leg (from the hock to the base of the foot) and optional round areas (sometimes called "rosettes") over the hips. The continental clip is the most popular show clip today.

English Saddle clip
The English saddle clip is similar to the continental, except for the hindquarters. The hindquarters are not shaved except a small curved area on each flank (just behind the body), the feet, and bands just below the stifle (knee) and above the hock, leaving three pompons. This clip is now rarely seen in Standard Poodles.

Pet clips
Pet clips can be as simple or elaborate as the owner wants. The hair under the tail should always be kept short to keep feces from getting matted in the fur. Most owners also keep the feet and face clipped short to keep dirt from matting between toes and food from matting around the dog's muzzle. Beyond the sanitary requirements, the desired clip depends on the owner's preference. Some owners maintain a longer clip in winter than summer, which they brush often to remove tangles and prevent matting. When mats occur, owners cut or shave off the matted areas, attempt to achieve symmetry in overall appearance, and wait for the fur to grow back.

Corded coat
In most cases, whether a poodle is in a pet or show clip, fur is completely brushed out. Poodle fur can also be "corded" with rope-like mats similar to those of a Komondor. Though once as common as the curly poodle, corded poodles are now very rare. Corded coats are difficult to keep clean and take a long time to dry after a bath. Any poodle with a normal coat can be corded when their adult coat is in. Corded poodles may be shown in AKC, FCI, CKC and UKC shows.


Other names: Pudle (Old English), Caniche
Country of origin: Germany, France and Russia

Poodles are intelligent, alert, and active. Historically, their aptitude has made them ideal for performing in circuses across the globe for centuries. Otherwise notable is this breed's keen sense for instinctual behavior. In particular, marking and hunting drives are more readily observable than in most other breeds. Even Toys will point birds. Classified as highly energetic, poodles can also get bored fairly easily and have been known to get creative about finding mischief.

Poodles are extremely people-oriented dogs and, therefore, are eager to please. They are excellent watchdogs, but unlike some working breeds, don't usually become "one-person" dogs when they are part of a family. Standard Poodles in particular tend to be good with children. Poodles are adaptable and easy to train. Like most dogs, they appreciate daily exercise, such as a walk or a play session. Most are fairly agile and athletic.

Toy Poodles are also entertaining little animals. They will play ball and love to fetch. Play time is very important, but you must be sure that they get plenty of rest following long play periods and fresh water available at all times.

Potty training can be difficult in many dogs, but the poodle is one of the easiest to train. Whether going outside or being trained on a pad, they learn very quickly where to relieve themselves. However, they are animals that need time to understand what you want from them. It may take a while, but poodles are very smart and learn more quickly than most dogs.

With proper care and nutrition, many enjoy life well into their teens. This Toy Poodle just turned 16, and with arthritis medication still has a very active life.
With proper care and nutrition, many enjoy life well into their teens. This Toy Poodle just turned 16, and with arthritis medication still has a very active life.

The most common serious health issues of standard poodles (listed in order of the number of reported cases in the Poodle Health Registry (as of August 20, 2007) are Addison's disease, gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV = bloat/torsion), thyroid issues (hyperthyroid and hypothyroid), tracheal collapse, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, juvenile renal disease, hip dysplasia, and cancer. Standard poodles are also susceptible to some health issues usually too minor to report to the poodle health registry. The most common of these minor issues are probably ear infections. Ear infections are a problem in all poodle varieties. Ear problems can be minimized by proper ear care. A veterinarian should be consulted if the dog shows signs of an ear infection, lest a minor issue turn into a major issue.

Addison's Disease
Addison's disease is (as of August 20, 2007) the illness most commonly reported to the Poodle Health Registry. The number of reported cases of Addison's disease is nearly twice as high as the next most common problem (GDV). Addison's disease is characterized by insufficient production of glucocorticoid and/or mineralocortoid in the adrenal cortex. Addison's is often undiagnosed because early symptoms are vague and easily mistaken for other conditions. Standard poodles with unexplained lethargy, frequent gastric disturbances, or an inability to tolerate stress should be tested for Addison's. Addison's can cause fatal sodium/potassium imbalances, but, if caught early and treated with lifelong medication, most dogs can live a relatively normal life.

Gastric dilatation volvulus
Standard poodle owners should take special note of the high incidence of GDV (Gastric dilatation volvulus) in this breed. Excess gas trapped in the dog's stomach causes "bloat." Twisting of the stomach (volvulus or "torsion") causes or is caused by excess gas. Symptoms include restlessness, inability to get comfortable, pacing, or retching without being able to bring up anything. The dog's abdomen may be visibly swollen but dogs can bloat or torsion without visible swelling. GDV is a dire emergency condition. If you suspect a dog is bloating, you should not wait to see if he improves. A dog with GDV requires immediate veterinary care. The dog's survival usually depends on whether the owner can get him to the vet in time. It is a good idea for a standard poodle owner to know the route to the nearest 24-hour emergency clinic, so time is not wasted looking for directions.

Longevity and causes of death
Standard Poodles in UK, Denmark and USA/Canada surveys had a median lifespan of 11.5 to 12 years.[7] In a UK survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (30%), old age (18%), GDV (bloat/torsion, 6%), and cardiac disease (5%).

Miniature and Toy Poodles in UK surveys had median lifespans of 14 to 14.5 years. In Miniature Poodles, the leading cause of death was old age (39%). In Toy Poodles, the leading causes of death were old age (25%) and kidney failure (20%).

Some toy poodles can live up to 17 years or even longer if they have a healthy life and are not overweight.

Common illnesses

Addison's disease (hypoadrenocorticism)
Congenital heart disease
Chronic active hepatitis
Cushing's syndrome   (hyperadrenocorticism)
Intervertebral disc degeneration
Lacrimal duct atresia
Legg-Calvé-Perthes syndrome
Progressive retinal atrophy
Patellar luxation (Toy and Miniature)
Hip dysplasia (Standard)
Gastric torsion
Mitral Valve Disease
Patent ductus arteriosus
Sebaceous adenitis
Gastric dilatation-volvulus
Von Willebrand's disease

Poodle hybrids
Hybrid poodle mixes include the Labrador ("Labradoodle"), golden retrievers ("goldendoodles") or the smaller mixes such as Cockapoos or Maltepoos.

Though a desirable cross-breeding goal, a hybrid between a shedding breed and a poodle (which doesn't shed),does not reliably produce a non-shedding dog; most of the offspring will shed.[citation needed] Because they often do not shed as much as the shedding parent they will usually require regular grooming and haircuts.

Poodle crosses are considered mixed breed dogs by all mainstream dog registries, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), and are not eligible for registration, even if both parents are registered.