We love poodles! Did you know that the poodle ranks second only to the Border Collie as the most intelligent dog? That they were originally bred (and are still used) for hunting purposes? That they make excellent companions for families, individuals, young and old alike? And that poodles are the national dog of France?
Their name, poodle, comes from a German word related to "puddle", since they are historically water hunting dogs. Yes, water hunting dogs!
But what exactly constitutes a poodle? Well, poodles can come in three official, AKC recognized sizes (and the only breed that comes in three sizes): standard, miniature, and toy. What separates them is their height; standard poodles are more than 15 inches at the shoulders, or withers, while miniature poodles are 10 to 15 inches, and toy poodles are under 10 inches tall at the withers.
Poodles can be traced all the way back to the 15th and 16th centuries, seen in drawings of common life by German artist Albrecht Durer. In fact, in the 18th century, it was the most popular dog breed in Spain, as well as in France, where supposedly even Louis XVI had a miniature poodle.
Poodle coat colors have a wide range, but typically come in white, black, apricot, and brown. The are also considered hypoallergenic (not 100% allergy free though) due to their single layer coat. In fact due to their hair follicles having one of longest active growth periods of all dogs, they are one of the top breeds for allergy sufferers.
Despite the stereotypical assumption of poodles being weak with bows in their hair, they are actually very athletic and brave. In fact standard poodles were originally bred for hunting and originate from the working, retriever breed. Though not as common, standard poodles are still used by some hunters. Everything from it's square build, thick hair, and love for running and swimming all make it one of the perfect hunting dogs.
Due to the superiority and popularity of the poodle breed, they are commonly bred with other breeds to produce a two breed mix, such as the goldendoodle (golden retriever and poodle mix), labradoodle (labrador retriever and poodle mix) or schnoodle (schnauzer and poodle mix). In order to have a true first generation cross, the parents must be an official pure bred from each breed. However, the AKC and other top associations do not recognize cross breeds and as such this leads to possibilities of fake true crosses and higher incidences of puppy mills.
If you are thinking of purchasing a poodle or a poodle cross breed, make sure to ask for papers (for poodles, since cross breeds are not recognized), and papers of the parents. Also research proper care, eating habits, potty habits, environment requirements, and so on before welcoming a poodle or cross breed into your life. And if you do adopt, be on the lookout for bloating which is something that can affect these dogs.
Remember that poodles and any living animal you welcome into your life is your responsibility, and they are putting their life and trust into your hands. They must be properly trained and cared for in order to respond and behave the way you want. So if they pee on your carpet but you haven't taken them out in 28 hours, please consider that before reprimanding them.