Other names: Caniche, Pudelhund
The poodle is a dog endowed with many qualities and whose varieties come in four sizes (toy, miniature, medium and standard) and five different coat colours (black, white, grey, brown or apricot). She is a very intelligent dog who, despite her misleadingly fragile appearance, is actually very robust and resilient to all kinds of terrain. She can adapt to many different lifestyles and family constellations. Cheerful, playful, lovable and affectionate, there is no better choice for a peaceful and enjoyable companionship than the poodle.
Key facts about the Poodle
Origins and history
This currently predominantly companion dog’s ancestor was a fierce, rather primitive hunter of feral character: the Barbet, a water hunting dog. The Poodle was in fact originally employed in the hunting of water birds. Contemporary breeding has since focused on the production of companion dogs, resulting in one of the most beloved and widespread breeds in the world. Despite all of this, the dog’s name still references a hunting capacity in almost all languages: in french, ‘Caniche’ comes from the word ‘cane’, which is the female designation for a duck. It is called ‘Pudel’ in german and Poodle in english, both of which mean ‘swimmer’.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs
Section 2 : Poodle
Physical characteristics of the Poodle
Female : Between 9 and 24 in
Male : Between 9 and 24 in
- Male: Between 14 and 18 inches
- Female: Between 14 and 18 inches
- Male: Between 11 and 14 inches
- Female: Between 11 and 14 inches
- Male: Between 9 and 11 inches
- Female: Between 9 and 11 inches
Female : Between 13 and 51 lb
Male : Between 13 and 51 lb
The coat is always a solid colour: black, white, cream, brown, silver, red, though apricot-coloured Poodles are particularly appreciated.
Colours derivative of beige are not admissible and grey coats must neither be ‘blackish’ nor ‘whitish’.
Type of coat
The coat is medium-long.
The coat is curly but can, in rare cases, be corded. Other than that it is abundant, thin, wooly, quite frizzy and elastic.
In the case of corded coats, the rope-like mats must be a minimum of 8 inches in length.
The eyes are usually black or dark brown. In individuals sporting a brown coat, the eyes tend to be amber-coloured.
The four size-based varieties (standard, medium, miniature and toy) are subdivided into five further categories: black, white, grey, brown and apricot. The same general standards do however apply to all varieties. This dog’s general constitution is harmoniously and proportionately-built, covered in the breed’s signature curly coat; a corded variety exists, but it has become very rare. The head has an elegant appearance- elongated, well-defined, and proportional to the frame: it should neither be heavy or imposing nor too dainty. The rather solid neck supports a head proudly held high. The body is of even proportions, with the frame only slightly longer than its height. The limbs are perfectly straight. The chest’s circumference, measured just behind the shoulders, must be at least 4 inches greater than the shoulder height. The tail, set high, is shortened to around a third of its natural length. It hangs aslant. The dog’s demeanour is one of the breed’s important characteristics: light on her feet and rather ‘prancy’ in her step, the poodle’s posture resembles that of an Arabian horse.
Good to know
So-called ‘Doodles’ have been around for a few years now. It is one of those emerging breeds that tend to eventually be officially recognised, but is currently still only considered to be a hybrid.
The ‘Doodles’ are crosses between the Poodles and other breeds. For instance, there is the Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever x Poodle), the Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle) as well as other smaller breeds crossed with the Toy Poodle.
These dogs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the United States and in Australia, because of their remarkable set of qualities derived from the crossing of so-called working and service dogs with more malleable and, more importantly, hypoallergenic breeds such as the Poodle.
The initial goal of this type of cross-breeding was to produce service dogs for people with allergies to dog fur. And even if this has given rise to many abuses of power on the part of greedy, opportunist breeders, the idea of the crossbreed itself is by all means worthy.
This little, frizzy dog is the perfect life companion, on account of how lovable, sociable, excitable and, above all else, loyal she is to her owner. She loves displays of affection and enjoys spending long bouts of time on the couch being patted and stroked at her owner’s side.
Remarkably lively, the Poodle has large stores of energy to spare and is not last in line when it comes to having fun and frolicking around. Training sessions are actually often a synonym of playtime to her, since she loves to learn and to please her master. You should therefore never hesitate to involve her in both recreational and training-oriented games.
Even if she is capable of being still and ‘fading into the woodwork’, this dog is always hungry for action, especially if it involves stimulating her intellect or sense of smell. In this sense, she is a dynamic and active companion, infecting both big and little ones alike with her joy on a daily basis.
The Poodle is renown for her great loyalty and remarkable capacity for learning. She can adapt to many different lifestyles and is therein a very intelligent dog and a particularly pleasant day-to-day companion.
An ancient waterbird hunter as well as a descendant of the French Barbet, the Caniche, as is her original name in French, has undeniably preserved her hunting instincts, good nose and attraction to water. This instinct does, however, remain contained- not least due to contemporary breeding, which has favoured her companion dog aspect.
Fearful / wary of strangers
A rather good ‘alarm dog’, she does become rather alert when something out of the ordinary disrupts her usual routine. She is very approachable once she starts trusting though.
Very loyal and attached to members of her social group, this dog could willingly spend all of her time by her owner’s side. In this sense, she is not independent at all, and requires near constant contact with her family to feel fully at peace.
If left to her own devices, she loses her joyous exuberance which makes her so charismatic in the first place, and can become ‘yappy’ and anxious.
Behaviour of the Poodle
This dog does not like to be left alone, and only feels good when surrounded by her family (be it the humans or fellow animals in her family). She requires available owners, preferably always present.
Moments of solitude will only be somewhat tolerated if the Poodle pup has been exposed to her owners’ absences in a gradual and positive manner, and from the youngest possible age.
Easy to train / obedience
This dog is very easy and pleasant to train, since she rapidly integrates what is asked of her. Endowed with an exceptional intelligence and sensitivity, coercive training methods will only serve to impact her in a very negative way. You must therefore prioritise gentle methods based on positive reinforcement and trust.
Despite her great docility, the training process must be implemented as soon as the Poodle pup integrates the house, so as to prevent her from developing any bad habits- especially in the case of toy and miniature specimens, which one tends to be more lenient towards.
Very much alert, she barks as soon as she perceives something out of the ordinary. This has its good and bad sides. For instance: in the countryside, which tends to be calmer and less eventful, the dog’s barking could warn her owners about a potential intruder… but in the city, where many different noises can resound, the barking is at times excessive and not necessarily pertinent.