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White Standard Poodle.
White Standard Poodle.
Alternative names
Country of origin
Possibly France or Germany
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 9 Section 2 #172  
AKC: Standard and Miniature: Nonsporting; Toy: Toy  
ANKC: Group 7 (Non-Sporting)  
CKC: Standard and Miniature: Group 6 - Non-Sporting Dogs; Toy: Group 5 - Toys  
KC (UK): Utility  
NZKC: Non-sporting  
UKC: Standard: Gun Dogs; Minitaure and Toy: Companion Dogs  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Poodle is a breed of dog; specifically, it is a gun dog noted for its ability in the water and bird hunting skills. The English name comes from the German Pudel, or Pudelhund – from pudeln, meaning "to splash about". In France the poodle is known as a caniche and in Spain as a perro de lana (literally "wool dog").


Breed standards call for a dignified, elegant carriage.

The breed comes in three sizes (as described by most breed registries):

  • Standard: Over 38 cm (15 in) at the shoulder
  • Miniature: Over 28 cm (11 in) high, but under 38 cm
  • Toy: Under 28 cm (11 in) and 10 lbs or under

Black Miniature Poodle Black Miniature Poodle

The American Kennel Club has a slightly different standard, with the maximum for Toys and the minimum for Miniatures at 25cm (10 in). The FCI standards divide Poodles into four groups: Large (45 to 60 cm), Medium (35 cm to 45 cm), Miniature (28 cm to 35 cm) and Toy (less than 28 cm with an ideal size of 25 cm).


Breed standards call for a coat of solid color, one of black, white, brown, grey, blue, or apricot. "Parti" (partial), "phantom," and other coat colors exist, but are not acceptable in the show ring.

The fur on the animal's body is naturally curly, often in small tight clumps of small curly ringlets. Hair on the ears can be straight or slightly curly. With brushing, the dog's fur will still retain wavy or curly properties, but will soften and straighten somewhat.

Apricot Toy Poodle Apricot Toy Poodle

The coat can be clipped in various styles. For show purposes, only three clips—the puppy clip (only for dogs one year old or younger), the Continental or Lion clip (with the instantly-recognisable 'mane'), and the English Saddle clip (with leg bracelets)—are acceptable. The traditional show-cut 'bracelets' of long fur covering the dog's leg joints are said to date back to winter hunts, where most of the fur was clipped short to facilitate swimming but the joints, lungs, heart, and kidneys needed protection from the cold. The pom-pom on the end of the tail served as a "flag" when the poodle dove under the water's surface. Clip styles for pets include the Kennel clip (fur same length all over) and other styles, generally variants of the Continental. Left alone, poodle fur will become corded in the manner of a Puli.

Corded Poodle

The Corded Poodle is a Poodle whose hair has been allowed to grow in the corded manner: it is not a distinct breed.

Most national registries recognize two coat types for Poodles: curly and corded. Some Poodles have coats which will more or less naturally cord, others must be coaxed into it, but virtually all Poodles are capable of having corded hair once their adult hair has been established. Puppies can be born with either type of coat, even in the same litter. Once cords have been established, they cannot be brushed out, but must be clipped away.

Breed historians seem to agree that the corded coat is the older of the two varieties. Corded coats are more difficult to take care of, and corded dogs fell out of fashion, in favor of those with wooly coats.

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Poodles are generally intelligent, alert, and active. In particular, the Standard variety is quite independent and has a noticeable hunting drive. Even Toys will point birds. Because they are so intelligent, they can become bored easily, and can get quite 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. When they are from good bloodlines, all three varieties are fairly mellow dogs. Most Poodles don't like to try new things, but are adaptable and easy to train. They don't require as much exercise as other hunting or working breeds (even the Standards), but being agile and athletic, they appreciate lots of exercise.

This young red Standard Poodle is in Continental clip, one of the three acceptable show clips. This young red Standard Poodle is in Continental clip, one of the three acceptable show clips.


White Toy Poodle White Toy Poodle

Poodles make good companions and are extremely loyal, sometimes to the point of being possessive. The owner should be a competent trainer, as poodles can be willful if trained poorly. Well-trained Poodles are eager to please and love putting on a show for family and friends. Poodles do not shed and are considered a hypoallergenic breed. (See list of Hypoallergenic dog breeds) Some Poodles have hyperactive tear ducts that do not drain very well. It is quite common to see Poodles with streaks of gooey brownish-red secretions in the corners of their eyes. If lots of drainage needs to occur, the tear duct may clog and a small ball of yellowish mucous may form near the tear duct. It is advisable to gently remove this accumulation with a lint-free and soft towel wrapped around the index finger. Many products exist in pet stores designed to help remove this drainage from Poodles' faces, as it can be unattractive. Often these clear solutions are applied to a cotton ball which is then firmly wiped over the stained fur.

Poodles' coats require plenty of grooming to keep the constantly growing hair at a manageable length and to prevent it from matting. Matted fur can be very difficult to untangle, and often the clumps must be cut out with scissors. There a number of short pet clips that make a very easily maintained family pet.

This older Toy Poodle's coat has been allowed to grow out somewhat. This older Toy Poodle's coat has been allowed to grow out somewhat.


The poodle is often thought of as a typically French breed (it is frequently referred to as the "French Poodle"). However, it is an old breed and its region of origin is a matter of contention. Most experts believe the poodle originated in Germany or Russia, but it may have come from Iberia. Related breeds are the Portuguese Water Dog and Irish Water Spaniel.


Today, Poodles are generally kept as pets. However, they are a versatile breed capable of hunting, tracking, protection, or entertainment. French customs, for instance, uses Poodles to search for illegal substances. Because of their small size, they are more unobtrusive, when searching cars and train compartments, than bigger breeds such as the German Shepherd.

Their intelligence and athletic build has made them popular as trick dogs or circus performers. They can compete well in some dog sports, such as dog agility, although their independent or playful nature can sometimes distract them from the focus and drive needed for these sports.



Many hybrids have been created by crossing a poodle with another breed, such as Labradoodles and Cockapoos. These "hybrids" are not, however, recognized breeds. Many breeders promote Poodle hybrids as actual breeds and charge more for them than is usually charged for a mixed-breed dog.

Main article: see Poodle hybrid.

Famous Poodles

  • Algonquin from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
  • Foo-Foo, Miss Piggy's pet on The Muppet Show
  • Charley, pet of John Steinbeck; a champion black Standard Poodle played Charley in a TV miniseries.
  • Georgette from Oliver and Company
  • Vicki, pet of Richard Nixon
  • Boye, pet of Prince Rupert of the Rhine
  • Rufus, pet of Winston Churchill source:, retrieved July 31, 2005
  • Fifi, pet of the Finsters on Rugrats
  • Ooh La La, pet of Nanette Manoir on Angela Anaconda
  • Daphne, from the third Look Who's Talking movie

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