Despite the widespread belief that the Poodle originated in France, there is evidence that his origins are more likely to be German or even Russian. The name ‘Poodle’ is derived from the German word ‘Pudel’. The earliest references to them are as working water retrievers. The elaborate show trims we see today have evolved from the original need to clip the coat where possible to reduce drag in the water whilst swimming. Hair was retained where needed to protect joints and organs. To identify the dogs to their owners whilst they were working different coloured ribbons were tied in the hair on the top of the head.
The Poodle is of course easily identified by his coat, which is curly, dense and water repellent. It is closer to wool in texture. The Poodle does not moult, so is often the breed chosen by allergy sufferers. As the Poodle does not moult, regular grooming is essential, in addition to being brushed thoroughly at home, a visit to the grooming parlour every 6-8 weeks is a must.
Poodles are a high maintenance breed, prospective owners need to factor in the cost of regular professional grooming into the household budget. The most popular trim for a companion Poodle is the ‘Lamb’ trim, which is easy to keep brushed between visits to the Groomers.
Peoples attitude to Poodles is often unfortunately prejudiced by the various cartoon portrayals of the breed. Standard Poodles are not glamorous airheads, they are real dogs, when you put your hands on them you find a muscular, squarely built dog with a good ribcage providing the heart and lung space needed to support an active animal.
Standard Poodles can work in the field, compete to a high standard in obedience and agility. They have been trained to help the disabled as assistance dogs.
Standard Poodles are ‘people’ dogs they thrive in human company, they make excellent companions and are good family dogs. Once you have owned a Poodle you rarely want another breed. Standard Poodles require regular exercise, they don’t need to go for 5 mile jogs, distance isn't important it is the social interaction that they enjoy. They will be equally happy with a long walk in the countryside or a quick walk round the park. It is important not to over exercise young puppies, it puts too much strain on developing bones.
Poodles can be prone to ear infections, ears need regular attention to keep them clean and free of hair, they should be routinely checked for early signs of wax or hair build up.
In general Standard Poodles are a healthy breed, however there are a number of hereditary conditions which have been reported. Reputable breeders do their very best to breed puppies who will live, long, healthy lives. There are regrettably no guarantees and until more DNA tests become available occasionally problems will occur.
When buying a puppy ensure that BOTH parents have current, clear Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) test certficates. An increasing number of breeders are now routinely Hip Scoring their breeding stock, although Hip Dysplasia has not been a problem in the breed although this kind of vigilance will help to prevent it becoming an issue. Standard Poodles do not suffer from PRA like their smaller cousins, occasionally Cataracts and Entropion are reported.
The biggest challenge facing today’s Standard Poodle breeders is Addisons Disease (Hypoadrenocorticism ), it is a very difficult disease to diagnose as the wide ranging symptoms can be gradual or sudden onset. The only way to reduce the incidence of Addisons is to avoid breeding dogs who are closely related to dogs diagnosed with the disease. With prompt veterinary diagnosis the majority of Standard Poodles continue to live a normal life, daily medication for the rest of the dogs life is necessary.
As with many other breeds various other health problems are sometimes seen, these include, Bloat/Torsion, Epilepsy and Auto-Immune Disease.