What’s the big deal with Poodles?

I love dogs. I wish I could say I’m an animal lover, but the truth is, I’m not. I’m a bit of a coward. I don’t like reptiles, rodents or anything that looks like a reptile or a rodent. Cats are okay, but the truth is they scare me too. I think my fear of cats stems from an incident as a child when I let a cat in the house and then had a heck of a time getting it out. The physical scars may have healed but the emotional ones never did. However, if you’re a cat person, that’s nice. Cat’s are very independent and smart. You can leave a cathome alone for the weekend with enough food and water and a nice litter box and it’ll be just fine. You try that same thing with a dog and you’re in trouble. Your dog will have eaten all of the food the first day, knocked over the water dish and relieved themselves throughout the house. So, why bother? Some days, I ask myself the same question (typing this blog after getting two hours of sleep because my dogs had to go potty at 11pm, 1am, 3am, and 4am. So, when I leave the house and see them curled up in their beds asleep, I could definitely see the advantage of a cat). But, I’m a dog lover and I love poodles in particular.

Before you roll your eyes, let me tell you a little about poodles. Poodles are believed to have originated in Germany. They were German Hunting dogs used for retrieving water fowl. Hard to believe? You think I’m off my rocker. How can any dog with that elaborate hair cut be a useful hunting dog? Well, first you need to realize that the poodle cut that you see in dog shows actually had a purpose. Poodles have a thick, curly coat which could slow them down when they were swimming out to retrieve ducks and other water fowl. So, German hunters shaved their coat from nonessential areas. They left the coat longer in other areas to protect vital organs. So the large mane protected their lungs and the two pom poms on the back were to protect the kidneys. The bracelets around their feet protected their joints. Sure, modern breeders have prettied it up a lot for the show ring, but well, can you blame them?

Poodles are considered one of the top two smartest dog breeds (which is why they were often used in circuses because they are smart and easy to train). They come in three sizes, Standard, Miniature and Toy. The differentiation is based on size. Toys can’t be more than 10 inches from shoulder to the ground (or the withers). Miniatures are from 10-17 inches. Standards are anything over 17 inches. Poodles are excellent retrievers and have a hyper-allergenic coat. They have hair (just like people), not fur. Therefore, they don’t shed like other breeds. Not only do they have hair, but their coat is hyper-allergenic, so even people with allergies can generally tolerate poodles. They are also excellent retrievers. Breeders often mix poodles with other breeds in an attempt to produce better retrievers (Labradoodles), or to replicate the non-shedding hyper-allergenic coat. However, use caution when purchasing mixed breed dogs. Just because a breed is mixed with a poodle doesn’t necessarily mean the end result will have the hyper-allergenic coat. Always purchase from reputable breeders.

So, before you turn up your nose at poodles, or any breed, do your research. You may just find there’s more to them than meets the eye.

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