If you crave a curly-coated canine companion, consider the poodle. Playful and intelligent, the poodle makes an entertaining and delightful family member. His coat comes in a wide array of colors, including white, cream, apricot, silver, blue, gray, black, brown, red and café au lait, and he is available in three different sizes. With so many choices, a poodle is a possibility for every home, family and lifestyle.
Sizing Up Standards
The standard poodle is the oldest and largest of the three sizes of poodles recognized by the American Kennel Club. He stands more than 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs an average of 40 to 55 pounds. The standard poodle was developed in Germany as a waterfowl retriever for hunting expeditions. The familiar poodle clip served the purposes of facilitating easier swimming and movement through water while protecting the dog's joints in frigid temperatures. Despite his breeding, the standard poodle is a member of the American Kennel Club's non-sporting group. A poodle requires daily exercise; the standard poodle makes an excellent walking or hiking companion. Of the three sizes, standard poodles tend to be more sociable with strangers than their shyer and smaller counterparts.
Mad About Miniatures
The miniature poodle, also a member of the American Kennel Club's non-sporting group of dogs, measures between 10 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs an average of 12 to 15 pounds. The standard poodle is believed to have been crossbred with Havanese and Maltese dogs to develop the smaller miniature and toy poodles. The miniature poodle's ancestry also includes the truffle dog. Miniature poodles were used as a truffle-hunting dog in England, Spain and Germany, and became popular companion dogs among French royalty. Miniature poodles are companionable lap dogs for older family members, and they are better suited to playing with smaller children than the more delicate toy poodles. The miniature is the most popular variation of the three different poodle sizes.
Tiny Toys to Tote
The smallest poodle is a member of the American Kennel Club's toy group, standing less than 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing an average of 5 to 10 pounds. Toy poodles are bred by selecting smaller-size miniatures, but the toy poodle's early ancestor was the white Cuban dog, a small lap dog brought to Spain and England from the West Indies. The result of the crossed miniature poodle and white Cuban dog became an instant sensation in France, earning the dog the title of national dog. Toy poodles were cherished companions of French nobility during the reign of Louis XIV, and their popularity continued through the reign of Louis XVI. Toy poodles also contributed their entertaining antics in the European circus rings during the 1700s and 1800s. The toy poodle is an excellent choice for toting along on errands and weekend outings, and his size adapts perfectly to apartment dwellings.
Turn Away From Teacups
Teacup poodles are not a breed. The teacup poodle a genetically inferior size of poodle not recognized by the American Kennel Club. Reputable breeders avoid producing them. Breeders who choose to produce teacup poodles for their dainty visual appeal cross the smallest specimens of toy poodles in a quest to create a poodle that weighs less than 5 pounds. While the teacup poodle may resemble a cute pocket-sized Teddy bear, families should steer clear. Teacup poodles' health is compromised because they were bred from runts, and their life spans are much shorter than those of standard, miniature or toy poodles. They are also extremely delicate. A fall from a chair to the floor, for one of these dogs, can result in serious injury. Teacup poodles are a poor choice for children since a squirming teacup that wriggles free from a child's arms and falls to the ground can have heartbreaking results.
Across the Size Spectrum
The American Kennel Club first recognized poodles in 1887. All poodles are active, intelligent and easily trained, and they make outstanding candidates for obedience trials and agility courses. Poodles thrive on human companionship, they get along well with children and most other pets, and their sense of humor will keep all family members entertained. Poodle coats shed very little and are said to be hypoallergenic, but the dense curls grow out rapidly and require regular grooming to prevent mats. Poodles have maintained their position as one of the 10 most popular dogs in the United States on the American Kennel Club's breed registry.