I got my first poodle when I was 16 and I’m
67. So – a long time. It’s a breed that because they’re fussy and because they’re the way
they are – men tend to shy away from them. But believe me, they’re a hell of a dog!
The poodle comes in three varieties, toy, miniature and standard. That of course gives
you a much greater range of choice should you decide a poodle is going to be a member
of your family. The temperament is exactly the same in all
three sizes, they’re all gregarious, out-going show dogs.
If you think about Poodles, they were always used in circuses. They were the original circus
dog. And that really epitomises them. They’re clowns, they’re out-going, and they’re read
to do anything really that you want them to do.
They’re a people dog. They are an ideal family dog. Highly intelligent.
They love games. Love activity and they love to be part of an active family.
When you have a Poodle you have a very intelligent, smart and environmentally aware dog. So you
need to think about making your training really top notch. Lots of positive re-enforcement
and training it to do anything. You can do tricks, you can do heel work to music, agility,
obedience. They sky’s the limit really with a Poodle.
Of course they were originally a gundog – so you shouldn’t forget that. It’s in their instinct
to retrieve. They still make good gundogs. If you’re in
America, The Poodle Club of America, they actually have a day where the Poodles all
go shooting with the gun – they are amazing. Contrary to people thinking they’re lapdogs
– they’re not. They do need a lot of exercise. But if you took a Poodle out, it’s off and
away and it runs like the wind. So they tend to exercise themselves. All you’ve got to
do is be there with them. If you’re going to have a Poodle you have
to be aware that it needs trimming. You cannot allow this breed to never be trimmed because
they get in a terrible mess, their coats mat up, then they’ll get skin infections, you
can’t not groom them. Whether you just have it clipped off every two months or shave it
all off, that’s fine. Poodles don’t care. So long as they’re clean and tidy. But I mean
obviously if you’re going to show them then we like them in this trim.
The traditional lion trim which is the mane and the pom poms, obviously that’s difficult
to do. The maintaining of a show coat is a lot of work – a hell of a lot of work.
The original trim where they cut the poms in, they actually shaved the hair on the joints
so when the dog was in and out of water, the joints didn’t remain wet. And they also put
ribbons in their hair – I know people think it’s silly – but ribbons in the hair was only
to recognise the dogs out in the field. They had different coloured ribbons – like racehorses
really. They don’t moult, we would look to adopt one
to a family with allergies or asthma – which can help with that – but they are fun lovely
little dogs. If anybody is cosidering buying a Poodle,
standards tend to have a problem with Addison’s (disease) at the moment. It’s the opposite
to Cushing’s disease – they can have Cushings when they make too much adrenelin, when they
don’t make enough, then it’s Addison’s. So we’re working hard to get rid of these things.
The fact that they come in different sizes, and have been bred for many years as family
pets, make them an ideal dog. Highly intelligent, highly affectionate.