Average Height: 22 – 26 in
Average Weight: Over 15 in
Average Life Span: 45 – 70 lbs
Coloring: Solid colors: black, blue, grey, brown, apricot, red, cream, silver – varying shades of these colors can be found in one coat, usually on the tips of the ears and the ruff of the neck.
Area of Origin: Germany; France
Similar Breeds: Toy Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog
History and Origin:
Listed as the second most intelligent dog breed in Stanely Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs being beaten only by the Border Collie, the Standard Poodle is much more than a beautiful face. Known as the “Pudelhound” in Germany, the Poodle was used as a water retrieving dog across Europe as early as the fifteenth century, and was developed by mixing the extinct French Water Dog, Barbet, and Hungarian Water Hound. It is the oldest of the three Poodle breeds, and the unique pattern of shaving used in the show ring was first used on the Standard Poodle to help it move through cold waters retrieving fowl. While the Poodle’s retrieving abilities were renowned, causing it to be used across mainland Europe for centuries as a preferred hunter’s companion, by the end of the nineteenth century it had largely retired from hunting. Due to its elegant appearance and keen intelligent, the Poodle became increasingly popular in circuses and as pets for the wealthy. It became so popular in France during this time that the breed became known as the “French Poodle”, however, the French name for it was “Caniche”, or “duck dog”. By 1942, the Standard Poodle became listed as one of thirty two breeds deemed suitable for military work during World War II, and many were trained as defense dogs, guarding training camps and the western coastline in the United States alongside German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. In recent years, efforts in both the United States and Canada are seeing the Standard Poodle reclaim its position as a retrieving dog. Regardless of its success in hunt trials, only the United Kennel Club in Britain categorizes the breed as a hunting dog.
Personality and Temperament:
Extremely intelligent, noble, and good-natured, the Standard Poodle can make a fantastic family companion. While it is typically calmer than the Miniature and Toy Poodles, the Standard Poodle can become high-strung and timid if it is not properly exercised and socialized. It retains a strong instinctual drive to hunt, and is best paired with a family who will indulge its desires and play with it regularly. Of the three Poodle breeds, the Standard is best suited for children as it is a sturdy, strong breed with an enthusiastic nature, willing to play for hours. While an independent thinker, the Standard Poodle is an extremely obedient dog, and excels at competitive obedience to the highest levels. It is an ideal dog for a confident first-time owner; due to its sometimes timid nature, the Standard Poodle would not do well with a nervous owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Standard Poodle is an extremely energetic breed, and needs daily walks, runs, and activities that challenge it both physically and mentally. It is suited for an active household, and is a fantastic partner for the adventurous, outdoors-type owner. The Standard Poodle is naturally drawn to water, and loves to swim; it is happiest if given the opportunity to fulfill this instinct. An extremely intelligent breed, the Standard Poodle is a breeze to train, and should participate in high levels of obedience training to keep it constantly thinking. A dog with little mental stimulation is prone to boredom and behavior problems. The Standard Poodle excels at dog sports like agility, flyball, dock diving, and competitive obedience; it has also made a comeback in retrieving hunt trials, with positive results.
The Standard Poodle’s dense, double coat needs extensive care to prevent matting. Show dogs need to be clipped, shaped, and bathed constantly to maintain breed standards; companion dogs are typically kept in a “puppy” clip for ease of care; a trip to the groomers every few months and daily brushing will maintain this short clip style. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
The Standard Poodle was bred down in size during the nineteenth century to produce both the Miniature and Toy; today, the sizes are classified under one breed – the Poodle – with three size designations for showing purposes. As a water dog, the Poodle is likely related to the Portuguese Water Dog, and one theory suggests that the two are related, both descending from Asian water and herding dogs that came to Europe in the early centuries AD.
Interesting Facts about the Standard Poodle:
1. The word “Poodle” is derived from the German word “pudel”, meaning “puddle”.
2. In the classic tragedy, Faust, by Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe, the antagonist, Mephistopheles, first appears to Faust as a black Standard Poodle.
3. Since the Standard Poodle has been reincorporated into water dog and hunt trials, it has won many championships against breeds such as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Between the United States and Canada, the Standard Poodle has won thirteen Master Hunt titles.
4. The well-known Poodle clip has a very practical purpose: it protected the dog’s organs and joints against frigid waters while retrieving fowl.