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Pedigree Dogs > Poodle (Miniature)
The poodle is found
officially in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, with
many coat colors. Originally bred as a type of water
dog, the poodle is skillful in many dog sports,
including agility, obedience, tracking, and even
herding. Poodles have taken top honors in many
conformation shows, including "Best in Show" at the
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1991 and 2002, and
at the World Dog Show in 2007 and 2010.
The poodle is believed to have originated in Germany,
where it was known as the Pudelhund. Pudel (cognate with
the English word "puddle"), is derived from the Low
German verb meaning "to splash about", and the word Hund
in German means "dog". The breed was standardized in
France, where it was commonly used as a water retriever.
The European mainland had known the poodle long before
it was brought to England. Drawings by German artist
Albrecht Dürer established the breed in the 15th and
16th centuries. It was the principal pet dog of the late
18th century in Spain, as shown by the paintings of the
Spanish artist Francisco Goya. France had toy poodles as
pampered favorites during the reign of Louis XVI at
about the same period.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Standard
Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties, and was
later bred down to the miniature and toy sizes. Despite
the Standard Poodle's claim to greater age than the
other varieties, some evidence shows the smaller types
developed only a short time after the breed assumed the
general type by which it is recognized today. The
smallest, or Toy variety, was developed in England in
the 18th century. Today, similar to other breeds, there
is a teacup poodle, which is not a registered size in
most dog registries (CKC, AKC, UKC, etc.).
Poodles are retrievers or gun dogs, and are still used
by hunters in that role. Their coats are
moisture-resistant, which helps their swimming. All of
the poodle's ancestors were acknowledged to be good
swimmers, although one member of the family, the truffle
dog (which may have been of Toy or Miniature size), it
is said, never went near the water. Truffle hunting was
widely practiced in England, and later in Spain and
Germany, where the edible fungus has always been
considered a delicacy. For scenting and digging up the
fungus, the smaller dogs were favoured, since they did
less damage to the truffles with their feet than the
larger kinds. So it is rumored that a terrier was
crossed with the poodle to produce the ideal truffle
Unlike most dogs which have double coats, poodles have a
single layer coat (no undercoat) composed of dense,
curly fur that sheds minimally. They could be considered
hypoallergenic (though not completely allergen free).
The poodle does shed, but instead of the fur coming off
the dog, it becomes tangled in the surrounding hair.
This can lead to matting without proper care.
Standard Poodles in UK, Denmark and USA/Canada surveys
had a median lifespan of 11.5 to 12 years.
In a UK survey, the most common causes of death were
cancer (30%), old age (18%), GDV (6%), and cardiac
Miniature and Toy Poodles in UK surveys had median
lifespans of 14 to 14.5 years.
In Miniatures, the leading cause of death was old age
In Toys, the leading causes of death were old age (25%),
and kidney failure (20%).
Some Toy Poodles can live up to 20 years, if they have
healthy lives and are not overweight.
Of note is this breed's keen sense for instinctive
behavior. In particular, marking and hunting drives are
more readily observable than in most other breeds. Even
Toys will point birds. Classified as highly energetic,
poodles can also get bored fairly easily, and have been
known to get creative about finding mischief. Poodles
like to be in the center of things and are easily
trained to do astonishing tricks involving both brains
and agility. They have performed in circuses for
centuries, beginning in Europe, and have been part of
the Ringling Circus in its various forms from its