Poodle

The poodle is a breed of dog. The breed 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,[1] 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.[2] The European mainland had known the poodle long before it was brought to England. Drawings by German artist Albrecht Durer 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.[3] The poodle has been bred in at least three sizes, including Standard, Miniature, and Toy. According to the American Kennel Club, the Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties,[4] 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. Poodles are retrievers or gun dogs, and are still used by hunters in that role.[5] 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[6] that a terrier was crossed with the poodle to produce the ideal truffle hunter. [edit]Characteristics [edit]Appearance The poodle is a very active, intelligent and elegant dog, squarely built, and well proportioned. To ensure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of body measured from the breastbone to the point of the rump approximates the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the gro nd. The eyes should be very dark, oval in shape, and have an alert and intelligent expression. The ears should fold over close to the head, set at, or slightly below, eye level. The coat should be of naturally curly texture, dense throughout, although most AKC-registered show dogs have a lion-cut or other shaven look. Colors Poodles have either a solid-colored or parti-colored coat. The dogs have a wide variety of coloring, including white, black, brown, parti, silver, gray, silver beige, apricot, red, cream, sable, and patterns such as phantom and brindle.[7] For solid-colored poodles, the coat is an even and solid color at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au-laits, apricots and creams, the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are preferred by registries, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and cafe-au-lait poodles have liver-colored noses, eye rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream and white poodles have black noses, eye rims and lips, black or self-colored toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots, while the foregoing coloring is preferred, liver-colored noses, eye rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted, but are not desirable. Incomplete color of nose, lips and eye rims, or a "mismatched" color are considered faults by registries. Parti-colored poodles are recognized in poodle history as the original coloring of the poodle.[8] A parti poodle has solid-colored patches over a white coat. The coat will usually be white and colored in equal amounts, though it can vary with a larger percent of white. Registries prefer that parti poodles have the same points as its correlating solid-colored descendants. Brown and white parti poodles have liver-colored noses, eye rims and lips, dark or self-colored toenails and amber eyes. This is also permitted, but not preferred, in apricot and white parti poodles. Black/white, Blue/white, and silver/white poodles have black noses, eye rims and lips, black or self-colored toenails and very dark eyes. Phantom poodles have the coloring of a Doberman Pinscher, with a lighter color appearing on their "eyebrows," muzzle and throat, legs and feet and below their tail. Like Dobermans, Phantom poodles have either a black or brown main coat with a tan (usually apricot or red) lighter colorings around the eyebrows, muzzle, throat, legs, feet, and below their tail. When the dog has markings that resemble those of a tuxedo, it is called a "tuxedo" poodle. The upper coat is solid: head, back, tail; and the lower coat is white: neck, chest, abdomen, and legs, making up usually 40% or more of the coat.