The Poodle is probably the most popular breed in the world. However, popular as it may be, the true origin of the breed is relatively unknown and debatable, but it was already a popular subject of painters as early as 400 years ago. Most breed experts believe that the Poodle came from Central Europe or Russia. Although it is officially recognized as a breed that originated in France, some still claim that it was first developed by German breeders and was brought to France by early German soldiers during the early Renaissance period. It was originally bred as a water dog used for retrieving gunned water fowls or ducks in the water and its development had a lot of German influence. In fact, the name itself was derived from the Deutsch word “pfudel” or “pudeln” meaning “to splash” or “puddle.” In France, the Poodle is a renowned duck hunter that goes by the name “caniche.” The coat was traditionally sheared to accommodate swimming because it can get extremely heavy when wet. Overtime, it became a favourite companion of the French social elite and aristocrats and the puffed hair on the knees and tip of the tail that the modern Poodle is known for actually serves an aesthetic purpose today.
The Poodle is an obedient, people-oriented breed; very easy to train, eager to please and love being the centre of attention. It will typically entertain its audience by doing tricks. Often, it is seen performing in circuses because of its ability to learn quickly. It has a tendency to bark excessively and makes an excellent candidate as a watchdog. Highly intelligent and alert, the Poodle is one of the most adaptable and trainable dogs but can become easily bored and will tend to channel its boredom into creative misbehaviour. In general, Poodles are even-tempered and can be quite sensitive at times. They will enjoy the company of their human family and can be quite demanding of them but will not bond with only one member. The miniature and toy variety tend to be more active than the standard variety.
Poodles have boundless energy which could be perfectly channeled through training. They enjoy the physical and mental stimulation derived from it and responds well with positive reinforcement
This breed needs extensive grooming with its profuse, dense, harsh coat characterized by thick and curly hairs. This thick coat is usually groomed in either “pet clip” style with short hair of equal length all over the body.“English saddle” clip and the “continental” clip which shows the dog in partially sheared form with hair puffs left on the ankles and balls of fur left on the hips and tip of the tail. Poodles shed little to no hair but must be bath regularly.
The Poodle is a long-lived breed with an average life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. Some medical predispositions associated with the miniature poodle that owners and would-be owners should be aware of include: cataracts, congenital heart disease, distichiasis (eyelash problem), entropion (eyelid problem), epilepsy, glaucoma (optic nerve disease), intervertebral disc degeneration (a degenerative disc disease), lacrimal duct atresia (deformed or absent tear ducts that causes tears to run down the face), Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome (a degenerative disease of the hip joint), progressive retinal atrophy or PRA, patellar luxation, trichiasis (ingrown eyelashes), and urolithiasis (bladder stones).
The miniature variety requires minimum amount of exercise such as short walks or a session of play in the yard.
It is a playful breed and is very good with children and other pets in the house, but often shy with strangers and can become snappish especially if spoiled. Grooming is extensive and requires frequent attention, including frequent trimming, bathing and brushing. The coat should be trimmed every four to six weeks. It is not right to believe that Poodles don't shed hair. When the Poodle sheds, the hair does not fall out but sticks to the coat which can cause matt to form if not regularly brushed. Show dogs require more frequent professional grooming. Check the ears for wax build-up and should also be trimmed of hair.