Much about Poodles
Despite what you may have been taught and believed all your life, there is no such thing as a French Poodle. Nor is there such a thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog, which the Poodle has often been reputed to be, but isn’t.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy in 2011, the amount of dog allergens found in households with dogs does not vary depending on the breed. To put it another way, families with so called “hypoallergenic” dogs, such as Poodles, are living with the same level of allergens in their homes as people who own non-hypoallergenic canines.
And regarding the “French” question: It’s true that the Poodle is the national dog of France. But just because it is greatly loved by the French people doesn’t mean that it is a French Poodle, any more than the Plott Hound, the official state dog of North Carolina, is the North Carolina Plott Hound. A Poodle is a Poodle, plain and simple.
The Poodle comes in three sizes: Standard, Miniature and Toy. Size-wise, they stand over 15 inches, under 15 inches, and no more than 10 inches, respectively. Each size can come in any one of three colors - black, white or apricot – and live anywhere from 10-18 years. The fancy Poodle show-groomed coat is actually a remnant of a cut that served a practical purpose in the breed’s early years. Hunters wanted their dogs to have free range of movement in the water, but also wanted to protect vital areas of the anatomy from the cold. So they shaved the legs, neck, and tail but left the chest, hips, and leg joints coated.
The breed evolved to have a curly coat to protect it against the elements and Olympic level swimming ability combined with an intelligence level that consistently ranks it among the smartest of dog breeds. Over time, the Standard was bred down to the Miniature. While both sizes are classified in the Non-Sporting Group for American Kennel Club (AKC) Conformation events, both are eligible for AKC Retriever and Spaniel Hunting Tests.
The Poodle’s combination of good looks, athletic ability and “trainability” resulting from its high intelligence has made it a popular part of circuses for many decades, if not centuries. Poodles are also used to hunt truffles because of their excellent nose, an attribute generally overshadowed by their many other fine qualities.
Early in the 20th century, in response to the growth of American cities, breeders developed the Toy Poodle as a city-dwelling companion dog. Their smaller size made them much more practical for urban dwellers without sacrificing the intelligence, athleticism and attachment to their people that all sizes of Poodles are known for. They are all bred to the same standard, making them exact replicas of each other, but not French, and not hypoallergenic.