There is always a stand out breed that greatly impacts the rest of its domesticated species. For domestic cats, this breed is the Persian. For horses, that breed has been the Arabian. And for dogs, the breed that has the most influence on all other breeds (and quite a lot of mongrels) is the Standard Poodle.
There are four Poodle types (Standard, Miniature, Toy and Teacup), but the Standard is considered the oldest type.
Just how old this breed is, we don’t know. It is guessed by dog experts like the late Roger Caras that the breed stretches back to the days of antiquity. The other three Poodle types are basically just smaller versions of the Standard Poodle. The Standard Poodle is a minimum height of fifteen inches at the withers and often gets a lot bigger than that! Bitches can be found from forty-five to sixty pounds, with dogs (males) from forty-five to seventy pounds.
The size of the Standard Poodle is at least fifteen inches high at the withers (the highest point of the shoulder). There is no maximum height – and there are many Standard Poodles seventeen inches tall of more. The weight can range from forty-five pounds at the lowest end of the scale to seventy pounds for some males. Don’t let their remarkable coats fool you – they are slim, athletically built dogs like a Weimaraner or a Harrier.
However, it’s their remarkable coats that are unforgettable. It is thought that the hair never stops growing – although (thankfully) no one has ever been cruel enough to find out. The hair (not fur – hair) never sheds, so it stays onto the coat. The fuzzy curls will quickly grow into matted, soiled dreadlocks if not regularly clipped.
The legs of the Standard Poodle should be proportionate to the body. The topline (spine) should be level (it’s sloped downwards in some pet Standard Poodles). The paws are compact and relatively small for such a large dog. The neck is to “rise from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders”. They tend to carry their heads and tails up when they walk or trot. Show dogs often have their tails docked to a half-length.
Common faults in show dogs often seen in pet Standard Poodles include too large, round protruding eyes, an undershot jaw or an overbite, being parti-colored instead of solid colored, having too big splayed feet instead of oval-shaped paws, a curly tail, a tail set too low, a tail held over the back and not up, dogs that are overweight, dogs with a spine that sharply slopes to the hindquarters, or an ewe neck.
You don’t have to use one of the popular show clips if you don’t want to. They actually grow hair and not fur, which is why all Poodle types are recommended for those with dog allergies.