For a complete history of the breed please visit the "Poodle" main page.
The overall shape and size of the Standard Poodle is well proportioned and squarely built. Given its former reputation to be that of royalty, the breed proudly holds its head up and chest out, taking command of any and all eyes upon entering any room or conveyance. The Standard Poodle has a stance and stride of sheer confidence, carrying with it an owner that is typically as proud to have such a regally commanding, loyal companion by their side. One would expect such a well groomed and confident dog to possibly be picky or spoiled beyond belief. Yet the Standard Poodle is an excellent family pet, wonderful with children yet weary with strangers. It isn’t afraid to get a little dirty, using its high intelligence to retrieve game in ponds or on land.
The breed standard may vary slightly, as with all breeds, from organization to organization but most are very close. The required height for a Standard Poodle is a minimum of 15 inches at the shoulders, anything less would have to compete in competition in the miniature class. Being an exhibit of proportion, the Standard Poodle is a fine squarely built canine. Having a desirably “square” appearance means that the length of the body, measured from the chest to the buttock, should closely match that of the overall height from the shoulders to the ground. Along with the body, the legs should be in proportion to that as well. The bone and muscle of both the hindlegs and forelegs should neither be too skinny or too fat, in proportion to the body of course, as some dogs are built thicker or more lean than others.
The head is usually the first thing the average person will notice, with dark deep-set oval shaped eyes, portraying an alert yet intelligent expression. Typically the top of the head is cut round in a “pom-pom” shaped fashion, which accentuates the eyes even more. The muzzle is long and narrow with a flat cheek bone extending to the ears. Most poodles sport the “poodle face” look with a tightly shaved face to sharpen the overall look of the head. The ears are left in a natural, floppy close to the head style. They are left with long hair that is thick and feathered, yet neat and tidy as to not arrear messy or unkempt.
The body varies from poodle to poodle as far as grooming goes, but the breed standard for looks remains the same. The top-line should be long and straight, not rising or dipping until it reaches the tail. Below that it sports a deep and significantly wide chest with a well defined rib cage reaching nearly to the loins. The tail is straight with no kinks and as a breed standard, docked. When having your Standard Poodle’s tail docked ensure that it is a sufficient length to maintain a balanced outline of the dogs physique. The legs are well proportioned and parallel to each other, carrying from the should to the feet. Compared to other large breeds, the Standard Poodle’s feet are fairly small. Yet when looking at them they are in amazing proportion to the rest of the leg. Kennel clubs require dogs to be in 3 main clips, depending on age, to show in competition.
The coat is naturally curly and dense, as it was bred to be a water dog in Europe. The hair can also be corded and long but this is not a common practice among competition dogs. There are numerous ways to clips the coat but one standard is kept the same, a shaved face and throat to accentuate the eyes and chest. The feet are also shaved to show off well proportioned toes and feet. Many poodle owners enjoy sporting bracelets on the legs just above the feet and a shaved loin. This type of clip, as aesthetically pleasing as it may be is actually one of the original clips the dog maintained throughout the 17th and 18th centuries when it was a working dog. The hair was left long in specific areas to protect vital organs from harshly cold water and obstacles, and shaved in other areas to help it streamline through the water to retrieve small game quicker and more efficiently.
If you are looking for a dog that comes in a plethora of canine colors this is the breed for you. The Standard Poodle comes in nearly every coat color imaginable. There are blues and grays, in different shades of course, along with colors that go from jet black to light tan and every shade of chocolate or red in between. There are no merles or tri-colors though, as stated in competition rules, Standard Poodles must be solid in coloring. If you are being sold a merle or tricolored Poodle then it is not a pure bred Poodle.
The Standard Poodle is one of the most intelligent breeds due to its’ prior selective breeding for hunting capabilities. Like all dogs the Standard Poodle requires a confident and consistent pack leader, it is a very social breed. This breed is generally friendly with strangers and children, making it a great dog for a family. If it does not have a strong pack leader it will not respond to commands, as it will feel that it is stronger in mind than its owner, leading to undesirable or destructive behavior. The Standard Poodle tends to be calmer and less high strung than its smaller interbreed counterparts, but will become anxious and hyper if not provided adequate mental and physical stimulation. Due to the high intelligence level this breed is not recommended for first time or novice dog owners.
One of the most important steps to grooming a poodle is daily maintenance and upkeep. The poodle should be thoroughly brushed out daily using both a slicker brush and a straight stainless steel comb to ensure no matting occurs in the coat. The nails should be trimmed as short as possible as with all dogs, more so with the poodle though, due to the standard poodle feet. Poodle feet are when the poodle’s feet are shaved, usually with a #10 blade, completely up to the ankle including the top of the foot and between the toes. Poodle’s also receive a standard poodle face where the face is shave, again with a #10 blade, up to the edge of the head even with the eyes and to the base of the underside of the ear.
There are several different styles of haircut on the poodle. It takes a large amount of skill to properly cut these styles, as most of the work is done by hand with high quality scissors. The top of the head is, in most cases, trimmed round; along with the ears, legs and tail. Depending on the style of cut the length of the body varies, and may require scissoring as well.
Poodles tend to have very thin sensitive skin so if shaving a poodle it is imperative to be delicate as to not knick or cut the dog. If the breed has not been properly maintained the coat will get excessively matted and stripping with at least a #10 blade will be required in order to relieve the pressure on the skin caused by matting. As always with all breeds, when stripping the coat be sure to continuously check the heat of the blade, to ensure you do not burn the dog.
Please visit the "Poodle" main page to find out additional information about the health issues known to affect this breed.
The recommended diet for Standard Poodles should be one of sufficient meat content and little to no grain. As Standard Poodles tend to easily develop skin conditions, low grade grain is not advised. One of the main characteristics of the Standard Poodle is an illustrious coat, so a diet rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is strongly recommended. In all cases the food manufacturer’s guidelines should always be followed to prevent over feeding as well as under feeding.