Welcome to the wonderful world of poodles! These fun-loving, beautiful dogs have legions of admirers. And it's no wonder — they're elegant, athletic, smart as whips, and great companions. All this in a package that doesn't shed!
One of the many great things about poodles is that there's a size for everyone. If you want a lap dog, you can get a Toy Poodle. If you're interested in a medium-sized family pet, the Miniature Poodle will fill the bill. And if you're a big-dog person, or perhaps someone who wants a dog you can hunt or run marathons with, the Standard Poodle is right up your alley. All three sizes excel in events like agility and obedience.
Poodles are glamorous, and that glamour has sometimes given them a bad rap. The unenlightened sometimes think they're sissy dogs, yappy dogs, or spoiled brats. While it is easy to spoil a dog as wonderful as a poodle (especially the tiny guys), a well-bred and well-socialized poodle is a joy to be around. These elegant creatures are so easily trained that with a just little effort they're an absolute delight to live with.
One thing that poodle owners often marvel about is the human quality of their poodles. While it's not fair to expect your poodle to act like a human — it's always a good idea to remember he's a dog, with a dog's motivations — sometimes poodles seem like small humans in furry coats. They seem to possess a capacity for reason that surpasses other breeds. And they're absolutely excellent at training their people. These dogs are so in-tune with their humans and so companionable that they easily become full-fledged family members.
You can take full advantage of these characteristics by involving your poodle in your activities and by focusing some of your family activities on your poodle. Get involved with agility (a sport that puts dogs through an obstacle course), obedience, freestyle (dancing with dogs), or any number of other great dog sports. Poodles tend to travel well, so you can take them along on family vacations, provided you choose pet-friendly destinations.
Poodles aren't for people who want to relegate their dog to the back yard. While they do need their exercise, they need to be with their human family members. And that wonderful, nonshedding coat does have some care requirements, so don't get a poodle if you're thinking you won't have to brush and trim his coat regularly (or have a professional groomer trim it, with regular brushing between trims). This requirement for regular grooming makes poodles one of the more expensive breeds to maintain.
Standard Poodles were originally bred to help hunters retrieve waterfowl. But poodles have filled a variety of roles through the centuries, including that of circus performer. Poodle lovers know what an appropriate job that is! These dogs love an audience. They learn tricks easily and love to perform. They enjoy being the center of attention, so the “Oohs” and “Ahs” of people admiring their tricks is music to their long, fluffy ears. Brains, beauty, and charm — poodles have it all.
Breed books are all about generalities. It's important to note that while generalizations can be made about a single breed, each dog is an individual. If you have more than one poodle in your family, you have more than one personality. Some personality traits might well match what you'll read in this book. Others might not. While it's important to learn about the breed, take all generalizations with a grain of salt, and don't fault your poodle for not conforming to everything you read. Rather, enjoy his individuality and revel in his quirks.
Poodles are a little like potato chips. Once you get one, you might want more and more. Provided your bank account will handle it, multiple poodles can be loads of fun!