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The Poodle is a popular pedigree dog breed, and one that comes in many sizes and colours. While seeing the large, elegant standard Poodle out and about on the streets of the UK is a less common sight than it used to be, nevertheless, the Poodle remains a popular choice of pedigree dog, particularly in its smaller guises! The Poodle is also one of the most commonly used dog breeds in deliberate hybrid crossings, if not the most common over all, meaning that a significant amount of half-Poodle and Poodle type dogs can also be seen out and about as well.
While the Poodle is often associated with France and elegant, well-dressed Parisians walking their equally stylish dogs past the Eiffel Tower, the Poodle actually hails from Germany originally, and is a type of water dog. While the Poodle (especially when clipped to perfection!) might look like a dog that is intended to look pretty and not get its paws dirty, the Poodle in fact has a long and distinguished history as a working dog, and is equally comfortable on land or in the water. The Poodle is highly intelligent and was historically widely used for police work and other working roles in the military. The Poodle can often be seen competing in canine agility competitions, as they have both the intelligence and natural athleticism to do the sport justice.
The one trait that makes the Poodle distinctive above all others, is of course its coat. This is particularly true when the Poodle is clipped and trimmed into the distinctive partially-shaved and pom-pom look that most people associate with the Poodle, although a wide variety of different looks and coat styles are available. More information on Poodle haircuts can be found in this article.
The Poodle’s coat is also unusual in that is it considered to be non-shedding or minimally shedding, and is not dropped around the home anywhere near as much as that of other dogs. The hair is wiry and tightly curled, and not only does not shed and renew as quickly as most other dogs, but the wiry curl of the hair means that when the coat is shed, it tends to be held and trapped in amongst the rest of the fur rather than released.
This means that Poodles require regular brushing and grooming to avoid knots, remove shed hair and keep the coat in good condition. This is also the original reason for the distinctive Poodle clips alluded to above, which serve a practical purpose as well as looking nice!
The minimally shedding nature of the Poodle coat means that dander and skin proteins present in the natural oils of the skin that are transferred to the coat will not be spread around the house in significant quantities, something that is not true for most other dogs. This means that for people who are allergic to the protein compounds found naturally on the skin and hair of the dog, there will be less opportunity to come into contact with the allergens and so, Poodles are potentially less likely to trigger allergies in people sensitive to them.
This has led to the Poodle having a reputation as a hypoallergenic dog, or one that is safe for allergy sufferers. This is rather an over-simplification of a complicated matter, however; there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog, as there is no dog that does not produce skin proteins that may be allergenic to somebody! However, for the reasons mentioned above, the Poodle may prove less of an allergy trigger or even in some cases a totally safe pick for allergy sufferers, although this should very much be treated on a case-by-case basis with each person and each dog. More information on so-called hypoallergenic dogs can be found here.
The Poodle comes in three size categories that are recognised within the UK; standard, miniature and toy. A larger than life large breed dog, the giant Poodle, is also sometimes mentioned, but the giant Poodle is not recognised as a breed or breed category classification within its own right within the UK.
What category any Poodle falls into is dictated solely by size:
Poodles can appear in a wide variety of colours, either solid or mixed in nature. White, black, brown, apricot, cream, brindle, silver and red are just some of the options!
When you think about popular hybrid or cross-breed dogs such as the Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Cockapoo, Yorkiepoo and others, the one thing that a great many well respected hybrid breeds have in common is a Poodle parent. The Poodle is one of the most commonly crossed dogs in deliberate matings, and there are almost certainly more Poodle hybrid dogs out and about within the UK than there are full pedigree Poodles!
Deliberate hybrid breeding or cross-breeding is intended to bring all of the best traits of the two parent breeds together into one dog, and the Poodle has a lot to recommend it. A generally robust health and long lifespan, high intelligence, superior trainability and agile build all make the Poodle a good choice, but the one Poodle trait that is perhaps more popular than any other is of course, the coat.
Breeding dogs that do not shed hair, shed minimally or can be classed as hypoallergenic has long been a goal within the pedigree dog breeding world, and beginning with a pedigree dog that already lays claim to some of those traits is a good start!
Not all cross-breed dogs with a Poodle parent will be born with the Poodle’s coat traits dominant, and so breeding for a certain style of coat can be rather hit and miss. Nevertheless, the Poodle itself and many Poodle hybrids enjoy considerable popularity as pets, companions and working dogs for many reasons, and may allow allergy sufferers a rare opportunity to own or spend time around a dog.
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