The poodle is perhaps among the top five most distinctive-looking dog breeds, and it would certainly be hard to mistake a poodle for another breed, particularly if they are sporting a full lion clip.
However, while poodles used to be really popular within the UK-you could virtually guarantee to see at least one regularly at the dog park or when out walking-today, they have become if not quite rare, at least by no means common.
Looking at the adverts for poodles for sale on Pets4Homes’ classifieds section too, poodles don’t currently fall within the top twenty most popular dog breeds for sale, but this is due to the fact that the Poodle comes in a variety of sizes and we have separate sections for Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles and Standard Poodles. However even if we added up the number of adverts of all poodle sizes, which is around 160 currently, this still wouldn’t be enough to put the poodle in the top 10 most popular dog breeds.
So, is the poodle falling in popularity within the UK, and if so, why? In this article, we will attempt to find out. Read on to learn more.
The poodle can be found in three different bred sizes-toy, miniature and standard, with standard being the largest. Other countries also recognise a “giant” poodle, but generally when you see a large poodle in the UK, that will be a standard poodle.
Hugely versatile dogs, the poodle is ranked second in the Coren scale of canine intelligence by breed, demonstrating that they are hugely smart and very quick to learn new skills, meaning that they make for both great pets, and good working dogs too.
While you might not think that the poodle looks like a working dog, historically they certainly were, and they are also excellent and keen swimmers, whose coats repel water to keep them warm and buoyant.
The poodle coat itself is unique, being formed of dense, wiry curls-this means that when the dog sheds their coat, it does not drop around the house much, instead staying tangled up in the remaining coat, which means the poodle may be a good pick for people who are often otherwise allergic to dogs.
While the poodle is still reasonably popular in terms of popularity on Pets4Homes-poodles have gone through a fairly significant fall in popularity over the last two decades or so. Many working people find that they do not have the time to care for the poodle’s rather onerous exercise requirements and need for entertainment. Coupled with this, the poodle coat is high maintenance, requiring regular brushing and combing, as well as bathing and trips to the groomers to be clipped and tidied up.
Not all dog owners are willing to commit to becoming a part-time canine coiffeur, and additionally, many people who enjoy having a very polished-looking dog may not be keen to take on the other poodle traits, such as a high exercise drive, high intelligence, and a need for plenty of stimulation.
However, for those that do own a poodle, most would say that they would never have another breed-the versatility, temperament, intelligence and other great traits of the breed mean that they still retain a strong following of enthusiastic owners!
In correlation with the slow but steady decline in poodle popularity over the last couple of decades, the number of cross breed dogs with one poodle parent or partial poodle ancestry have actually risen exponentially. Even when you search in the poodle section for dogs for sale, a significant number of the dogs listed are actually half poodles or cross-breeds, often commanding prices near to or equivalent with that of pedigree poodles.
This of course reflects the modern-day popularity with hybrid dog types-non-pedigree cross breeds comprised of a mixture of a poodle and another unrelated breed. The best-known of these are of course types like the cockapoo, labradoodle and sprocker, and the poodle is in fact the most popular breed used in hybrid crossings of this type.
The reason why the poodle is such a versatile dog for deliberate hybrid crossings is multifaceted-they can be found in three different sizes, allowing for a lot of variation in terms of the hybrid’s size, as well as being found in many colours. Their high intelligence, good natures and energy levels all make for an outgoing, versatile pet regardless of size, and careful selective crossings with the poodle can help to ensure that all of the best traits of both breeds are combined into one dog.
However, it is the poodle coat that has really made the breed so popular as part of hybrid crossings-and in fact, some of the first recorded deliberate poodle crosses were designed to produce a low-allergy assistance dog for blind or deaf people who would otherwise have bene unable to have an assistance dog due to allergies.
That said, it is generally private dog owners and breeders who have deliberately crossed the poodle with other breeds to produce a uniform hybrid dog type, and it is these hybrids that are so popular today.
So, while you might not see as many poodles out and about as you could have done twenty or so years ago, you will almost certainly see plenty of part-poodle crosses if you know what to look for!