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The Poodle: Styled to be Humanity’s Sign of Status

Although the physical origins of the poodle may be fuzzy, they were without a doubt engineered for style. The German’s developed the poodle’s appearance for functionality. Accordingly, the French took what was functional and turned it into a performance. This performance was eventually adopted by high society as a sign of class. Accompanying the famous and models alike, poodles continue to be used as performers for what is fashionable. With a high maintenance body and a need to be noticed, the breed’s physical and behavioral traits accommodate its role in society. They are naturally graceful and proud dogs that excel at obedience and performance. However, their efforts need to be acknowledged and given the appropriate attention. Poodles may love water, but they crave human companionship and acceptance more. Covering the physical and emotional aspects, below is detailed outline of the poodle’s role in the human world from its origins to today.

Bred for Performance

The poodle is one of the oldest breeds and has been popular in Western Europe for more than four centuries. Drawings from a German artist acknowledge the poodle as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries. Originally developed as a hunting dog by the Germans, the poodle gets its name from the term “pudle,” which means to play in water.  All of the poodle’s ancestors were great swimmers, including the French water-loving breed barbet, which is now deceased. Poodles were often used by the Germans as a water worker to retrieve fowl. To increase their swimming ability, hunters developed the famous poodle clip. Keeping the dog’s hair close to skin increased their efficiency in the water. However, tuffs were left around the neck, feet and elbows to protect the joints and vital organs from the cold and other elements. Always keeping an eye out for style, the French were captivated by the poodle’s new haircut. Developing so much popularity that its origins became blurry, the poodle was adopted as France’s national breed. Originally employed as a performer, the French used the poodle’s intelligence and train-ability in circuses.

Built for Style

In appearance, the poodle wears an air of dignity. The medium to large size breed can weigh anywhere between 45 and 75 pounds. Dark, oval eyes give the poodle a look of intelligence that helps to justify its own self respect. With grays, reds and browns appearing in the middle, a poodle’s coat can be anything from black to white and is naturally solid in color. Poodle hair is curly or corded and always dense. The breed hardly ever sheds, which makes intensive grooming necessary. Poodles need to be bathed and clipped every two months. However, the breed’s dense coat makes them a hypo-allergenic pet that fits well in households. Homes with a small yard are an ideal environment for poodles. Happy with a daily walk, the breed does not need extensive exercise. Poodles can live up to 15 years in age. The breed is mostly known for skin allergies and eye problems, including runny eyes, cataracts and blindness.

A Need to Be Noticed

The French and Germans were both attracted to the poodle because of the breed’s intelligence and trainability. The dogs are very smart and also very sensitive. Responding accordingly, they are sympathetic to tone and suffer from harsh discipline. The breed’s intelligence is coupled with a proud and moderately active temperament that is friendly toward children, strangers and other dogs. Poodles crave companionship. The easiest way to break their spirit is with a kennel. Causing separation anxiety, poodles should never be ignored or left alone for too long. They are dignified animals and feeling unacknowledged or unneeded is not acceptable. Fulfilling a poodle’s need to be appreciated, daily walks are a good way to circumvent negative behavior.

Performers of High Society

As early as the 17th century, the poodle was the choice breed for high society, becoming France’s national breed as well as the principal dog of 18th century Spain. Becoming an emblem of Paris, the poodle’s attachment to France has amplified the breed’s popularity and dignity. On Handbags, key chains, anything advertising the appeal of Paris, it is not uncommon to see a clipped poodle walking toward the Eiffel Tower. The capital of style, France has also attached the poodle to high fashion. The dogs have appeared throughout the years in commercials from Dior, Versace, Vogue and many others. Famous designers attract famous people. The poodle’s appearance in high fashion has cemented their place as a very stylish pet. Posing with them in public and for photo shoots, Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor are just some of the famous names who have owned poodles. The breed was also the most popular pet during the 1950s and poodle skirts live on to prove it.

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