Poodle History and Origin

In 1886 the English Poodle Club compiled the first poodle breed standard.  Several hundred years prior the poodle was featured in works of art and literature, dating as far back as 1510. Even in works which are 500 years old, whilst the shape of the dog a prominent feature, so to is its devoted, loyal nature.

Probably due to the age of the breed, there is some confusion concerning its origin. Some say it originated in Germany, some favour France and others feel that it originated in Russia. The poodle was first used to retrieve game from the water, as well as to hunt truffles. Since then, it has also been used to pull milk carts in countries such as Brussels and to delight circus audiences worldwide as a popular performer. In addition, many ladies, especially the ladies of France, liked to keep a poodle as a fashionable companion dog.

The tradition of clipping the non moulting coat of the poodle originated due to the fact that, whilst in the water, the hair on the hindquarters weighed the dog down and tired it whilst it was swimming. The hair was therefore clipped from the hindquarters, but retained elsewhere for protection of the heart, lungs and joints. The topknot was grown on the head and tied with a coloured ribbon to distinguish a particular dog from others it may have been working with.

In order to carry out the tasks it was used for, the poodle had to be versatile, bold, wise, trainable, athletic, devoted and loyal. In addition to this it proved itself to be a tender and loving dog with a real sense of fun.

These characteristics are still present in today's poodle and are the reason why it is such a popular and versatile breed.

Care of the Poodle Coat   

Grooming is important for all dogs, but it is absolutely essential for poodles. Not only does a well groomed poodle look its best, but also the grooming routine is vital in the prevention of skin, coat, dental and other health problems. It is often said that poodles are non-shedding and hypo-allergenic, so it may come as a surprise to learn that poodles do shed. However, the loose hair stays in the coat, rather than falling out. In order to keep your poodle's coat from becoming a matted mess, you must brush and comb it out regularly (at least twice a week). As for being hypo-allergenic, many people with allergies have no problems living with a poodle because the poodle does not develop dander, which is what actually causes the allergic reaction. Dander is old skin scales which are constantly shed. Older animals produce more dander than young ones because their skin is drier. Animal dander is extremely light weight and tiny in size, (approx. 2.5 microns) and can stay airborne for hours. (1 micron = 1/25,000 in.). The hair of a poodle never stops growing, therefore a trim every six to eight weeks is required. You can have your poodle trimmed by a professional or learn how to trim it yourself. 
 

Home Grooming / Trimming

Completing a full bathing/drying and trimming at home can be time consuming and quite a task, but it is less costly than using a professional groomer and can often build an even closer bond between you and your poodle. If you think you'd like to try trimming your own poodle, you will need to learn the basic techniques and procedures involved. To do this it is best to try to find a professional groomer who is willing to teach .

Care In Between Trimming

Even if you take your poodle to a professional groomer there are some things you will have take care of at home.

You must brush and comb it out regularly (at least twice a week). As you do this, get into the habit of performing a mini 'health check' of your dog. Make sure you are aware of the appearance of your poodle when in good health. This will help you to spot any changes during regular health checks carried out at home.

What to look for:

Eyes
Look for bright eyes surrounded by white whites with little, if any, discharge.
Ears
Check inside your poodle's ears for any signs of redness or swelling. Watch for brown waxy debris or bad odour, which could be signs of an ear infection. The hair inside the ears of a poodle should be removed by careful plucking. If you have your poodle trimmed by a professional groomer this should be attended to by them.
Mouth
Your poodle's teeth should be pearly white and clean of tartar. Make a habit of brushing your poodle's teeth with a canine toothpaste and brush as part of your twice weekly grooming routine. Regular gentle brushing reduces build up of tartar and promotes healthy teeth and gums.

Be sure to know what your poodles normal gum colour is - pale gums could be a sign of a problem.
Body
Run your hands over the body of your poodle and feel for any unusual lumps or areas of the body that are tender to touch. Keep a mental note of weight gain or loss which can be felt according to how hard you need to press to feel the ribs.

Consult your veterinarian if you find anything out of the ordinary. 

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