The Standard Poodle is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. For more than ten years, the Poodle has consistently ranked in the American Kennel Club’s top ten registered breeds. This confident, dignified breed makes an excellent pet for an owner who wants an active, intelligent dog.
All Poodles are members of the non-sporting group of breeds. Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles, and Standard Poodles all share the same standards of the breed, the only difference among them being height. A Toy Poodle must not be taller than ten inches at the highest point of the shoulder; a Miniature Poodle must not be taller than fifteen inches at the shoulder; and a Standard Poodle must be taller than fifteen inches at the shoulder.
The Poodle coat is naturally curly and dense and may be black, white, blue, gray, silver, brown and apricot. The coat usually has varied hues of a single color.
The Standard Poodle probably originated as a cross between a Hungarian Water Hound and a French water dog known as the Barbet. The breed’s dense, curly coat is somewhat water resistant, and hunters developed the typical Poodle cut, with puffs of hair at the front and rear leg joints, to protect the dogs’ joints from the cold during the hunting season.
Although the Germans, the Danes, and the French all claimed at one time or another to be the country where the Standard Poodle breed originated, France has come to be known as the Poodle’s country of origin. The French are exceedingly proud of this designation, and the French Poodle occupies a special place in French culture.
The Poodle’s intelligence and eager-to-please temperament make it an easy breed to train. Humans have taken advantage of the Poodle’s trainability, using the dog as a retriever for bird hunting and as a tracker in truffle hunting. Poodles have also held a variety of jobs in the entertainment industry, as circus performers and performers in modern film and television.
A Standard Poodle in the entertainment industry might become famous through their own talent or through the fame of their owners. Some Poodles are famous because of a combination of their own talent and the fame of their owner. Writer Gertrude Stein and her muse, Alice B. Toklas, had three Poodles whom they named Basket, Basket II and Basket III.
Entertainer “Weird Al” Yankovic posed his Poodle Bela on top of his head for a photograph used on the cover of his “Poodle Hat” album. When wrestling Superstar Rene Dupree, now known as Rene Bonaparte, gives interviews he often refers to his Poodle Fifi.
Poodles have made their mark in literature, film and television. The late author Jacqueline Susann wrote a best-selling novel, Every Night Josephine, about her Poodle, Josephine. The 2000 film Best In Show featured a Poodle named Rhapsody in White as “Butch”. The animated TV family in the Rugrats series has a Poodle named Fifi. Most Standard Poodles will never be on the big screen, the small screen or the pages of a novel, but to the individuals and the families who own them, they are superstars.