Cheat Sheet

Poodles For Dummies

From Poodles For Dummies by Susan M. Ewing

Poodles are known for their keen intelligence and excellent trainability, and, most notably, those signature curly locks. But there's more to the Poodle than meets the eye. Learn some of the Poodle breed's history and the personalities of the three different varieties of Poodle. And remember that just like most dogs, Poodles will eat anything and everything — it's up to you to know what treats are both healthy and tasty to feed your Poodle.

A Brief History of the Poodle

Many people look at Poodles and think "froufrou," when in reality the Poodle was bred as a working farm dog. To understand more of the Poodle's background, here's a history of the beginnings of the breed.

All dogs are descended from the wolf, which may explain why they howl at sirens and the like. The original dog was domesticated between 13,000 and 17,000 years ago. From those early beginnings, man has created over 300 breeds, from tiny Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers to giant Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, and shaggy Newfoundlands. Each breed was developed with a specific purpose in mind, from sitting in a person's lap and being a companion, to guarding livestock and property, to retrieving fallen game.

As time went by, people began expecting dogs to be able to do more than their primary tasks, because it's easier and cheaper to have one dog do many jobs than to have a separate dog for each task. The Poodle, for example, was bred to hunt and retrieve game and to have an instinct to herd livestock.

Just when and where the Poodle emerged as a separate breed is hard to say. Romans carved Poodle-like dogs on tombs as early as 30 AD, and they were pictured on Greek and Roman coins, but experts don't know if those dogs died out or if they further evolved into the modern Poodle.

Poodles are sometimes called "French Poodles," but the breed is generally considered German even though its actual country of origin is unclear. Dogs from Russia and France contributed to the modern Poodle, and one theory states that the Poodle's ancestors came from Portugal or Spain.

Feeding Your Poodle Wisely

Giving your Poodle a bite of your bologna and white bread sandwich isn't the best food choice, but the occasional splurge won't hurt. Rich sauces and gravies, however, although not poisonous, can upset your Poodle's tummy. And certain foods can seriously affect your Poodle's health. Here's a list of healthy treats you can give your Poodle, as well as foods you should avoid.

Healthy goodies

Don't overdo treats, but if you want to add a little something tasty to your Poodle's food bowl, opt for one of these healthy choices:

  • Apples

  • Canned pumpkin

  • Carrots

  • Cooked broccoli

  • Cooked eggs

  • Cooked green beans

  • Cooked sweet potatoes

  • Cottage cheese

  • Plain yogurt, especially with live cultures

  • Small amounts of cheese

  • Small bits of lean chicken or turkey

  • Strawberries and blueberries

Hazardous foods

Some foods can cause more problems for your Poodle than just an upset tummy. Avoid the following hazardous foods:

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Coffee and tea

  • Egg whites (raw)

  • Grapes and raisins

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Nicotine

  • Onions

  • Xylitol

Poodle Personality Traits

All Poodles should be lively, friendly dogs who get along well with other dogs and with people — and every dog has his own unique personality. The following list presents the different personality traits that the different Poodle varieties may exhibit. Remember that you're dealing with a living creature, so there are no hard and fast rules:

  • Standard Poodles are a bit more reserved and self-contained than Minis and Toys, and they appreciate having jobs to do. Yes, they enjoy work! They also may be a bit calmer, but that's not to say that Standards are mellow and laid-back; they have tons of energy and enough bounce for any family.

  • A Miniature Poodle wants to be active all the time, whether that activity involves playing with a ball, taking a walk, chasing a Frisbee, or going for a swim. Because Minis are small but still sturdier than Toys, they often are an excellent choice for families that have children but aren't able to meet the space and exercise needs of a Standard.

  • A Toy Poodle is happy to cuddle, though he's active when he needs to be. Many professional breeders and handlers consider the Toy to be a natural in the show ring, with personality plus to charm judges.

All Poodles, no matter the size or type, have a sense of humor. They like to have fun, and they want to make you laugh!

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