Poodles For Dummies book cover

Poodles For Dummies

Published: February 5, 2007

Overview

The Poodle is known for her keen intelligence, excellent trainability, and, most notably, those signature curly locks. But there’s more to the Poodle than meets the eye (like, say, those expensive grooming bills). So, to Poodle or not to Poodle? That is the question.

With an overview of the breed’s history, an exploration of all three varieties (Standard, Miniature, and Toy), and 8 pages of full-color photos detailing the colors available and tips and techniques for grooming, Poodles for Dummies is filled with all the meaty information and enlightening morsels you need to decide if this refined beauty is a good match for you. You’ll get answers to your most important questions, including:

  • Which size Poodle is best for me? Which color?
  • How do I know if a Poodle breeder is reputable?
  • What are the pros and cons of shelters and rescue groups?
  • What do I look for in choosing a healthy Poodle?
  • How can I Poodle-proof my home and yard?
  • What’s the best way to introduce my Poodle to kids and other pets?
  • How often does my Poodle need grooming?

No matter which size, color, or gender you own, Poodles are not a “wash ‘n’ wear” breed. But if you have the time, passion, and dedication to give her the training, exercise, and upkeep she needs, you and your curly companion will have a happy and rewarding life together.

The Poodle is known for her keen intelligence, excellent trainability, and, most notably, those signature curly locks. But there’s more to the Poodle than meets the eye (like, say, those expensive grooming bills). So, to Poodle or not to Poodle? That is the question.

With an overview of the breed’s history, an exploration of all three varieties (Standard, Miniature, and Toy), and 8 pages of full-color photos detailing the colors available and tips and techniques for grooming, Poodles for Dummies is filled with all the meaty information and enlightening morsels you need to decide if this refined beauty is a good match for you. You’ll get answers to your most important questions, including:

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  • Which size Poodle is best for me? Which color?
  • How do I know if a Poodle breeder is reputable?
  • What are the pros and cons of shelters and rescue groups?
  • What do I look for in choosing a healthy Poodle?
  • How can I Poodle-proof my home and yard?
  • What’s the best way to introduce my Poodle to kids and other pets?
  • How often does my Poodle need grooming?
  • No matter which size, color, or gender you own, Poodles are not a “wash ‘n’ wear” breed. But if you have the time, passion, and dedication to give her the training, exercise, and upkeep she needs, you and your curly companion will have a happy and rewarding life together.

    Poodles For Dummies Cheat Sheet

    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.

    Articles From The Book

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    Poodles Articles

    Choosing a Healthy Poodle

    No matter where your Poodle comes from, she should be healthy. You may feel sorry for the sick puppy in the corner, but don't take her home. Start with a healthy Poodle, and look for the following:

    • The coat should be clean and shiny.
    • The dog should move freely, with no limping or wobbling. Puppies aren't always graceful, but a puppy shouldn't be falling down or staggering when it moves.
    • A Poodle shouldn't have open sores, and she should look well fed.
    • The eyes should be clear and bright, with no discharge or swelling.
    • Lift up the ear flaps (properly called leathers). The interior of the ear should be pink, not red, and you shouldn't see swelling or discharge. Sniff gently to make sure you don't detect an odor.

    If you're buying a puppy from a breeder, ask to see the mother (and the father, if possible). The mother dog should be healthy as well. She may look a bit thin; having a litter takes a lot out of a dog, but she should otherwise look healthy. You may not be able to examine her as closely as a puppy, but the same criteria apply.

    Make sure the dogs are housed in a clean, well-lit, well-ventilated area. The bedding and surrounding area should be clean. The area doesn't have to be sterile, but it shouldn't smell or have an accumulation of dirt, feces, or urine.

    Go elsewhere for your puppy if the environment is dirty and the dogs aren't healthy. Don't feel so sorry for the puppies that you "rescue" one. This just encourages the breeder to produce more puppies, and you may not be able to save the sick one. If she doesn't die, she may never be a completely healthy adult. And you'll expose any dog you already have at home to disease.

    Poodles Articles

    Picturing a Poodle's Size and Temperament

    The Poodle is considered one breed, with three "varieties" within the breed. Except for the size difference, each variety is identical to the rest. No matter what the size, a Poodle is an intelligent, friendly companion.

    Poodle sizes, from largest to smallest, are

    • Standard. Poodle is over 15 inches at the shoulders' highest point.
    • Miniature. Poodle is 15 inches or less at the shoulders' highest point but measures at least 10 inches.
    • Toy. Poodle stands 10 inches or less at the shoulders' highest point.

    The three types of Poodle also have general differences in temperament:

    • A Standard tends to be more aloof and self-contained.
    • A Miniature picks her person and wants to always be with that person. A Mini never lets up; she always wants to do something — anything — with her person.
    • A Toy is happy to curl up on your lap and cuddle.

    It's not that a Toy can't excel in agility or doesn't enjoy obedience training or that a Standard isn't a loving companion, but, in general, the three types of Poodles do exhibit different personalities.

    No matter what size you prefer, you're going to get a dog willing to participate in family activities. Poodles also are intelligent, which means that if you don't give them something to do, they'll invent something, which may not meet with your approval. Their intelligence means they're the perfect partners for performance event competition, but you don't have to compete. Teach your Poodle tricks. Have her pick up dirty laundry and put in it a basket. She can do the same with her toys when company's coming.

    All three sizes are friendly and greet invited guests with a wagging tail. That doesn't mean that they won't sound the alarm if a stranger's at the door, and Standards can be effective guard dogs. Poodles shouldn't be shy or fearful of new people or events.

    Poodles Articles

    Clipping Your Poodle

    Your Poodle needs to be clipped on a regular schedule — whether you do the clipping yourself or pay a professional. Any clips other than the required show-ring clips are pet clips. Most pet Poodles are kept in fairly simple, easily maintained clips.

    When deciding on a clip for your Poodle, go with your preferences, but remember that the longer the coat is, the more brushing and combing you'll need to do. Consider following types of pet clips that may fit your vision for your Poodle's coat.

    • The kennel clip. The kennel clip is the shortest clip and the easiest to do and maintain. It's ideal for Poodles who hike in the woods, play on the beach, or go swimming. The Poodle's face, feet, and tail are shaved; she also has a scissored topknot and a tail pompon. The body and legs are the same length and quite short, usually under 1/2 inch long. The ears may be full, shortened, or completely clipped.
    • The sporting clip. The sporting clip is similar to the kennel clip, but the legs are longer than the body and scissored to blend into the body. The body is often as much as one inch long, with the leg length in proportion to the body length.
    • The lamb trim. The lamb trim is a longer version of the sporting clip, with the body and legs as long as you wish, often as long as two or three inches.
    • The puppy clip. In the puppy clip, the Poodle's face, feet, and tail are shaved, with a pompon left on the tail and the rest of the coat left long. The hindquarters, chest, and legs are shaped with scissors to blend in with the longer hair on the rest of the body. These areas should blend smoothly into the body and show no abrupt change in length. If the body hair is shortened, it isn't a true puppy clip.
      Show Poodles may be, and usually are, kept in a puppy clip until they are a year old. Pet Poodles are usually clipped into a shorter pet clip when the long hair becomes more work to keep brushed.
    • The modified puppy clip. The modified puppy clip is similar to the true puppy clip, but the topknot is shaped and the entire body is shortened with scissors.
    • The teddy bear clip. Strictly speaking, the teddy bear clip isn't a clip because clippers aren't used; the entire body is shortened and shaped with scissors. The body, legs, and tail are usually a couple of inches long, with no changes in lengths on different parts of the body. The topknot is shortened and rounded, but not in a cap as in other clips. The face, feet, and tail are scissored to blend with the body, not shaved.
      This trim can be very cute, especially on smaller Poodles, but it's high maintenance and needs frequent brushing. You'll need to check your Poodle twice a day to be sure that the rear is clean and to wipe her face with a damp cloth and dry it to keep it clear of food and dampness.