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Let’s Play in the Water!

04/08/2014

This week’s Klip Joint dog of the week is Rusty, a miniature poodle. Rusty came in to get his coat cut short for the warmer weather.

The Poodle has been known throughout Western Europe for at least 400 years and is depicted in 15th century paintings and in bas-reliefs from the 1st century. The subject is controversial of where the dog was officially developed and no one really knows the breed’s true country of origin. France has taken a claim on the origin, but the AKC gives the honor to Germany, where they say it was used as a water retrieval dog. Other claims have been Denmark, or the ancient Piedmont. What is certain is that the dog was a descendant of the now extinct French Water Dog, the Barbet and possibly the Hungarian Water Hound. The name “Poodle” most likely came out of the German word “Pudel, “which means “one who plays in water.”

The “Poodle clip” was designed by hunters to help the dogs swim more efficiently. They would leave hair on the leg joints to protect them from extreme cold and sharp reeds. Hunters in Germany and France used the Poodle as a gundog and as a retriever of waterfowl and to sniff out truffles lying underground in the woods. The French started using the breed as a circus performer because of the dog’s high intelligence and trainability. The breed became very popular in France, which led to the common name “French Poodle,” but the French people actually called the breed the “Caniche,” meaning “duck dog.”

The Toy and Miniature Poodle varieties were bred down from larger dogs, today known as Standard Poodles. In the 18th century, smaller Poodles became popular with royal people. The three official sizes are the Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodle. They are considered one breed and are judged by the same written standard but with different size requirements. Breeders are also breeding an in-between size called a Klein Poodle (Moyen Poodle) and a smaller Teacup Poodle. Some of the Poodle’s talents include: retrieving, agility, watchdog, competitive obedience and performing tricks.

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