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SERVICE DOG BREED SPOTLIGHT: THE POODLE


Poodles have been stereotyped as being prissy, feminine dogs with a flamboyant hair cut. But these stereotypes are far from the truth. Poodles are an elegant and highly intelligent dog breed ranking number seven in popularity according to the American Kennel Club. They are also amongst the top breeds to be service dogs!

In this post, we will briefly discuss Poodle origins, look at the three Poodle size varieties, physical and personality traits, and why these breeds are a wonderful choice as a service animal.

WHERE DID POODLES COME FROM?

The Poodle is the national dog of France, but interestingly enough, the breed originated over 400 years ago in Germany as a duck hunter, where the German word "puddling" means splashing in the water. Poodles were originally bred to be retrieving dogs and are skilled swimmers and retrievers. The Miniature Poodle was bred down from the Standard Poodle and the Toy Poodle was first bred in America in the early 20th century, to be a companion dog.

One interesting fact about the Poodle is the origin of their hairstyle. Some might think the Poodle’s extravagant hair is just for show, but it actually serves a valuable purpose. As duck retrievers, hunters needed their Poodles to move freely in the water while still protecting them from the cold. This is why tufts of hair, referred to as pompons, are long at the leg joints, chest, and hips (to protect the vital organs) while the legs, tail, and neck were shaved. This look is still distinctive of the Poodle today.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POODLE (STANDARD, MINIATURE & TOY)

All three Poodle varieties, whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy, are exact replicas of one another with similar build and proportions. They are also similar in temperament and personality. The only difference between the three lies in their sizes.

The Standard Poodle is a medium-sized dog standing 15 inches or higher and weighs anywhere from 40 to 70 lbs. The Toy Poodle is small, standing 15 inches and shorter, and weighing 10-15 lbs. The Miniature Poodle, considered an extra small dog, stands no taller than 10 inches and weighs 4-6 lbs. 

All poodle varieties have a low shedding, hypoallergenic coat and are an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Poodles come in a variety of colors, including black, white, and apricot. Because the coat is dense and long, Poodles require frequent grooming as their hair is prone to matting.

As with most breeds, Poodles may have some health problems, but these concerns are easily avoided with proper health screening and tests. If you want to learn more about Poodle diseases, visit Dogtime.com here. Overall, the Poodle is a very athletic and healthy dog that needs regular exercise with a lifespan of 10-18 years.

POODLE TEMPERAMENT

Poodles are pretty smart cookies, they are among the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. This makes the Poodle, whatever size, a dog that is highly trainable and able to learn commands and different tasks easily. 

Besides being smart, Poodles are described as being instinctual, energetic, loyal, and alert. They are a breed that is people-oriented and like to please. They rate high in friendliness, do well with children and are friendly towards strangers and other dogs when properly socialized.

DO POODLES MAKE GOOD SERVICE DOGS?

This really depends on the type of service dog needed. The Standard Poodle is the most commonly used Poodle to do service dog work. Poodles whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy are not usually used as mobility dogs because of their smaller size. 

More commonly, Poodles make ideal service dogs for people with needs other than mobility assistance. They make great service animals for people with hearing or vision impairments, diabetes, seizures, or mental disabilities. Because the Poodle needs to be physically and mentally stimulated, they are a terrific breed to learn and perform tasks. 

All service dogs need to have certain characteristics to be a service animal and the Poodle possesses both the temperament and characteristics to make great service dogs including:

  • Highly intelligent (great capacity to learn tasks)

  • Easily trained

  • Eager to learn

  • People-oriented

  • Friendly

  • Good at retrieving

  • Eager to please

  • Energetic

  • Focused and attentive

  • Obedient

  • Great sense of smell (for people with allergies and diabetes)

Don’t let the Poodle’s appearance fool you, this breed is a proud, athletic, intelligent dog that is a popular breed to be a service animal. Their smaller size makes them less suited for mobility work, but a superb choice for all other service work. They are especially an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies. Interested in looking at some New Life K9 Dogs? Visit Our Dogs page.

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References

American Kennel Club Poodle (Standard)https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-standard/

American Kennel Club Poodle (Miniature)https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-miniature/

American Kennel Club Poodle (Toy)https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-toy/

Jenkins, Marryn “Are Poodles Good Service Dogs?” EmboraPets.comhttps://emborapets.com/are-poodles-good-service-dogs/

“Pros and Cons of Poodles as Service Dogs,” Dreamydoodles.comhttps://www.dreamydoodles.com/pros-and-cons-of-poodles-as-service-dogs/

“Poodle Temperament and Personality,” Canna-Pet. October 28, 2017https://canna-pet.com/poodle-temperament-personality/

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