POODLE STANDARD APPEARANCE:
Standard: Over 38 cm (15 in) at the shoulder
The fur on the animal's body is naturally curly, often in small tight clumps of small curly ringlets. Hair on the ears can be straight or slightly curly. With brushing, the dog's fur will still retain wavy or curly properties, but will soften and straighten somewhat. Breed standards call for a coat of solid color, one of black, white, brown, grey, blue, or apricot. "Parti" (partial), "phantom," and other coat colors exist, but are not acceptable in the show ring.
The coat can be clipped in various styles: the Continental or Lion clip (with the instantly-recognisable 'mane'), the English Saddle clip (with leg bracelets), the Kennel clip (fur same length all over) and other styles, such as the lamb, are generally variants of the Continental.
The traditional show-cut 'bracelets' of long fur covering the dog's leg joints are said to date back to winter hunts, where most of the fur was clipped short to facilitate swimming but the joints needed protection from the cold.
The poodle is often thought of as a typically French breed (it is frequently referred to as the "French Poodle"). However, it is an old breed and its region of origin is a matter of contention. Most experts believe the poodle originated in Germany or Russia, but it may have come from Iberia. Related breeds are the Portuguese Water Dog and Irish Water Spaniel.
Poodles do not shed and are considered a hypoallergenic breed. (See list of Hypoallergenic dog breeds) Poodles have hyperactive tear ducts that do not drain very well. This is a result of breeding. It is quite common to see Poodles with streaks of gooey brownish-red secretions in the corners of their eyes. If lots of drainage needs to occur, the tear duct may clog and a small ball of yellowish mucous may form near the tear duct. It is advisable to gently remove this accumulation with a lint-free and soft towel wrapped around the index finger. Many products exist in pet stores designed to help remove this drainage from Poodles' faces, as it can be unattractive. Often these clear solutions are applied to a cotton ball which is then firmly wiped over the stained fur.
Poodles are generally intelligent, alert, and active; especially the large variety is quite independent and has a very noticeable hunting drive. Breed standards call for a dignified, elegant carriage.