Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yes, Folks, Poodle History Lesson

By Rick London

When I launched Londons Times Cartoons, at first, most the images were of dogs. Poodles were and are a favorite. I don't know why. I've never owned a poodle but I never knew that much about them. This year, when I launched RickLondonCollection.com, the gift store that sells the cartoon products, emails started coming in from poodle lovers and owners wanting to see more merchandise with poodle cartoons and I gladly obliged. But I still didn't know the history of the poodle. I decided to learn. This is what I found.

Though the origins of poodle history are enmeshed in mystery, people started noticing canines that actually resembled the poodle as we see it today. It was, most likely the original water spaniel, known for its hunting skills, particularly bird hunting and retrieving. Oddly enough, it technically should be known as the German Poodle, as that is where it truly originated. With Russian influence it became standardized as a unique breed in France, first, and known as the French Poodle. In Germany it was still known as the pudel; pudel means to "splash in the water". The European breed has a corded coat, rarely seen in the U.S. The standard poodle came first, then the poodle (the most common), and finally the miniature and toy breeds. All have a long and rich history. Though it is not known exactly when the poodle entered the U.S., AKC began registering them in 1886. Only the miniature poodle is in the non-sporting group of this breed. Though many Americans don't use them for hunting, they remain prolific at hunting, with birds being their forte'.

In France, Poodles have been used for a variety of purposes and still are. The Caniche for duck hunting, the Petti Barbet (a toy size) to entertain royalty, and the Truffle dog to search for that flavorful food (pigs, for the most part have taken their place in search of truffles).

An important event in the history of the Poodle is when the breed was imported from France to Great Britain. The Kennel Club of England registered its first Poodle in 1874, and the Poodle Club of England was founded in 1876. In 1910 the curly and corded dogs were put in separate divisions, as was the Miniature. Prior to this time Poodles of all sizes and coat types were shown in the same classes.

The foundations that were developed in England became the cornerstones of the breed in the United States. Precisely when the Poodle was imported to the United States is not known. The American Kennel Club registered its first Poodle in 1886. The Poodle Club of America was originally founded in 1896. Shortly after its establishment it was disbanded, and then reorganized in 1931. The P.C.A. used the Standard and Rules of the Curly Poodle Club of England as its base for establishing the Standard in the U.S. The same Standard now applies to all three sizes of Poodle, the only difference is in the height measurements for each size. The Standard and Miniature Poodle are shown in the Non Sporting Group of the A.K.C., and the Toy Poodle is shown in the Toy Group. The F.C.I. (Federation Cynologique Internationale) recognizes four sizes: the Standard, Miniature, Dwarf and Toy.

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