The Poodle breed probably dates back to the late Roman period but certainly the variety we know as the Standard Poodle was well established across the whole of Europe by the 16th Century. The Miniature and Toy varieties developed in the next two hundred years or so. The Poodle is the world’s oldest water retriever, circus performer, and truffle hunter. The ubiquitous Poodle is such a versatile dog, he can be all things to all people.

General Appearance, Carriage and Condition: That of a very active, gay, intelligent, smart and elegant-looking dog, squarely built, well proportioned carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.

Temperament: The Poodle is known for his intelligence, his lively, mischievous sense of humour, and his willingness to please. The Poodle is a people-oriented breed that refuses to be ignored.


Poodle (Standard Variety)

Standard Poodle

Standard Poodle: The Standard Poodle is over 15 inches (38.1 cm) at the highest point at the shoulder. Any poodle 15 inches (38.1 cm) or less in height shall be excused from competition as a Standard Poodle. If excused at three shows for this reason, the dog then has the same status as a disqualified dog.

Poodle (Miniature Variety)

Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle: The Miniature Poodle is 15 inches (38.1 cm) or under at the highest point at the shoulder, with a minimum height in excess of 10 inches (25.4 cm). Any Poodle, which is over 15 inches (38.1 cm) or 10 inches (25.4 cm) or under at the highest point at the shoulder, shall be excused from competition as a Miniature Poodle. If excused at three shows for this reason, the dog then has the same status as a disqualified dog.

Poodle (Toy dog-Toy Poodle)

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle: The Toy Poodle is 10 inches (25. 4cm) or under at the highest point at the shoulder. Any Poodle which is more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the highest point at the shoulder shall be excused from competition as a Toy Poodle. If excused at three shows for this reason, the dog than has the same status as a disqualified dog.

Coat Quality:


Photo: Curly Poodle in action

Curly Poodles: Dense, naturally harsh texture throughout, frizzy or curly.


Photo: Corded Poodle

Corded Poodles: All hair hanging in tight even cords of varying lengths.

Clip: A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the “Puppy Clip”. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the “English Saddle” or “Continental” Clip. A Poodle shown in competitive classes in any other clip shall be disqualified. However, the brood Bitch and Stud Dog may be shown in any clip.


Poodle in puppy clip

Puppy Clip: A Poodle under a year old may be shown in the Puppy Clip with the coat long. The face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The entire shaven foot is visible. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. In order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the coat is permissible.


Poodle in English Saddle Clip

English Saddle Clip: In the English Saddle Clip, the face, throat, feet, forelegs, and base of tail are shaved, leaving bracelets on the forelegs, and a pompon on the end of the tail. The hindquarters are covered with a short blanket of hair except for a curved shaved area on each flank and two shaved bands on each hind leg at the stifle and hock joints. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the bracelets are visible. The rest of the body may be shaped in order to ensure overall balance.


Poodle in Continental Clip

Continental Clip: In the Continental clip, the face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The hindquarters are shaved with pompons (optional) on the hips. The legs are shaved leaving bracelets on the forelegs and rear legs. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the bracelets are visible. The rest of the body may be shaped to ensure overall balance.

In all three clips, the hair of the topknot may be left free, or shaped, or held in place by elastic bands used only on the skull.

Coat Colour and Skin: Any solid colour. The coat is an even solid colour at the skin. In the blues, greys, silvers, browns, café-au-laits, apricots, and creams, the coat may show varying shades of the same colour. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. Note: the tan-point pattern expressed in light and dark shades of the same colour is to be discouraged. While clear colours are definitely preferred, such natural variations in the shading of the coat are not to be considered faults. Brown and café-au-lait Poodles may have browncoloured noses, eye rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, grey, silver, cream, and white Poodles have black noses, eye rims and lips, and black or self-coloured toenails, and very dark eyes. In the apricots, while the foregoing colour is preferred, brown noses, eye rims and lips and dark amber eyes are permitted, but not desirable. Particoloured Poodles shall be disqualified. Particoloured is at least two definite colours appearing in clearly defined markings at the skin. The skin is pliable, tight, and not mottled.

Head and Expression: Skull should be slightly full and moderately peaked with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as the length of muzzle. Viewed from the side, the plane of the top of the skull should extend parallel to the plane of the top of the muzzle. Muzzle long straight and fine, but strong, without lippiness. Moderate chiseling under the eyes. The chin definite enough to preclude snipiness. Teeth (42) white and strong. Tight scissors or level bite. Nose sharp with well-defined nostrils. Eyes oval shaped, very dark, tight eyelids; happy, alert and full of fire and intelligence. Ears hanging close to the head set at or slightly below eye level. The ear leather is long, wide and thickly feathered.

Neck: Well proportioned, arched, strong and long enough permitting the head to be carried high with dignity. Skin snug at the throat.

Forequarters: Forelegs straight, parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side, the whole forelimb assembly should be placed well back on the body with a perpendicular line falling through the rear point of the scapula, the elbow at the deepest point of the brisket, and the back of the pastern. The angle of the scapula from the vertical should approach 45 degrees and the angle between the scapula and humerus should approximate 90 degrees. The pasterns are strong.

Shoulders: Strong and smoothly muscled. The shoulder blade (scapula) is well laid back and is about the same length as the forearm (humerus).

Body: The chest deep, oval and moderately wide with a prominent breast bone. The ribs well sprung. To ensure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of the body measured from the breastbone (prosternum) to the pinbone (ischiatic tuberosity) approximates the height from the highest point at the shoulders to the ground. However, the leg length is 55% of the height of the dog. The back short and strong and very slightly hollowed immediately behind the withers. The loin short, broad and muscular. Bone in proportion to the size of the dog.

Hindquarters: Straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. When viewed from the side, muscular with width in the region of the stifles, which are well bent. Pelvis (set at 30 degrees from the horizontal) and femur are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Pin-bone protruding behind and below the set on of tail to give a well defined buttock. The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters.

Feet: Rather small and oval in shape. Toes well arched and close with webbing. Pads thick and firm. Nails short but not excessively short. The front feet may turn out slightly and the rear feet should turn neither in nor out. Dewclaws may be removed.

Tail: Set on high, carried up, and may be docked. The tail set is distinctly ahead of the pin-bone. Never curled nor carried over the back.

Gait: A straight, smooth, forward trot, light and effortless, verging on the single track, showing balanced reach and drive; pasterns, hocks and feet showing a light springing action. Head and tail carried high. It is imperative that all three varieties be moved in the ring fully and decidedly to show correct gait.

Major faults: Any distinct deviation from the desired characteristics described in the breed standard with particular attention to the following:

(a) Temperament: shyness, viciousness.

(b) Bad mouth: undershot, overshot, wry mouth, missing teeth, weak underjaw.

(c) Eyes: round, protruding, large, very light, entropian, ectropian.

(d) Muzzle: down-faced, dish-faced, Roman nose, snipiness.

(e) Neck: ewe neck.

(f) Forequarters: steep shoulder, forelimb assembly too far forward.

(g) Tail: set low, snap tail (h)Hindquarters: cow hocks, sickle hocks, over angulation.

(i) Feet: flat, spread, thin pads no webbing, cat feet.

(j) Gait: hackney, choppy, side winding, lumbering.

Disqualifications: Parti-colours, unorthodox clip. Size: a Poodle over or under the height limits who has been excused at dog shows for this reason.


Teacup Poodle

 A note on TeaCup Poodles: The Teacup Poodle is an unofficial size variation of the Poodle. It is, in reality, a Toy Poodle, but is smaller in size than the Toy Poodle breed standard. Breeders are purposely breeding them accordingly. Teacups are common in the United States. They tend to be 9 inches or smaller, and under 6 pounds in weight. The Teacup Poodle is just a name given to very small Poodles by breeders, and therefore, there is no universal standard for those who are breeding them.

Link: Poodle video on Animal Planet.