The Toy Poodle is an elegant, lively, small dog with a profuse, but well-groomed and clipped curly coat. The ears are long, flat, and wide, lying close to the head. The head is long. The dark, almond-shaped eyes have an alert expression. The skull is a bit rounded, with a slight stop. The teeth should form a scissors bite. A good Poodle has a square silhouette, with approximately the same overall length as the height at the withers. The level topline has a slight depression behind the withers. The feet are small, oval, and webbed, with arched toes. Dewclaws generally are removed. The tail is docked to produce a balanced dog. The coat may be groomed into three basic styles: the pet clip (or puppy clip) with relatively short hair all over the body, the English saddle clip, and the Continental clip. In the latter, the rear half of the body is shaved, and bracelets are left around the ankles and pom-poms on the tails and hips. All solid colors are permissible. The Poodle has a delightful springy gait. History:
The Poodle is most likely descended from early German water retrievers, but may also be related to spaniels from the Iberian Peninsula. The name probably derives from the German word "Pudel" (one who plays in the water). Hunters originally clipped the dog’s thick coat to help it swim, leaving hair on the leg joints to protect it from extreme cold and sharp reeds. The French capitalized on the breed’s high intelligence, trainability, and innate showmanship, using the Poodle as a circus performer. The breed’s great popularity in that country led to the common name, French Poodle. In France, however, the Poodle is called the "Caniche," or duck dog. The Poodle has also been used to sniff out truffles lying underground in the woods. Poodles are depicted in fifteenth century paintings and in bas-reliefs from the sixteenth century. Toy Poodles became royal favorites, particularly in the eighteenth century. The Toy and Miniature Poodle varieties were bred down from the original larger dogs, now known as Standard Poodles. The three sizes are considered as one breed, and are judged by the same standard. Today, the Poodle is primarily a companion and show dog, though he can learn almost anything.