Showsight Presents The Poodle

poodle Q&A WITH DEBRA FERGUSON JONES, NANCY HAFNER, DORIS COZART, KAY PEISER AND JACQUELINE RUSBY

“FIND A REPUTABLE BREEDER KNOWN FOR THE HEALTH, TEMPERAMENT AND OVERALL QUALITY IN THEIR DOGS AND USE THAT AS A STARTING POINT. IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHOW AND/OR GROOM YOURSELF, THEN CHOOSE SOMEONE TO FOLLOW AS A MENTOR WHO WILL HELP YOU LEARN THINGS AS YOU GO AND MAKE THE EXPERIENCE POSITIVE.”

With The Health Foundation at The Poodle Club of American their studies are always looking for issues to make our breed the healthiest ever! DC: Poodles are three varieties. It is hard to say, there were some Poodles from years back that would be competi- tive today. I feel the Toy Variety has improved the most. When I first started breeding Toys they were not the quality they are today. We also had a smaller gene pool and did not have the resources that are available today. Miniatures were probably the strongest variety when I started. Then they were diagnosed with PRA. It took a long time for the Minis to recover after that. I am so grateful that we now have a test for PRA. Standards were fairly strong when I started, they have continued to improve. Like all breeds, they evolve. We go through stages, when trying to correct a fault. We work on cor- recting one aspect and then lose another. JR: The Poodle has certainly improved over the years. The Standard Poodle conforms well, but still great effort is required for many fronts, as in the smaller Poodles. Toy Poodles have improved greatly over the last 50 years or so when North America had the height limit down 1" from the UK limit of 11". Correct proportions were lost to get the toys within 10". I am happy to say they became more diminutive and breeders worked very hard and we now have very beautiful toys within this size with desired structure. 9. What is the biggest health concern facing the breed today? DFJ: I believe the Poodle comunity as a whole is moving toward greater testing and eliminating some of the genetic issues, we can test for from the gene pool. NH: To my knowledge we work as breeders of The Poodle Club of America to breed the healthiest Poodles. I feel our biggest concern is all the other breeds making designer breeds with Poodles.

People are often surprised by what great watchdogs they can be whether in the home or the car. A lot of people also do not realize that the continental trim is designed specifically for the Poodle when they are retrieving. JR: The reason for the traditional, stylized clip. 6. What advice would you give a newcomer? KP: Best advice? Find a reputable breeder known for the health, temperament and overall quality in their dogs and use that as a starting point. If you are going to show and/or groom yourself, then choose someone to follow as a mentor who will help you learn things as you go and make the experience positive. JR: Get advice from top breeders. Read as much as possible. Follow the standard rigorously. 7. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? DFJ: In an effort to make the dog appear more square some breeders are breeding dogs with longer legs resulting in side-winding. NH: Over-done top knots. Black being black enough, poor feet being covered with long leg hair covering them. DC: A while ago Poodle breeders started to breed for leaner heads which led to less bone over all. They have worked to correct this and the proper bone is reappearing. 8. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? DFJ: I do believe that many breeders are starting to become more concerned with correct structure and are breeding better fronts and more balanced dogs. NH: No, not really, as it depends upon the variety and the part of the country you are judging. We have good healthy Poodles that are always on four good legs.

326 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2018

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