Showsight Presents The Poodle

poodle Q&A

WITH LUIS AIZCORBE, JORDAN CHAMBERLAIN, DORIS COZART, BRAD ODAGIRI & JOHNNY SHOEMAKER

1. Describe the breed in three words. LA: Elegant, square and light-footed. JC: Air of distinction.

to have a wide thick skull, but a moderate clean back skull. Another trait that is exaggerated is his “air of dis- tinction”. It is not a throw back of the head and forward carriage of the tail that gives an “A” frame profile in the gait. An exhibit that moves like that most likely have a ewe neck and also a very poor front assembly. This is wrong, and it affects the whole front assembly and cre- ates unsound movement. A correct Poodle’s tail is carried straight and up, not over the back. JS: I do believe that some Poodles have too long a neck. The breed standard states, “Neck, well proportioned, strong and long enough to permit the head to be carried high and with dignity.” With these long necks, the handler or breeder piles too much coat around the neck with too much topknot hair. A Poodle should be in proportion in all areas. (Some of the concerns with our breed is the fronts need to be improved and the legs are coming out of the neck and not under the withers. I also think that the tail sets are getting too low.) We, like other breeds, have concerns that we need to address before it’s too late. 4. 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? LA: This is not an easy question to answer for someone who has been involved in the breed in some capacity for so many years. Poodle grooming styles have changed drasti- cally over the years and these changes have served to shift the areas of emphasis that both judges and breeders have placed on the various areas of not only the anatomy of the Poodle, but also the attitude and ring presenta- tion. One thing is certain, the top-winning Toy Poodle of the 50s would not even be considered show quality 20 years later. Conversely, Miniatures doing top winning at mid-century could still be competitive today. Miniatures reigned during the 60s as they dominated the group rings as Standards do today. Standards started their rise through the early 60s and Miniatures reached their peak during the early to middle 70s thru most of the 80s. The late 90s brought a sharp downturn in the quality of Min- iatures that was felt for many years, with another upturn evident in the last years in spite of dwindling entries. Quality in Miniatures at the present time is encouraging even if entries are down, Toys have kept pace although entries have declined. Watching the Standard Specials class at PCA is a sight to behold in spite of increasing problems and they remain at the top of the heap where this variety has been for many years. JC: Better now, more consistent, better feet. 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.

DC: Intelligent, elegant and active. These are from the first paragraph of our standard, which describes the Poodle quite well. BO: Dignify, sculptured and spectacular. JS: The Poodle is first of all squarely built. If you do not have the square then it cannot be elegant-appearing, nor carry himself proudly. I know that is more than three words but once you see a great looking Poodle words begin to flow when you see beauty. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? LA: Dignified, elegant, high head and tail carriage. Free, light sufficiently sound gait. Proper balance, especially bone to size proportion. Coarseness and cloudiness are most undesirable. Up on leg and short backed. Lean head with chiseling under the eyes, dark almond eyes with soft expression, strength of muzzle and chin. Small, tight feet. JC: Square body, good dentition and the ability to come and go in a straight line. DC: Square! It is one of the hardest faults to breed out. Expression—there should be an intelligent look. Good condition, correct bite with clean teeth and the correct foot. An attitude of “Here I am and know I’m special.” BO: A “Poodlely” temperament that has the confidence and soundness to show off, a balanced structure and striking square profile. When approaching the front of the dog, the head must have a dignified and exotic expression. JS: A Poodle must have a square appearance. It must have a good temperament (breeders and judges, never award or show a Poodle that has temperament issues and shies away for you or the judge). The Poodle should gait around the ring with an air of distinction with the head up. The Poodle must be happy and sound in movement. Expression is so important! It must be alert and have a soft expression with no exaggerated stop and with dark oval eyes. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LA: The most obvious one I can think of is over-angulation of the rear quarters, especially in the Standard variety, which causes dogs to almost walk on their hocks. When this fault in compounded with straight shoulders, some- thing that one often sees in this variety, its negative effect on the fluidity of movement is most detrimental. JC: Size in Toys. 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. BO: At one time, the heads were getting so lean that may have lessened the capacity for the brains. That is when the intellectual temperament was affected. I do not mean

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