Showsight Presents The Poodle

“A DEEP AND HEART-SHAPED RIB CAGE

COMPLETES THE PACKAGE OF THIS ULTIMATE ATHLETE.”

Standard Poodles are now eligible to compete in AKC Hunting Tests for Retriev- ers as well as UKC tests for Retrievers alongside the other retriever and versatile hunting breeds. Many Poodles compete in various Upland hunting organization tests and are probably even better at upland hunting than open water duck retrieving. In addition, the Poodle Club of America offers Working Certificate tests for retriev- ing as well as Upland work. PCA’s tests are open to Poodles of all sizes. While Poodles have a hunting style all their own, they compete on an equal footing in AKC and UKC tests. The standard for the breed calls for a moderate dog. Various finer points of the breed contribute to their success as a hunting dog including webbed and arched feet that enable them to swim with ease while also providing a firm support in mud- dy, swampy conditions. Their longer length of leg (compared to other retrievers) high- lights their heritage as swamp-type work- ers where leg length is an asset. Lighter bone than other retrievers also helps with agility in mucky conditions and a longer neck and leg length also helps in tall cover. The high set-on of the tail is unimportant when working in swampy conditions (as opposed to acting as a rudder in water)

and actually can be an aide not getting the tail hung-up on low-hanging brush and weeds and can also assist a hunter keeping an eye on the dog in upland settings too. The Poodle has a double coat with the inner coat being softer and the outer coat being harsher and curly. The coat can be main- tained in any clip that suits the owner, but a traditional short continental clip is very functional for a hunting dog. As long as a short blanket of hair is kept on the shaved parts, the slightly longer outer coat pro- vides a water-resistant barrier of protection even in the harshest weather and upland cover. Groomers often comment that it is very difficult to get a Poodle coat wet to the skin! Poodles have a long muzzle with a strong underjaw that enables them to hold game lightly but firmly. A scissors bite with correct dentition allows the dog to breathe easily while holding a bird firmly either on land or swimming through the water. Tight lips keep water and foreign objects out of the mouth while the dog is carry- ing game. The length of neck also allows Poodles to more easily scan the pond or upland field for downed game. Many times a Poodle will flush and catch an upland bird before the bird gets high enough for a shot from the gunner. The hop-spying

in a field of tall cover is most typically “poodle”. The ears are set at eye-level and hang close to the head, providing protec- tion for the ear canal. The nose is keen but not prominent. Front and rear assemblies are in balance which gives Poodles a ground-covering and effortless but light gait. The body is short-coupled with plenty of room for the vital organs without the heaviness or coarseness of most other retrievers, giving them great stamina in the upland field similar to a pointer’s stam- ina for an all day hunt. A deep and heart- shaped rib cage completes the package of this ultimate athlete. Poodles have also traditionally been used as herding dogs, similar in working style to the other “upright” herding breeds. A Poodle’s correct structure should enable them to work stock tirelessly while work- ing with the shepherd. The prey drive common in some Poodles as well as their intelligence and ability to work with peo- ple, can usually be channeled to working stock. A confident but enthusiastic temper- ament helps with this activity as well. Poodles are one of the most agile of breeds, so it stands to reason that they have been popular performers with circus acts. Their intelligence and “love to please”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015 • 273

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