Showsight Presents The Poodle

instantly, successful breeding establish- ment. And when he won Best in Show at the 1934 Westminster Kennel Club Show, his impact spread throughout the nation. The Duc’s Garden win and his extensive show career did much to popularize the Poodle. His career ben- efited Miniature Poodles, as well as the future of the Toy variety itself. By the mid-30s, the Miniature vari- ety was recognized by the PCA. For several years they and the Standard would define the breed. But then in the 1940s, there would be development and acceptance of Miniatures, as well as the legalization of the Toy variety. In 1943, toy breeders and the PCA came to an agreement and the third variety was acknowledged and opened to all colors, just as with the two larger varieties. In fact, just one breed standard serves all three varieties. The size differentia- tion is the key element: toys are 10" and under, Miniatures are over 10" but no more than 15" and Standards are more than 15". These size designations are uniquely American and different from all other countries. Miniatures began in earnest to win at the Group and Best in Show level and the popularity of Poodle continued to spread. Garnering breeder attention in the Midwest and throughout the nation, popularity grew especially fast in Cali- fornia. Florida, Texas, Washington and Oregon also became hotspots. At the 1945 Westminster show, two Standard dogs—half-brothers— drew attention by going Winners and Reserve Winners dogs. They were Car- illon Colin of Puttencove and Carillon

Jester. Colin was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Putnam of Manchester, Massachusetts and he launched a sub- stantial show career winning many groups and Bests in Show. He also spearheaded a family of Standards and proved to be a sire of immense impor- tance to the Standard variety. Jester, however, finished his title, but probably did more to make the general public aware of Poodles than any dog ever in breed history. He was owned by Louise Branch, but it was with his breeder/handler Blanche Saunders that Jester’s contributions unfolded. In addi- tion to his bench title, Jester earned a UDT title in the US and an Int. CD title. Ms. Saunders launched an aggressive career as an obedience demonstrator that included Jester’s appearances in movies, television and at the National Dog Week observances held at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City each September. The dog and handler logged thousands of miles traveling in a car and pulling a trailer to demonstrate Jester’s abilities in the new area of obedience. Many obedience enthusiasts credit him with advancing interest in that sport more than any other single dog. The Poodle breed is well served by its parent club, the Poodle Club of Ameri- ca. The PCA has established an effective foundation that has worked diligently to help solve the problems resulting from heritable diseases. Accomplishments have been great and work continues—it includes a structure of 48 affiliate clubs that serve the needs of breeders and exhibitors and host annual shows and present educational programs. The PCA

CH Acadia Command Performance CD, a distant descendant of Promise, won Westminster in 1973 wearing the English Saddle trim.

has also been responsive to breeder and exhibitor interests related to tracking, retrieving, rally and hunting activities as well as the more traditional obedi- ence and confirmation competitions. Competitive events to meet those inter- ests exist throughout the US and it is not far-fetched to imagine one day soon we’ll find the versatile Poodle herding sheep and other livestock and fowl in competitive events as well. The Poodle, as breed fanciers have long known, is a most versatile breed. It’s this versatility, as well as the will- ingness to accompany, serve and amuse people surrounding them, that makes the Poodle such a popular breed. Those people are not “masters”. Living with a Poodle is a unique experience. Their greatest strength is that they are companion dogs, devoted to those with whom they live, but never really mastered by them. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Del Dahl has been involved with Poo- dles for 40 years, breeding 26 cham- pions under the Fontella prefix. He has bred and owned All-Breed and Specialty Best of Breed winners, many owner/handled. A number of dogs he owned or bred have become impor- tant top producers in the Miniature variety, including the all-time top pro- ducing sire, CH Parade Kiss And Tell. Del owned Poodle Review Magazine and is the author of the popular book, The Complete Poodle. He continues freelance writing as well as the breed- ing and showing of Poodles today.

CH Wilber White Swan was the first Toy Poodle to win Westminster (1956). Notably, his handler Ann Rogers-Clark was the first female handler to win the big show.

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2017 • 255

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