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“Parlez-vous Francais (do you speak French)?”

French 101 – History of the French Poodle
The first thing you’ll be surprised to learn is French poodles are not French. They actually originated in Germany. Germans used the poodle as a hunting dog. Taking advantage of the poodle’s strong swimming skills, hunters used them to retrieve ducks. In fact, the name “poodle” comes from the German word “pudel”, meaning “one who plays in water.” Poodles were brought to France in the medieval times and quickly became the preferred pet of French royalty. They have been popular in the rest of Western Europe for 400 years and were the subject of German artist Albrecht Durer’s paintings in the 16th century.

Physical Characteristics
French poodles are medium- to large-sized dogs with round heads and long muzzles. They have far-set oval eyes that are dark brown. Their ears are long and lie flat, making them prone to infection. The French poodle’s high-set tail is traditionally docked to half length and their feet are small and oval shaped. The most identifiable poodle characteristic is the curly fur which comes in shades of black, white and shades of brown. French poodles are over 15 inches in height – males weigh 45 to 70 pounds with females growing to 60 pounds. They have a long lifespan, living up to age 15.

French poodles are easily trained because of their high intelligence. They can be trained in obedience or to hunt. They are athletic and energetic dogs. French poodles are calmer than other poodle varieties but can become hyper if not given the right amount of exercise. Poodles are sociable and dislike being alone, preferring to be at their owner’s side. Friendly and gentle, French poodles are compatible with children and other animals. They are generally well behaved when around strangers.

French poodles need regular baths and grooming. Clipping is required every six to eight weeks because their coat does not shed. This lack of shedding is what makes the poodle a hypoallergenic dog breed. There are a variety of grooming “clips” recommended for poodles. The most common clip for non-show dogs is a “pet clip” where the coat is uniformly cut short, resulting in a lamb-like appearance. Show dog clips include the “English saddle” and “Continental clip.” These are iconic poodle cuts, where the back half of the body is shaved, leaving bracelets of fur on the ankles and balls of fur on the tail and hips. This grooming style was originally used by hunters to make poodles more efficient swimmers. The patches of fur left on the body were meant to insulate organs and joints from the cold.

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