For every purebred dog, there is a written standard developed by parent breed organizations that outline what the “ideal” dog of that breed should be. That “essence” is significant for maintaining the proper condition for peak job performance. In other words, to help it be all it can be.
With any purebred dog, there is a “look” or general feeling you want to capture, if possible, while grooming. The trim style can be for the show ring or modified into a pet trim. In either case, you want to pull the “essence” out of the breed standard and apply it the dog.
These are key points from the official breed standard of the Poodle that influences me when I groom and/or evaluate a Poodle trim. The professional pet stylist accentuates or detracts these points according to styling tactics. The more familiar you are with proper canine anatomy, movement, and terminology, the easier it will be to have a positive impact on any pet you groom.
The Poodle is a very stylish, squarely built dog of great intelligence. They have a sophisticated air of distinction and self-esteem. Their athletic and proportionate build allows free, fluid, and elegant movement in their gaits.
The poodle comes in three sizes: Toy, standing below 10 inches; Miniature, standing between 10 and 15 inches; and Standard, standing over 15 inches in height at the withers. A squarely built Poodle should be as long as he is tall from the breastbone to the point of rump and from the highest point of the withers to the ground.
The eyes should be dark and almond shaped. They are deeply set and separated enough to yield an intelligent expression. The ears should be at the same level, or slightly below, the eyes. The cheekbones should be flat. The head of the Poodle should be well balanced with the length of the muzzle from the nose to the stop, being equal to the top skull, from occiput to stop. They have a slight stop that indicates the separation between the muzzle and the top of the somewhat rounded skull.
The neck is long enough to carry the head proudly with an air of dignity. The depth of chest should be equal to the length of leg to create a sense of balance. The legs are straight and parallel when viewed from the front or rear. When viewed in profile, the elbow falls directly below the highest point on the withers. The rear is well muscled and angulated to match the forequarters. The feet are small, pointing straight forward. The ribs are well sprung. The topline is level with a tail set that is high on the rump. The tail should be long enough to balance out the overall portrait of the Poodle.
The coat is curly, very dense, and crisp to the touch. The thicker and curlier the coat, the better it lends itself to a wide range of trim styles. The Poodle can come in any solid color. Their skin tones range from black, brown, and pink, with the lighter colors, normally the more sensitive the skin will be.
Artist Credit: Lisa VanSweden