Breed Standard General Appearance, Carriage and Condition
That of a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The Standard Poodle is over 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulders. Any Poodle which is 15 inches or less in height shall be disqualified from competition as a Standard Poodle.
Proportion To insure the desirable squarely built appearance, the length of body measured from the breastbone to the point of the rump approximates the height from the highest point of the shoulders to the ground.
Substance Bone and muscle of both forelegs and hindlegs are in proportion to size of dog.
Head and Expression
(a) Eyes-- very dark, oval in shape and set far enough apart and positioned to create an alert intelligent expression. Major fault: eyes round, protruding, large or very light.
(b) Ears-- hanging close to the head, set at or slightly below eye level. The ear leather is long, wide and thickly feathered; however, the ear fringe should not be of excessive length.
(c) Skull-- moderately rounded, with a slight but definite stop. Cheekbones and muscles flat. Length from occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle.
(d) Muzzle-- long, straight and fine, with slight chiseling under the eyes. Strong without lippiness. The chin definite enough to preclude snipiness. Major fault: lack of chin.
(e) Teeth-- white, strong and with a scissors bite. Major fault: undershot, overshot, wry mouth.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck well proportioned, strong and long enough to permit the head to be carried high and with dignity. Skin snug at throat. The neck rises from strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. Major fault: ewe neck. The topline is level, neither sloping nor roached, from the highest point of the shoulder blade to the base of the tail, with the exception of a slight hollow just behind the shoulder.
(a) Chest deep and moderately wide with well sprung ribs.
(b) The loin is short, broad and muscular.
(c) Tail straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline. Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.
Strong, smoothly muscled shoulders. The shoulder blade is well laid back and approximately the same length as the upper foreleg. Major fault: steep shoulder.
(a)Forelegs straight and parallel when viewed from the front. When viewed from the side the elbow is directly below the highest point of the shoulder. The pasterns are strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
The feet are rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads. Nails short but not excessively shortened. The feet turn neither in nor out. Major fault: paper or splay foot.
The angulation of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters.
(a) Hind legs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Muscular with width in the region of the stifles which are well bent; femur and tibia are about equal in length; hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing, the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the rump. Major fault: cow-hocks.
(a) Quality--(1) Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons.
(b) Clip-- A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the "Puppy" clip. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the "English Saddle" or "Continental" clip. In the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and in a non-competitive Parade of Champions, Poodles may be shown in the "Sporting" clip. A Poodle shown in any other type of clip shall be disqualified.
(1) "Puppy"--A Poodle under a year old may be shown in the "Puppy" clip with the coat long. The face, throat, feet and base of the tail are shaved. The entire shaven foot is visible. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. In order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the coat is permissible. (2) "English Saddle"--In the "English Saddle" clip the face, throat, feet, forelegs and base of the tail are shaved, leaving puffs on the forelegs and a pompon on the end of the tail. The hindquarters are covered with a short blanket of hair except for a curved shaved area on each flank and two shaved bands on each hindleg. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven leg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (3) "Continental"--In the "Continental" clip, the face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The hindquarters are shaved with pompons (optional) on the hips. The legs are shaved, leaving bracelets on the hindlegs and puffs on the forelegs. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (4) "Sporting"--In the "Sporting" clip, a Poodle shall be shown with face, feet, throat, and base of tail shaved, leaving a scissored cap on the top of the head and a pompon on the end of the tail. The rest of the body, and legs are clipped or scissored to follow the outline of the dog leaving a short blanket of coat no longer than one inch in length. The hair on the legs may be slightly longer than that on the body.
In all clips the hair of the topknot may be left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair is only of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. "Topknot" refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used.
The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. In blues, grays, silvers, browns, cafe-au-laits, apricots and creams the coat may show varying shades of the same color. This is frequently present in the somewhat darker feathering of the ears and in the tipping of the ruff. While clear colors are definitely preferred, such natural variation in the shading of the coat is not to be considered a fault. Brown and cafe-au-lait Poodles have liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, dark toenails and dark amber eyes. Black, blue, gray, silver, cream and white Poodles have black noses, eye-rims and lips, black or self colored toenails and very dark eyes. In the apricots while the foregoing coloring is preferred, liver-colored noses, eye-rims and lips, and amber eyes are permitted but are not desirable. Major fault: color of nose, lips and eye-rims incomplete, or of wrong color for color of dog.
Parti-colored dogs shall be disqualified. The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but is of two or more colors.
A straightforward trot with light springy action and strong hindquarters drive. Head and tail carried up. Sound effortless movement is essential.
Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself. Major fault: shyness or sharpness.
Any distinct deviation from the desired characteristics described in the Breed Standard.
Size-- A dog over or under the height limits specified shall be disqualified. Clip-- A dog in any type of clip other than those listed under coat shall be disqualified. Parti-colors-- The coat of a parti-colored dog is not an even solid color at the skin but of two or more colors. Parti-colored dogs shall be disqualified.
Value of Points
General appearance, temperament, carriage and condition.......30
Head, expression, ears, eyes and teeth.......20
Body, neck, legs, feet and tail.......20
Coat, color and texture.......10
What is a Moyen Standard Poodle
In Europe, they classify Moyen (which means 'Medium' in French) or Klein (which means 'Medium' in German) as poodles that are 13.75" to 19" tall and then anything taller than that is classified as a Standard. In Europe, any poodle over 24" cannot be shown in FCI.. Standard Poodles are any poodle over 15" tall according to the Poodle Club of America but many Standard Poodles average about 21" to 25" tall.
A Small Standard or Moyen or Klein poodle in the U.S. is usually considered 15" to 20" tall. They are becoming popular for people that'd like the calmer Standard Poodle but in a smaller package. People that live in a smaller home, condo or apartment find it easier to have a Moyen Klein poodle than a large 25" or greater tall Standard Poodle that seems like a small pony to some! The Moyen Klein Small Standard Poodles fit perfectly with their smart, affectionate, loveable ways but they eat less, easier to bathe and groom, and fit in a smaller area or crate. The other difference with this smaller size of Standard Poodle, is that as long as they don't get overweight, they don't tend to have the same issues with hip dysplasia that larger dogs do. Also, smaller dogs tend to live longer than really large dogs.
Merle is a dilution gene, that is, it lightens whatever the coat color would otherwise have been. The lightening is not spread evenly over the coat, but leaves patches of undiluted color scattered over the dog's body. Also, the lightening seems to work primarily on the black pigment in the coat. Note that "black" as used here includes liver or chocolate. Merle is a distinguishing marking of several breeds. The merle gene also plays a part in producing harlequin. The most recognizable is the blue or chocolate merle, but phantom merle is also possible (see photos below).
Merle refers to the pattern in the coat and is not a color as such. The white and gray patterns that appear on a black make them appear to have a blueish cast. These are called blue merles. Merle is a color combination in dogs' coats. It is a solid base color (usually red/brown or black) with lighter blue/gray or reddish patches, which gives a mottled or uneven speckled effect. Although most breeds that can have merle coats also typically have white markings (such as around the neck, under the belly, and so on), and often tan points (typically between the white and the darker parts of the coat), these are separate colors from the merle; some dogs do appear completely merled with no white or tan markings. Merle can also alter other colors and patterns besides the usual red or black. These combinations such as Brindle Merle or Liver Merle.
In addition to altering base coat color, merle also modifies eye color and coloring on the nose and paw pads. The merle gene modifies the dark pigment in the eyes, occasionally changing dark eyes to blue, or part of the eye to be colored blue. Since merle causes random modifications, however, both dark-eyed, blue-eyed, and odd-colored eyes are possible. Color on paw pads and nose may be mottled pink and black (see photo).
Mottled paw pads on chocolate merle pup
Merle is actually a hetero zygote of an incompletely dominant gene. If two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will be "double merles". A phantom merle is one with such small patches of merle—or none at all—that it appears to be a non-merle. In America, a dog with the phantom merle coloring is described as being "cryptic for merle." Tanner to the Right is a Cryptic Merle. Carries 50% of his litters are merle.
Where does the merle gene come from and how it got in the poodle gene pool?
I get this question all the time. I did not create the merle gene. I have done a lot of study of the merle gene in the poodle gene pool and believe that it was not caused by introducing another breed into the gene pool but, in fact, it is a mutation that occurred naturally.
Merle is probably the most mis-understood and hotly debated dilution gene in the poodle. Many believe it
must be a recessive gene because it doesn't affect the appearance of red, apricot and red or diluted colors
such as blues and silvers. In addition, it can be hard to see or not evident at all on black and brown dogs
(cryptic). Not only is its appearance illusive to breeders but it has confused scientists and it is still not completely understood.
The merle pattern has been studied many times and the last study released in 2006 emphatically stated
that merle was caused by a mutation in the gene called SILV or PMEL17. The research was believed to be
so solid that tests were offered to breeders to identify Merle in their dogs. However, as of March 2009 the
company who owned the patent for the test, Idexx, stopped offering tests as they discovered the scientists
identified the wrong gene. SILV is not responsible for merle. The gene they decided was merle (SILV)
actually turned out to be for a form of piebaldism- not merle.
We have been saying for years that it can be difficult to tell by sight alone the difference between double
merle dogs and piebald dogs, and evidently genetic researchers could not either. Any study or research quoting SILV or referring to the Idexx website is outdated and incorrect!!
What we know for certain is that Merle was likely a recessive gene at one point as it is still in many breeds.
Why it now expresses as a dominant in some breeds is unknown. (still to be studied).
Theories of the merle gene:
One theory is that piebaldism may be issue when connected to merle- or it may be piebaldism itself that is the issue.
Another theory is "The Misidentification Theory." It is believed that merles have been in the breed and that merle is a "natural" occuring pattern in the breed. However, it is said - rightly so - that merles have often been misidentified as other colors.
Then there is the "The Cryptic Merle" theory. This theory is actually a subcategory of the Misidentification Theory. Merle is what is called a "modifier." That means it "modifies" (i.e. changes) a coat color that has already been determined by genes at other locations. If merle acts on a black coat, the result is blue merle. If it acts on a chocolate coat, the result is red merle. And so on.
The final theory we have is "The Mutation Theory." According to a recent study, merle is a very old mutation said to be present in the genome of the common ancestor of ALL dog breeds - to include the poodle. As a result, while merle is an autosomal incomplete dominant, it can still mutate into a breed not thought to have merle. The most recent find of merle in a supposed non-merle carrying breed is the poodle.
- There are a lot of cross bred Merle Poodles mixes who are NOT purebred dogs- Most cross bred
poodle mixes shed and are not registered with an official kennel club (such as AKC). Although they may be cute, they do not have the allergy friendly qualities of the purebred poodle.