For OWNERS - if you want to read one of the best and most comprehensive descriptions of a Standard Poodle - what it is and what it needs, you can find it here.
About STANDARD POODLE
The Standard Poodle is the oldest of the three poodle types, and was originally used as a dog to retrieve water fowl. The Standard Poodle's original descendant is likely the French water dog, now obsolete. It's been known throughout Europe for at least 400 years, and has been seen in bas relief paintings from the first century. No one really quite knows when the Poodle first originated or where the Poodle really came from, but both France and Germany claim origination, with the American Kennel Club giving the nod to Germany.
The word "Poodle" likely comes from the German word "pudel," meaning "one who plays in the water." Poodles are good swimmers and aren't afraid of going near the water. They are very intelligent, with some placing their intelligence just behind that of the Border Collie, noted to be the most intelligent of dogs, and just ahead of the also very intelligent German Shepherd, third in rank for intelligence.
Medium to large sized, this dog generally weighs between 45 to 70 pounds in adulthood, and stands at 15 inches or less at the shoulders. Other, smaller varieties were bred after the introduction of the Standard Poodle, such as the Miniature and Toy Poodles, and were developed in the 18th century in England.
The typical poodle cut (especially for show) is groomed to standards so as to give the impression of a square of appearance. The dog's height at the withers is roughly the same as its length. Its tail is carried high and is set; if desired, the tail can be docked to half its length to give a more balanced look. The coat itself is corded or curly in texture, and as stated previously, does not shed. Dogs' coats are usually solid in color and can be just about any color, including brown, red, white, cream, blue, black, gray, apricot cafe-au-lait, tan, or silver.
The eyes are dark (black or brown) and of an oval shape, wide set and keenly intelligent. The Standard Poodles' long, narrow face and muzzle give them a sort of patrician look. Their ears are wide and hang close to the head, their legs are long and lean, and they have small, compact feet.
Interestingly, the "classic" Standard Poodle cut came from necessity. Hunters designed the clip so that dogs would be more streamlined and less waterlogged for swimming, but they left hair (so-called "bracelets") around the dogs' joints, for warmth in the cold water and to protect them from reeds. Thus what has been sometimes called a frou-frou appearance by detractors was actually very practical in a historic sense for these energetic, hardworking dogs.
The Standard Poodle is a perfect pet for those with allergies, because these dogs don't shed. In fact, poodles were originally bred to have wiry, water resistant fur (often called hair) perfect for swimming and water retrieval activities. The coat itself is a single layer rather than a double-layer, but the hair is curly and dense, very warm.
They do, however, need regular grooming and clipping. The Standard Poodle clip was originally developed by hunters so as to facilitate the dogs' ability to move through the water, and this remains a popular clip today, although others have developed for show as well, such as the continental clip, where half of the body is shaved and a pompom of hair is left on the end of the tail, with " bracelets" of hair left around the ankles.
A popular clip style with pet owners use the so called "puppy clip," where the hair is kept short all over the body.
If the dog is a show dog, he or she must be clipped and groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. The Standard Poodle is also prone to tartar on the teeth, and should undergo regular teeth cleanings and scalings.
Standard Poodles are very, very intelligent; when they are adopted from a good breeder, their personalities are generally very gentle, graceful, good natured, cheerful, patient and proud. The larger Standard Poodle is certainly more low key and has a calmer energy level than smaller breeds like the Miniature or Toy Poodles. They are very good with small children as long as they are trained properly; because they are so very intelligent and need daily walks, however, they can be problematic in that they can become temperamental and high strung if they're not given enough exercise and appropriate discipline.
Standard Poodles are very strong minded; they won't respond well to harsh discipline, but they are very loyal and attentive to loving owners, in that they'll do anything to please those loving owners as long as they are given direction and boundaries.
The best owners for these types of dogs are going to exude an air of calm, quiet authority rather than a tone of harsh discipline. Notably, Standard Poodles are very sensitive to owners' tone of voice, and what is interesting about them is that not only do they react poorly to harsh disciplinarian tones, but they'll actually sense if the owner is wishy washy or more weak minded than they are by the tone of voice. They will actually attempt to take the upper hand if they feel that the owner will let them. Therefore, owners are required to have not only a firm tone of voice but a firm, calm demeanor that is legitimate (not fake) in order to guide these dogs properly.
Once you have a Standard Poodle's heart and trust, though, he or she is the most loyal of dogs. They do not like to be left alone and can experience extreme separation anxiety. They are not the kind of dog that can be simply put in a kennel and left to themselves. As long as you are the pack leader and confidently assume this role, the Standard Poodle is a very obedient dog. These dogs are very good with children, generally patient and kind, and get along well with other dogs, as well.
Although some Standard Poodles can make good guard dogs, they're actually quite friendly toward strangers as a matter of course. They are loyal to families and loved ones, however, and won't hesitate to protect them if needed.
Although the Standard Poodle is a very active dog, it doesn't need a lot of exercise and is not as active as other more athletic breeds, like the German Shepherd. They need a daily walk and also love water, meaning that they're very good swimmers. However, if they are given their walk every day, they are very content to be relatively quiet the rest of the time, meaning that they're good apartment-dwelling dogs. They don't need a lot of room to run and play. A small yard provides just enough space for them to stretch their legs and have a good run, if necessary.
The Standard Poodle has quite a long lifespan for this size of dog, about 12 to 15 years.
Although a hardy, healthy breed in general, the Standard Poodle does have its share of health problems, particularly as they relate to genetic diseases. Perhaps most noticeable of these diseases are those that affect the eyes. They have trouble with runny eyes, progressive retinal atrophy, which may result in blindness, and cataracts. Their skin is very sensitive, and care must be taken when grooming to use non allergenic shampoos and to be careful with clippers so as not to injure the skin.
Standard Poodles are also prone to bloating, which means they do better with two or three small meals a day instead of one large one.
They're also susceptible to hip dysplasia and the ear infections, and they can be congenitally susceptible to a disease called Von Willebrand Disease. This disorder is a blood disorder caused by platelet dysfunction, specifically because of a lack of the plasma protein von Willebrand factor; the result is essentially a type of hemophilia that occurs in dogs. It can be treated by supplementing with a von Willebrand factor, also known as Factor VIII. This condition is diagnosed with blood tests and can be quite well controlled, such that these dogs can have a relatively normal life and lifespan. They do have to lead quieter, relatively nonphysical lives as compared to Standard Poodles that don't have this disease and must avoid certain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) but otherwise do quite well. It's imperative that any dog diagnosed with von Willebrand disease be typed and cross matched immediately, so as to be prepared in case of an emergency.