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So yeah, poodles. The mental image that comes to mind in people who haven't regularly interacted with them is not very flattering, I don't think. This has lead to the boom in poodle crosses, trying to get that sweet hypoallergenic poodle coat and general poodle good health and longevity without actually buying a poodle.

In reality I've found standards to be as trainable as labs or goldens, albeit more sensitive, and extremely athletic. Mine has shown good instinct for waterfowl retrieval, and I know several others who hunt with poodles. Some individual are a little reserved, but overall they're friendly dogs...mine is almost annoyingly gregarious.

So why is the public so "meh" about them? I honestly think a lot of that comes to the Poodle Club of America, and by extension the AKC, only allowing adult poodles to be shown in the stupid Continental clip, not to mention classifying them in the Non-Sporting group even though they're retrievers. That's the public face of the breed, at least in the US.

Anyone I know who's interacted with a lot of doodles (trainers, groomers, vets) isn't a huge fan of the doodle thing, even if some of the individual dogs are quite nice, because their coats are difficult to keep up, the dogs tend to be poorly bred (as good breeders seldom allow their dogs to be used in doodle breeding), and their temperaments are unpredictable. It seems to me that one way to push back against the doodle trend would be to promote poodles. When I ask someone why they want a doodle, all the attributes they list are common poodle attributes. How to influence public opinion?
 

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I'm with you in not understanding the whole thing except that I do agree the general public's perception of poodles is of a frou-frou dog, and the show cut is a great part of that. There ought to be a way to convince people that poodles are great, talented dogs. They come in several colors and sizes so anyone who likes fluffy dogs and/or needs an allergy helpful coat should be attracted.

But people who want the poodle coat (is that what they want? do they know what they want from the cross?) get doodles and get a dog that may have a coat like a poodle's but may be closer to the other parent, and may be somewhere in between and harder to deal with than either parent's coat. A poodle in a pet cut doesn't need any more grooming than a doodle and from what I read often less. Breed traits and everything else can also be variable. So why? Why? If you can get a purebred dog with generations of health clearances behind it for no more than the ridiculous prices people are paying for mixes why not do it? What is even the purpose of some of these crosses?

Do people believe the line that crosses are healthier? They ought to spend some time at a vet's office and see all the mixes that come in needing hip, elbow or cruciate surgery. If any mix is healthier it's the really, really mixed for generations ones, not first generation crosses from parents that were definitely not the elite of their respective breeds.

The whole thing eludes me. If you want the poodle coat, why not get a poodle?
 

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As far a showing goes, yes, PCA, and by extension the AKC, allowing more than just the traditional Puppy, Continental, and English Saddle clips would help. Accepting Multi-Colored Poodles for conformation would be nice, as well. Probably the biggest help though, would be the AKC actually enforcing their own "no products in the coat, and no fake hair" rules would be huge help, as well. A lot of blue dogs are dyed black, a goodly number of dogs in the ring will have switches or "wiggies" in their topknot, and the whole thing is held together with copious amounts of hair spray.

In UKC, Standard and Multi-Colored Standards are in the Gun Dog group, and there is a strict "no products in the coat" rule enforced.
 
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Good for UKC, but my guess is most people don't get to shows to see all the grooming nonsense. And poodles aren't the only ones. A friend who attended one Rottweiler national told me by the time the judge was finished with conformation one day, his hands were black from going over dogs with dye on them. Who would think it of such a plebian breed, right?

I think most people are more affected by watching Westminster on tv and photos when they research breeds on the 'net. Or maybe they know someone with either a spoiled toy poodle that does have the fancy cut or one that's never groomed and looks like hell all the time, although the latter has to be true of doodles too, especially now when I hear getting grooming appointments is as hard as getting vet appointments.

Didn't a team of poodles finish the Iditarod one year?
 

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If poodle breeders had the marketing budget that commercial doodle breeders seem to have, perhaps more people would just get the well bred poodle. BYB and commercial breeders use Craigslist, Facebook, their own websites with pay portals, payed ads everywhere, and just about everything you can think of to advertise products...reputable breeders probably have a website that is usually outdated in appearance and maybe a Facebook page that doesn't get updated very frequently because they're busy.

I think most people just don't know...I know I didn't until I started doing research when I was getting ready to become a dog owner for the first time in my adult life. Of course I knew the difference between a puppy mill and a regular breeder, but I didn't understand the difference between BYB mixed breed designer dog that was $2,000 and a well bred purebred dog with parents who were health tested, titled, and from a breeder who wished to improve the breed that was also $2,000.
 

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I hate to say it, but I think it's also part of the problem that buying a puppy from a good breeder can be extremely difficult if you have no "in". Breeders can treat you like a beggar, and a lot of them really do consider pet puppy people second class. In fact they consider anyone who isn't going to show conformation and breed second class. I never had an easy time because while I was willing to have a show quality puppy shown, I was absolutely not ever going to breed. They not only want the glory; they want that puppy back that's in all their contracts.

After I had a show quality dog and got to know some of those people, things changed with a lot of them, but I once got bumped after a two-year wait for a "better" home for the puppy I wanted. Better meant willing to breed her. For a pet home that's not going to do anything competitive and just wants a companion....

Many breeders also consider competing in working venues not very important. I know one breeder who said, "Any dog can do it." In other words, conformation wins prove quality; working event wins prove nothing. Yoo hoo, soundness over time, temperament, biddability.

So here's your average person, gets a dog maybe every 8-10 years, doesn't do anything competitive, doesn't know any "dog people," and they want a pet puppy. It can be a real challenge - and that's without the Covid boom that's letting breeders be even pickier.

I like the breeder of my current puppy a lot, but she told me she has about 120 people fill out the questionnaire on the website for every litter, and she can weed that down to about 20 because she won't sell to people with kids, won't sell to anyone who works full time out of the home, leaves the dog outside, etc. The kid thing is because of the particular breed, even the breed club and AKC say not good for kids under 9 ? that's from memory, but that gives you an idea of how difficult getting to first base with a reputable breeder can be.

I gave up on the first smaller breed I thought might suit me because of what seemed like 10-year waiting lists and price. Honest, small dogs that have 1-3 puppies in a litter, and a breeder has a waiting list of 137? One breeder's website wanted a copy of a credit report and a background check. Yeah, sure, I'd be happy to do that to get a puppy.
 

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This is an interesting thought! I too wish that people would just get poodles, or labs, or aussies, or whatever breed from a good breeder rather than get a doodle. That said, I've met some really nice poodles and really nice doodles... and of course many doodles that are unstable in temperament.

I have nothing against poodles and think they are versatile dogs with a really nice working history. Maybe one thing I notice about them is in terms of physical appearance they seem a bit extreme. I'm not talking about the continental cut, but more their proportions. They are sooo long, skinny, and fawn-like. There are a lot of leggy dogs like pointers that, to my untrained eye, are leggy but seem more robust and balanced in build. And one thing that breeding in any-other-popular-breed does is it gives doodles a slightly more robust, 'normal dog' appearance. I am a bit biased in that I don't prefer the look of curly or wire coated breeds in general (though something about black russian terriers and giant schnauzers look very pleasing!) But if I had to choose a curly coated dog by looks alone, I'd choose almost any other breed before a poodle. Like portugese water dogs look kind of nice. Anyways, no poodle hate from me. I think they are lovely dogs! Just offering a perspective that I'm not sure if your average layperson might share. Though there is research that shows physical appearance weighs heavily on a person's decision when choosing a dog...
 

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People can't get behind the continental haircut. To be fair there is also not much basis behind it being a functional haircut, considering most working Poodles do not sport that cut.
 

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That is absolutely true, @storyist . Nobody wants to wait a year or more when they're ready to get a dog, and when they finally start looking and find out they have to wait longer than they expected or can't get the breed they want at all from reputable breeders, I'm sure many turn to less ethical options that advertise "Puppies available now!"

And wow, a credit report and a background check to get a puppy?!

I can see why people turn to different options, I really do. A combination of lack of education on what goes into the price you pay for a reputable breeder (and how you're getting ripped off for paying the same price for an unethical breeder), and you can be in for a long wait if you choose an ethical breeder. Why not go for the doodle pups available now and look like teddy bears?
 

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But if I had to choose a curly coated dog by looks alone, I'd choose almost any other breed before a poodle. Like portugese water dogs look kind of nice.
This thread started, of course, with the question of why people are so resistant to getting poodles but jump to get poodle mixes. There seems to be agreement that the general public has a skewed view of poodles and that a lot of the fault for that lies with the breed club and AKC with their insistence on the extreme and to most of us silly looking show cuts.

However, I don't think anyone is saying if you like curly coats, get a poodle so much as if you're going to pay a high price for a dog, why not get a purebred. I don't like curly coats either. In fact I don't want anything with much hair at all, so I'd go with a Golden rather than the Golden-poodle cross with a Lab rather than the Lab-poodle cross.

But at least for me, what I'm saying is there are hundreds of breeds, and the vast majority seem to be long, fluffy, and/or wire coated. I know this because I spent a lot of time going through breeds looking for a smaller breed for me that wasn't any of those things. After coat and look, of course, there are things like size, temperament, and availability. Even so, why do people pay thousands for a mix when they can't be sure which parent their puppy will take after, if it will have the best of each parent or the worst? That's the part I can't understand, although I suspect it's like hula hoops - something that's caught the public's fancy and there's really no explanation.
 

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The Historically Correct Continental, also called the Modified Continental, trim is getting more popular these days. This is a pet version, since to be acceptable in the AKC show ring, there can't be a clear line between the topknot and the ear feathering. (Random Pinterest grab through Google images.)

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Yeah, doodles are unpredictable mixes. But inevitably they do not look like purebred poodles. I can't tell the difference between many purebred or mixed curly coated dogs. But I can always tell when a dog is a purebred poodle. Nothing to do with the cut either. My suspicion is that people who like the look of poodles are similar to the people who like afghans, or greyhounds... Beautiful, graceful dogs but they have a VERY specific look about them. Whereas I think doodles just look less extreme. Just my layperson opinion. When parus asked why people are so "meh" about poodles, this is my reason why, even though I know that they are a healthy, wonderful breed.

I'm sure there's a popular media component as well. Even in cartoons poodles are always depicted as snooty, nose-in-the-air. That probably doesn't help them.
 

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I had Standard Poodles as a Kid. WONDERFUL dogs. Every last one.

If anyone wants to improve their PR have the show dog world drop the ridiculous FruFru show clip and go for the Kennel Clip.

Kennel clip leaves a bit longer hair on the body (1".. maybe less) and very close shave of face and feet. Longer "pom" on the head (3" long hair) and if the tail is docked, a pom on its end. Undocked just same length as body hair.

This is a "working dog clip" that shows the conformation and lets the dog be what it was bred to be.. a water fowl retriever (or a wonderful companion!).

That show dog clip, while taking great skill from a groomer to create, makes a nice working dog look ridiculous.
 

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Poodles (and mixes with a lot of poodle in them) always have very distinctive gaits, too. They definitely have something of a natural 'prance' that I do think can add to their image of being a delicate, frou-frou dog when seen at a distance, even though most poodles I've met have been very robust, doggy dogs in their willingness to play, hike, get muddy, roll around in play, etc. I even had a vet once say Sam didn't need a lepto vaccine because, as a poodle, he probably avoided muddy puddles... lol (we didn't get that particular vaccine for other reasons, but he certainly doesn't mind getting his paws dirty).

I've also met people who legitimately don't seem aware that standard poodles exist. Their image of 'poodle' is entirely the tiny toys, often with anxious or unpredictable temperaments if they've only been exposed to ones who are poorly bred and/or treated more like accessories than dogs. Sam is just a little too tall (a half inch, I think?) to be within breed standard for minis, and I've had people surprised that a poodle can be so large. Definitely not everyone, but there's absolutely some percentage of the population out there that doesn't even know Standard Poodles exist, so if they only like big dogs (or have a specific dislike of small dogs), it's no wonder they default to doodles.

This was a while ago now, so I have no idea how things currently are in the show world, but I've also heard that it's incredibly difficult to finish a poodle in the AKC show ring without a professional handler (especially if you want a shot at the big-time shows like Westminster). If this is true, that would mean that there's even more financial barriers to being a responsible poodle breeder than there are in breeds where owner/breeder handling is more commonplace. I wouldn't be surprised if some people decided to work with a different breed or just give up on showing entirely in that scenario. On that front, I much prefer the UKC's approach to showing, which allows a wider variety of show cuts for poodles, allows all naturally occurring poodle coat colors/patterns, and bans professional handlers entirely. I don't know enough about the differences in showing AKC and UKC to say one's definitely better than the others, but in the case of poodles, I know which club I'd rather show under (a moot point, not living in the US anymore, I know).
 

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I've also met people who legitimately don't seem aware that standard poodles exist. Their image of 'poodle' is entirely the tiny toys, often with anxious or unpredictable temperaments if they've only been exposed to ones who are poorly bred and/or treated more like accessories than dogs.
Okay, but if I thought that, why would I want a dog whose one parent is anxious, unpredictable, and useless except as an accessory?
 

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I'm personally a big fan of a German clip, especially those clean ears and neck. Much more functional, what hunter is going to be brushing their dog every day and tying it in bands?

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