July 28, 2011

Style Star: Poodles

Whether groomed or natural, toy or standard, the poodle is one heck of a stylish pooch.
This breed has a long and varied history which has been depicted in art for centuries.
Both the words poodle and puddle are derived from pudel, which was Low German for "to splash in the water." This is due to the fact that poodle were originally bred as water retrievers. Their seemingly frou-frou haircuts were developed out of practicality so the dog could swim freely yet maintain warm joints (1.)
detail of a poodle by Albrecht Durer
Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy.
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Although this breed (as we know it) originated in Germany, the poodle was first standardized in France where it remains the official national dog.
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Because they are intelligent and eager-to-please, poodles are one of the easiest dogs to train. As a result, poodles have traditionally worked as circus entertainers. I imagine, too, that their bright personalities and perceived poshness make poodles some of the best models.
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In western European art "poodles have been depicted as the supreme canine companion for centuries.  They are used to help indicate rank, class and style." (2)
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Poodles have earned their place in art history thanks to notable painters and illustrators such as Albrecht Durer, Hans Memlic, Pieter Bruegel, Cesare Vecellio and Hieronymus Bosch.
Poodles were beloved and spoilt by members of the French royalty and court. Trendy owners would clip, groom and even dye these dogs to match the latest fashions. (3)

A Venetian Prostitute in Wintertime (Cesare Vecellio, 1589


In addition to being water retrievers, lap dogs and circus performers, poodles have also historically worked as draught animals and truffle hunters.


Despite their popularity through the ages, I personally most strongly associate poodles with the 1950s. 
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The first poodle to make an impact on me was named Moe, the pet of a dear friend. A toy poodle, Moe was often described as a "poet of  position" because he was always arranging himself adorably. RIP little friend, we all miss you.
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I do not have a real poodle but do have a collection of poodle themed trinkets and ephemera.
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Has there ever been a special poodle in your life? Are you the proud guardian of a poodle? Fyi: people who respond with poodle photos will earn a special place in my
heart.
--m

For More Information on this Lovable Breed:
Poodle Facts
Oodles of (standard) poodles
Poodle Wiki
Poodles in Art
the Poodle History Project
Poodle Place

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7 comments:

  1. this is very very true! we had a toy poodle growing up and when she came back from the groomer they would put bows in her ears and paint her nails red! she was pretty darn stylish!

    xo,
    cb

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  2. ZombieseverywhereJuly 28, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I always wanted a poodle as a kid! lol.

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  3. oh man, I totally love poodles now!

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  4. What a sweet post!  Poodles are so glamorous and your pictures were adorable.

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  5. I don't have a poodle but if I would have one I'd never dye his hair! 

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  6. Too much adorableness!  I'm partial to Scotties, myself, but I do love and appreciate the poodle.

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  7. Poodle Dogs also are known to excel in modern dog sport competitions. They are extremely agile, making them very competitive when it comes to the exciting sport of Agility. Poodles also show exceptional skills in Obedience and they are superb Trackers.

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looking forward to hearing from you!