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Judging The Poodle: Any Variety

From the Poodle Standard, we must ascertain what is the correct type for the Poodle. Type
to me is what makes the dog look like its breed, and I must for my own logic, start at one
point and continue on from there. Correct type in a Poodle of any size, in my opinion, is
apparent in examining the animal in direct profile.

What is its proportion?


Its balance of height to length of body? The Poodle is square. Its balance of bone to size
(sturdy bone with refinement). It's balance of neck length to body length (a neck long
enough to carry it's head proudly) Its proportion of head length to size of dog? Is the
topline of the foreface straight, neither dished nor roman? Does the topline of the body
appear level, neither sloping or roached? Does the elbow appear to be set directly under
the highest point of the shoulder? Does the hindquarter place the rear foot just behind an
imaginary line dropped from the pin bone to the ground, and stand with a nicely bent stifle
and a short metatarsus? Is the tail docked to a pleasing length, does it appear straight,
and is it high set, carried up, and is there a shelf or point of the ischium out behind the set
on of tail? Does it seem that the tail was put on as an afterthought? If the Poodle is on the
floor, a table, or on closely cropped grass, can you see that it has a beautiful, tightly
formed, small Poodle foot--slightly spoon shaped, with short but not mutilated toenails. Is
the color solid, and is the Poodle presented in correct trim, well groomed, and owning an
air peculiar to-himself.

If all of this is pleasing, the Poodle on my first impression is typical, or can be considered
to be within the guidelines set down in the standard to make him an acceptable specimen
to do the work for which he was originally bred (a water retriever par excellence).

How does the Poodle move going around the ring?


Side gait is the truest test of the balance and fit of its individual parts. Does the Poodle
move as a unit, not dissolving into a mass of unrelated pieces? As it covers the ground,
does the Poodle remain up and square, not lowering it's self as the German Shepherd does
in motion? Is the head held in a pleasing position high with a gracefully arched neck; does
the top line remain steady, the tail up and carried with confidence? Do the four legs move
in correct tempo carrying the Poodle over the ground with grace and elegance. Does the
front leg extend freely with no laboring action? Does the rear leg take a good forward
stride-the rear foot actually covering the space just vacated by the front foot-at the trot? Is
the rear leg able to follow thru its rearward push-unimpeded by a too sharply sloped
croup? Hopefully the dog being gaited has been taught to move on a loose lead and at a
moderate speed.

Temperament may be observed at this time


"Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the poodle has about him an air of
distinction and dignity peculiar to himself." Also the Poodle may exhibit a sense of humor-
and may play to the crowd for applause or appreciation!! All of this may be observed
before you have touched the animal or really looked at this head, body and relative
lengths of the bones of the skeleton relating to correct movement.

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Check structure:
• Head (fore face and backskull of equal •Good length of rib cage, short very
lengths) muscular loin, depth of chest
• Eye, expression, mouth, ear leathers •Forechest apparent in front of the fore legs
(proportionate to variety) •Beautiful Poodle feet, good weight and
• Fit and placement of the shoulder and muscle
forearm •Carefully groomed and trimmed coat of
• Slight depression just behind the correct texture, in proper trim.
shoulder at the top of the back (the •Correct heart shaped rib
swimming dip)

Check movement:
Coming and going: soundness; and once more around the ring to let you see that typical,
useful functional Poodle in side movement, The truest test, in my opinion, of the fit and
function of all parts. What you have done is to judge the overall picture, made your first
cut on type, and rewarded the soundest of your typical specimens. An
untypical Poodle that is sound is useless. A typical Poodle that is sound, IS
PRICELESS!

Information for these handouts was provided and prepared by:


 POODLE Club of America, Inc. 2007 Judges Education Committee
Doris Cozart, President of PCA and William Cunningham, Committee Chair