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Judging the Toy Poodle

One of the most important aspects of judging Poodles is to understand the first paragraph
of the Standard. 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. This is the beginning of understanding Poodle
type. When you are approved to judge Poodles you are approved to judge all three
varieties. The standard, except for size, is the same for all three. Since this article is for
TNT, I will elaborate on the Toy Poodle. Size, over ten inches is a disqualification. You can
train your eye to estimate size, but if in doubt, measure. It is not fair to put a quality
Poodle at the end of the line because you think it may be over-sized. In Toys we have no
minimum height requirement, all heights are to be considered equally. Our Standard
states, diminutiveness shall be the deciding factor when all other points are equal.
However I have never known all other factors to be equal! This statement was included in
the Standard by the parent club to bring attention to the fact that type, balance and
proportion can be as correct in a nine inch Poodle as well as a ten inch Poodle. When
examining on the table, we check for disqualifying faults. When examining the Toy Poodle
be gentle, but decisive with your hands. We use our hands to see what's under the coat.

Before you touch the Poodle, the expression is of utmost importance. Evaluate this, does it
have an alert intelligent expression. A characteristic of the breed. Is the eye oval, dark in
color? Then you can proceed with the manual examination. Starting at the head, check for
correct proportions, occiput to stop about the same as length of muzzle. Are the cheek
bones flat with a slight but definite stop--slight chiseling under the eyes. The ears should
be set at or slightly below eye level. Teeth--white, strong and with a scissors bite. One of
the problems in the breed is lack of underjaw. All of the above add up to the correct head

When examining the body it is not necessary to destroy the grooming. Your hand can go
under the coat and feel for the correct lay back of shoulders. When checking for body,
topline and heart-shaped ribs, go from rear to withers and feel the shape of body that way.
This will also allow you to check for a short loin. Tail set--set on high and carried up. The
tail may be carried at 12 or 1 o'clock. Then to the rear assembly--it should be muscular
with well bent stifles, when standing the rear toes are only slightly behind the point of the
rump. The hind legs straight and parallel when viewed from the rear. Because of the clips
you will have to use your hands to check the above. When you have finished your
examination, if you have disturbed the grooming, take a second and put it back the way it
was. Your exhibitors will appreciate your concern for their efforts to present their Poodle
as well groomed as possible.

A note on checking feet when examining them on the table: sometimes they will not
"make a foot." on the table. If I think the foot is flat or splayed, I will check for this again
when they come back to me after gaiting. The feet are rather small, oval in shape with
toes well arched and cushioned on thick firm pads.

Our clips are "traditional." Learning the clips (trims) can be challenging; the breed
Standard and our Illustrated Study of the Poodle Breed Standard covers it quite well. You
must be comfortable with the grooming; it is part our breed history. We have
disqualifications for incorrect clips one of which concern the age of the Poodle. Poodles 12
months or over must be shown in the "English Saddle" or Continental" clip. Which means
as a judge, you must ask the age (from the steward) of any Poodle that is presented in
Puppy Trim, entered in any class other then 6-12 month class. The Poodle must be in adult
trim after one year of age, but may be shown in adult trim as a puppy. The puppy clip
states: in order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the
coat is permissible. There has been a tendency with grooming to present the puppy with
what appears to be a definite scissored line, which resembles the start of an English
Saddle. This is not correct.

Color is covered in our Standard; The coat is an even and solid color at the skin. Shading
of solid colors is allowed. The clearing or various shades of silver, blues, browns, apricots
and creams is acceptable. Silver and the various shades of gray are born black and clear
slowly. As puppies they will show the true color at the skin (all over) but may have the
remains of the dark birth color at the tips of their body coat and ears. Colors such as
brown and apricot tend to lighten with age. The feathering on the ears may be darker.
Creams also may have shading on the ears. On the lighter colored dogs, when injured the
hair may come in at a darker shade and then clear to the color of the rest of the coat. The
Phantom markings (Black and Tan markings such as Dobermans, Black and Tan
Coonhounds, etc.) are not acceptable; they are a disqualification. This coloration may
appear as black and tan, brown and tan, silver and tan, and the tan may be so light as to
appear creamy or white. Parti-colored, two or more distinct colors is a disqualification also.

When accepting the responsibility of judging Poodles you must be comfortable with all
three varieties. If you are aspiring to judge the Poodle I would recommend that you attend
the Poodle Club of America National held in Upper Marlboro, MD. Judges Education is held
yearly. We feel it is the most beautiful and comfortable show for all concerned that is held
in this country. The "Cream Of The Crop" is always in attendance and vying for top
honors---For information please contact me: Doris Cozart, Poodle
Club of America, Judges Education, 6162 Highland Drive, Kaufman,
Texas 75142. email Italics: quotes from the
Poodle Standard

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