So it's irritating to read Eileen Geeson in Dog World insisting: "... the Poodle is ‘posh’. It is a showy, fun loving, eye-catching exhibit."
It really isn't. This breed is a jack-of-all-trades and should be celebrated as such.
Worse, Geeson then goes on to write: "Some people have expressed a wish to show their dogs in what is classed as a pet trim, such as the lamb or sporting clip for ease of care and grooming. Also because they may not have the same talent as some of the professionals in the breed who turn out dogs to such perfection that competing with them is a hopeless case. Is that a good enough reason to change?
It is true to say that there are fans of the Poodle trimmed completely off – like a farm dog. We surely do not want to ever see this trimming in the show ring even if it brings great comfort to the dog...." (My bolding).
Are we judging a dog or a topiary contest?
And did you engage any part of your brain before writing that last sentence?
Trimming Poodles' coats into stupid shapes for the showring is not a new thing. Here are a couple of pix from that amazing source of old pix of dogs, Pietoro's Historical Dog Breed Pictures.
|Standard and Toy Poodle, 1938|
But of course all sense of proportion has now been lost and to anyone outside the show-ring, the dogs look very silly indeed - particularly the crazy top-knots superglued into place with superhold hairspray.
|A dog in there somewhere...|
Now many dogs love being groomed but surely not this, not really. And prepping a Poodle for the showring is a really long process. Washing and drying them is done a day or more beforehand because it takes hours. So does the trimming and clipping. And once the process has started, these dogs are confined to barracks for danger that real life may stain their precious coats. Show breeders often tell me their dogs enjoy being hauled from one show to the next; that the dogs love struttin' their stuff in the ring (yep, for just a few minutes in an otherwise long and boring day). "I wouldn't do it otherwise," they say.
Sure you wouldn't.
The extreme grooming has had other effects too - the Poodle's exaggerated prow used to be all coat. But now the Poodle's shoulder assembly has edged forward. This and a ewe neck is often rewarded because it contributes towards the flashy, hackney gait supposed to be a fault but often rewarded in the show-ring.
I am sure many would love to see the Poodle shown in less freaky coat - like this retriever/sporting trim. It would help remind us that there is a real - and very versatile - dog in there.
And don't get me started on the breed's genetic diversity problems.
Another blog... another day.