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Poodle Club of America Illustrated Breed Standard

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Showing Your Standard Poodle(Access granted for Bijou Poodle people only)

Poodle Colour Breeding

Kennel Blindness, by Claudia Waller Orlandi, Ph.D.

Let me stress that NO POODLE is perfect. Everyone knows this.
However I'm not going to be silent or accepting, of issues being perpetuated
in the breed, by some of the Poodles Championing or winning Big in the show ring.
If I do, and others do, then we will be where the German Shepherd breeders find themselves today.
(just google German Shepherd Best of Breed Winner Crufts 2016)

New Breeders are often guided by which Poodles are in the show ring winning.
And if Poodles with serious structural issues, are winning and winning big
the Standard Poodle will end up like the German Shepherd is today in 2016
with their breeders scrambling to fix up their structural problems now when it is too late.

I Hope by offering the information on my web page, with illustrations, People new to breeding
will spend the time to learn the breed standard and breed towards the
AKC, CKC, UKC Breed Standard and not, towards what is winning in the AKC, CKC, UKC show ring
that has in some cases, been bred to exaggeration
because it is fashionable in the show ring, at the current time and winning.

My web page is geared towards helping, sharing and educating
I wish only the best for my Breed and those involved in my Breed.
Those that don't agree with what is on my page
are invited to no longer view it, but do consider instead of spreading
malice, hurt and hate, spend time "doing" something...anything.. to help others
or to improve the breed, because our breed would greatly benefit.

4 Sections of the back. Croup should be at a 30 degree angle from the backbone.

This structure exhibits the proportions and angles that define a correct Standard Poodle
Deviations from this structure will cause deviations from the ideal movement.

Poodle Rear

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over angulation.......................too straight..........................sickle hocked

Poodle that is sickle hocked
A dog with sickle hocks will stand with his rear pasterns angled forward
Sickle hocks, will not allow the dog's leg a full follow through and extend, at the trot.
The action of a sickle hock in a dog is stiff and restricted and the hock joint is not used in forward propulsion.
Sometimes, a strong Achilles tendon will allow a dog with sickle hock to open the hock at full trot
but mostly, the dog will move in a stilted, uneconomical fashion.
The steep croup will also limit rear extension.

Correct..................Cow Hocked (turn into each other)...........Too Wide .............. Too Narrow

correct ................... cow hocked ........... bandy legged ........... narrow ....... over angulated weak


Poodles landing on it's hock, like a German Shepherd is NOT correct movement
nor is breaking at the pasterns, or flat feet

The over-angulated rear and sickle hocks Is particularly troubling.
The same problems occur as the over-angulated dog
but with the sickle hocks the rear pastern can't straighten. A dog with these faults
will normally move with his rear under him, never extending with power.

Example of a Poodle rear extension

Good Poodle movement, with loads of reach and drive, but being moved a bit too fast

Nice light springy movement of a Standard Poodle, being properly moved out and with CORRECT TAIL carriage !

Over-angulated rears are usually cow-hocked.
They bow in or out when moving. The entire hock may lie on the ground when trotting.
In an effort to avoid running over the front, the hind toes may curl on the follow through to buy a few seconds of timing.
Some dogs kick too high behind and some will have a "ping" or "hitch" every few steps to coordinate
the rear drive with the restricted front movement. Again, natures solves a "timing issue".

When the front is more correct than the rear, the dog will be "sickle or locked hocked".
The rear reach should equal the follow through motion. Due to a short front stride
this rear action CANNOT be completed and the result is obvious on side movement. Dogs "stacked"
may appear more level, but many have a "carp back". This "carp/roach" accommodates the lack of balance
and allows the lower assembly to propel the dog forward.

Eileen Geeson had this to say, referring to Poodles appearing at Crufts in 07/05/2014
More Breeder/Judges have made comment on Poodle shoulders, tails and rears for the last few years.
Bottom line is our breed is going to be in a VERY sad state in a few years
if these structural defects of Poor shoulders and bad rears are perpetuated.
NO Poodle is perfect that is for sure. However structure and movement are the foundation, that we build on.
Thank you for viewing, and creating a "buzz", yes I know who you all are :)
because the more we talk about our breed's "issues" the more the breed will benefit :)

Judge measuring good shoulder lay back, which will contribute to forward reach, when moving

1) Broad barrel shaped chest with elbows turned out or distended and bent lower arm
and knees too wide apart. This gives a bad stand on the toes.
2) Small chest with no depth. The pro sternum is faulty and drawn out with elbow drawn in
giving a bad stand with week fetlocks.
3) Perfectly shaped chest and front leg.

Poodle Head


(Poodle with tail curled over the back is often referred to as having a "Gay Tail")
The breed Standard states the tail should be "thick at the root, set on rather high, carried away from the body
and as straight as possible". Never curled or carried over the back is the part judges have ignored for many years.
In fact we have been encouraged to breed for incorrect tails as the 'set on rather high' has taken priority over 'carried away from the body'.
The few dogs that now carry there tails correctly - away from the body -
are generally penalised or disadvantaged for not being 'happy' enough.
by Eileen Geeson referring to Poodles appearing at Crufts in 07/05/2014

AKC Breed Standard:
Body (c) Tail straight, set on high and carried up, docked of sufficient length to insure a balanced outline.
Major fault: set low, curled, or carried over the back.

CKC Breed Standard:
Set on high, carried up and may be docked. The tail set is distinctly ahead of the pinbone.
Never curled nor carried over the back.

UKC Breed Standard
"Serious Faults: Low tail set, tail curled or carried over the back"

Based on the (USA) Revised 1997 Reformatted Standard.
Copyright Robert Cole

First decide which one of the three white Miniature Poodles presented in Continental Clip best represents ideal.

Then identify the combined 13 visible faults possessed by the two remaining less fortunate bitches.

Later we will examine these same three bitches less their pom, bracelets, puffs and discover a further 16 faults.

Make your choices now! Find the faults! Place them 1st, 2nd and 3rd !

 Only one of the three is worthy of an award. The other two bitches serve to display numerous faults.
All have
been made the same 15-inch maximum height because the short legs on one would be
immediately apparent to the practiced eye.

Bitch A has seven visible faults; Bitch C has six visible faults. Bitch B represents typical.

Bitch B is square, her length of body equal to height. Her oval shaped eyes are very dark and there is no falling away under the eyes. Her ears are set on level with eye. The skull is moderately rounded and is equal in length to straight muzzle with a slight but definite stop dividing the two. Cheekbones are flat. Teeth meet in a complete scissors bite. The head is carried high on a neck of good length with skin fitting tightly at the throat. Shoulders are well laid back and flow into a topline that is level except for a slight hollow just behind the shoulder.

Lydia Hopkins, author of The Complete Poodle, avoids mention of "slight hollow"; and Ernest H. Hart, author of The Poodle Handbook, expresses a concern that degrees of interpretation of "slight hollow" could lead to weak and unsound backs. I personally have no problem with 'slight hollow'. However, if the Poodle was a shorthaired breed and the slight hollow visible, I wonder how long it would last and what effect would its loss have on ability?

The "chest deep" should be expanded to include down to level of elbow and definite tuck-up should receive mention, so should foreleg length. The slightly longer foreleg than depth of body (11 to 10) depicted in my 1986 treatise and in this update is validated in the 1992 Poodle Club of America Illustrated Study. I would describe the Poodle's foreleg as moderately long.

The feet are described as "rather small, oval in shape with toes well arched and cushioned on thick pads". The front pasterns are described merely as strong. I depicted the front pasterns a having a slight slope.

The loin is "short, broad and muscular". In my 1986 depiction of typical, I gave the Poodle's short loin a slight arch; however, in this update, I elected to conform to the Club's official illustrated ideal's topline. The official depiction of topline is far from level but it does allow for a horizontal croup and a higher (12 o'clock) tail set than I previously drew. (The Club's other preferred tail set is the 12:30 angle in Bitch C).

The hindlegs on my representation of typical conform to the Standard's excellent description, which in part says "stifles well bent, femur and tibia are about equal in length, hock to heel short and perpendicular to the ground. When standing the rear toes are only slightly behind the points of the rump". With this concise direction, there is no excuse for dramatically long lower thighs.

BITCH A: Her (1) dished muzzle and (2) large round eyes disturb, as does her (3) light bone, (4) low tail set, and lack of angulation at (5) stifle and (6) hock. The (7) too far forward position on the body of her front legs upsets balance suggesting that her forequarter assembly is steep.

BITCH C: Her lack of (1) chin is a more serious fault than her (2) Roman nose or her (3) disturbingly pronounced cheeks. She lacks a Poodle degree of (4) tuck-up and her (5) lower thigh is too long. This is the bitch with the (6) short foreleg. Some people see her as long in body until compared to Bitch B.


OK, now examine the same three bitches less their pom poms, bracelets, puffs etc. Shaved off is equivalent to a hands on examination.


BITCH B represents typical and exhibits the Poodle virtues described earlier.

BITCH A has eleven more exposed faults.

BITCH C has five more exposed faults.


(1) Her skull is domed rather than moderately rounded
(2) Her ewe neck is a major fault
(3) Her shoulders (major fault) and
(4) upper arm and
(5) front pasterns are all steep.
This steepness has moved the front assembly forward on the body disrupting static balance
and creating a hole between the front legs. This same steepness forces the body to raise above
(6) the elbow. Forcing the body to raise to 15 inches has produced a taller than long Poodle.
Ironically, if she were too long in body or too short on leg she would be square. As it is
(7) her rib cage is too short, and
(8) her loin is too long.
(9) Her long loin arches to strengthen this unsupported part, complimenting a
(10) curved rather than level croup.
(11) The low set tail was visible before the shave but the faulty curl in the tail wasn't.
I always conclude my hands-on examination of the Poodle topline by running my hand up the tail,
however whatever I found, it would not disturb me as much as any of the other 10 faults would.


(1) The loose skin at her throat is more noticeable now; so is her
(2) slightly short neck, her
(3) front pasterns have too much of a weak slope, and her
(4) rear pasterns are SICKLE HOCKED, and
(5) her paper feet hidden in
part by artful grooming are a major fault.


OK so you are thinking about showing AKC or CKC.
This is how your poodle needs to look.
How is this achieved ?
Skilled grooming for certain, coat conditioning and of course Wiggies or Switches (fake hair).

The poodle in the photo above had 4 wiggies woven in her top knot.
You don't weave them in, you place them in the bands on the head as you are banding up their topknots.
Since bands are only allowed to be placed back to the occiput for show poodles,
generally you won't find any wiggies beyond that point.
The dog's natural hair must be about the same length as the wiggies for it to look ok.
They are there to provide body and thickness.
On this particualr dog the groomer tried to show her once as an adult without wiggies,
and she said "you could basically see right thru her topknot when it was all sprayed up.
She doesn' t have the natural thickness to pull it off without the switches".

And before anyone says this is not possible...
YES I have seen pro-handlers/groomers do this at a CKC dog show.
The before and after is way too amazing to describe. You would have to see it in person
the difference extra fullness and height makes.
If done properly the judges will not feel them, because they are banded in
with the elastics holding the real hair in place.
Yes it is forbidden and you would get disqualified if found, but because "everyone" does it,
judges have been conditioned to overlook it and not say anything in AKC or CKC show rings.

In UKC shows we are not allowed hair spray, chalking, wiggies,
or any of the usual grooming products used to spruce up Poodles and or "any" breed.
However, this being said, more poodles are showing up in UKC that have "continental" clips
so we may see some "switches", sprays and other products being used soon in UKC.
In 2011 already a few Standard Poodle Breeders are hiring Professional Handlers to show against us.
It will be up to the "BETTER" judges to set a president that this will not be tolerated.
If one judge lets anything slide, well then the others will as well.
However if one judge disqualifies the use of products or artificial enhancements
then other judges will take notice, as will exhibitors and we will keep UKC as a "natural dog club".

Read more about Poodle Grooming here: http://www.bijoupoodles.com/Grooming.html

For more information about
Correct Standard Poodle or Dog Structure, check out:

The Complete Standard Poodle (Hardcover)

by Eileen Geeson

Poodle Club of America Illustrated Breed Standard

- The DVD
The Hastings approach to evaluating the structural quality of puppies.
Narrated by Pat Hastings
$39.95 plus shipping and handling
Complete running time: 105 min

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