There are four different types of poodle, categorised according to size. From largest to smallest, they’re Toy, Mini, Moyen and Standard. Standards, which are the original, were first bred by German hunters to retrieve fallen birds (the name comes from “pudeln”, which means “to splash in water”). Toys and Minis have since been selected for house pets, and for the same reason they tend to be much more human-centred.

My dog Rufus, a red Toy cross Mini, is a classic example of the people-oriented poodle. He decided a week after arriving at the kennels that I was his human, and began following me everywhere – occasionally nudging my leg to remind me that he was there,  but otherwise just tagging along. I haven’t had my own dog for many years (just family dogs, who are equally happy with anyone), but Rufus’ persistence was endearing – so he now lives at the house with Bruce and me.

Rufous, and his baby Ridgey.

Rufous represents everything I love about poodles – he is quick to learn, confident (unless the cow that he’s chasing turns around on him – he does see himself as a farm dog), not yappy or snappy, and he fits nicely under our coffee table.

But there’s such a thing as being TOO human centred (there’s a fine line between devoted and needy) and for this reason I crossed Rufous with Iris – the daughter of our amazingly calm, sensible, now-retired Louie.

To make things confusing, Louie is half Lagotto Romagnola (as Italian breed which is similar in origin and appearance to the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog and Irish Water Spaniel, and is known for its good temperament ). So Max and Rex,  (Rufous  &  Iris’ boys) are 1/8th Lagotto. So is our other boy, George, who is the son of Iris’ sister Bridget’s and Neville our retired Moyen.

The Moyen boys, Rex, Max and George.

The boys background is all very confusing, but for all intents and purposes Rex, Max and George are just really nice, sensible, healthy, genetically diverse, medium-sized poodles (about 14 kilos each) with a dash of Lagotto.

We now have a young pup –  from the last litter from Iris before she retired to live with my niece Hannah. I joined Iris to a red poodle belonging to a friend … hoping for some gold coloured girls. We got two black males…. (Grrrr..)   We decided to keep Jet – he’s growing into a lovely dog.  Photographing black dogs is almost impossible. This is him after a haircut at 10 months.