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 I.
Rufous represents everything I love about poodles – he is quick to learn, confident (unless the cow that he’s chasing turns around on him), not yappy or snappy, and loves playing with the other pups. 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 and 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 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).