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Spinoff of designer dogs: breed discrimination

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  • Spinoff of designer dogs: breed discrimination

    This is not a thread about pit bulls, though I could get on my soap box about that kind of breed discrimination.

    Nope, this is about something different, and one of the things that I think has contributed to the number of designer doodles out there. Wondered what you all think.

    I have a 9 YO lab. Big dog. 27 inches at the shoulder, 94 pounds lean, sweet dog. When my husband wanted to get another dog, his big thing was that he didn't want to deal with a lot of shedding. I wanted a big dog with a retriever type personality. We ended up getting a standard poodle.

    Great dog. Smart. Friendly. Huge. 29 inches at the shoulder.

    But here's the thing. We don't advertise that he's a poodle. We jokingly refer to him as our "curly coated retriever". We leave his coat a little longer, we don't close shave his muzzle or do the froo froo poodle cut floof on top or the ball on the tail or any other such stuff. I use a 1inch guard and a 10 blade. We definitely tell people what he is if they ask, but I know that we both hesitate...subconsciously

    Why? Because I think there is a collective image of some little poodle yipping at us and humping our leg and generally think of poodles as a dog your crazy great aunt carries around in her purse and lets pee and poop in the house.

    EX) I worked in a clinic for about 10 years. Met a lot of small poodles and only liked 1 (Peaches, owned by a lovely man). Most were fear biting, yipping, obnoxious little monsters. Only knew 1 standard poodle in all that time (her name was Sasha) and I LOVED her.

    Anyway...my hypothesis on this whole doodle craze is that there are a lot more people than just me who have that feeling about the word "poodle". Thus, if they want the supposed "benefits" of a poodle like the hair coat which seems to be the main trait people are after, it's "cooler" to get a cross with a more "manly" breed like a lab or a golden. Kind of dilutes the "I'm a poodle toting crazy lady/guy" vibe.

    What say you?

    It actually pretty unfortunate IMHO, because a well bred standard poodle has pretty much all of the lovely retriever traits AND you don't have as much shedding. They're smart, great retrievers, love the water, family friendly, Though I will say I hate doing the grooming.

    But I have yet to see many well bred doodles with all of the OFA, CERF, etc, etc and the inconsistency in the results of the hair coat (which again seems to be the driving force) makes me wonder why people don't just get a lab, a golden or a poodle.

    All that said, a nice dog is a nice dog and I'm not knocking the lovely doodles out there. But I do think that breed "discrimination" against poodles is the cornerstone of the doodle craze.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    I have known several standard poodles. Two of my friends actively seek them out, one because she has allergies and the other because she likes them, and she does agility and they are good at that. I'm in pet stores every weekend with cat adoptions, and although I don't see many poodles, (of any size), I certainly don't sense any kind of breed discrimination. The standard poodles I know are given the puppy cut, so their hair isn't long but there is nothing poofy about them. They are wonderful dogs, and I haven't ever felt any of my friends experienced discrimination because of the breed. If there is any discrimination, it is against large breeds in general. There are many people who simply love little dogs, and others who don't have room for big dogs. And I add, I discriminate in general against little dogs, all of whom seem to be yippy, humpy, and ankle biters.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses


    • #3
      We had standard poodles for 18 years (starting when I was 5). It was definitely not the "cool" breed to have, but Gosh they were great dogs. And yes, I do think if poodles weren't thought of as so frouffy, more people would be getting them instead of the doodles. I do think some people like the looser curls and more of a wavy look to the fur than the tight curl of the poodle, but with SO much variation in coat types, it's hard to guarantee that you'll find the doodle puppy you like with the coat you want, too.

      I think it would be wonderful if you would embrace the breed your dog is rather than hide it. It's not helping the public see how non prissy the poodles can be. Own it, girl! :-) but it is so similar to hearing someone who has a well behaved, good citizen pitbull hide what breed their dog is because they don't want to deal with people's reactions. I think it's just part of owning any breed- responsibly, you should have a well behaved citizen, and people's reactions to whatever breed you have are just a part of reality, be it Chihuahua, Rottweiler, Jack Russell, whatever :-) (I do think it's of huge importance for pitbull owners though, especially. People who have never met a pb are terrified of them, so many people can't even id a pit/pit type, and the breed in general needs the good publicity.... But yep, tangent!)

      I think poodles would be a fantastic choice for many of the homes that get doodles. When people describe what they want, there's usually almost every trait that a well socialized poodle will exhibit. The size variation (plus the superficial desire of a wavy versus curly coat) is probably the main difference- not too much in the way of 25-50lb poodles. I've found less uniformity in the temperament of miniature poodles, but I would attribute that to the popularity of small dogs in general, leading to all sorts of blind breeding. I've also met some rockstar minis with brains and biddability to spare.
      Last edited by bits619; Sep. 22, 2012, 12:51 PM. Reason: Clarity


      • Original Poster

        Clint, I hear you on LB discrimination. I take my dogs to the office rather frequently and people are really scared of them. They're more likely to lick you to death than anything else, but they are BIG BLACK DOGS and they do tend to intimidate some people.

        Bits, I hear you. What made me think of this today is that for the last two years, I've been grooming our poodle myself. Well, actually it's a tag team effort with my husband and me stripped down to undies every other Sat morning in our master bath clipping and bathing. One clips, one cleans up hair while the other bathes. LOL It's quite a scene.

        Anyway, my husband moved for a job and I needed to get the monster groomed. It had been almost 5 weeks and he ended up needing to be shaved down more like a poodle due to some matting. (totally my fault, but it's been a crazy month) He looks great and his coat is amazing. But he looks like a....POODLE!

        Which got me to thinking that even though I really really like this dog, the idea of having a poodle makes me kind of....ickish. He's not a prissy froufrou. He's a ball retrieving, lake swimming, farm loving monster of a dog.

        With regards to PB's, my mom has one and he's the nicest dog ever. Seriously. Conversely, my next door neighbors have two PB's and one is freaking psycho. And he's a K-9 cop. Dog has attacked other dogs multiple times in our neighborhood. But some of the most well trained dogs I've ever met were PB's.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


        • #5
          Well, I sure get it! I have 2 dogs, Pit Bull and Poodle (mini).

          Odd combo, but they love each other and I love them both. Pitty is nearing 13, and poodle is only a year.

          I shave the poodles feet and brush her out weekly. She is fluffy, but she's not prissy. She isnt yappy, nor is she skittish. She's a stuffy retrieving, barn going country girl.

          Pitty is just perfect, absolute perfection.

          I get strange looks, and suprisingly its more towards the poodle. But, I love her, and she's a great little dog - proud poodle mom here

          My next dog will undoubtedly be a Standard Poodle. Love their size, mentality and trainability.


          • #6
            Buddyroo, i just choked on a cracker when I read your grooming experience description.... boy have I been there! My parents own two poodle mixes, as I mentioned in the other thread, and two years ago moved into their house in downtown Charleston (sc). They aren't really salt of the earth types, but definitely not snooty, despite their address in town. Imagine the reactions from the neighbors when my mom first groomed their dog a) herself and b) on their back patio! Granted, she wasn't in her skivvies but it might not have mattered given how speechless some of the SOB (South of Broad) set were... hasn't stopped my mom either, gotta love her.
            I do clip my dogs myself, too. For the same reason as you, mats that I caused through slacking on grooming, I decided to give my smaller schnoodle a poodle face (her beard was also stained so it made sense). I actually think she looks ADORABLE with the poodle look. So then i turned to my bigger schnoodle *evil grin, revving clippers in hand*
            Well. That one didn't go so well. He was fine for the clipping, but he looks like a shaved raccoon. It's horrible, the needle nose look does nothing for my poor dog, lol.
            But that too is one of my favorite things about poodles especially-how much you can change up their look, if you like! And then if you don't like it, it'll be long forgotten pretty soon!


            • Original Poster

              Glad I'm not the only one, Bits!

              I worked at a clinic for about 10 years. We went through a lot of groomers. Most were not that nice to dogs. So...I really didn't want to take my dog to a groomer. I didn't want him to have a bad experience. I've got a nice set of clippers and with hubby's help, it's never been too bad. Just hairy. Really, really hairy.

              The gal that I took him to this week was awesome though. Gotta love small towns. My SIL takes her dogs there and after a very long and careful discussion via phone, I finally got over my phobia and took Roger (the poodle) in. He loved the lady immediately, got totally Gumby lovey on her, and had a GREAT experience. She went on and on about what a great coat he has and how well bred he is, etc etc. Bless her heart (in the northern way) she was only going to charge me 40 bucks! Screw that! She had him all day Tuesday and due to trying to keep him longer even with the matting before finally giving up and shaving him down, she needed him back Friday to finish up. I wrote her a check for 100. She was speechless. Again...small towns. Wowza.

              Since we are moving to NoVa in the next month, I will be back in the market for a groomer I guess. I don't think I want to do it myself anymore. This was sooooo nice. But I do need to get over my own poodle issues. He really IS a great dog.

              I also have to admit that since his groom, he is teddy bear soft. I mean, he feels awesome. WAY nicer to pet than the coarse haired lab. I find myself just reaching down and petting him because he feels so great!
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                I used to not be a fan of poodles. I would have never owned one of any size. I figured if that was someone else's cop of tea fine but it was not mine. Then I worked at a vet office. In my area there are quite a few poodles and many of them are standards. Wow! What outstanding personalities! I fell in love with their intelligence and eagerness to please. I find it tragic that they get a bad rap because of their froofroo haircuts but that is not a true reflection of what the breed is really like. I love them. I wish more.people would educate themselves wbout this breed... lord knows I learned something. And while there is no purpose to dying their coats odd colors, there is a purpose to the traditional coat cuts they are given.
                ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                My Facebook


                • #9
                  If I ever wanted a big dog, I'd have a standard poodle without a doubt. They are lovely, lovely dogs—no discrimination here!


                  • #10
                    What's really funny for me is the way most non-poodle people look at my dogs trying to figure out what the heck the breed is. Sixty pounds each, long legs, wasp waists, contrasting colored eyebrows like a Doberman, spots like a Setter, and undocked tails. The usual guess is some kind of Afghan collie cross. Americans aren't generally familiar with lurchers; otherwise I'm sure people would ask what I crossed to get mine.

                    I'm actually kind of happy the poodle scene veered towards ridiculous haircuts. If you think about it, the conformation show ring always ends up pushing an animal breed to some excessive and ultimately unhealthy physical extreme: smush faced Persian cats, brachycephalic bulldogs, freakishly muscled Quarter Horses, bubble eyed goldfish, the list goes on. At least with poodles the basic structure of the dog is pretty sound underneath all that hair. Those of us who choose not to participate in the canine topiary madness can just keep the dog in a puppy cut.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by carp View Post
                      Those of us who choose not to participate in the canine topiary madness can just keep the dog in a puppy cut.
                      I love the phrase "canine topiary madness."

                      Also, this thread is kind of making me want to go check out standard poodles when next in the market for a dog. (I love big dogs. You can hug and cuddle them!)


                      • #12
                        I have never experienced any of this breed discrimination. Poodles, big black dogs, pits, you name it. Maybe I unconsciously filter it out or maybe it's the area that I live in? The guide dog program has poodles and I think that has helped people in our area recognize poodles as intelligent, trainable, and valuable. I am sure some people scoff at their fluffy looks but I haven't heard about it.

                        I get a lot of negative feedback about miniature schnauzers but honestly I think most of it is deserved. Miniature schnauzers can be yappy, mouthy, dog-aggressive, high-drive, diggers, etc. just like any under-socialized small breed. A lot of elderly seem to gravitate towards schnauzers so I think that they often do not get the boundaries or socialization they require so it brings out the worst in the breed and perpetuates stereotypes. Most of the people I met had a grandparent, aunt, or neighbor with an awful yappy schnauzers. I just do my best to make my guy a representation of the good attributes of the breed but I don't get offended when people assume that because he's a schnauzer he is yappy or not child-friendly.


                        • #13
                          Not even sure if it's an actual AKC designation (Beau wasn't registered), but I grew up with a miniature poodle. He weighed around 20-22 lbs, to give you an idea of size. Yes, he was kept in a puppy cut; he had the beard until he was really old and it got harder to keep it clean.

                          Smartest dog I've ever had, and a wonderful family pet. You could teach this dog any trick in about 15 minutes. My husband is ADAMANT that we will never have a poodle, but he is most likely wrong.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                            But I do think that breed "discrimination" against poodles is the cornerstone of the doodle craze.
                            Interesting theory and quite possibly right, though I think you can safely remove the " from the sentence, as it is a real discrimination. People (especially men) go utterly besotted and admiring about large dogs, particularly the pit bull type breeds. I've never seen anyone give them a dirty look, cross the street to avoid them, or otherwise give any indication they aren't 110% supportive. I've sure plenty of people do dislike and avoid big, brawny dogs, but you don't see it at the local Petsmart on an average day. The real, open, unending and utterly unabashed nastiness is directed at small dogs. Yapper, purse dog, rat on a rope, etc., etc. I don't even own a small dog and it irritates me. I once had a guy ask me - shortly after telling me about his knitting hobby and three cats - if my dog was a "real" dog or one of those little rat dogs. Seriously, knitting boy? If you can still be a real boy despite having a working knowledge of yarn, I think a Chihuahua can be a real dog.


                            • #15
                              oh, I so agree. A well-bred poodle is EXACTLY what most people want in a dog, but they hear "poodle" and immediately they think of some yapping dyed-pink froo-froo dog and say "no way". I tried very hard to convince my mom that a mini poodle was really the only breed that met all of her breed requirements, but she was so prejudiced against the idea of a poodle it was astonishing.
                              Especially the people who want a large, robust athletic non-shedding good-tempered family dog. Standard poodle is the obvious choice, but try convincing most of these people of that.


                              • #16
                                I don't know. A friend had a standard poodle when we were kids and it was a great dog-- but the grooming information you guys have posted is pretty offputting! Clipping the Newfie mix twice a year is bad enough


                                • #17
                                  Bits-hair grows back quickly, and evens out fortunately. I used to groom my mini Schnauzers myself with hand clippers, and even though I did a rotten job, the dogs would look great after a week or so.

                                  I think a lot of the poodle problem is just as BuddyRoo and others have said. We've all met spoiled, rotten little dogs, not just poodles, that are obnoxious, biters, and basically psycho in some cases. The most vicious dog I ever saw was a medium poodle that was purchased just for house protection, and couldn't be stopped for visitors or anything else.
                                  And there are people that spoil and never train little dogs, or expect decent behavior, and it's unfair to the dog and people that encounter it.

                                  Canine Topiary Madness-That should be on a tshirt. What was that contest on Animal Planet? Top Groomer or something like that, and they would show work some of the candidates did, and it was technicolor CTM. I felt so embarassed for the poor dogs.
                                  You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                  • #18
                                    My next dog may very well be a toy or a mini poodle. As I get older, I very much need to go smaller in size. Just to experiment how much difference size can make for me, I am fostering a 20# Puggle right now. As per a different discussion, my Corgis own my heart, but they are 35-40# dogs and I just need something smaller. I'm also a little tired of the tremendous shedding that comes with the Corgis.

                                    A long, long time ago I went to a dog show and simply fell in love with the way the poodles moved. They are elegant movers with that long, sweeping stride and there is no requirement that you have to keep them in a show cut. My kids are horrified that I'd go to Poodles as their (mostly) only experience with the breed was with their grandmothers very nasty tempered little Devil Dawg and they have not seen many that weren't kept in the show cut. I am sure that G'mother created that monster as every dog she owned was ugly tempered.

                                    A good friend just got a little poodle puppy and she is both darling and wicked smart as well as just pretty.


                                    • #19
                                      The grooming isn't so bad really. I much prefer an hour of shearing every month and a half and a run through with a brush whenever I think of it to the tradeoff of having fur all over my clothes, floor, hands, etc. I chose my first dog at the pound specifically because he was non shedding. Now we own six dogs, and onl one other is non shedding, so I guess it doesn't matter! To me, the worst is a double coat with that fine, fluffy under coat. Fur like i never knew possible, especially the German Shepherds and similar. Then the aussie under coat on our older girl is a constant hassle. It mats at the blink of an eye, catches hitchhikers, builds up and needs endless brushing, and the fur flies in the air and itches my face. It's gotten worse since she's aged, but it has never been easy.
                                      My other poodle mix has hair that mats more easily than the other's, but she's kept in a low key style. Clipping them isn't hard at all (especially since I have low expectations for fanciness), though the feet are annoying. The older poodle mix is super easy- his inherent laziness and greater familiarity with the clippers mean that he flops on his side and i slide him around the floor to reach other areas. The younger girl is improving too, despite having her first exposure to grooming at a year old (after we got her from animal control).
                                      Like everything, it's a tradeoff. When I only had the one, he went to the groomers every ten weeks (yes he looked like a creature from folklore.... but his coat doesn't really mat). Once we got the girl, i bought a pair of really nice clippers and blades, and it's been fun. Plus I like th training and bonding of the grooming sessions.


                                      • #20
                                        Threedog, you mentioned something that i hadn't remembered since its been a while since I've seen a standard poodle run. That movement of theirs!! It is so graceful, clean action and a ton of presence. I remember our first poodle, max, running in our yard. So light on his feet! Our second standard wasn't nearly as well bred, and i think the breeder was breeding for a larger size (my parents didn't really do their homework on picking a breeder that time). He always seemed like he was stuck in a body too large for himself and his back was a little long, so he had more barrel movement, but still elegant.
                                        Another breed i love to see in action is the schnauzer. Such a commanding march to their gaits, like they are there to save the day.