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Poodles as Performers: A History of Showmanship

Monday, January 31, 2011
Poodles as Performers: A History of Showmanship
This eager Poodle is ready to hit the stage like a true performer.

With their exotic haircuts and regal air, Standard Poodles are great crowd-pleasers wherever they perform, often walking away with Best in Show honors. But the poodle isn't just a handsome dog with a good show temperament. It is also considered one of the most intelligent and energetic breeds.

Gypsies crossing Europe were the first to use Standard Poodles in their traveling acts hundreds of years ago. They discovered that the breed was not only highly trainable, but exceptionally agile and athletic, allowing them to perform hoop jumps and acrobatics onstage. In modern day circuses, Poodles display extraordinary balance and agility, circling the center ring, leaping from the backs of horses and performing other impressive feats.

You've probably seen your favorite breed in television shows, films, and commercials. Spike's doggie girlfriend in The Rugrats Movie is a white-haired, purple-skinned, talking French poodle named Fifi. And a Standard Poodle named Rhapsody in White starred in the 2000 film Best In Show as the canine character "Butch."

Standards are sports superstars, too. With their athleticism and intelligence, Poodles are now becoming the breed to watch in the increasingly popular Dog Sporting Events. Designed in the style of equestrian show jumping competitions, dogs display their speed and agility as they negotiate courses and obstacles.

You can even watch your breed compete in dog sled races. John Suter successfully used Standard Poodles in Alaska's famous Iditarod race from 1988 through 1991. Since then, mushers have been adding these formidable athletes to their dog teams, too.

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