Crufts 2014 – Extreme Showdogs

Yesterday a Standard Poodle won “Supreme Champion 2014”. Now as an owner of a 18 month old Standard Poodle, you’d think we would be well chuffed that our breed is now top dog? Well no actually, I’m very disappointed. I watched the final selection and Ricky the Poodle looked like a bizarre aberration amongst all the other “normal” breeds, who didn’t require the strangest hair-do imaginable, in order to win.

Whilst I’m sure Ricky is genetically 100% top mutt and a fantastically loveable dog, why oh why does the professional show dog world feel its necessary to display a dog with a grooming style that bares no resemblance to the average poodle in the UK or anywhere else for that matter.

I must point out that I’m no dog expert, but I am an average bloke who happens to love his dog and the breed. I also understand the reason why the working poodle breed had certain grooming cuts in its distant past. But where we are now it seems to me, is at the extreme end of the spectrum and its totally unnecessary. Yesterdays win gives poodle show breeders a stamp of approval to carry on….I worry this will only get worse, remember the genetic issues a few years ago, that resulted in the BBC pulling the plug on their coverage, perhaps that mindset still exists?

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Ricky. Supreme Champion 2014 © Daily Mail

I believe the selection of this dog as the winner will further lower its popularity in the UK as a choice for a family pet and that is extremely sad. We are a nation of dog-lovers, but the poodle always ends up being discarded to the “Freak Show” category, because of the publics negative perception of the extreme grooming that the dog show circuit seems to encourage. Its not required and spoils the popularity of a great breed of dog.  If your poodle is routinely in and out of water, being utilised as a working retriever then fair enough, build up the hair around the vital organs, but I do doubt if a working dog would look anything like Ricky. Indeed I would wager Ricky has never even seen a dead duck floating in a reed bed, never mind actually being required to retrieve it.

Ricky2

© The Independent

The result yesterday will only reinforce the perception of the breed as ostentatious, a powder puff dog, a breed the average person would be embarrassed to walk down the street with.  I think it will also perversely exacerbate the breeding of the cookerpoo, labradoodle, spoodle and various other cross-breeds that have emerged as the popularity of the poodle is further destroyed by the bizarre media images of extreme poodle styling, so beloved by certain sections of the dog show fraternity.

So what about a normal poodle, a rare dog without the bizarre styling.  What are they like?  Well Muttley our standard is about 18 months old, we’ve had him since a pup. He’s big, handsome, boisterous and very loveable. He’s intelligent, quick to learn and very very fit. In terms of grooming he is quite low maintenance. He doesn’t moult which is a huge plus point and we keep his hair fairly short depending on the  time of the year/temperature.  He gets brushed most days, and professionally cut every 2-3 months. We don’t ask for any specific cut, but do stipulate, nothing fancy, a level cut, no pom-poms or any back combing.

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The Winter Coat – The Yeti

We walk him every day 3-5kms, including hard exercise and that really is the biggest commitment, otherwise they can get bored quickly. Basically a loyal, fit active companion, who loves human interaction and touch. When we meet other walkers they almost always stop and chat. Normally the comments will be along the lines of…..

1. Lovely to see a poodle, a rare dog these days, you never see them about do you?

2. Wow, he looks great, I hate all those fancy cuts.

3. Is that a Labradoodle?

4. He looks like a proper dog!

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Chillin with his Mum!

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Learning all about the dangers of height!

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Happy on his holidays

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With his girlfriend Ffion a black lab. Both are retrievers, both designed for water, both very similar in temperament, but only one has an image problem

Maybe sometime in the future, somewhere a show breeder will make a stand and just show the dog as it would be in the average home, just like the spaniels, the labs and all the other much-loved breeds.

11 Comments

Filed under Random Notes

11 responses to “Crufts 2014 – Extreme Showdogs

  1. I couldn’t agree more with this post! I was very disappointed that this ridiculous looking dog won, even though I’m sure he is a fantastic dog. I can’t stand the show clipping for poodles. My mums partner had a standard poodle which was always just evenly trimmed, and looked just fine like that!

  2. Anonymous

    Muttley beats the Crufts champion hands down. Have never understood the ‘show’ cut of the poodle which has beautiful, soft coat.

    • I don’t get it either. Like an obsessed fan, they see things in the dog that we don’t. I suppose at the extreme end of that obsession is how you eventually end up with genetically modified breeds, that’s based on looks and not good health.

  3. Anonymous

    Absolutely smack bang on the button. I think all those back combing puff ball cutting lunatics should be rounded up an dealt with harshly. Mutley is officially awesome and without a Pom Pom in sight!

  4. Pingback: Purebred doodle? - Page 2 - Poodle Forum - Standard Poodle, Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle Forum ALL Poodle owners too!

  5. angel

    Wow. This is very insulting! I own a show poodle. I groom her myself and as a groomer I love showing my artistic style. Most comments she gets out on the street are “beautiful!” “Breathtaking” and the most common. “Do you mind if I take a picture of your poodle?” Or “I’ve never seen a real poodle in person before”. My girl loves the attention she gets, I love how she stands out and I don’t have to worry about anyone thinking my girl is a doodle of any sort. My girl also enjoys everything pet poodles do. Running, dog parks, beach trips, agility just to name a Few. The 18 Hrs a week of coat care I spend to keep her in tip top shape is totally worth all the fun she has and her and I enjoy the bonding time. She comes from strong healthy champion lines.

    • Hi Angel, I am genuinely sorry that you feel insulted. We are both poodle lovers, but my experience is very different to yours, the people I meet here in the UK generally dislike the extreme grooming. The breed is supposed to be a working dog, 18hrs grooming per week does seem like a lot to me, but of course, each to his own. My point is most people don’t have a mutt like that and honestly is all that bouffant styling really required in order to produce a champion dog? The image look of the poodle is now sadly so poor in the UK, that whilst the general public like all it’s attributes as a dog, they feel it’s necessary to cross-breed it with other popular breeds in order to have a poodle type dog without the image issue. Now that is what’s really insulting!

  6. Completely with you on this. Mutley looks wonderful, the pom poms awful. I know which I’d rather be seen with! 😀

    • Thanks 🙂 He’s quite boisterous at the moment, but actually a great dog in the van. Never chews anything, keeps off the furniture and best of all doesn’t moult.

  7. Wow that Standard Poodle is stunning! No wonder it was the champion. I can’t stop looking at it. It looks so well groomed, The hair seems so full and rich especially in the photo where it is running and the wind is blowing its hair. I really find black poodles very beautiful.

    – Carl Williams

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