I have had standard poodles for over 20 years; my first standard was a black female in Canada. My very first dog was an airedale and although I loved her with all my heart I knew the airedale was not my breed. Mandy had been my sisters dog and when she had her second child; she found her to be too much to handle with the little ones. So at the age of 18 I took Mandy; we were inseparable until she left us at the age of 13. I added our first standard poodle to our family when Mandy was still around. Mandy taught her well.

When I had decided to add another dog to the family I had seriously considered the doberman; which was my first choice. After much contemplation decided that I could not deal with the short life expectancy; which was at the time 7-9. With great breeders out there it has now moved up to pretty much a normal large dog life expectancy. I looked at the Giant Schnauzer and the standard poodle. Because of Mandy I was drawn to a furry face but I had heard alot about the standard poodle that sounded good.

Mandy didn't shed much which I really liked so I was looking for another breed that didn't shed; at least didn't shed alot. So I decided to take a serious look at the poodle; I was not turned off by the "poodle" image as many people are. The first visit was to a home in the country with lots of dogs and lots of colors. The dogs were all very friendly, I was impressed and hooked. It happened very quickly with poodles and I.

So after the addition of our first standard poodle it has been poodles since. Except for the one addition of a tiny Jack Russell; the rest have been standards. Today I will meet a bunch of poodles at the beach. This is our first official OC Standard Poodle get together and I'm really looking forward to it.

My dogs will be different than the others in looks as I abandoned the "poodle" clip long ago. My dogs are large curly retrievers; utility dogs. If you really get to know a poodle; their exterior image hints of nothing about the real dog; only the guardian. The hair is the work of the guardian and usually a groomer; this breed is very much an all purpose dog. I am constantly asked what breed of dog my dogs are and when I tell people they always say "really, poodles?"

As a trainer I can say that they are the smartest breed that I work with; the Golden coming in at second I'd have to say. Although I love the breed; I also love that each and every dog within the breed is completely different. Just like every other breed and mix, there are no two dogs the same.

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