Poodles come in three sizes: the Standard (over 15 inches at the shoulder - most are in the 22-27" range); the Miniature (over 10 inches and not over 15 inches); and the Toy ( 10 inches and under.) The original Poodles were water dogs used for retrieving and their conformation and the texture and pattern of their coats to this day reflect the purposes for which they were bred. Miniatures and Toys have been bred down from the larger Poodles and they exhibit the same general characteristics. The Poodle is an active, intelligent, ruggedly-built dog which is at the same time elegant and refined. Well-bred Poodles in all three varieties now have steady, calm nerves, hardy constitutions and they can be easily trained. A Poodle is a "person" and he expects to be treated as one. Each one is a character and for that reason they make wonderful companions.A Poodle should be a member of the family. Prospective owners of Poodles should be equipped to provide a fenced-in area in which the Poodle can exercise or be prepared to walk the Poodle regularly on a leash. Poodles permitted to roam are likely to be stolen or killed. Poodles require regular clipping and grooming; a dexterous owner can readily learn how to groom his own dog or he can take the Poodle to a professional grooming shop. Poodles are not finicky eaters (unless made so by indulgent owners;) they thrive on simple, prepared dog foods.The best place to buy a Poodle is from a Poodle breeder. A reputable breeder tries to produce the ideal Poodle as described in the Standard of the Poodle; he wants to produce a sound, healthy dog, excellent in conformation and temperament, one which will be both an ideal show dog and an ideal companion. He has spent much time and effort in study, breeding and selection; his breeding program is based on accumulated knowledge of which dogs to use to produce the best Poodles. Not all puppies in a litter will satisfy his definition of a show prospect. Maybe in a litter only one or two puppies will be retained for showing; the others he will classify as "pet puppies." The differences will be so small that only an expert judge will be able to make the distinction; the eyes may be a bit too light, the tail a bit gay or the hocks a bit straight. All Poodles in the litter will display essentially the same characteristics, the same quality of construction, personality and health. For a pet price a prospective buyer can purchase a well-bred, professionally raised Poodle, backed by the integrity of the breeder, accompanied by helpful advice, instructions and the enduring interest of the breeder in the welfare of the dog which he is selling. Puppy Mills and pet shops, those who exploit the popularity of the Poodle in order to make a fast buck, buy their dogs in litters, usually by mail, as early as they can be weaned. They are not concerned with temperament, hereditary faults or quality; they are simply interested in so many puppies that they can sell for so many dollars. They do not bother about medical care. They are not interested in what happens to the dog after it is sold. Although the puppy may be accompanied by a pedigree and "AKC papers, "eligibility for registration with the American Kennel Club (AKC) is not a guarantee of health, disposition or quality. There are over a quarter million Poodles registered with the AKC each year.Having purchased his beautiful Poodle from a reputable breeder, having noted all the helpful instructions and friendly advice of the breeder from whom he has purchased his Poodle, the new owner should obtain a copy of the Introduction List of Publications by The Poodle Club of America, Inc. Subscribe to one or more of the magazines and, if interested, begin to build up a reference library. Whether a Poodle owner becomes involved in the intriguing but complex hobby of breeding and exhibiting Poodles, or takes his pleasures in the happy association of a companion dog, he will find the Poodle one of life's great delights.