Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fun Update from the Dunlap Gang!

On Memorial day, I received this wonderful "Joey's Journal" entry from my friend Charlene Dunlap of Canine Horizons.  Honestly, I think every day is a holiday for the dogs who live with Charlene and Glenn! Since I haven't featured her crew in a while, I thought my readers might enjoy this update with some fun photos.  Thank you Charlene, for allowing me to share them with Poodle Blogger readers!

We hope you are all having a very pleasant Memorial Day.
Since we've been rather confined the previous three days due to our fortnightly groomathon, we decided we'd spend the cooler part of today in activities.  After our morning yard walk, the boys and I went to the training building for more activities.  Sydney wanted to work on her tan and did not accompany us indoors.
         First thing Scotty always does is run to the mail box and open and shut the lid.  Funny boy! 
  Then up the ladder ~~
  ~~ moving so fast he was just a blur! 

             So fast that you can see through him in places!!  Interesting, huh?
 The camera was moving this time trying to keep up. 

   : But, I finally got them to be still enough for a good picture. 
(Note from Melanie, aren't they just the cutest boys EVER?)
After breakfast, we went to the college. 
 There's a walking path around the campus and a side path with a bridge over a stream.

 Glenn didn't know I took this - teehee  Usually, he's with Sydney and Scotty and I'm with Joey
 unless I have all three!
 At home, Joey saw Glenn outside fixing a faucet leak -  the boys tore outside and tracked him to the barn-
 Scotty greeting his dad - see Joey biting Scotty's leg!
This one of the doggy doors out of the house-
And, coming back in (to the reading room)
                                Hope we didn't overload your computer with pictures today! 
                                                              Charlene with Joey, Scotty, and Sydney

Charlene, I can NEVER get enough, as far as photos of your three lovely Parti crew. Readers, if you enjoyed these photos, you will REALLY love the short movies and videos of these dogs doing all the amazing tricks and behaviors she has taught them for her Poodle movies. Some of the shorter movies can now be viewed on her website for free!  Check out these videos and more at Joey and Scotty's website:
                                                                The Parti Boys

As always Charlene, many, many thanks for sharing your dogs and their adventures with us!  Melanie

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Spring!

Nothing says Spring like a happy young Poodle bouncing through the wildflowers!  This one belongs to Susan Wilson, of Five Star Poodles.  For more photos and information on her lovely Poodles, see her website,

Thanks so much Susan, for sharing this photo!

Poodle Blogger

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Is Poodle Blogging for YOU?

Blogging Anyone?
            Want to be the next Poodle Blogger?

I have truly enjoyed developing this website by adding training and other articles, and then blogging articles, short posts and interviews of Poodle people over the past few years. However, to be totally honest, I am working on a couple of other major projects this year, and Poodle blogging has taken a back seat. I have run out of things to talk about, whew, that was hard to admit!

This blog is easy to use and maintain, becaue it is on Google’s free “Blogger” program.

Costs for me are keeping the domain sites, which I have registered as and on GoDaddy.  So this truly is the least expensive website that I own (in comparison to my dog training sites, which are on Joomla and hosted by a website provider.  I did invest several hundred dollars up front to have someone design the logo (of the Poodle typing his blog) and setting things up in an easy-to-use template and of course I have thousands of hours invested.   Website work is NOT my forte.  I am a dog trainer and a writer, not a Poodle breeder or blogger at heart.

I am looking for someone who might be interested in purchasing this website or partnering with me.   I am open to an outright sale, a trade of some sort if you have products or even someone who knows how to monetize a blog, who sells products giving me a small percentage of sales.

If you are a breeder, or you sell products that appeal to Poodle owners, then you are the type person who could most benefit from this blog.  Even a dog groomer, trainer or boarding kennel owner who wants to increase the business they receive from Poodle owners would benefit. If you want lots of traffic, you could have questions and answers, or perhaps even add a Forum where Poodle folks congregate.  Definitely a Poodle Rescue organization could easily re-do this website and have a unique site, where you do more than just highlight available dogs.  Articles could educate Poodle owners,  teaching people about proper care of Poodles and educating them about Poodle health issues, etc
I am not a breeder, have no products to sell (other than my small Amazon store and 4 simple e-booklets which I have listed on my KnowingDogs site).  I am retired from grooming and training.  I still am a Poodle fancier and dog show exhibitor, but with only one show quality Poodle and no breeding plans, there is really no reason for me to have a Poodle related website.
BUT….Poodles and Poodle folk are quite fun!  Do you have any interest in this blog?  I am open to an outright sale, $1,500 or best offer. That would include transfer of ownership of both domain names, the lay-out with logo, and use of training articles. As far as keeping past blog posts, those that are written that include other people’s dogs would require their permission, but if I trust you enough to let you take over the blog, then you could retain the right to use my own articles and photos of my dogs.

If you have something to sell or trade, perhaps we could do that instead,if you don't want to invest cash up front, or if you are sure your products will sell, then a percentage of sales might work.

So in other words, I am just putting the word out and am open for offers, suggestions, etc.  The ideal owner of the Poodle Blog website would be someone who likes to write, but if you don’t, but have other reasons for wanting this website,  I can write for you once a month for a small fee as what I am trying to eliminate is writing that products no income. If you can pay $50 per article, I can research issues and send you content, if you want the blog to sell products but are concerned about the writing aspect. 

Some people might enjoy just putting together a website that highlights different breeders from the past and present, and use the blog simply as a hobby (as I have).  Of course people who have something to sell can benefit from this site.   I have comitted to a rather large writing project and will be training a therapy dog this year, so I simply don’t have time to figure out Amazon stores or write to retailers and look for people who do affiliate sales, etc.  Writing comes easy to me, but the “ins and outs” of website work do not. But you might be the person who DOES have that kind of time and energy, and if so, this blog is ready for you!  You may even have a child who is a college student who is website savvy, that could monetize this blog to make extra money.  There are unlimited possibilities.

So what does it need?  It needs someone who knows how to bring in more readers, and get those readers to purchase something!  I don’t mind continuing to write for the blog OCCASIONALLY,  I just don’t have what it takes to make the blog make money and I am trying to prioritize in life to things that either directy involve my dogs and my enjoyment of them, or writing projects that have an opportunity of bringing in some income.  I would even consider donating the site to a rescue group, if they were able to pay me to write a couple of articles for them each month, as that would at least bring in a little bit of income.

So…if you are either:
A Poodle Rescue Organization who wants a website that will appeal to all types of Poodle people so you bring in more donors and can sell products;
An Ethical Poodle Breeder who doesn’t yet have a blog;
A Poodle Club looking for a place to showcase educational articles and breeder and rescue referrals;
A Person who makes something that Poodle fanciers want to purchase; or who simply enjoys writing and publishing Poodle news;
A website savvy person who knows how to make money through internet sales, Ebay, Amazon and other affiliate sales,
then this website is valuable to you!!!  If you have any interest, please email me .

If you would like to know more about me, including the accomplishments I have had in over 35 years of being in dogs, numerous publications in which my articles have been published, etc, see the About Melanie link on

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Wow...Charlene and her Grooming!

Guys, I wish I had photos of my own grooming to show you that looks like this, but I don't have this kind of talent!

Here are some recent photos of my friend Charlene Dunlap's dogs Scotty and Joey, after a recent haircut (courtesy of their Mom and Dad, Charlene and Glenn of Canine Horizons).

"Joey" looking  down as his older sis "Sydney", who is lounging around in the grooming room while the young boys have their Spa Day. Don't you just love Joey's markings?

Joey all dolled up, a completed work of art!  Charlene says she still wants a little more angle on his rear legs, but looks pretty near perfect to me!

"Scotty" after his haircut, what can I say but "WOW"!  These two handsome boys have made me change my opinion on natural tails  (they do not have docked tails, but they are still just as lovely as any parti-colored Poodle I have seen with a docked tail, aren't they?  Kind of adds a bit more "character" to their look!)

As always, thank you Charlene, for sharing these photos with my readers.

You can see more photos of these boys, and read about their most recent movie projects on Charlene's websites: and the second website, which features "The Parti Boys" exclusively:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Memories....and wishes for a Happy New Year, without Regrets

Happy New Year!

I was actually looking for a funny photo of Kate, my old girl, to wish you a wonderful New Year. But while going through photos, I found this one of her half-sister, Lizzie, that I had entitled "Mom, I am sooo tired of this photo shoot!"  Because I think that was exactly what was in her mind when we took this photo.

We owned a boarding kennel then, and Lizzie had put up with over an hour of photos before this, out in the training field, then we had taken her over by the pond, trying to get a "relationship photo" of the two of us. I am not so sure what this photo says about our relationship, but it has always made me laugh.  I believe this photo was taken in 2004 or 2005.  Sadly, we lost Lizzie in 2008, just before she turned 7 years old, from lymphoma. Kate, her younger half sister, is now 11 and not doing well.  We sure miss the days when both were well and happy--they brought us so much happiness through the years.

No, this is going to be a sad post.  Just a reminder.  A reminder to love your dogs, your friends, your family, while they are here with you this year.  Because we never know what the future may bring. Hopefully this will be a year of health and happiness.

But part of life is loss, no one lives forever.  So TODAY, do something fun with your dogs. Call or email a friend.  Better yet, drop a note in the mail!  Did you know that there is still such a thing as a mailbox, and many people would love to open that box and find a note from you next week?

Wishing you and yours the very best New Year ever. Lots of everything good, but God's true comfort should you experience a loss.  And most of all, no regrets.

Melanie, and her Poodle friends Kate and Hudson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stop and Think a Minute....for the sake of our breed.

I know it is early, but Kate wants me to tell all of you to please have yourselves a Merry Christmas season. This photo was taken by Janet Gray, who graciously gave us permission to use it on our Christmas cards and other marketing materials back in 2002, when Kate was just a "tot". Hard to believe that adorable pup is eleven years old now.

Getting a puppy is such a happy time, when we look forward to all the dreams we have of what we will do with our dog. But, things don't always work out just "perfect".  After all, just like people, most dogs aren't perfect, and most of all, life isn't least it does not always go the way we have planned.

With Kate, since her half-sister had not turned out to be show quality, my hopes were that Kate would be, finally, a Poodle whom I could show in some venue.  We had gotten our first Standard Poodle back in the late 80s and I had always wanted a Poodle to show, since I loved showing my Siberian Huskies and had even shown a few other breeds through the years, mostly for other people, but I had finished championships on my Australian Shepherds.  Kate broke a leg while at the handler's, when she was only six months old, when she went for a groom.  Then she had other health problems, so she also was not to become our Poodle show dog. One might think that we would then just keep her to love,or even find her another home and find another Poodle to show, just like we always did if a Siberian Husky didn't "turn out".

But Poodles are different. Or perhaps I should say, Poodle people are different. Just the other day, another Poodle fancier and I were discussing this. She said, before she and her husband got their first Poodle years ago, they thought that Poodle people would be likely to "be like their dogs".  Most people know that Poodles are smart, entertaining, and overall, just plain FUN.  Just like my friend, I think I thought that when I really jumped "deep into the Poodle world", that I would meet some fun people.  After all, I had a network of Siberian Husky friends who had become close friends through the years.

I wish I could tell you that if you want to start showing Poodles, or have a goal of purchasing and even eventually breeding quality Poodles, that you will travel a road that will bring you a lot of joy. There is one part of the picture that WILL definitely bring you joy, and that is your relationship with your Poodle. 

But as for the rest of it, learning about the breed, learning which bloodlines are the most clear of hereditary problems, getting people to open up and teach you how to groom, how to research health issues, etc...I have owned Standard Poodles now for almost 25 years and I still cannot honestly tell you that learning about this breed has been fun. It has been a path that has been EXTREMELY different than the one that I took in my younger years, when I started showing Siberians back in the 70s.

For example, in Siberians, I had been in the breed only a year or so when someone volunteered to take me and one of my friends on a "kennel hopping tour". She took us to visit all of the matriarchs of our breed, at least those on the East Coast at the time. We went to the homes of people like Peggy Grant (Marlytuk), Jean Fournier, Adele Gray (Tawny Hill), Peggy Koehler (Alakazan) and more. I believe the year was 1978, maybe 79. We did not just visit show kennels but also visited racing kennels, both small and large (plus some of the breeders mentioned above had ran their dogs when they were younger, so they were still breeding multi-purpose dogs). While visiting Ms. Grant, she picked up the phone and called her friend Rachel Page Elliott, who came over for lunch and talked to us about structure (Ms. Elliott wrote the book and did the video called "DogSteps" so she was an expert on structure and movement in all breeds). We took turns moving Peggy's dogs while Ms. Elliott told us their good points, and their faults. Over the next few years, I also met people at specialties who actually were responsible for developing the breed in our country, such as Lorna Demidoff, who "held court" at specialty in New Hampshire while we sat around and asked her questions. It was not just educational, it was great fun.

I moved back east, and was welcomed at the home of Kathleen Kanzler, and her daughters Trish and Sheila, of Innisfree Kennels. I bought a pup from them in 1980, who became my first champion.  They allowed me to breed to their most famous dog, Ch. Innisfree's Sierra Cinnar, who was the top winning Siberian Husky of all time at that time, and who is still the only Siberian to have won Best in Show at Westminster. Anytime I went to visit, Kathleen would get the photo albums out, and sit on the couch and talk for hours about the dogs she had owned and loved.

Along the way, I made many friends who are still close friends to this day,such as the "Carolina girls" and my friends from the Tidewater area of Virginia. We worked in breed clubs together, worked at hospitality suites at our National specialty, worked together at the race in Hampton Roads years ago, back when there was a Siberian club in that area, and had great fun at Fall and Winter cart and sled outings in the Carolinas.  We sat together and studied pedigrees. When one of our dogs turned up with something like juvenile cataracts, we cried together. We clapped for one another when our dogs won, even as we competed against each other. We became acquainted with people from all around the world, as our dogs became well known, or as we ourselves did things like serve on the boards of national and international dog clubs of various types.  

And along the way, somehow we all got older. When one of our acquaintances became ill, we rallied together to find homes for their dogs and do everything we could to support them in their last months or years of life (one friend was gone in months, a few others were ill for several years).  We worked together on rescue committees, and also in rescuing individual dogs when we found out about dogs of our breed in need. Over thirty years later, most of us are still friends. Yes, there are a few breeders we avoid, for various reasons. But quite a few of us are as "tight" as any sports team or college buddies could ever be, even though perhaps the only true thing we have in common is our love for a certain breed of dog.

I guess I thought that becoming a "Poodle person" would take me on a similar journey. It has not. The good news is, I am still learning and I will never give up on this breed, because I love them so very much. I have never, to this day, bred a litter of Poodles. I have put in my years doing Poodle rescue, and I have loved and trained numerous Poodles. In addition to Kate, pictured above, who is now 11, I also have a beautiful parti-colored boy, my "Hudson". Branching out into the world of multi-colored Poodles has allowed me to be able to show a dog on my own, because the grooming for the UKC ring  is not as difficult and we easily accomplished his UKC championship. At one time, I did own a Standard Poodle who was shown AKC by a handler. But I cannot say that I enjoyed that experience, since the majority of our time together was spent on his hair. Even at the UKC shows, much more informal than AKC, I did not discern that Standard Poodle exhibitors were "friends", instead I heard so much badmouthing of other breeders, I was quite turned off by the entire environment. Met some lovely people who showed other breeds however.

There are many health problems in Poodles. There are some people who are fighting hard to breed healthy Poodles and I applaud them.  But there are very few people who will admit that they have ever encountered any health issues in their dogs (and believe me, if they have bred more than a couple of litters of Poodles, they have encountered something!)  People seem a bit paranoid, I guess they are afraid that their bloodlines will be bad-mouthed if they admit to anything. Instead, they are badmouthed because they are dishonest, because people buy their dogs and talk among themselves when problems start popping up. Poodle people have some excellent resources, such as the Poodle pedigree website, and the Poodle Health Registry, but not nearly enough people use these websites to share important health information.

What about things other than health? Are you interested in a dog of a certain color?  Best wishes with that. Because in the AKC ring, a VERY large percentage of the dogs are dyed. So you cannot even tell which bloodlines hold their color, because even black dogs are dyed blacker. Most red and brown lines fade, not all of them, but it is rather hard to figure out when a breeder will not show a faded dog but instead they stand at ringside discussing the best dyes to use on various colors of dogs. A good dog should be a good dog, and if your AKC Standard promotes only "color", change it.  That's what I said, change it.  Add diversity in order to add better health, allow your breed to become known for their excellent movement, structure and temperaments, instead of the amount of hair they can carry around the ring. Color isn't everything. Sure, I wish my first Poodle had held her gorgeous dark brown color, but she did not, and it did not hurt her one bit when we did our therapy dog visits for years. It was her temperament, and her special soul, not her coat, that brought us the joy she brought us.

Want a dog with a good coat? That is pretty hard to figure out also, since, at AKC shows, not only are the majority of the Poodles being shown full of various grooming products, but they even have "wigs" in their topknots and necks. Yes, that's right. The dog who seems to have a very thick, gorgeous coat may have artificial hair stuck in there!  I was so totally shocked when I heard this, that it was an accepted practice in the AKC ring....that I was at first, actually angry. But then later on, I almost found it humorous. I just couldn't imagine wanting to win enough that I would fake it, as far as whether or not my dog had the needed amount of hair. It seemed bad enough that Poodle people ignored all the rules, standing at ringside with their comb and a bottle of hair spray (not concerned at all that the judge might excuse them from the ring for having foreign substances in the coat, since almost all their competitors were doing the same). But to find out that they actually took the time and effort to make "wiglets" and add hair down into those huge topknots? Good grief, I've seen good moving Siberian Huskies win when they are OUT OF COAT.  For those of you who don't own dogs with undercoats, out of coat means NAKED, the way a Siberian looks when they have blown their undercoat and it has been brushed out.  

Okay, so a lot goes on in the AKC Poodle ring. What about UKC? Many AKC breeders will say that a UKC championship doesn't mean anything. I know where they are coming from, it certainly is easier to finish a UKC championship than an AKC championship on a Poodle. But Poodle people everywhere have a choice RIGHT NOW.  You can change your breed by simply changing the venue in which you are showing. UKC is wide open right now. You can make things about structure, movement, and good health, instead of who is the best groomer or has the most well connected handler. Because things such as wigs and hairspray are not allowed in UKC events, and neither are professional handlers. Get your BEST dogs out in the UKC ring, show them in a bit less coat (and keep in mind you won't have to worry about all hairspray and wigs, etc, since they aren't allowed), and you can make the UKC a place where good dogs are shown and win. If you happen to own dogs that will still look good without their hair dyed and their wiglets in, then get them out in the UKC ring and show them to us! I think you will find that there are many ethical dog people who would love to purchase a Poodle, even to show in obedience, rally and things such as agility, from an honest Poodle breeder.

If you would like to compete in a venue that is going to be evaluating the dogs on what they ARE, versus who is at the other end of the lead, give UKC a try. If you see dogs that you think shouldn't have finished their championships, you can change that by adding more quality dogs to the competition in the UKC ring. No, professional handlers are not allowed, however, you CAN have a friend take your dog in the ring for you if you are not well enough to do so yourself.

Right now, what I have seen, in the few (only 4 circuits) UKC shows is that there are a good many novice people showing, who are not being particularly nice to one another, at least not when they turn their backs.I have seen experienced breeders help others groom their dogs, but then have had people come up to me for the pure purpose of badmouthing that breeder, about something that was none of my business.  Sure, I have met a handful of nice people at UKC, mostly in other breeds though, such as the English Springer folks who set up beside us and watched my dog so I could go rest for awhile one day when I wasn't feeling well.  I've had some nice things happen, such as a wonderful junior showman who even helped me groom my dog and stood at ringside in case I was not well enough to take my dog back in the Group ring (and she rescued me one day when I was NOT well enough). Thank you Cheyenne Maggart, for your help.

But as far as seeing the type of sportsmanship that I have experienced showing my other breed, Siberians, AKC, I haven't seen that yet in Poodles.  I am finding that people who pretend to be "friends" are not really friends, not of mine or anyone else.  It is like they are copying the AKC Poodle environment, on a smaller scale.  It makes me sad.  Because I was told that UKC was a pleasant environment, friendly people helping one another.  I have met some friendly UKC people who show other breeds (in fact, I have some friends who are UKC judges, whom I consider to be very nice people; some of them are the very ones who encouraged my interest in UKC). Many of the people showing Poodles UKC are very young, and they have years ahead of them where they can make a difference, if they can stop the backbiting and learn to work together. Why do I call it backbiting? Because you cannot even tell fact from fiction! One will tell you one thing, another tells something else the moment that person's back is turned. They even waste time talking about me, and I am a nobody in Poodles, so they truly are wasting their breath!  But yes, I admit, I miss the fact that in Siberians, people are there to congratulate me and celebrate when I finish a dog's championship. We do things like clap for one another when it is obvious that one of our dogs is about to take a major win. They don't waste time trying to figure out what they can think of to say bad about me if they don't know me. Those that do know me, in Siberians, don't have to say it behind my back because we have the type of relationship where we can talk things out in person if we are aggravated about something!  

But, back to Poodles, good golly Miss Molly....our breed is in trouble.  And if we cannot learn how to work well together, being honest when a problem shows up in a litter, instead of eating one another for lunch, Poodle people will never be able to breed away from health problems. And we will never have quality competition at the UKC shows, if we treat newcomers as if they are idiots. Yep, that's what I said.  When an experienced dog person decides to show a Poodle, in addition to their other breeds, why not realize that they may bring a wealth of experience and they may actually HELP the breed in some way?  Instead, if they are treated the way I've been treated the few times I ventured into the conformation world of Poodles, they probably won't waste their time becoming involved in our breed. I think I am the exception to the rule, as far as keeping on keeping on, for years, until I found a nice Poodle to show. 

Also, as far as the arguments about solid color Poodle people versus multi-colored Poodle people, get over it. Take a look at the articles on websites like, that even show photographs of some of the oldest paintings of Poodles. And guess what? They were NOT solid-colored dogs. 

People are not unethical simply because they choose to breed dogs of different colors. I would rather have a sound, healthy dog who might be a parti colored dog with a bit too much "ticking" or a brown who has faded by the time it is two years old, than to have a jet black dog who is full of dye and hair spray and who cannot obtain any titles unless I pay a fortune for a professional handler. Plus one that is so heavily linebred that it is having seizures or has come down with Addison's disease before it is two or three years old.  And in addition to being sound and healthy, I'd like a dog who is sound in mind as well. One that can learn anything I want to teach it, whether or not I ever wish to show it in a performance venue or not. After all, isn't that what ALL Poodle owners want?  The majority of Poodle owners are not those of us who care about titles on either end of the dog's name. Instead, they are people who want a sweet, smart, healthy canine companion. I have been fortunate with most of the temperaments on the Poodles I have owned. I have not been so fortunate as far as health. As much as I love him and would like to put another title on him some day, my biggest wish for our young boy Hudson is that he will live a long, healthy life. Hopefully he will.

But don't get me wrong, I admit that I am a dog show person at heart, I've shown dogs in obedience, rally and mostly, in conformation, since 1976. They just don't happen to have been Poodles, since I like to show my dogs myself. There is nothing wrong with owning a Poodle who is shown AKC, in conformation by a professional handler.  If you want AKC titles and you are not extremely talented at grooming, you will probably HAVE to pay a handler, but also, you may, like me, have health problems that prevent you from running around the ring or it may simply be more convenient for your lifestyle to send dogs off with handlers instead of showing them yourself. That is your choice. But you can still make a difference, if you swim against the current. 

For example, stop and think about the fact that a good dog should NOT need to be dyed, or full of hair spray, to obtain a title. Sure, it will take a bit longer to finish his championship but if you have a nice, sound dog with proper type, he or she can achieve an AKC championship if you are willing to hire a professional handler.  And you might also, if you are looking for a sound, healthy dog, forget worrying about how many championships are in the pedigree.  Look instead at what health clearances the breeder can present to you, or what information they will share with you about the dogs in the puppy's pedigree. If you have the luxury of traveling, go see the parents, and even grandparents, so you know what the temperaments are like.  When I was breeding Siberian Huskies, I always had photos of practically every dog in a six generation pedigree, and many times I had personally met the first 3 or 4 generations of dogs in the pedigree!  But I was young, without many other responsibilities at the time so I had plenty of time to do the research. But now, in this day and age, we are blessed to have great cameras and even our PHONES can usually take short video clips! So if you are buying a dog site unseen, ask for video clips of the dogs moving, or interacting with people and other dogs. If the breeder doesn't want to take the time to answer your questions and send you this type of information, do you really want to buy a dog from them? 

All of the things that people in other breeds have been doing for years can be done in Poodles. People can get together and share information, even plan breedings together (it certainly gives one a lot more peace of mind if they are doing a breeding and know that there are good homes already lined up for the puppies). And these things can be done not just by a handful of people, it can be done by anyone who wants a good dog, or wants to become an ethical breeder. One can research (I don't mean gossip, I mean research by writing to owners of dogs in the pedigrees, for example, write the people who owned dogs in the pedigree and ask about the health of that dog and what he produced).  Yes, I know that seems impossible in Poodles and it may always be impossible to get people to work together. But it CAN be done, if people will open up and decide it is worth the effort to work with others instead of just criticizing one another.

Just once more, let me bring it back to the world of Poodle breeders.... please consider this article my plea for the dogs who cannot speak for themselves. When a dog has a seizure, he or she suffers. When they are dying of bloat, they are suffering.  I'm sure they suffer emotionally if they are losing their sight at a young age, and can no longer see the ball they love to retrieve. Not to mention the suffering of their owners, some of whom spend thousands of dollars keeping their Addisonians alive, or having diagnostic tests done on dogs with weak immune systems and allergies. This article is already too long, so I won't even try to list all of the health problems our breed faces. I urge you to go to the Versatility in Poodles website to read about the various health problems in each size of Poodle.  If you are interested in a multi-colored Poodle, then you may wish to visit the website of the Multi-Colored Poodle Club of America. Members of this club must sign a Code of Ethics, so you are more likely to find an ehtical breeder there than elsewhere. I love parti colored Poodles, but there has been such an explosion of popularity of "rare colors" than it has allowed many unethical breeders to pop up on the internet, selling puppies for large prices but not bothering to have any health clearances done on the parents.

My plea is for Poodle breeders and owners to start working together to solve problems. After all, at the end of your life, when you look back at your life in dogs, I bet those red, white and blue Rosettes won't mean a hill of beans. The fact that you know what brand of hair coloring will not fade as quickly won't mean anything either.  Owning the world's best pair of shears won't mean anything, it will mean NOTHING in comparison to having made just one good friend who keeps putting a card in the mailbox to cheer you when you are down.  Having a healthy, happy Poodle at your side, who can bring joy to your loved ones even after you are gone, THAT might mean something  In fact, it might mean a lot to you, especially if you are fortunate enough to have that special dog at your side when you draw your last breath. 

Knowing that you bred healthy dogs for other's enjoyment, or that you gave to causes that promoted good Poodle health (if you yourself are not a breeder, you can still help by supporting research)....these things may leave a lasting legacy. You might even be able to help the breed you love for years after you are gone. Isn't that a wonderful thought?

Thanks for listening. Kate, the pup featured in the photo, may not still be with us at Christmas, but we have our hopes.  Every day with her has been a gift, but a Poodle who would live even longer, and be healthier, would have been a greater gift.  It can be done....I know it can, if people will consider changing.  It would be nice to think people will change because they believe in the Golden Rule, because they believe in treating others like they would like to be treated. But even if you don't like people, consider doing it for the sake of the dogs you love. After all, Poodles are worth it, aren't they?

Wishing you and your Poodles the very best of the season,

Melanie, Kate, Hudson and the rest of the Schlaginhaufen family

Melanie Schlaginhaufen, guest blogger

December 2013

Quick update:  It is now June of 2014, and Kate will be 12 next month!  If your Poodle does have health problems, be sure to investigate things such as supplements and proper diet. I have found these things to have more of a positive effect on an older dog's health than all the medication in the world. I also believe that adding Hudson, who came to me around the age of 8 months, actually has given Kate a reason to get up in the mornings and play. Hudson will soon be 2. I don't know if another Poodle will take Kate's place when she is gone, but I will continue to love Standard Poodles for as long as I live. I hope the somewhat negative tone of this article will not discourage you from looking for a healthy Poodle. The breed does have lots of problems (especially the Standard and Toy varieties) but honest, ethical breeders do exisit. Keep searching.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Parti Crew Reviews Winter Coats for Poodles

Joey's Journal (by a lovely parti Poodle named "Joey", with a little help from his secretary and Mom, Charlene Dunlap) comes to my in-box each week with news of what Joey and his family (canine and human) have been up to.  This week, the Journal contained wonderful photos of Charlene's Poodles in varying types of winter coats.  When I wrote to ask if I could share her reviews of "Poodle coats", Charlene was kind enough to not only allow me to share this entry, but also suggested that my readers might enjoy one of the articles on her website which actually has instructions for the "prize winning entry" (the best dog coat for Poodles, or at least, when I saw the photos and read about them, it certainly seemed like it would be, far and away, the very best coat for a male Standard Poodle!) You can read and look at the photos and decide which ones you like the best.   

Thank you so much Charlene, for these wonderful articles and being the Guest Blogger for us this week.  I don't know about the rest of you, but it is finally "winter" here, as far as colder temperatures, so it is a good time of year to think about dog coats! And if you have a sewing machine and a little bit of talent, make SURE you click on the link at the end of this article, where Charlene explains how she made the coats.  I bet your Poodle would love one of these, and also, what a wonderful gift for a friend of yours who might have a Poodle who could use a coat! My older girl has a thin coat now, and I know she would enjoy one on winter walks.

Poodle Winter Coat Reviews

                by guest blogger Charlene Dunlap of Canine Horizons

If any of you are thinking of buying or making coats for your Poodles, here's my experience.  Basically, I want my dog's body covered - including their underbelly.  Many coats I've seen are the horse blanket type which leaves the entire underbelly exposed.  Living in North Carolina, we usually have crisp winters with an occasional cold blast . . . so I would only rarely need thermal coats and boots for the dogs. 
Pic 1 & 2 - these are the HURTTA jackets we got last year.  They cover the belly and have a drawstring waist to snug the fit and elastic bands around the back legs to keep the coat from shifting.  They are warm and pliant.
 However, the size that fits Standard Poodles would also fit a Golden Retriever and the coats are made several inches longer in the body than are most Poodles (and also makes the jacket too long under the belly to accommodate boy dogs' equipment).  See length of back on Sydney.  Also, I don't care for the knitted leg openings in the front. 

These blue coats by Furminator are made to put on wet dogs (such as those just out of swimming at the lake) and not really for forest walks; however, they're a nice weight for not too cold days.   They're also made for longer backed dogs.  (I have quite a bit of material folded back under just above the tail).  
They are made of excellent quality terrycloth which is warm yet not too much so; however, terrycloth grabs leaf debris, which is almost impossible to pick out.  Theses coats do take tailoring to a Poodle's body, which I haven't done yet, but I like them pretty well. 

Jyah and Sydney outgrew (age weight) the coats I made for them several years ago, but they fit the boys quite well.  These are actually the best design as they don't have a collar,  which my Poodles (because of all the hair on their necks) don't need, and there is no restriction around the front legs.  
 Also, the belly band is far enough in front of their boy parts so as to not get soiled.  Pretty nifty, huh?  I don't sew anymore - but maybe I should. 

Charlene and the Parti-Four: Scotty, Joey, Jyah, and Sydney

From Melanie:  I LOVE these coats at the bottom, don't you?  Here is a link that will take you directly to the "Winter Coats for Poodles" article on Charlene's website that tells how to make them:

Attention:  other Poodle owners--if you make a coat for your Poodle, I would love to have a photo to share with Poodle Blogger's readers!

As always, thank you to Charlene Dunlap and the Parti-Four!