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!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

News from Hudson, Before and After

I have been working on an interview with ? - it will be a surprise, but it will definitely be interesting to those of you who love Multi-colored Poodles, yet have trouble finding a breeder who is ethical and does health clearances. In addition, she has absolutely gorgeous dogs who are doing wonderfully well in the show ring and other venues.

For now, I thought you might enjoy seeing Hudson's before and after grooming photos. I truly gave it a good try, but was so very grateful that a very talented junior (junior showmanship), Cheyenne Maggart, offered to neaten him up and make him look a bit more like a show groom when we arrived at the show site.

Cheyenne, thank you again for all you did to help us. After showing AKC with another breed for over 3 decades, you wouldn't think I would be nervous but I was, terribly, about showing a Poodle for the first time in the UKC ring. And the grooming was the thing that was making me the most jittery, as I have always left the scissoring to the professionals!

Here is Hudson, pre-Cheyenne, before we left home, my efforts here at our grooming room at home:
Now here he is with Cheyenne, actually just before we left on the last day. He actually looked even prettier the first day, before he had played around all weekend. This is just a quick picture from my hubby's cell phone, please forgive lack of editing.
And lastly, here he is set up in the ring with me at the first show of this circuit:
We had a great time, and my little Huddy Buddy is getting close to his UKC Championship, he just needs one more competition win! Cannot wait to put the Ch. in front of Prodigy's Content of Character, his registered name. Sure wish AKC would accept our beautiful multi-colored Poodles so we could do that also, but for now, Huddy's plans are just to continue training, perhaps to go AKC for some Rally events when he is ready.  AKC does allow all colors of Poodles to be registered and shown in performance events.

He's pretty in the show ring, but the real treasure of this dog is the love he gives us on a daily basis. Right Huddy?  He got kicked out of my lap so I could type this post, so he is laying under the recliner right now, patiently waiting to see if there is any more playtime or lapdog time being offered this evening.  He stays as close as possible, but he is also a gentleman if he must be crated when we leave the house. 

But of course he's still a pup at heart, and sometimes gets the "zoomies" and chases poor Kate, our older Poodle, around until Mom puts a stop to it!  And he also knows exactly how to be a "Poodle clown", laying upside down in adorable postures or throwing his toys up in the air and retrieving them as if he is playing a game all by himself!

Thanks again Cheyenne, for all of your help at the Hickory, NC circuit this past weekend.  And as always, thanks to Hudson's breeder and co-owner, Heather Bryan of Prodigy Poodles for sharing him with us.

Poodles are truly wonderful, aren't they?


please visit my dog training site:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Charlene's Scotty Looking Good!

Hudson says he wants me to be able to groom like this when I grow up!  Seriously, isn't my friend Charlene Dunlap, of Canine Horizons, a lovely groomer?  This is her gorgeous boy "Scotty".

You can read Poodle articles (including those about parti-Poodles, which are one of the original Poodle colors!), view training video clips and read many wonderful articles about how Charlene trains her dogs to do amazing behaviors for the Poodle movies she produces on her website:  Also, Scotty & Joey, the newest members of the Canine Horizon's crew, have their own website at:

Thank you Charlene, for being the person who introduced me to the beauty of Parti Colored Poodles.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The picture was taken in spa Podebrady - Czech Republic.
 Lying poodles are Standard Poodle females - Haky and Fini, and the small one sitting on Adela is female Jessie.

Aren't they just absolutely beautiful, both Poodles and their mom?  Thank you Adéla Hlavatá for sharing this gorgeous photo with Poodle Blog readers!   

You can see more beautiful photos of her dogs on her webiste, which is not in English, but still worth taking a few minutes to visit!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


We are so happy that Karen Kearney of Ciel Poodles shared this photo of her boy Chaz in order to bring us a smile for the Fourth of July holiday!  He is quite an accomplished fellow, not just a UKC champion, but in addition to also being shown in AKC, he has performance titles galore, as you can see at the end of his name underneath his photo. Congratultions Karen, on all of his accomplishments and on your lovely creative grooming skills!
"Chaz" U-CH UWP URO1 Paux de Deux Ciel, CGC, RN, NA, NAJ, OAJ, OAP, AJP,  CL1, OBT1, WP1
For more about Karen and Chaz, visit her website:

Thank you Karen, Happy Fourth of July!

Note:  Photos on this blog are the property of the individual photographer and are not to be re-used in any form or fashion.  Thank you for respecting our copyright.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thank You, from Hudson's Mom!

Prodigy's Content of Character (Hudson)

Thank you to my friend, photographer Veronica Kelso, for all the beautiful photos she took of our sweet parti-colored Poodle boy, "Hudson".

Not much news this week, have been glued to the television watching the horrible storm tragedies. Please donate via reputable organizations.  As I mentioned on a Facebook post....some can go, some can donate, all can pray.  So there is something all of us can do.

Coming soon to Poodle Blogger - an interview with a well known breeder of both AKC and UKC solid color and parti-colored champions, as well as an article from a Poodle fancier who enjoys agility with her dogs. It has been lots of fun getting to know reputable Poodle breeders on Facebook Poodle groups since Hudson joined our family.

I have spread myself a bit thin recently with too many writing projects at once, but I promise to have something interesting for Poodle bloggers to read soon!  Also, I confess, training Mr. Hudson, plus just watching him do adorable things each day, takes up a good bit of time every day!

It has been a long time since we have had so much puppy fun.  Thank you again to his breeder, Heather Bryan of Prodigy Poodles, for sharing Hudson with us.  Thank you also to his many new Facebook friends who have been so kind with compliments about his photos.  And once more, thank you Veronica, for taking such lovely photos of our boy when you visited and met him at the Carolina Classic circuit back in March.  Not many 8 month old pups have the benefit of a photo shoot the first weekend they arrive, can never thank you enough for the wonderful birthday present!  It is very special having these photos that captured the memory of our very first weekend with him.  We feel very blessed.

 Melanie Schlaginhaufen, Hudson's Mom

Please note:  Hudson's photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced, in any form or fashion, without the permission of the photographer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Partis from Across the Globe!

Jitka Vlasáková with Poodles shown in Prague, photo courtesy of Millano Photo.
When I saw this gorgeous photo, all I could say was "wow"!  Rarely in this country do we have shows where there would be this many "dogs of multi-colors" entered, plus I was impressed that all of them posed so nicely for the photo!   There is one solid colored boy in the back, who happens to be parti-factored (his genes allow him to produce parti-colored Poodles) and he was bred by a well known Poodle breeder in the US, Kathy Esio-King of Jacknic Poodles.

Adéla Hlavatá, one of my Facebook friends sent me this photo to share on the Poodle blog,  along with the following information about the dogs in the photo:
In the middle of the Poodles is Jitka Vlasáková, who owns the lovely female dog sitting in front of her (Nelly) and Jitka's dog "Jack" is sitting beside Nelly. Adéla says the two females on the left are Infinity and Haky, who are Adela's only Standards (they are lovely Adela!)
Lying down are Poodles owned by Tomáš Růžička (from left "Ivanhoe, Herro and Q").  And the beautiful boys sitting on the right are "ian" owned by Mirka Plevová and . And boys sitting on the right are Mirka Plevová ("Ian") and"Inkognito" who belongs to Hana Šimková.
Interested in keeping up with this lovely party of parti Poodles?  Eveyone except Hana Šimková can be found on Facebook. Adela says that the Poodles whose  names begin "I" are sisters and brother, all out of Jitka´s lovely girl Nelly.
Congratulations Jitka, on breeding such beautiful dogs!  Adela, it is wonderful hearing from Poodles all the way from the Czech Republic and the show in Prague, thank you!
Please forgive me for any changes in font size in this post---I had to copy and paste the names so I could be sure to get them correct!  Even though my last name is Schlaginhaufen, I don't even know how to get my computer to put the accent marks above these lovely foreign names!
Isn't Facebook fun?  It allows us to get to know people from all over the world, some of whom become close friends.  Because Standard Poodles are now plagued by so many health problems, it is more important than ever for ethical breeders to network and get to know each other.  Thank you again Adela, for sharing this photo!  I hope all of these Poodle owners will join us by clicking on the left hand side of this website : Follow the Poodle Blogger by email.:  Remember, your email address will NEVER be shared with anyone, this website is totally for Poodle owners to share information and get to know other Poodle lovers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My boy Hudson and the best birthday presents ever...

Hudson has now been here at our home approximately a month, but it took this sweet boy only a few days to totally worm his way into my family's heart!

My birthday present from my husband this year was paying the expenses for me to go to a dog show weekend where Hudson's breeder flew in and showed him, then this lovely fellow went home with us. It was an extra special weekend not just due to getting to meet his breeder in person but also some good friends of ours, the Kelso family whom we have known for over 15 years, came to the dog show on Saturday to visit.

Prodigy's Content of Character "Hudson"
Co-owned by Melanie Schlaginhaufen & breeder Heather Bryan of Prodigy Poodles

Nest to the wonderful time spent with friends, perhaps the most special birthday present I received was a photo shoot of Hudson by my friend Veronica Kelso.  The one above is one of my favorites!

If you enjoy seeing photos of Poodles (of all colors and varieties) and reading the occasional dog training article, please subscribe to this blog (it is completely free and we do not ever give out any email addresses, see the link " on the left hand side of the page and the posts will come directly to your email).  

I also greatly appreciate comments, however comments are moderated. This means if you post an anonymous comment whose purpose is just to link to your own website (it is amazing the ones like this that I receive, many linking to offensive sites, others linking to the type breeders I cannot recommend, such as those who breed Poodle mixes and sell them for expensive prices) - I will not publish it.  You don't have to use your full name, but please, if you are going to take the time to comment, make it about the blog or the post you are commenting on.  If you do, even if you comment negatively if you don't like something I have written,  I WILL publish it as long as no profanity is involved and as long as you are not trying to promote something of which I don't approve. Again, you can use your name or just "Jane Doe", doesn't matter, what matters is the purpose and content of your comment.  Although Blogspot requires an email address when you comment, it will NOT show up at any place on the site, it is totally private.

As far as other website links, if you are an ethical dog person (such as a breeder who does health clearances or someone who sells dog products and your site appears to be a valid site), I don't mind your link at the end of your comment.  But spammers beware, your comment is not going to make it on to this blog so please don't waste your time!  And breeders, if you don't know me personally, it would be nice if you take a moment to email me then I am more likely to publish a comment where you include your website.  Poodles are very dear to my heart, and I try to recommend only breeders who I know have the breed's best interest at heart.  I personally am not a breeder but am often asked for referrals to a good breeder or a reputable rescue when someone is looking for a Poodle.

But back to the birthday presents, thank you everyone!   Best of all,  Hudson will always be linked in my mind to that fabulous, fun birthday weekend.  Thank you to my wonderful husband Rick, and to the Kelso family (Veronica, Johnnie, Peter and Maria) plus Veronica's sweet Mom Cleeta who came up to visit and to Veronica for her gift of her wonderful photographs (and a yummy chocolate birthday cake too!). I could go on and on but won't bore you with my non-dog related presents.  And many thanks to Hudson's breeder, Heather Bryan (Prodigy Poodles) for showing Huddy to a Best of Breed Parti Poodle win and getting him halfway to his UKC championship at the Sunday shows!

UKC Dog show folks, you will see more of this lovely boy in the future!  And I look forward to meeting more wonderful Poodle folks like those I met at Hickory. Also, thank you for all the comments on Facebook about Hudson (to my Florida friend, Huddy says to tell you he forgives you that you have nicknamed him Peanut!)  LOL, it kind of fits!  He is a precious little peanut.

All in all, best birthday weekend ever.  God is good.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Phantom, but not of the Opera!

What a charming girl this tiny Poodle happens to be!  I met her when she was at the Hickory, North Carolina  UKC dog shows this Spring.  Echo has a delightful "personality", seems to never meet a stranger, her little tail wagged all weekend. 
UKC Champion Vonstarr Voices on the Wind

Echo's owner is Kate Landon, who was a big help to me when I was trying to figure out the ins and out of UKC shows the weekend where Echo took the win pictured above. I have been showing AKC for many years but had never been to a UKC conformation show until that particular weekend.

Echo is a phantom colored Toy Poodle out of solid colored parents. Her sire is a blue and her mom is white. Echo's registered name is Vonstarr Voices on the Wind and she is quickly making her presence known at UKC shows, with many group wins and placements to her credit.

Kate reminded me that is a great place to start researching pedigrees, so Echo's pedigree can be found there. Echo is groomed, trained and shown by her owner.

Thanks Kate, for sharing this information about your lovely little girl.  Best wishes for many more wins in the future!

note:  please ignore the little 1.underneath the text.. Every now and then, Google's Blogger program and I just don't seem to get along. Today is one of those days. Every time I try to delete the "1" all of the text goes away along with it!   Melanie S.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Whole New Meaning to Field Poodles!

If you hear the term "field Poodles", you may think of hunting Poodles, who usually are working near the water, retrieving ducks.  If you have interest in working lines Standard Poodles, I would recommend you check out Louter Creek:  My friend Kim Tyndall has recently purchased a Poodle from them and gives them the highest of recommendations. Also, they are the ones who had a red Poodle featured on the TV show many folks love - Duck Dynasty!  Red Standard Poodles are very appealing, but if you have interest in this color, please don't just google the internet, please make sure you are working with an ethical breeder who does all the health clearances recommended.  It is very easy for unethical folks who are simply taking advantage of something unique (just like the parti colored Poodles that are fascinatingly beautiful) to take advantage of puppy buyers through the internet.  Please recognize that this wonderful breed of dog IS definitely plagued by some health problems, so it is EXTREMELY important to check out the breeder thoroughly before you invest.

Photo by Heather Bryan

On a brighter note, the Poodles above however are simply enjoying a field outing in Heber City, Utah (pictured with Melanie North). Some are owned and loved by Heather Bryan of Prodigy Poodles, who captured this special moment in time.  Heather is the breeder and co-owner of our beautiful new pup Hudson.

Just like those pictured above, keep in mind that your Poodle, of any size, is a DOG who will greatly enjoy the outdoors wherever you can find a safe area for exercise and socialization.  I am not overly fond of dog parks (although some are well run and safe, I think most should be approached with caution) but Poodle parties and outings, where owners meet and let their dogs run with one another, are great fun.  I've been to a couple and I had one at Bed & Biscuit years ago, plus we had a weekly socialization class for Standards for a year or so. Dogs are interesting in how well they interact with "their own kind".  

We had lots of fun at our Poodle outings and weekly classes and so did the dogs. There was one German Shepherd who joined our group. She was so funny, different from the Poodles, as she would keep an eye out for any misbehavior that needed to be corrected and would march right in and "correct" the young Poodles, simply with her body language by walking in between the dogs to break up anything before it got out of hand.  We called her the Poodle police!  She was the lovely Elka, who was owned by Pam Gaynor. Elka, we will never forget you...your memory lives on, as an honorary Poodle!  If you would like to read about Elka, please visit an article about her amazing Hospice work on the Knowing Dogs blog:  Elka, Therapy Dog of Excellence

Many thanks to Heather Bryan for sharing the above photo of "Poodles having fun in the field!"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Paint Me Politically Incorrect!

Well, I confess. In the Poodle world, I am now 100%, totally, completely politically incorrect!

My first Standard Poodle was politically correct .She was purchased as a pet, at the age of six months, from a show breeder who did not wish to keep her because her bite went undershot. We spayed her as soon as we got her home, we loved her, we socialized her and she became an excellent therapy dog who enjoyed nursing home visits as well as helping me with educational programs at schools (for children of all ages). Her name was Figi. We adored her and as best we could tell, she felt the same about us!
Figi in her director's chair in front of the sign that says "Please keep dogs out of this area!"

During Figi's years with us, other Poodles came and went, because we began to search for a nice Standard Poodle to show, and in addition, we became involved in poodle rescue. A lovely white boy named Teddy was with us for a short time, then went on to become a certified Therapy Dog for a dog trainer and behaviorist who worked with us for over seven years, Judith Rock-Allen.  A few rescues almost stayed permanently, in fact one was taken in from a breeder who had gotten older, who had dogs she had gotten personally from Wycliffe kennels. He was a huge black boy with beautiful movement and a happy personality.

But none of these dogs could match the very special qualities we saw in Figi. We knew, from her health issues, that she would not be with us for an extremely long life, but when we did lose her, just under the age of 11, we still weren't prepared. We had a little miniature Poodle but no other Standards to keep us company.

It was then that we purchased our "Lizzie", from a show breeder who valued the Wycliffe lines, which we had read about, because of Jean Lyle's tremendous influence on the breed. But at that time, we had not read John Armstrong's research, which showed that the many of the Wycliffe dogs had serious health problems, and yet continued to be bred. So we did not know that we were ultimately be heartbroken by buying show dogs from a breeder who still held on to, and in fact, bred very tightly on, bloodlines that were full of problems such as gastric torsion, Addison's disease, blood clotting disorders and even seizures. In fact, before Lizzie was two years old, we purchased a second dog from the same breeder.

Lizzie died of lymphoma when she was just under the age of 7. By that time, we had met show breeders who were members of the Poodle Club of America, who taught us about the value of out-crossed pedigrees, to try to get away from some of the serious problems in Poodles. We had also, however, been taught that three of the most important things in a evaluating a Poodle are - coat quality, head type and COLOR.  Above all, solid color was very important, if one wished to ever have a Poodle worthy of walking into the show ring. This was all news to us at Meja,because we had been showing Siberian Huskies since the late 70s. Siberians are a working breed, and strucure and efficient movement are much, much more important than the color of a dog. In fact, dogs with any type of markings can be shown in the Siberian ring, and dogs of any color. Sure, some judges will only put up a traditionally marked dog, we had, by the time we got into Poodles, knew of people who were winning in the show ring with Siberian Huskies who were not of the traditional black and white, blue-eyed variety!

We still have a black Poodle, "Kate", who is almost 11 years old, who came from a breeder who loves the Wycliffe Poodle lines, despite some of the problems she has encountered. Out of respect for that breeder, I will not list all of the health problems that my dogs from her, and the littermates of my girls, have endured. But there have been enough that I finally decided it was time to look elsewhere. Since this breeder was the president of the regional Poodle club for many years, I was disappointed that she chose not to follow the guidelines recommended for those who are trying to diversify the gene pool in Poodles, in hopes of producing a healthier dog, but to each their own.

But back to being politically incorrect.  Many breeders of solid colored, gorgeous show quality Standard Poodles will immediately eliminate any dog from the gene pool if that dog has even a touch of white hair on his chest, much less has what some call "multi-colors". Some breeders will even "bucket" any puppies from their breeding who are mismarked--yes, that's right, they will cull them, a/k/a kill them, the moment they are born.

This makes me incredibly sad. Unless there is something negatively connected to a certain color gene (like the lethal white gene that can show up in merle to merle breedings in Aussies and Collies) then there is absolutely no reason to kill a puppy because of its color. In fact, when you do so, you may be killing a dog that has exceptionally GOOD genes for soundness in body and mind...perhaps even a dog that could, technically, change the future of the breed.

When I met Charlene Dunlap of Canine Horizons, a Poodle fancier who is a fantastic dog trainer but is not a dog breeder, I learned a lot about parti colored Poodles. In fact, her Canine Horizons website contains a wealth of information, including photos that prove that Poodles who were basically white with black spots were some of the original dogs that this lovely breed were founded on.

The first time I ever stepped out of the box and brought a parti colored Poodle home, it was on impulse. I named him, on his registration papers, Paint Me Politically Incorrect. He had a wonderful temperament and was an incredibly sweet dog whom I placed with a great family.
As you can see in this photo, "Pete" was a very pretty dog with beautiful markings, but he was not a very elegant Poodle, in fact he was only five months old in this photo...he continued to grow and grow!  He lacked the elegance needed in a correct Poodle head and he was heavy boned, almost to the point of being more like a Labradoodle than a Poodle. I have to admit, I still found him quite beautiful even though I decided, as he grew (and grew and grew!) and I researched his pedigree, I knew he was destined for a pet home, not to be used for breeding.

My Kate is getting older now, and having lost her sister a few years ago, as well as a sweet Standard boy that we had taken in when his owner died, our house had began to feel a bit "Poodle empty". So when I found out that the United Kennel Club allowed multi-colored Poodles not only to be shown in the conformation ring, but also to be show in the sporting clips (as opposed to AKC shows where they must have much more extensive grooming, particularly after they are a year old)....I decided to look for a Poodle who could be competitive in the UKC ring.  Two different breeders offered us lovely black females to show UKC, but we decided to hold out for a male.

Imagine our surprise about a month ago when we received a call asking if we would like to add a lovely 7 month old parti-colored male to our household.  And not one with a questionable pedigree, but a dog from a reputable breeder, and a dog with the structure, type and movement capable of winning in the show ring!

So go ahead....paint me politically incorrect!  If what it takes, to find diversity in Poodles is to take a chance on something other than just a standard black, then I vote for diversity. It is time to put color aside, and breed for good health, so we can stand a chance at saving the breed we love.  But keep in mind, being a parti-color does NOT mean that the dog has an outcrossed pedigree (in fact you can look up Pete's pedigree and see that it is heavily linebred).  It is more important than ever, if looking for a parti-colored Poodle, to deal with a reputable breeder, one who will show you the health clearances of the parents!

We are already in love with our boy Hudson, who is quite a character. We wish for not only a sucessful show career, but also for a long, happy, HEALTHY life for our new boy.

Melanie Schlaginhaufen
Paint Me Poodles, Meja Siberians

(c) 2013, Melanie Schlaginhaufen, all rights reserved. No portion of this article, including photos, may be reproduced without the author's permission.