As any happy Poodle owner can tell you, Poodles make excellent family pets. They also have an outstanding reputation in the show ring, however; they can be very flashy dogs and will almost always grab the attention of the judges and the public. For an owner to show their Poodle, however, it takes quite a bit of time and dedication, not to mention money. There are strict requirements for a Poodle's hairstyle and coat length and owners who are not meticulous about their Poodle grooming could see their prized dog disqualified from the ring. Besides the grueling coat requirements, there are obviously requirements for height, physical appearance and the way the dog carries himself.
In general, the Poodle must convey to the judge that he is energetic yet elegant and intelligent; he must demonstrate confidence and dignity when walking. Judges look for an air of quasi-arrogance in the Poodle that distinguishes this breed from almost all other dogs. As for height, there are three variations of Poodle: the Standard, Miniature and Toy. To be considered a Standard Poodle, a dog must be over 15 inches high at the shoulders. Judges look for a squarely built dog, and so look for Poodles in which the distance between the sternum and the buttocks is roughly equal to the distance between the shoulders and the ground; furthermore, the dog must be well proportioned.
Poodle eyes are oval shaped and must be very dark; they must give the sense of intelligence and alertness. Any dog with large eyes, light eyes, or round eyes will be heavily penalized. Their ears will be positioned at eye level or somewhat below; they cannot be above eye level. The leather of the ear is relatively wide and long, with a thick feathering. Their skull is somewhat rounded, with flat cheekbones; they have a relatively long, straight, delicate-looking muzzle, with a well-defined chin. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. A Poodle must have a straight, long neck that is strong; the head should be carried high on the neck, with no sagging skin.
There should be a hollow, albeit small, behind their shoulders but the rest of the topline must be straight; they must possess a deep, wide chest and a straight, high set tail. The tail must be carried straight up and docked to give an impression of balance; the dog will be penalized if the tail is curled even slightly. Poodle feet should be small and oval-shaped; their toes should present with thick pads and should be arched. As mentioned previously, a very important aspect of Poodle showmanship is the cut, or clip, and quality of the coat. As far as quality, the coat may be of two types: curly or corded (the latter is much less popular today and corded Poodles are rarely seen). If the coat is curly, it must be uniformly very dense and harsh in texture, whereas if it is corded, it must hang in tight, varied-length cords; the cords must be longer on the body, ears and head. The coat must be shown in one of the show clips and elastic bands may be used only on the hair of the skull; it must be solid and even in color at the skin, with parti-colored coats being grounds for disqualification.