Full-sized poodles tend to be fairly even-tempered. At around 45 pounds or heavier and 15 inches or more in height, they do not feel the need to assert themselves even when wearing one of those stupid poofy haircuts that dog shows insist is the appearance of a Champion Dog. They seem to have more of an attitude of “Hey, that’s right, I look funny. Come right up here beside me and I’ll make with a big ol’ toothy grin of my own!”
Show types will point out that these stupid poofy haircuts have a perfectly logical reason. Says the Poodle Club of America: “The trim you see in the show ring today is a highly stylized version of the original clip designed by hunters to help the dogs move through the water more efficiently.” They aren’t kidding when they say “highly stylized.”
Small poodles, on the other hand, have one of two thoughts in their tiny little canid craniums: “I shall obtain respect despite my appearance by barking incessantly and ravaging the toes of any creature who dares cross my path,” or, “If I keep barking someone will eventually kill me and put me out of my misery.”
And of course, the little guys live a lot longer than their taller relatives.
I’ve long since made my peace with poodles: my ex had one — a miniature, defined as between 11 and 15 inches — when we were wed, and he was generally better-behaved than I was, except during grooming, when we were both pretty damned balky.
If you want a good reason to be suspicious of poodles, Goethe’s take on Faust has Mephistopheles following him home like a lost puppy: a rather large lost puppy, perhaps, but still, not so intimidating as to suggest to Faust that maybe the study isn’t the best place for this particular dog.
Then there’s Frunobulax, stoppable by neither bullets nor rockets.