When we got our puppy, Smurfy, his ear leather went easily past his nose. As he's grown, his muzzle has become longer than his ears. Recently I read that this will "even out." In his conformation evaluation (at 7 weeks) it said that it appeared that his ears were just a little too high set, but that could change as he grew. I believe it did! The placement of his ears is exactly correct. At least as far as I can tell - a judge would probably be a little pickier than I am! Guess you just can't really tell when they're that little...?
Our other spoo has "short" ears - we cheat with longer hair
of all things... I never thought about lenght of the ear leathers I really haven't been paying attention to my groom dogs I suppose. Now you can bet the next time I have a poodle in I'll be checking to see how long the leather is.
Yes, the ear leather is supposed to be long and lay close to the head. Drawing the ear forward along the nose allows you to see if the ear leather is shorter or longer. The ear leather should make it to the beginning of the nose leather (as a professional handler had told me), but, obviously, this does not happen in all cases including those of Ch. finished dogs but is the desired. So, yes, if the breeder has pups with good ear length, they would be proud to say so.
Here is what AKC says about the poodle ear:
(b) Ears-- hanging close to the head, set at or slightly below eye level. The ear leather is long, wide and thickly feathered; however, the ear fringe should not be of excessive length.
My female pup, Ivy, has nice long ears that, when pulled forward, go almost to the end of her nose, past the beginning of the nose leather. Grace and Ivy have nice ears that are proper level and wide, but they go just a squeak short of reaching the beginning of the nose leather.