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Need some help deciding...hope you all can help

789 Views 13 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Gemmagirl
Thank you for taking the time to read and answer this post; I could use some advice.I am a 73 year old single woman, the previous owner of 2 standard poodles.

Gemma, my last poodle, died during Covid, so that was almost 3 years ago this summer. She had very bad sebaceous adenitis, as well as stomach issues, not too hardy a soul. She was only 9. It really broke my heart.

My first poodle, Jaspar, was a big male, from a breeder in Mass, (Wendell Sammet) who did all the health checks, etc. Jaspar was a wonderful dog who was very healthy, but he was big! I was married at the time and the girls were young and everybody pitched in in his walks, etc.

2 Years after Jaspar died ( I was now divorced ), I decided to get another poodle. Mr. Sammet did not have any at that time and he sent me to Joseph Vergnetti, in Ohio where I got Gemma. She was perfect, because she was on the smaller size, still in the standard size classification, but petite. She was the perfect size for me!!! Really adorable.

However, she had a terrible case of SA and I spent endless time oiling her and bathing her, feeding her extra things it was really more than I could really do again, and I'm nervous I could end up with yet another standard who got SA or some other illness, it troubles me.

Also, because I am older and only getting older !!!, I would like a smaller standard. The miniatures seem a bit TOO small, but are smaller standards more susceptible for illnesses? Maybe Gemma was small because she might have been the runt of the litter and more sickly? You can see I am grasping at straws here on why she was not very healthy.....

So thats the back story. I am hoping that you might help me with:

Am I too old to get a standard? I am pretty energetic, I play tennis and pickleball and walk alot, but as I say, I will only get older. And I do live on my own.

Would it be better to get a male or a female at my age? Does the sex make any difference in their energy level?

How can I find a breeder who does ALL the testing, but that ALSO might have smaller Standards?

What is the most amount of time anyone has left their Standard ( to go on vacation)? I might have to occasionally go away.

Thank you all very much, I have been struggling with this for 2 plus years now, and maybe because I have not leaped forward to get another poodle is a sign......?
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are smaller standards more susceptible for illnesses?
How can I find a breeder who does ALL the testing, but that ALSO might have smaller Standards?
If you don't mind giving a general location and the distance you're willing to go to meet the breeder first, we can help with recommendations. Meeting the breeder, meeting the dam, seeing firsthand how their dogs and pups live is highly recommended. This is one tool to rule out breeders who don't want this seen by buyers.

I can't find the source right now so grain of salt here but I believe that miniatures are overall considered the more healthy of the three AKC/UKC/CanKC varieties.

Standards, regardless of size, are more likely to (but not commonly) develop certain conditions, SA being one of them.

You can thank what's known as the Midcentury bottleneck in breeding (actually several different breeding bottlenecks) that concentrated some great and not so great genes in the standard poodle gene pool a number of decades back. Because poodle breeders worldwide have bred with others, this bottleneck affects virtually the entire standard population.

The health testing for standard poodles recommended by the PCA is primarily phenotype testing. This is because the gene/s responsible for these known conditions have not been identified so there can be no genetic testing for those, yet.

You can get breeder recommendations and if they don't have their OFA testing info directly on their public online site, you can go to OFA and look it up yourself. You might also consider joining the Standard Poodle Database where generations of information is voluntarily entered.

You may also find that even well-regarded breeders don't always do every recommended test for every breeding pair. This is where the coverage offered thru thair health warranty shows just how much they stand behind their dogs.

I wish they would all just do the full recommended testing, but many have done this for decades, before this level of testing was available. It can be said that the history of their breeding program stands as it's own results.

You'll need to decide what level of risk and trust you're comfortable with.

Recommended Tests/CHIC Program Requirements
The OFA, working with the breed's parent club, recommends the following basic health screening tests for all breeding stock. Dogs meeting these basic health screening requirements will be issued Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) numbers. For CHIC certification, all results do not need to be normal, but they must all be in the public domain so that responsible breeders can make more informed breeding decisions. For potential puppy buyers, CHIC certification is a good indicator the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations. It is not all encompassing. There may be other health screening tests appropriate for this breed. And, there may be other health concerns for which there is no commonly accepted screening protocol available.

ScreeningTesting options
Hip DysplasiaOne of the following:
OFA Radiographic Hip Evaluation
PennHIP Evaluation. Results registered with OFA.
ACVO Eye ExamACVO Eye Examination. Results registered with OFA.
Health ElectiveOne of the following:
Autoimmune Thyroditis Evaluation from an approved Lab. Results registered with OFA.
Sebaceous Adenitis evaluation by an approved dermapathologist. Results registered with OFA.

Standard Congenital Cardiac Exam. Results registered with OFA.
Advanced Cardiac Exam
Basic Cardiac Exam


In addition to the breed specific requirements above, a CHIC requirement across all participating breeds is that the dog must be permanently identified via microchip or tattoo in order to qualify for a CHIC number.

CHIC numbers generate automatically within 1 to 2 weeks after all the required test results have been registered with the OFA.

For dogs residing outside the US or Canada, owners may submit their country's equivalent health screening results for listing on the OFA website. These requests are reviewed on a case by case basis and fees apply. Once these results have been recorded with the OFA, owners may request CHIC numbers if they've met all the CHIC requirements through regular registrations or international equivalents. These requests are handled on a case by case basis.

The PCA also recommends DNA screening for Von Willebrands and Neonatal encephalopathy with seizures.

Search by kennel or dog registered name or by reg#
Advanced Search | OFA

Standard Poodle Database


On size for a "smaller" standard, depending on your definition of small, you're going to find few conscientious breeders focusing on small size as a goal. This is because most conscientious breeders are also proving their dogs to meet the poodle breed standard by competing in the conformation ring and there seems to be a preferred size, tho not mentioned in the breed standard, for the competitive dogs. That tends to be in the low-mid 20" range.

It's no good saying you don't want a dog from a breeder who shows unless you don't want a dog who was given the best consideration and care before their life even was dreamt of :). True "show potential" dogs are rare so most of those litters become our pets.

PF member, Pavie has done some great work to graph the various weights and sizes of some PF poodles. You'll note in the gen pop graph the big gap from miniatures to standards. Even tho standards start at 15", the only poodles you'll see above 15" and up to about 20" are "oversized" miniatures.

Discussion Starter · #37 · Jan 9, 2022 (Edited)

Thanks for the support everyone! The data table and plot has been updated accordingly. It seems that the names of individual poodles are getting a bit hard to see due to many data points being close together, so I made some additional plots by breed. The regression line was fitted using ordinary least squares.

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Am I too old to get a standard? I am pretty energetic, I play tennis and pickleball and walk alot, but as I say, I will only get older. And I do live on my own.
No one can predict the future, so as long as you're prepared with a back-up plan. You should be able to count on your conscientious breeder as possibly in that plan. They will typically require notification of need to rehome and may even require the return to them. This is because it's the right thing to do and because they care about what happens to the dogs they help to bring into existence.

Getting thru the shorter puppy term (not that short for standards lol), is another thing to consider. You have experience but may have glossed over in your memory the full puppy experience. It can be a tremendous challenge, and sometimes, that's just exactly what's needed.

What is the most amount of time anyone has left their Standard ( to go on vacation)? I might have to occasionally go away.
I've only had miniatures, and not as puppies, but we have traveled without them a few times for about as long as 10-14 days.
Whenever we can tho we include ours in our driving trips. Their size makes it easier to find hotels and also when staying with friends or relatives.
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