The situation with the red Standard Poodle in North America has been dismal at best this past decade.There have been very few breeders who have gotten into this colour with dedication to improve the Poodles of colour or the breed as a whole. It took a sad turn in 2006, when it happened to be “The Year of the Dog” in Asia, and red happened to be the “lucky” colour. Many unscrupulous people saw an opportunity to jump on the band wagon, as breeders were being offered upwards of $10,000 for a single red Standard Poodle puppy, and upwards of $100,000 for a pregnant red Standard Poodle bitch. Many began purchasing their breeding foundations from North American breeders who were equally unscrupulous and unethical Some of the breeders selling breeding dogs to people looking for a way to make a quick buck on a trendy colour, were kennels who have never health tested a single dog in their own breeding program, who bred their females beginning at nine months of age, who bred their females back to back to back to back heats, never taking into consideration the heartache and misery that might befall the families purchasing their dogs, or the health implications to the bitch they were breeding, or the effect that their way of doing things might have on the reds in particular, or the breed as a whole.
As a fellow red breeder. I have had the sad task of being the recipient of far too many phone calls from heart broken puppy buyers who had the misfortune of purchasing a dog from one of these breeders- people whose puppy had to be euthanised at fourteen months of age because of a genetic disorder or was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at a year of age, or had an internal deformity which made it impossible for this young dog to carry on a normal life.
In North America it is sad but true- colour sells. There have been numerous people get involved in reds, browns or parti colours simply because these colours sell well. They are trendy and desirable. Not much thought has gone into improving what has been ailing the breed for many years. In this continent, whether or not you are a member of the Canadian Kennel Club or The American Kennel Club, one can breed any two dogs of one breed together regardless of colour, and regardless of whether or not there has been any health or genetic testing done on the two dogs being put together to create a litter of puppies. One can register those puppies, so long as they are from two purebred parents. The kennel clubs in this continent provide no regulations on breed specific testing that MUST be done on parents before they are allowed to pro-create. If you are not a member of the kennel club, you can still breed, and you can still register your litters- you just pay twice as much to do so.
In Europe, every kennel club has their own set of rules, but in each country in Europe, they are absolutely unmovable and will not register litters unless their rules are followed to the letter. In Germany, as in most other European nations, a dog cannot be shown or bred if it has a docked tail and cannot be bred if it has not had and passed three breed specific health tests. A red cannot be bred to a parti and see the litter registered. The kennel club sets the rules and dictates what colour can be bred to what colour and what tests the prospective parents MUST have before being allowed to be bred. Most dedicated European breeders are much more devoted to conformation showing than North American breeders are, and their system of showing much more defined. In Europe, the shows are carded, meaning each dog is gone over by a judge, who then critiques every single dog he or she has judged and makes note of every dogs attributes and short comings.When a person is interested In purchasing a puppy from a champion parent, one can request to view the judges remarks and critiques on every aspect of that dog- the bite, the structure, the eye shape and colour, the quality of the coat, the feet, and the general overview of the quality of the dog in general. In North America, at CKC and AKC sanctioned shows, the best female is chosen, and the best male is chosen (in the judges opinion) and they compete for Best Of Breed or Best of Variety, with no written critique of each dog in the ring, so when a person decides to invest in a puppy from these dogs, you are basically going on the number of wins this dog has had, but have no idea what the general consensus of the judges was as to the quality of the dog, or its good points or bad points.
In Canada and the United States, we are seeing far too many Standard Poodles who are sorely lacking in chest and dentition. There are other issues in the reds in particular- poor tail sets, lacking in under jaw, fine skeletons.. We have found in our endless research that the European dogs we have seen have substance- well conformed bodies, strong chests, heavier skeletons. They do not appear to have the issues with their bites that the North American Poodles are experiencing.
Another reason for considering importing dogs from other nations is diversity. The reds in North America tend to lean toward a high COI (co-efficiency of inbreeding) because of some pretty serious inbreeding and line breeding that has taken place over the twenty or so years they have existed. This plays a role in why the structure is such an issue and why the health is suffering. The importance of a low COI can be read about at http://www.canine-genetics.com . They discuss there how a COI of less than 10% generally gives a dog four extra years of life as opposed to a higher COI.. When researching pedigrees of prospective mates for our dogs, in many cases we see the same dogs coming up in the backgrounds of many of them, usually within the first three generations of the pedigree and sometimes see the same dogs popping up in a pedigree as many as five times!!! I am sure most rational people can see how this can cause problems.
These are but a few of the reasons why we have opted to import some European dogs to add to our breeding program. We are looking for better structure, more diversity, and lower COI’s.. We continue to research in the hope of bringing more to our program in the future.
When researching to buy a puppy, do your homework. Some people have a tendency to convolute anything when it comes to their fellow breeders. Do not be fooled by rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims.Research yourself.