One factor that has inhibited a more rapid growth of the poodle population in this country is their high cost. Fine poodles stand at stud with fees ranging up to $500. Some imports have cost $5,000 while reported prices for domestic poodles have gone as high as $3,000. Poodles of $500 or so should be free from serious faults and be of clear color. The average price for pet poodles is slightly over $100.
Some prospective buyers have shrunk from undertaking the care of a poodle. Most people think of poodles as creatures that take as much primping at their toilet as M me. Pompadour. For show purposes that is probably so. For pet owners, though, a once-a-week schedule for ears (which should be kept clear of wax), teeth, nails and a brushing of the coat is sufficient, with a trim at the barber's (probable cost, $5 to $15, depending on the size of dog and how complicated the clip) every third month. The female poodle is neater than the male, but neither has a doggy odor, nor do they shed hair.
In recent years the world of poodle breeders has been torn by a tug of war over the Continental and English Saddle clips versus the Royal Dutch cut. Advocates of the latter claim the Continental clip gives the poodle a freakish appearance and prevents many owners from showing their dogs in the ring. The poodle clubs have stoutly resisted change, holding that the Royal Dutch is a fad of the moment and that it is inutile. The Continental and English Saddle are, for all their frills, based on functional needs. George F. Foley, who stages the largest shows in the country, remains aloof from the turmoil. "A good horse is a good color," he says, "and a good poodle is a good poodle, regardless of barbering."