A recent post on corded Poodles prompted a lot of comments (posts on corded Poodles always do) and they ranged from awe to dislike. One comment we got privately, however, struggled to describe the mixed emotions of the writer, and she settled on, “A corded Poodle just doesn’t look like a Poodle.” We think we have the word the commenter was trying to find: Poodley. It’s the immediate impression a dog makes on you as soon as you set eyes on it.
You’d be forgiven for wondering what the difference is between what we just described (breed character) and type, and admittedly, it can be nuanced. As we see it, however, “type” is what makes a Poodle look like a Poodle, and not a Whippet, while breed character is the essence of that breed type in shorthand. It’s as much an impression – a feeling, if you will – as it is an instant assessment that what you see before you is a dog. Poodles are Poodley, Akitas are dignified, Chow Chows are lordly, Australian Terriers are plucky, Papillons are spritely, and so on. In Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, author Richard Beauchamp describes breed character as being about attitude, demeanor and carriage. It’s not just about a Poodle not being a Whippet. It’s about the Poodle being all Poodle. Let’s put this in visual terms: It’s like “candy apple red” not being the same as “rose red,” even though both are red. One is simply more red.
We challenge you to name the one word breed characteristic of your breed!