History of Parti Poodle

 History of the Parti Poodles & Parti Poodle Information

"The Poodle"

The "parti poodle" is  the original poodle. When describing, drawing, painting, and discussing poodles in the 1400s, 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s the color was most often parti-colored. 

In fact, the first ever dog book for the United States of America has a parti-colored poodle for "The Poodle". So pre early to mid 1900s a parti colored poodle was what people automatically thought of when  they thought poodle. So is laymans terms-- what color do you think of when you say Labrador Retriever-- most likely yellowish/blonde color, right? Well, that's how the parti poodle was viewed.

It wasn't until the early 1900s did the horrendous act of killing (culling) parti poodles become very trendy. During that time solid became the preferred color, and the popularity made its way into the United States where many ignorantly fell suit. (some of that ignorant mindset it still in play today with pridefully ignorant people)

In that time period there were a few notable kennels that continued to breed parti poodles even though many were working hard to eliminate the parti poodle from poodle history, one of which was named Vulcan Kennels of England. Many of the Vulcan Kennel partis were derived from poodles bred by Jane Lane of the famous Nunsoe Kennels. So though there were breeders culling partis, there were still admirable breeders that were dedicated to breeding superior original poodles.

There were two main ways some breeders and show dog people worked to eliminate the parti poodle: 1.) By killing them (also known as culling when it refers to dogs or animals) 2.) By purposely not registering them. So when a solid poodle would produce/birth parti poodle puppies (as they often did since they themselves came from a parti), the breeder would only register that poodle as having solid-colored puppies, this went on for generations and generations. This unethical practice actually taints the true pedigree of many poodles born between the late 1800s and  late 1900s/early 2000s.

Truffle Hunting Poodle. 

There are photos of poodles in their original truffle hunting days, and books and photos note that the original truffle hunting poodle was also parti colored. (The poodle would sniff and find the truffle and the dachshund would dig it up).

What does "Parti" mean? Why are Parti Poodles called Parti Poodles?

parti-colored dog has a white based coat and distinct patches of color.

It is thought that "Parti" is just a shortened way to say Partially-colored, Partial-colored, or Partly-colored. So Parti Poodle, is a shortened way to say Partially-colored poodle. The term parti was not used initially when discussing poodles, but became popular at some point in the 1900s (likely in the mid 1900s). The term is thought to have came about when dog shows and poodle breeding became more popular (and as solid colors came into popularity). 'Partially' translated in French is partiellement, which can also be shortened to Parti. 

Parti is also thought to comes from the French word partager which means, "divide" "split" which would in turn refer to the poodle's coat color being split up or "divided" into two different colors or being "of two colors". Partager was then shortened or conjugated into "Parti".

Parti literally does mean "party" in many languages (French, Spanish, English, Latin, Dutch, German), but while parti poodles are surely thought to be the "life of the poodle world" in many ways (i.e."life of the party" = a fun exciting color), it is not known to be the origin of the term as it refers to dogs.

Other names used to describe parti poodles in different countries: Parti-coloured, particoloured, harlekin, harlequin, bi-color, bicolour. ("harlequin poodles", in the countries that use the term, usually only refers to black and white or brown and white poodles).

See the Parti Poodle Color Guide, here. 

First dog book published in the United States (1856). For the poodle, there is a parti poodle which was the most common color of a poodle during that time. Many people do not realize that poodles have naturally thick, wavy, sometimes curly type long hair all over there body (including the face and tail). So when a poodle is unclipped it looks just like the one above. The traditional poodle clips elongate their body and really differentiates them from other breeds, but most people usually let their hair grow out long (especially in that time period) or they cut it really short all over in a kennel clip.

Parti Poodles in Art and History.

George Stubbs Paintings, The Poodle

Artist have been painting poodles for centuries and luckily the oldest paintings and drawings of poodles display the poodle being of two colors, usually white and black -or- white and brown.

One of the earliest paintings/depictions of a poodle is an oil painting painted on a plank of oak dated 1496. The painting is the Auckland Museum and shows the virgin mother and child with saints and a few poodle miniature parti poodles in the continental clip.

Rembrandt and his poodle. The poodle is mostly brown on the right and white on the left, with a white blaze on the head and white around the muzzle. 

One of the most famous earlier poodle paintings is a baroque style oil painting by Rembrandt dated 1631. The painting is a self portrait of Rembrandt with a brown and white poodle.

Two artist in particular that are known to have painted animals, including dogs were John Wootton and George Stubbs.   

John Wootton (1682-1764) was an English painter whose interest included battle scenes, sporting subjects, landscapes, and dogs. John Wootton was known as one of the pioneers in painting sporting subjects. His paintings were highly sought after by royalty. It is thought that George Stubbs went on to follow in the footsteps of John Wootton. He painted Duke Thomas Osborne's poodle (which was parti colored) in the early 17th century. Read more about him and see his painting, here.

Gimrack on Newmart Heath, with a Trainer, A Stable-Lad, and a Jockey

George Stubbs (born in 1724) was a famous painter, whose paintings are most major art galleries all around the world. Stubbs studied anatomy, in addition to being a painter and is credited with being one of the first British animal painter to depict animals as they really appeared. His anatomy studies greatly complimented the accuracy of his works, which added to his credibility as a realistic painter.  He is most famous for his horse paintings, and one of them "Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a Trainer, a Stable-Lad, and a Jockey (1765)"  sold for $36 million in 2011.  Stubbs painted horses, dogs, and many exotic animals-- lions, giraffes, monkeys, rhinoceroses, and tigers. He was often commissioned to paint rich aristocrats as they went hunting with their packs of dogs, as well as many other real "scenes" of them and/or their animals. George Stubbs painted the poodle above, which is "parti colored", in one of the traditional poodle cuts.

Pre the 1900s when a non-"parti-colored" poodle was written about or painted, its color would usually precede "poodle" i.e they would call a painting "white poodle" opposed to just poodle.  

 1621. Poodle, water dog, in sporting clip. 

There are many photos of poodles throughout history, and it is quite notable that poodles are most often painted and drawn as having two colors. "Ancient Poodles", as some may call it, were often written about as "water spaniels" and "pudels" b/c they were "puddle dogs" meaning "water dogs". Though poodles are the premier show dogs in modern times, they were originally water and sporting dogs-- hence their famous cuts. The poofy ankles, wrist, and chest aren't just random designs, they assisted in poodles being able to swim more efficiently and effectively. (Poodles also have webbed feet, which is  a trait fo water dogs).

As alluded to above their name "poodle" is derived from the german word "pudel" (which translates to puddle). Many think they are French dogs, but poodles or  pudels are actually of German heritage. 

"Der Pudel"-- first dog on third row, parti colored. 1807.

"Sancho". This picture was painted for Princess Charlotte of Wales, she was an admire of Sancho the poodle who belonged to her friend Marquis of Worcester. 1778.

Parti poodles have been adorned and loved by royalty.

*See more poodles in art here

Parti Poodles in Dog Books.

Many, if not most books on poodles and dogs in general were published in the 1900s-- during a time when there became a preference for solids, strictly because of their popularity. Therefore most books, which were usually written by those in the "show dog" world, would either not mention parti's or would mention them negatively as to influence the mainstream and confirm and implement their new standard. Those who wrote honestly and unbiased of the breed always mentioned the original two-colored coat of the poodle, as one book states, "Before the standards were fixed in England, France, Germany, and in the USA poodles of all sizes were to be found spotted and white, or white spotted with colors--parti-colored as such dogs are called." The original color of poodles in all countries-- England, France, Russia, Germany, and the USA were all "parti" colored. So that means even the original "french poodle" is a two-colored poodle, most likely black and white, then bred to be all white or all black. 

Sidenote: Though killing/culling parti poodles was widespread in England, the English were originally great admirers of the poodle in it's original coat coloring. (It isn't known who or which group of people began to cull/kill partis first while trying to breed solid poodles, English or French. Either way there are more known (documented) English kennels and breeders that continued to breed superior original poodles.)

The French Poodle, 1865. 

Parti Poodle Personality, Intelligence, Showmanship.

The long standing proven history of the parti poodle is likely what makes it the stand-out of the poodle family. Those who believe the color of a poodle affects it personality say that parti poodles are the smartest, most intellectual, and usually the healthiest of any other color poodle. (poodles in general are very smart)

Canine Horizons is an excellent example of the almost superior-like intelligence that parti poodles embody (her poodles are true actors, starring in several movies and doing a slew of tricks and stunts as young as 4 or 5 months). Parti poodles are natural born showman, and will usually show show-dog like qualities within their first year.

Fortunately today nearly all Kennel Clubs, except the AKC, allow parti-poodles to show in conformation. But it is of no big surprise that the USA's main club would be slower to accepting the truth and being fair with its rules (given its history with even equal human rights). Hopefully within the next couple years this "animal-racism" of sorts will not be around. The greatest ancestor of all poodles is the parti poodle, this is fact whether some want to admit it or not. The earliest renderings, found to date of a poodle type dog is a carving with no color, but all the earliest photos, paintings, and drawings done on paper clearly show that the poodle being of two colors. 1561, Toy Poodle, parti-colored. 

The UKC (United Kennel Club), founded in the 1800s, notably have parti poodles compete in both conformation and agility.

Parti Poodle Myths.

Parti colored poodles have certainly been mixed up in many lies. The internet is full of perpetuations of the lies, one of the most common ones is that parti poodles are common for "backyard breeders" and puppymills and have poor traits and are not bred to standard. This is a lie. Some may say backyard breeders and puppymills do it b/c its exotic, or b/c other breeders didn't want to, etc... lies lies lies.

Parti poodles are not advertised as often as other colors, yes they are there, but there are MANY more whites, blacks, reds, apricots, creams, etc. Why? Because backyard breeders and puppymillers are going to breed what they think can sell the easiest-- it's business 101. So therefore it is much more likely to find a very poorely bred white, black, silver, red, apricot, etc than a parti. (Red is one of the more popular, and therefore more expensive colors these days, so you will find many puppymillers and backyard breeders breeding reds and apricots because of their newer popularity and seemingly "new" entrance into the poodle world.)

There are poodles not bred to standard in every color... there are good breeders and bad breeders for every type of animal.

With all that said if you want a poodle, or any dog for that matter, that is of great health and quality, with a good pedigree then you have to do your research and go to a breeder of your own choosing. Every breed of dog and animal is at risk of being sloppily bred... as for poodles, poor breeding is more common in solids than partis because solids are still more popular.

Common Myth: Just mixing two different color poodles will not give you parti (which is what some people will lead you to believe), you will most likely get pups born the solid color of the mom and dad (but of course you have to check the poodles history to know for sure what colors it will likely breed).

Photobucket Parti Poodle -vs-  Parti-factored Poodle.

There is a lot of confusion between what actually constitutes a parti poodle. A Parti poodle directly refers to the coloring of the coat or the coat pattern. A parti-factored poodle is a poodle that has the coveted "parti" gene and therefore the ability to produce parti poodles. Parti-factored poodles can be either solid or parti colored. In fact, being that the parti poodle is the oldest known coloring of a poodle all poodles "technically" have the ability to create a parti poodle-- since all poodles have an ancestor on some part of the family tree that was parti-colored.  For example, everyone in your family has brown eyes, but your great great great great grandmother had blue eyes. You will most likely have brown eyes, but there  is a possibility that you could have blue eyes-- this happens in humans all the time.

Why Do Some Dog Registries Not Allow Parti Poodles to be shown in Conformation?

This is perhaps the million dollar question and many have guessed and speculated.

The short answer: The original 1900s standards for the poodle breed was written by someone who owned and had a strong preference for solid colored poodles. Their preference was most likely because of the newer popularity and trendiness of a solid-colored poodle at the time.

The long answer: In earlier history both the Russian and the German standards for poodles included partis (black and white -or- brown and white), while the new French standard specified solid colors (white, black, brown.) (*although, the original French poodle was also parti colored)

In the 1930's the Poodle Club of America had to decide whether to go with the German or French standard at the time. (The poodle is a German dog, but the French made it fashionable). The German / Old English / Original French type poodle had been dominate in the United States at the time, hence the first American Dog Book having a Parti colored poodle pictured for "The Poodle". The differences between the German and French standards at the time were also in the coats and clips. Ultimately the decision was made to go with the current (in that day and age) Anglo-French standard, and so there was a large rush of dogs imported from England who would have a better chance to compete under this new standard. The decision was strictly political and based upon the particular aesthetics of those in charge and in the majority at the time. If a vote of one or two were different on that particular day perhaps the world would be filled with more partis than solid.

So basically there is no good reason for not allowing a parti poodle to not be shown in conformation. It's sort of a biased archaic type of rule that still exists simply because it can (and some are too lazy to change it). This rule can be changed by any and all clubs at anytime, and it is consistently being changed each year by old dog clubs and registries.

Parti poodles are consistently winning top honors in agility and grooming events all over the world. Once they are accepted by all clubs it is very likely that an original poodle, a parti poodle, will win top honors in one of the major dog shows-- Crufts, Westminster, and/or World Dog Show.

Parti Poodle Photos.

Standard Poodle in Coastal Landscape. 1806.

"Poodles & Italian Greyhound", 1870. Samuel Carter.

*See more poodles in art here

MORE INFO to come....

some sources: angelfire.com/hi4/PartiPoos/PartiPoodleHistory.html, http://www.poodlehistory.org/, etc

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...