Kent Live has joined forces with our brand new sister site, TeamDogs, and the fabulous Pooch & Mutt food for dogs company, to find out which dog breed really is the nation’s favourite.
Here, Tom Seymour champions Toy Poodles and explains exactly why they are the best breed.
If you agree – or disagree – we’ll give you the chance to vote in the search to find the UK’s favourite dog breed.
Head over to teamdogs.co.uk to find out who is at the top of the league table. Remember the rankings will keep changing so do cast your vote.
The breeds with the lowest number of votes will end up in the Dog House. The 10 lowest ranking will be eliminated each week until we end up with our worthy winner!
Toy Poodles are, after sheep dogs, the smartest dogs around. That makes them almost uniquely responsive, quick to learn and intuitive. And they look like a child’s Teddy Bear.
We got Vincent at the age of eight weeks. He is our first dog. Whilst he may have disrupted the calm and carefree life we once had, and whilst we now go out of way to accommodate him in everything we do, there hasn’t been a moment’s regret. You love them as one loves a child.
Some smaller dog breeds – whilst beautiful to behold – can be moody or antisocial; they’ll refuse to obey even simple commands or stubbornly impose their own will. Take them to the park and they might, at their worst, bite or fight with other dogs. Toy poodles, if raised positively and correctly, and without fear, are happy and playful and sweet. And they are very sociable, with adults, children and, in particular, other dogs.
Vince is never happier than when he’s in the park bounding around with other puppies. And I have found, as someone who works from home (and sometimes didn’t leave home much) that taking Vince to the park has become a great daily refuge for me; a place to relax and play and enjoy simple things together.
A lot of smaller dogs can very easily be over-exercised and become quickly exhausted; leaving you to carry them on a day out or running the risk of long-term injury and the potential for debilitating arthritis in later life. Toy Poodles’ ancestors were water dogs – hunting animals, used to being put to work. So, whilst you have to be careful with Toy Poodles, as with all dogs, we’ve found Vince can carry on all day, like a Duracell Bunny, without complaint or side effect. We have taken him on hikes, we have cycled around London with him in a dog-fitted sports sack, we have travelled the length and breadth of the country with him in tow.
We live in a small flat in a south London high rise. And we have a grumpy house cat. A lot of dog breeds wouldn’t be happy in such conditions. They would tear up the flat and they would threaten violence against the cat – often by accident. Toy poodles are uniquely suited to small space living – there’s a reason the breed is so associated with Paris, where most people live in flat-style apartments. And, although it took time, Vince has accepted the cat as part of his pack. They lie around in the sun together.
There are some things to consider. Toy poodles are known to be territorial, and they can be needy. They attach themselves to you with real emotional intensity, and they’re incredibly protective of you, even if they only weigh circa 3kg. Vincent had never been away from his brood – his mother and siblings – before his first night with us. Those first few nights are intense; they will cry and mourn and despair, and you won’t get much sleep. But their emotions reorientate themselves to the moment, and, very quickly, they begin to regard you as their family. From that point on, he is yours and you are his. Loving dogs don’t differentiate between their sense of self and their sense of the pack.
You have to be ready to reciprocate. And, even if you’re there emotionally, you have to ensure your lifestyle is ready too. You can love a Toy Poodle with all your heart, but if you’re leaving them alone and without any sort of reassurance or stimulation all day, or if you regularly spend multiple nights away from home, then you will traumatise your puppy.
That also means, especially as adolescents, that a knock at the door can be interpreted as an attack on the home, or a train instructor checking your tickets can be interpreted as an invading assailant. And it means separation anxiety if you spend too long away from them, especially out of their territory; your home.
The answer to that, of course, is training. A well-trained dog has undergone hundreds of hours of training over the course of his life. And to train a dog requires management, patience and perseverance. They will misbehave, they will make mistakes, they will test the boundaries, they will do what comes naturally to them. But stick with it, make the sacrifices one has to make, and you will have a companion and support for everything life throws at you. It’s the truest romance one can have.
Take a look at the TeamDogs leaderboard and cast your vote. If your favourite isn’t there, just email us at [email protected] with 200 words telling us how brilliant the breed is and why it deserves to win and we’ll add it to the competition