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Character test & Poodles

Finnish character test measures the dogs range of features, such as playfulness and capabilities. Character test doesn’t tell the whole truth of the dog. Instead, such factors as behavior of the handler, weather conditions during the test (heavy rain etc.), the current mood of the dog and the judge’s range of experience may affect the result. For example, the dog easily senses if the owner is nervous because of the test, and therefore may over-react in some parts of the tests.

The test includes sections where tester is expecting a reaction from the dog. When the reaction comes, section is for then, over. After the section, dogs must relax and, for example, go sniffing for a sleight. If the dog doesn’t relax the test will be called off.

Despite the downsides of the test, it still tells something of your dog compared to the other dogs, who have done the same test. There are large differences between dog breeds and so it should be. Police chooses a German shepherd for its characteristics and a hunter hunting dog. A family living in the city, wants companion dog and a sheep farmer a shepherd.

The problems begin when you buy a dog with features that do not meet the intended purpose. Poodle is a companion dog. It’s ancestors, the first poodles, were retrieving waterdogs. Companion dogs profile in the character test is different to one of a shepherd, a service dog or a hunting dog. When the dog is taken to a character test, it’s not important how many points the dog scores, but does it get points from the correct areas compared to the racial profile.

Two examples of a dog, that scored 200 points.

Character test is judged by two experienced judges, who together decide of the judging. Evaluation consists of points, as well as verbal feedback at the end of the test, where dogs features are elaborated. A dog cannot be tested until it is 24-months-old.  

For the time being, there is no officially defined race profile for the poodles, but in the year 1990 character test work group did unofficial suggestion to the board of the poodle club. Here are some main-points of this ”poodles unofficial race profile”. The suggested breed profile highlights typical desired features in companion dogs.

Race definition: Poodle is a companion dog. Poodle is bright, always alert and diligent. It is physique is balanced and makes elegant and proud effect.  Moves are flexible and light.

Personality: Poodle is prominently faithful, easy-learning and easy to train. That’s why it is particularly a pleasant companion dog.

Eliminating features: Distrustful, aggressive or too nervous dog.

Poodles personality should be:

- in accordance with race definitions 
- suitable for a companion dog
- good for training
-a poodle must be able to adapt to the surrounding society

Poodle’s features based on the character test was defined as follows:

- Desirable
- Acceptable
- Non-desirable

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I Capacity, multiplier  15

Capacity is a feature, which allows the dog to act the right way without external compulsory, the real danger or in the middle of conjectured signs of danger without being awed and without interrupting it’s actions. This feature is primarily comparable to human concept of “courage”. The test observes particularly the dog’s ability for organized activity after being confused or scared.

Desired: +3 very big +2 big +1 decent

Acceptable: -1 small

Undesired: -2 insufficient -3 incapacitated

Comments: A companion dog with courage is far better option than a companion dog with complete lack of it.

II Sharpness, multiplier 1

Sharpness means dog’s tendency to react with hostility as an unexpected stimulus occurs. This feature tells whether or not or how easily the dog reacts aggressively to an unknown threat..

Desired: +3 decent without any offensive desire left +1 small without any offensive desire

Acceptable: +2 big without any offensive desire

Undesired: -1 small with offensive desire -2 moderate with offensive desires -3 big with offensive desire

Comments: Poodle shouldn’t need to act aggressively to its environment. As a companion dog, it is more pleasant without aggressive features. It is particularly unpleasant, if the dog reacts aggressively to objects it’s already familiar with(remaining offensive desire). Race definition disqualifies aggressiveness.

III defensive desire, multiplier 1

Defensive desire is an inherited characteristic to set itself in a dangerous situation to defend his owner and himself. This grade is meant to describe dogs natural desire to defend its intimidated herd (=handler).

Desired: +3 decent, controlled +1 small

Acceptable: +2 big, controlled -1 undesired

Undesired: -2 very big -3 cannot be controlled

Comments: Any kind of uncontrollable defensive desire is not desired for a poodle. Poodle doesn’t need to have a defensive desire, but when controlled it’s no harm.

IV Desire to fight, multiplier 10

Desire to fight is an inherited tendency to enjoy the use of jaws and muscles and the fighting itself. Desire for a playful fight also indicates the desire to fight. For example, many dogs love to treat their toys as some kind of prey. This kind of behavior has its roots in “desire to fight”.

Desired: +3 big +2 decent

Acceptable: -1 small +1 very big

Undesired: -2 not enough -3 unwilling

Comments: Playful dog is easy to train, though a poodle’s use as a companion dog will not be bothered by a small (-1) fighting desire. Low fighting desire and especially lack of it is untypical for the breed. Very high fighting will may turn “mom’s little cutie-pie” into a “every-home’s-nightmare”.

V Nerves (nerve structure), multiplier 35

Nerve structure means dog’s inborn calm- or nervousness which appears when the dog for some reason gets stressed. This part is the most important and indicates the endurance of dog’s nerves. The endurance is shown as capability to cope with pressure.

Desired: +3 peaceful and confident +2 moderately peaceful +1 a little restless

Undesired: -1 a little nervous -2 nervous -3 very nervous

Comments: A dog with a bad nerve structure may be difficult to train and to live with even in everyday-life. Nerve structure can hardly be affected by training, which makes this feature very important. According to race definition “too much nervousness” is a negative feature.

VI Temperament, multiplier 15

Temperament is an ability to quickly react and adjust to changing situations. This grade measures dog’s ability to observe and to participate what’s happening around him.

Desired: +3 lively +2 moderately lively

Acceptable: +1 very lively

Undesired: -1 disturbingly lively -2 neglecting -3 apathetic

Comments: Lively, happy, active dog is a nice companion dog and is easy to train.

VII Mental toughness, multiplier 8

Mental hardness reflects the toughness of dog’s personality. (How easy the dog will let uncomfortable events affect itself.)  Dog’s toughness tells also about the dog’s tendency to remember displeasing events. A soft dog will do almost anything to avoid going through any unpleasant situation  doesn’t want to go through all over again the unpleasant situation it has once been to, while a tough dog forgets right away it ever even happened.

Desired: +3 moderately hard +2 hard +1 a little soft

Acceptable: -1 very hard -2 soft

Undesired: -2 soft -3 very soft

Comments: It is useful for a companion dog to remember unpleasant happenings quite easily, though too much softness may cause trouble, too.. Especially in this valuation you should make clear to yourself, what is character tests “soft” dog, because character tests terms differ from the terms that you may use in everyday life.

VIII Accessibility, multiplier 15

Accessibility tells how the dog reacts to a stranger or a friendly person. An optimal result would be that the dog would make friends with the human kindly and openly, but without an eager to please.

Desired: +3 goodwilling, accessible, open +2 accessible, a little reserved

Acceptable: +1 eager to please

Undesired: -1 clearly reserved -2 attacking -3 unreliable/unpredictive

Comments: Accessibility is very important to a companion dog. Companion dog should relate to a human positively.

Gunshot sensitivity

Dogs gunshot sensitivity is tested with a 9mm gun, after the sharpness test while the dog is attached to a wall or is doing activities with the owner. Doing activities is usually moving around with the owner, sniffing the ground, playing with the owner etc. (+confident +inexperienced +irritated –prone to react – afraid)

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This table consist a summary of poodles profile. You can compare your dogs results to it.


Test result:

Test result = the final score comes comes from the final score of the review tables score, which is between -300 and +300.

An accepted score: The dog reaches acceptable result, when counted result is at least +75 and dog has gotten grade +1 in sharpness, nerve structure and accessibility and grade + gunshot fearless