I thought I would post some pictures of my dogs groomed in different ways to show that poodles do not need to have show haircuts.
Loki is in an extremely basic and very short German type of trim. His ears and body are shorn with a #7 blade, his face, feet, and around his bottom are clipped with a #30, and the coat on his head is dried with a blower and trimmed into a ball with scissors, and needs to be brushed occasionally between washes.
Cally is in a clip which is possibly the lowest maintenance of all, short of shaving the dog's head as well as the rest of the body. The clip is pretty much the same as Loki's, but Cally's head is corded instead of brushed. When starting the cords, they take a while to form and need to be separated every few days, but as they develop they become lower maintenance. Cally does not need to be dried after washing, just squeezed to get the excess water off and rubbed with a towel. The cords need to be separated around once a week to stop them sticking together, which can be done easily while watching television.
Twiggy is in the trim she is in more because the vet sheared the coat off her leg when she was spayed, and I clipped the rest of her because I don't like looking at a dog with a 'hole' in its coat than any conscious decision. Her body is clipped with a #7 and the anklets and fluff on the tail, ears, neck, and head need to be dried with a blower and brushed occasionally between washes.
Pasha is in a show trim. This is actually the easiest of the traditional show trims to maintain, because large areas of the dogs are clipped off so do not need brushing or drying. Pasha needs to be washed a minimum of once a month and dried very thoroughly, and brushed in between washing.
Hobson has the worst possible combination for coat maintenance at the moment. She is 16 months old and in coat change, which means her coat mats. She is also in a show trim with coat all over, and she has an extremely thick coat. At the moment I am having to wash her every fortnight and brush in between washes. Her coat gets wet every time she goes for a run in the meadow, and she has a habit of getting wet when she has a drink, and because her coat is so thick it never dries properly in this weather, and so her legs smell like cheese. When she is washed, she takes nearly three hours to dry with a blower. As sometimes happens, she also got stuck to a bramble while outside running.