If I have to pick three words that describe them the best it would be Elegant-Proud-Clever! The Poodle is an impressive dog that is adored in the dog community all over the world! Their athleticism, intelligence, and iconic coat make them stand out from the crowd. These wonderful dogs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are the perfect addition to any family. Behind the blue ribbons, impressive hairdos, and regal attitude, you’ll find an affectionate family dog with an ancient history and many talents.
Photo by: @raw_belka
When you hear “poodle” you likely picture a fluffy dog strolling the streets of Paris accompanying someone wearing stripes and a beret. That's because this breed was standardized in France. They were even declared France’s national dog breed because they were so well loved. Today's Poodles seem to epitomize a life of leisure and luxury, make no mistake - these are real dogs bred to do real jobs. Although it hardly seems possible when you look at a primped-up Poodle in the show ring, the breed was originally a water retriever, a job that requires jumping in the water to fetch waterfowl for hunters. In fact, the English name poodle is derived from the German word pudel, or pudelin, which means to splash in the water. And in France, Poodles are called caniche, a name derived from chien canard, meaning duck dog.
There are three sizes of Poodle, all considered part of the same breed: going from smallest to largest, these are the Toy, the Miniature, and the Standard. The Standard is probably the oldest of the three varieties, and some still carry on the Poodle tradition of working as a water retriever.
The Poodle is also known for what his fans call "an air of distinction": a dignified attitude that's hard to describe, but easy to spot in the dog.
Poodles are among the smartest dog breeds. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them great service dogs. Poodles are also employed as guide dogs, assistance dogs for people with other physical disabilities, and therapy dogs. They’ve even been utilized as truffle hunters due to their keen noses. In England, Spain, France and Germany, truffle mushrooms were considered a delicacy, and Poodles were the ideal dog to sniff them out. Their soft mouths and small paws were gentle enough not to damage the mushrooms. Owners would begin training poodle puppies and their excellent noses to hunt mushrooms as early as 4 months old!
Photo by: @rasannespoodles
The Poodle’s popularity through the ages have made them an inspiration. This beloved breed inspired countless artists and were featured in many works of art going back thousands of years! Egyptian and Roman artifacts show poodles in the first centuries B.C. In the 15th century, Albrecht Durer frequently drew them in his pieces. Fransisco Goya did the same in 18th century Spain.
Many American icons have owned Poodles Elvis Presley was particularly fond of Poodles. He kept them as pets and frequently gave them to girlfriends. Other famous poodle owners include Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, and Walt Disney.
Today, you likely won’t find a Poodle being used as a hunter or tracker. However, those instincts are still prominent in the Poodle. He is still a huge lover of the water and enjoys tracking activities. Anyone who owns a Poodle will want to ensure they have exercise involving water and may want to comprise a tracking activity for Poodle enjoyment.
If you ever loved a Poodle, you already know why they are the best dog breed for a wide variety of lifestyles. If you have not, you will soon realize why your next dog should be covered in curls.
Today, I consider the breed to be nature’s best kept secret, and will end this introduction with famous story:
When Sir Winston Churchill’s much-loved Poodle, a Mini named Rufus, was run over by a car and killed, a fan offered him one of her pure-bred bulldogs. She was appropriately thanked and politely told, “If Mr. Churchill has another dog it will be a Poodle again.” I fully understand the sentiment!
Poodles are forever!