History of Poodles

Most modern dogs bear little resemblance to their ancestors and the poodle is no exception as the history of poodles will show.

Poodle history spans many countries and many nationalities.

Interesting History of Poodles

There are several theories about the history of poodles but nobody knows for sure where they come from or how far back in history they go.

  • Links to 15th and 16th century. Drawings by the German artist Albrecht Durer depict the poodle over 500 years ago. This breed has been a popular subject for many artists and writers since then.
  • German roots. Most people agree that the poodle we see today originated in Germany and takes its name from the German word ‘pudel’, loosely translated as ‘to splash in water’. Ties to Russia, Asia and Ancient Egypt and Rome have also been suggested but are largely conjecture.
  • French standardised. It is in France that the modern poodle we see today became standardized. The poodle is now the beloved national dog of France. Some people still erroneously refer to the dog as the ‘French poodle’
  • The journey continues. The poodle was first registered in the UK in 1874 and then spread to America sometime after this. It is unclear exactly when the breed was introduced to the states but in 1896 the American Poodle Club was established. It was disbanded soon after this to re-emerge in 1931. Since then the poodle has become a firm favourite in America as well as elsewhere.

History of Poodles

History of Poodles as Working Dogs

Poodles have a long and colorful past as working dogs in a variety of capacities.

  • Originally bred as a water dog. Poodles have webbed feet and a water resistant coat because originally they were bred as hunting and water retrievers.
  • Clipped coat had a purpose. The typical poodle cut that we see today was primarily done for very practical reasons. Poodles used for hunting and retrieving had their coats clipped to allow them to swim easier.
  • Truffle hunters. One ancestor of the poodle was trained to sniff out the prized fungus in England, Spain and Germany. This is the only type of poodle that was not keen on water.
  • Born performers. Poodles have been used in circuses for centuries. They are extremely agile and athletic dogs. This, coupled with their innate intelligence, beauty and trainability, makes them the perfect entertainers. Much of their stature and temperament can be traced back to their activities in the circus. The square build and the calm but quirky nature of the poodle comes from its circus roots.
  • Versatile and strong. Poodles have been used as sniffer dogs, search and rescue dogs and as guide dogs for the blind.
  • Best companion dog. Today, most poodles are companion dogs. This is a job in which they excel. Poodle people will attest to the devotion, intuition and sense of humor of the poodle. They are elegant, lively, affectionate and reliable.

Whatever the poodle has been asked to do, he has done it with aplomb. The history of poodles shows that the breed has come a long way through an interesting and varied past.

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