Poodle Dog Breed Guide

Poodle Dog Breed Guide

Fallen in love with Poodles? These stylish looking canines have a lot to offer any owner. But what makes them stand out from other breeds and where did they originate? If you want to know all about Poodles, check out our Poodle breed profile…

Breed group: Utility/Non-sporting dog

The complete Poodle breed (Toy, Miniature and Standard) is classed as part of the utility breed group. This group is made up of a miscellaneous bunch of pups which have been selectively bred for a specific purpose not included in the working or sporting category.

Utility in this case really means 'fitness for purpose', but in a lot of cases, the purpose for these dogs are no longer relevant in the modern world. For example, Poodles were originally German duck hunters; they splashed in and out of water to retrieve fallen birds. Some of the dogs within this group will be some of the oldest breeds on record.

Breed history

The history of the Poodle is actually not that well documented for such a well-known breed. These curly haired pooches are commonly associated with the French aristocracy of the 1700s but it's thought they actually originate from Germany. The name 'Poodle' itself comes from the German 'pudel' meaning 'puddle' and it's a derivative of 'puddeln' meaning to 'splash in water', referring back to their historic role as a retriever of waterfowl.

Their dense, curly fur made things a little difficult for swimming in marshes so their coats were often clipped. It was from these practical cuts and the elaborately clipped coats that the breed is known for descended. Eventually, Poodles were replaced by dogs with more practical fur for swimming and the breed slowly became more prevalent as a pet.

Breed characteristics

These immaculate looking dogs with their almost regal attitude are actually quite affectionate and loving. Plus, their sensitive nature means a friendly voice and a little praise goes a long way. And did you know that poodles are consistently voted the second most intelligent dog breed? Be prepared to have a smarty pants on your hands.

At a glance, Poodles are:

  • Clever
  • Alert & curious
  • Adaptable
  • Quick learners
  • Playful & mischievous
  • Energetic
  • Proud
  • Cheerful temper
  • Affectionate

What are they bred for?

Whilst traditionally the Standard Poodle and the Miniature Poodle were bred as hunting and gun dogs as well as truffle sniffing masters, you're now more likely to see these as pets. Since being replaced as retrievers, Poodles began being bred more for companionship and as show dogs, with a focus on developing their luscious coats and heightening their tendencies toward obedience and intelligence.

The Toy variety was also developed in 18th century with a definitive emphasis on status. Though, interestingly the American and Canadian kennel clubs began selectively breeding the hunting instinct back into the Standard Poodle a few decades ago so you might still see them in a working capacity in some parts.

What sort of owner would they suit?

Standard Poodles are something akin to little fluffy balls of energy and will require an active owner who has the time for plenty of walks and playtime. Miniature and Toy versions don't require as much exercise so would suit someone with a less active lifestyle looking for a friendly companion. Being highly intelligent each Poodle variety can be prone to boredom and chewing which can easily be remedied with captivating tasks, toys and activities if left home alone for short periods of time.

Poodles often love to socialise and be around all kinds of people, dogs and other pets. They're also highly trainable and absolute people-pleasers who thrive on learning new things so Poodle owners will do well if they have the time to train them in new ways regularly.

And if you want a dog you can pamper to absolute perfection, you'll adore Poodles. They have a very distinctive grooming haircut that will no doubt stand out as you walk your pet down the street.

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