The poodle is quite possibly the most easily recognisable dog in the world, even though they come in three different size variants and several different colours! Their densely curled coats can be styled in to a huge variety of different shapes and styles, and the breed is commonly associated with France in general and Paris in particular, as the primped, preening companion of stylish city dwellers!
However, there is much more to the poodle than simple good looks-and if you look below the surface, you will soon learn that all is not what it seems. To begin with, the poodle doesn’t actually originate from France at all, but from Germany-and while they might look as if they just stepped off the catwalk of a high fashion show, they are actually highly skilled, intelligent working dogs that have only really made the transition to pampered pets in the last hundred years or so!
If you are considering buying or adopting a poodle or just want to fact-check your understanding of the breed, read on. In this article, we will share five interesting facts about the poodle dog breed that you might not already know about.
As mentioned above, one of the most common misconceptions surrounding the poodle breed as a whole is that they hail from France, and many people actually think that they are the country’s national dog. However, the poodle’s true home country is Germany, and this is where the poodle name comes from-the word “poodle” comes from the German “pudelin,” which means “to splash,” and came about due to the poodle’s true love of water, be that swimming, or simply splashing about in a puddle!
The breed became popular in France due to its close proximity to Germany, and the general versatility of the breed as a whole in terms of its lifestyle, working roles and the variety of sizes they can be found in.
You will rarely see a poodle out and about that has not been clipped, trimmed or styled to some extent, and there are a huge number of recognised patterns for the poodle coat, from a simple puppy clip right through to the partially shaved pom-pom look that most people associate with the breed.
This clip can be complicated and expensive to execute, meaning that for poodle owners that like the traditional style, their dogs will almost certainly spend a reasonable amount of time being groomed and styled! However, while this coat style may look like an obvious affectation designed to make the dog look extremely styled, there is much more to it than this.
The traditional poodle clip or haircut was intended to help the poodle perform one of their main historical working roles of retrieving in the water. Very dense, curly hair such as the poodle possesses will soon become waterlogged, and slow the dog down when swimming-but clipping the full coat off will of course make the dog much more susceptible to the cold when swimming.
In order to tackle this dual problem, the poodle clip came about-allowing the dog to retain warmth around the chest and core, without losing speed through the water. Puffs of hair were left over the joints too, in order to protect them from the cold and potential underwater hazards.
One glance at the poodle might easily give the impression that these dogs were designed for looking pretty but not a lot else-and this would certainly be incorrect! The poodle is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, ranked second out of all breeds in the Coren canine intelligence listing, being beaten by a whisker to the top position by the Border collie.
This means that they can learn a huge range of different commands, follow complex chain commands and execute a wide number of different command on the fly, making them versatile working dogs as well as a great pick for canine sports!
While the poodle is most commonly sold today as a pet and companion, they are more than up to the task of taking on a working role, and there is virtually no job that the poodle hasn’t performed at some point! They can be used as sniffer dogs, game dogs and of course, water and land retrievers, and they are also used in some areas as police dogs and assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
Even the domestic poodle is versatile and quick to pick up new skills, and they are a great breed for people who are interested in getting involved in canine sports.
There are a huge number of other white-coated breeds with very curly hair around today, and while some of them have ancient origins of their own, the poodle has been formative in the creation of a wide range of other dog breeds too.
Today they are an important part in the crossing of some of the most popular hybrid breeds-such as the Labradoodle and the Cockerpoo-thanks to their nice personalities, variable sizes and vitally, their curly coats.
Poodles do not shed as much as virtually any other dog breed, which makes them popular with people that are sensitive to dog allergies-and this trait is again part of why the poodle is desirable within a hybrid breed, in the hope of attaining the same coat style.