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A Brief History of the Poodle

The Poodle breed is reported to have its origins in Germany.  There it is known as the Pudel or Canis Familiaris Aquatius.  In more recent times, the Poodle has been closely associated with France, attaining over the years, such accolades as the 'National Dog of France'.

It is conceded by many that the larger breed, or Standard Poodle, is the oldest of the three varieties.  It gained special 'fame' as a water-worker and was used in France primarily as a retriever.  It was so widely used by hunters as a retriever that portions of its coat were shorn to help it swim more efficiently in the water.  The patches of hair left on the body were left as a means to protect vital organs and joints susceptible to the cold.  From here came the custom of clipping, which captivated the French then, and now so the owners of Poodles everywhere.

The Poodle's ancestors were acknowledged to be good swimmers, with the exception of the smaller 'truffle' dog, which never went near the water.  Truffle hunting was widely practiced in England, Spain and Germany, where the edible fungus has always been a delicacy.  It has been suggested that the Poodle was crossed with a terrier to produce the ideal truffle hunter (a smaller version with smaller feet, that did less damage to the truffles it was hunting.)

There is evidence to show that the smaller breeds of Poodle (the Miniatures and Toys) became known shortly after the Standard breed.  Drawings by the German artist, Albrecht Durer, establish the breed in the 15th and 16th centuries.  It was the principal pet dog of the latter 18th century in Spain, as shown by the paintings of the Spanish artist, Goya.  France also had Toy Poodles as pampered favorites during the reign of Louis XVI at about the same period.  A 'sleeve dog' attributed to the West Indies became popular as the White Cuban in 18th Century England.

Duchess of Alba (with her Poodle)

Portrait of the Duchess of Alba

1795 Oil on Canvas, by Goya

Courtesy of

The Poodle is exceptionally smart, active and excels in obedience training.  It is also the only breed that comes in three size varieties (Standard, Miniature and Toy), and this is most likely why the breed is so popular.  Poodles come in a variety of solid colors, including, white, black, blue, apricot and gray, but they are never seen as mixed color.

The right size Poodle is perfect for almost any home environment.  Its hypoallergenic coat may reduce allergic reactions, but it does require regular professional grooming.  The poodle is very active and does require daily exercise.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887.

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