Poodles are among the most instantly-recognizable of all the dog breeds. Known largely for their stylish looks, the athletic, eager, and intelligent Poodle has so many more talents besides simply looking pretty. Learn more than you thought you knew about this iconic Non-Sporting Group breed.
1. Poodles first originated in Germany, not France.
Although it is the national dog of France, the Poodle actually originated in Germany. The breed name comes from the German word, “pudel” or “pudelin,” which means “to splash in the water.” In fact, the term “French Poodle” is a misnomer. In France, the breed is called Caniche, French for “duck dog.”
2. They were originally bred as hunting dogs.
The Poodle was named after splashing in water because these dogs were originally bred to be water retrievers. Their job was to bring ducks and other birds back to their masters. They haven’t lost their skills over the years. Some waterfowl hunters still use Poodles in the field today.
3. The Poodle cut is meant for function, not fashion.
It might seem like the ultimate canine fashion statement, but the traditional Poodle cut is really all about function, not fashion. Less hair would make the Poodle a more efficient swimmer, but more vulnerable to cold water. To get the best of both worlds, Poodle owners placed puffs of hair around the joints and the upper torso to protect the joints and vital organs.
4. There are a variety of hairstyles for Poodles.
Each Poodle haircut has very specific rules about where the puffs and pompoms of hair should be and how long they should be. To compete as show dogs, adult Poodles must have one of three hairdos: the Continental Clip, the Modified Continental Clip, or the English Saddle. Puppies in competitions have the official Puppy Clip, which is an even length all over the body.
5. Poodles come in three size varieties, but all follow one breed standard.
From the tiny Toy Poodle to the mid-sized Miniature Poodle and stunning Standard Poodle, the breed comes in different sizes. All the sizes fall under the same breed and are expected to comply with the same breed standard.
6. Regardless of size, Poodles are highly active dogs.
Taking a cue from their history as duck hunters, Poodle owners should give their dogs lots of exercise. They’re excellent retrievers and enjoy a good game of fetch, as well as jogging and long walks. As superb water dogs, swimming is another great option.
7. They have hair, not fur.
“What’s the difference between hair and fur?” you may wonder. Fur grows up to a certain point and then falls off—what we know as shedding. Hair does not fall out and never stops growing. Poodle hair, like human hair, can respond to hormonal changes in the body. Female Poodles can experience hair thinning or loss after having puppies.
8. Lots of Poodles have jobs.
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.
9. A team of Poodles once competed in the Iditarod.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place every year in Alaska and is now restricted to northern breeds well-adapted to the cold. This rule restricting the breeds was adopted after a musher, named John Suter, attempted to compete with a team of Standard Poodles in 1988. Some of the Poodles were so cold, with frozen feet and hair-matting problems, that they had to be dropped off at checkpoints.
10. 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.
Purchasing and Registering Your Poodle
Think the Poodle is the breed for you? Check out Poodle puppies on the AKC Marketplace.
After becoming the owner of a Poodle, it is important to register your dog. Why? The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains an investigation and inspection effort. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of dogs and the environments in which they live.
After you register your dog. you will receive your official AKC certificate in the mail. There are many other benefits, including a complimentary first vet visit, 30 days of pet insurance, and eligibility to compete in AKC events and sports.