The Origin and History of the Poodle

The poodle is by no means a new breed. The first poodle breed standard was compiled by The Poodle Club in 1886, but, several hundred years prior to this, the poodle was featured in works of art and literature, dating as far back as 1510. It is interesting to note that even in works which are 500 years old, not only is the shape of the dog a prominent feature, but also its devoted, loyal nature.

Probably due to the age of the breed, there is some confusion concerning its origin. Some say it originated in Germany, some favour France and others feel that it originated in Russia. The poodle was first used to retrieve game from the water, as well as to hunt truffles. Since then, it has also been used to pull milk carts in countries such as Brussels and to delight circus audiences worldwide as a popular performer. In addition, many ladies, especially the ladies of France, liked to keep a poodle as a fashionable companion dog.

The tradition of clipping the non moulting coat of the poodle originated due to the fact that, whilst in the water, the hair on the hindquarters weighed the dog down and tired it whilst it was swimming. The hair was therefore clipped from the hindquarters, but retained elsewhere for protection of the heart, lungs and joints. The topknot was grown on the head and tied with a coloured ribbon to distinguish a particular dog from others it may have been working with.

In order to carry out the tasks it was used for, the poodle had to be versatile, bold, wise, trainable, athletic, devoted and loyal. In addition to this it proved itself to be a tender and loving dog with a real sense of fun.

These characteristics are still present in today's poodle and are the reason why it is such a popular and versatile breed.