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Poodle History

Poodles have always carried a bit of a stigma with them as one of the more pampered dogs of the canine world. This is largely due to the way they are often presented at dog shows.
Their legs are clipped into shape and they wear bows in their fur it is no wonder people view them as a showy type of dog.

The poodle has actually been around for a very long time dating back to the Romans. There have been artefacts discovered from the Roman era that show the poodle’s ancestors helping their owners to bring in the game nets, herd animals or even retrieve catches from marshland.

The breed itself was originally bred to be a water dog and its main job was to fetch the fowl shot down or trapped by its owner. The name ‘poodle’ derives from an old German word ‘pudeln.’ This translates loosely to ‘splash about in water.’

It cannot be stated for certain what the poodle’s true ancestry is. There is a belief that it originally descended from a breed of Asian dogs that were used for herding. Then the poodle travelled west with the tribes from Germany to become a German water dog. Another idea is that the poodle was actually brought out of Asia by the African Berbers eventually ending up in Portugal during the 8th century.

Today people believe that the poodle is related to the Portuguese water dog. These are working dogs that look very similar to poodles with their curly coats.

For several centuries the poodle’s personality and intelligence saw the breed become a favourite with gypsies and performers. They were especially easy to train to follow a routine of tricks for money. During the 19th century poodles were to be seen dressed in costumes and performing in shows.

The fanciful clipping that you observe today in dog shows did once upon a time serve a purpose to the poodle. The breed was constantly retrieving game from the cold water and because of this fact their vital organs required protecting from the icy waters.

Certain areas of the poodle’s coat were completely shaved to aid their mobility and also to avoid their fur snagging on hidden branches in the water. The traditional poodle topknot that you often see decorated with a bow also used to be for a practical reason. Owners would place a bow in their dog’s fur to identify their poodle from all the others in the water at the same time.

So although in today’s world the poodle is ‘dressed up’ with all the fancy clippings and silky bows, back in history they were done to assist the dog and owner. The poodle is a very popular breed and there is a lot of cross breeding which just goes to show that there are many good attributes in the poodle.

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