Poodle History

A Proud History...
Vintage PoodlesStandard Poodles have been cherished and adored for hundreds of years. Based on history, we know that they’ve been around at least since the 15th or 16th century due to their images in artwork of the period. The Standard Poodle that we know and love today probably developed around the 17th century. Most people think the Poodle originated in France, but actually, it originated in Germany.

The German word for Poodle is “Pudel,” which means “to splash in the water.” There were several Poodle type dogs in other countries during this time, including Russia, France and Italy. The original Poodle was highly valued as an excellent water dog because it was extremely intelligent and cooperative. It is actually the oldest known water retriever breed. It’s bond with humans stood out from any other breed. This characteristic is what makes the Poodle so highly popular today.

In the early 1930s, there were only about 34 Poodles registered in the United States. In 1935, a white Standard Poodle won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York. After that show, the Poodle’s popularity soared, and it was the number one dog registered by the American Kennel Club for approximately 20 years. The Poodle still remains in the top 10 popularity wise, due to breeders diligently striving to preserve the personality and characteristics of the breed.

Poodles are retrievers or gun dogs, and can still be seen in that role. The Poodle is believed to have originated in Germany, where it is known as the Pudel. The English word "poodle" comes from the German pudel or puddeln, meaning to splash in the water. The breed was standardized in France, where it was commonly used as a water retriever.

The American Kennel Club states that the large, or Standard, Poodle is the oldest of the three varieties and that the dog gained special fame as a water worker. So widely was it used as retriever that it was bred with a moisture-resistant coat to further facilitate progress in swimming. Thence came the custom of clipping to pattern which so enhanced the style and general appearance that its sponsors, particularly in France, were captivated by it. All of the Poodle's ancestors were acknowledged to be good swimmers, although one member of the family, the truffle dog (which may have been of Toy or Miniature size), it is said, never went near the water.

Truffle hunting was widely practiced in England, and later in Spain and Germany, where the edible fungus has always been considered a delicacy. For scenting and digging up the fungus, the smaller dogs were favored, since they did less damage to the truffles with their feet than the larger kinds. So it is rumored that a terrier was crossed with the Poodle to produce the ideal truffle hunter.

Despite the Standard Poodle's claim to greater age than the other varieties, there is some evidence to show that the smaller types developed only a short time after the breed assumed the general type by which it is recognized today.

The smallest, or Toy variety, was developed in England in the 18th century, when the White Cuban became popular there. This was a sleeve dog attributed to the West Indies from whence it traveled to Spain and then to England. But the Continent had known the Poodle long before it came to England. Drawings by the German artist, Albrecht Durer, establish the breed in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was the principal pet dog of the later 18th century in Spain, as shown by the paintings of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. And France had Toy Poodles as pampered favorites during the reign of Louis XVI at about the same period.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Dianne wrote:
Great article about the history of poodles.

Thu, July 22, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

2. Jonni wrote:
Boy that rlelay helps me the heck out.

Fri, December 28, 2012 @ 2:35 AM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.