Poodles have been high valued and adored over many centuries. The Poodles early existance has been confirmed through artwork, images and sculptures dating back to the 15th and 16th century,which portray dogs similiar to the Poodle as it is today. However the Poodle that is known in today’s society developed around the 17th century
Contrary to the common belief that the Standard Poodle originated from France, it actually originated from Germany around the 17th century. The German word for Poodle is “Pudel” which simply means splash in the water, which goes hand in hand with the canines’ history of water retrieving. By the 17th century there was several different types of Poodles in other countries, such as Russia, France, and Italy. However France adopted the Poodle as the national dog shortly after, at which time was used for duck retrieving.
The Poodle developed its high value for several different reasons. At first its value came from the fact of what an extremely intelligent and obedient water dog it was. It is actually known as the oldest water retriever breed. It had a certain charisma that bluntly took notice; having a very strong bond with humans- making it the preferred all around choice. France used this breed for many different purposes such as duck hunting, going out to the waters to retrieve the fowl; this poodle was referred to as Caniche. The gypsies and circus personnel worked with the poodle, being the intelligent and well trainable dog it is, taking part in shows and acts, putting all of the dogs’ favorable traits to use. The poodle was also used for truffle hunting, being referred to as the truffle dog. While the Standard poodle was a large, yet gentle giant at the time, more commonly the toy poodle was used for this task, as their paws would do less damage to the valued mushrooms. The toy poodle unlike the standard poodle never went near water, for this size of the breed came in use elsewhere. The Petit Barbet of toy poodle size was a hand warmer, as it would lie hidden, in the parachute sleeves of royalty.
It was quickly discovered that the Poodles coat could be dynamically cut and shaped to help perfect the action of water retrieving. The uniquely shaved areas and tufts of hair -are a direct result of the poodle's life style and sporting heritage. To protect the poodle's vital organs and joints from the piercing cold of water retrieval, while the hindquarters was shaved for swift traveling through water and to decrease the chance of protruding obstacle, while other areas thickly left for insulation. The ribbon or bow seen tied to a poodle’s crown was for identifying the dog while out working. While today, this whole look is no longer in use, yet a popular groom.
In 1874 the kennel Club of England registered its first poodle, with only two short years away in 1876 when Poodle Club of England was founded. Having two different types of coats the curly and corded poodles were placed in different divisions along with the toy, miniature and standard in 1910. For before this they were all within the same class and judged as one. While it is not exactly known when the first poodle was shipped to the United States of America, it is known that the American Kennel club registered their first poodle in 1886. Ten years later the Poodle Club of America was later founded in 1896, yet abandoned till 1931. In the early 1930’s there we only approximately 34 Standard Poodles registered in the United States. When the poodle won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club the Standard Poodle’s popularity surged, making it the most popular dog registered in America until the mid 1950s.
The Poodle is still in the top 10 on the most popular breeds in the United States and abroad. Commonly considered one of the most intelligent dogs, only second to the Border Collie, the Standard Poodle can still be found almost on a daily basis at many grooming salons around the country.
Many famous people have owned poodles, as it is considered a “regal” animal, it should come as no surprise that many kings and queens have kept them around. Winston Churchill had a Standard Poodle named Rufus, Jane Goodall often spoke of returning to her Standard Poodle “GiGi” after long researching expeditions with the chimpanzees. Louis XIV and Louis XVI kept Standard Poodles around to “pretty up the palace”. Pablo Picasso was also a Poodle admirer, along with Sammy Davis Jr. and Marilyn Monroe whose Poodle was a gift from Frank Sinatra which in turn she named “Mafia”. As well as many other famous people who owned Standard Poodles as well.
Poodles have been used in war since the time of the Vikings and the Teutonic wars, mostly wolfhounds and other large breeds. Yet around the time of the introduction of firearms and artillery the breed list for acceptable war dogs needed to be revised to include dogs that would not shy away from loud noises. So naturally gun dogs were the most prolific, including the Standard poodle due to its keen senses and abilities to learn and retain information. One of the most notable leaders to use the Standard Poodle was Napoleon Bonaparte who, as with most everything else, had to have the largest poodles around. Another notable use of the Standard Poodle in war was that of the Soviets. During the Blitzkrieg campaign the soviets used suicide dogs against tanks and other heavily armored artillery. These “anti-tank” dogs were trained to seek food under armored vehicles, most of them having been starved , with explosives on their backs. Once under the tank a “tilt fuse” was used to ignite the explosives and destroy the tank. This was a terrible plan, as it turned out the dogs where trained on Soviet tanks, which turned out to be more quiet than the enemy German tanks. This made it difficult for the dogs to decide which were the correct tanks, and destroyed about an even amount of both. Still they managed to disable more than 300 German tanks, soon afterwards and order was given that all dogs are to be shot on site. Still unknown to the general public, the Soviets trained anti-tank dogs until at least 1996.
While the modern poodle may mostly be a pampered house dog and beloved family member among households, this breed is still commonly used as a gun and sporting dog, mostly in Europe. So if you are either looking for a loving pet and family member loyal to no end, or an intelligent and agile sporting or hunting dog the Standard Poodle is an excellent choice.
While the Standard poodle is susceptible to most common diseases seen in canines there are a few that are more prolific within the breed including:
The recommended diet for Standard Poodles should be one of sufficient meat content and little to no grain. As Poodles tend to easily develop skin conditions, low grade grain is not advised. One of the main characteristics of the Poodle is an illustrious coat, so a diet rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is strongly recommended. In all cases the food manufacturer’s guidelines should always be followed to prevent over feeding as well as under feeding.