Characteristically one of the smartest and hairy of the canine breeds, the poodle is one of most popular breed of dogs for sale by breeders today. Often shown in shows and now crossbred with other breeds, its puppies are much sought after and prized. Luckily, its history, like its nature, is very straightforward.
The Origin of the Poodle
All historians point to Germany as the home of the poodle. From a writing made in 1524, the author, Gesner, mentions a Pudel and describes it as the best water retriever. Originally, it was known as a Pudelhund, or puddle hound, for it’s love of splashing around in water. Eventually, it made its way to France where the breed achieved its current look but received a different name, the Barbet. Some argue this is in reference to its “bearded” appearance while others insist “barb” refers to a type of duck often hunted at the time or the Barbary coast where it could have originated. No matter the name, the poodle became the national breed of France, being so popular. Louis XVI even owned many toy poodles.
Over time, three main variations have been bred, including the standard, miniature and toy. The American Kennel Club states that the standard is the oldest with the smaller evolving later in time. Evidence suggests, however, that it did not take a long time for the smaller variations to arise, and records show that the toy was first bred in 18th century England.
In 1874, the Kennel Club StudBook of England shows the very first registry of poodles from England and its neighbors including Russia, Germany and France. America, however, was about a decade behind, not featuring its first poodle recording until 1886 by the American Kennel Club.
The Standard Poodle
As the largest, the standard has classically been mainly used as a retriever for bird hunting. It is very intelligent so as to follow commands easily, has webbed feet for easy swimming, high agility and a thick, curly coat that protects the dog from moisture. Unfortunately, the breed became a status symbol of wealth in the 19th century, and they were slowly bred away from a hunting temperament. Only recently have breeders been reigniting their latent skills.
The Miniature and Toy Poodle
Unlike their larger brethren, the miniatures were never heralded for their water love. In fact, it is said that they never went near water. Because truffle hunting was extremely popular in England, France, Germany and Spain, smaller dogs were in fashion since they did much less damage to the fungi after they found them and dug them up. Rumor states that terriers were bred with poodles to produce the best canine truffle hunter. Written records from 1837 seem to support this claim. Aside from this, the toy eventually arrived and the two smaller sizes became the lap pets of the wealthy and are even today considered to be a breed only for the rich.
Surprisingly, poodles also have a military history. Known as having been used as working canines in the armed forces since the 17th century. It wasn’t until World War II, however, that poodles were legally classified as a war breed. They currently train with Dogs for Defense, Inc. for life in the service. Of the famous war poodles of history, Boye remains one of the most beloved. He was the dog of Prince Rupert of Palatine and fought alongside his master in his wars. Boye was featured in paintings and was rumored to have the ability to hex the enemy. Sadly, in 1644, he met his demise as the Battle of Marston Moors. Even the Pope was invited to mourn the loss of this legendary dog.
Owning a Poodle
If you are on the market for puppies for sale and want a poodle, there are some things you’ll need to know to properly care for one. Because they are natural hunters, marking and hunting activities are the most often observed traits. Because of this, they are very energetic and get bored very quickly, often stirring up trouble if they are not adequately kept amused. To counter this, they must have a large variety of toys and should be played with often. Due to their intelligence, they can pass obedience classes no problem and exceed at any sport they are taught to play. If you enjoy hiking, they are some of the best companions especially if you plan on taking a trip near to water. In general, the poodle breed loves attention and does not like being left alone.
Like all purebreds, poodles come with their own set of sicknesses owners looking after dogs should be aware of. The most common is Addison’s which causes severe sodium and potassium imbalances. Luckily, if caught early, it can be treated with lifelong medication. Gastric dilatation volvulus is the second most prevalent. This happens when the dog’s stomach bloats, and the stomach then twists. The poodle must reach the vet immediately or end up dying. In general, however, they are a very healthy breed and can live will into their teens if treated to a life of plenty of exercise and great food.
While keeping pet dogs can affect human respiratory systems in a negative way, the poodle is actually one of the few breeds that does not do so to an extreme, making it a favorite among those with severe allergies. Because their hair takes longer to grow than other breeds and the coat is tight and curled, less dander and dead hair is released into the environment. Also, since poodles are generally well brushed and bathed often, the build up is removed much more frequently. Though they do produce far less allergic reactions, they can still trigger them should they lick a sensitive individual in the face.