Poodles are, for many, an iconic and regal breed. These curly dogs are incredibly smart and popular, especially for some with dog allergies. There are three different sizes of poodles (standard, miniature, and toy) that have several kinds of coat colors. While there is, sadly, no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog (as you can be allergic to a dog’s dander or even spit!), poodles have a coat that doesn’t shed that often and thus, doesn’t produce as much dander as many other breeds.
One of the best traits of a poodle is their intelligence. While they do have plenty of energy and a tendency for destruction when bored, they’re eager to please and can learn many skills! And don’t be fooled by the luxurious, snobby, and spoiled stereotype poodles carry; these dogs are working dogs that thrive with a task to do and love people. They do well in agility and obedience classes, which can be a great way to burn off some of their energy and both you two.
While poodles are the national dog of France and often associated with the country, the breed actually originated in Germany and dates back centuries. Poodles were duck hunters and their name is derived from the word ‘pudelin’, which refers to splashing in water (and where the English word ‘puddle’ comes from). In addition to being duck hunters, poodles have also been entertainers in some circuses and have hunted for truffles.
One of the most iconic traits of the breed is their haircuts, which ties into their history as hunting dogs and eventually as companions for French nobility. The French nobility, especially those living under the reign of King Louis XVI in the 18th century, would have their poodles in extravagant hairdos that sometimes even mimicked the nobility’s hairstyles of the time.
Because poodles don’t shed, their coats need to be regularly trimmed and an unshorn coat could weigh it down when retrieving a duck in the water. Their haircuts and styles started out practical when they were hunting dogs, as owners would shave the bottom half of a poodle so they’d be buoyant and have an easier time swimming. The fur around their joints was kept to protect their joints from the cold and their long mane and chest hair were both kept to protect their organs. And some owners would tie up their poodle’s mane into a ponytail of sorts with colored ribbons to help keep the fur out of their eyes and make it easier to identify their dogs from afar.
If you’re looking for a loving, energetic, and intelligent dog, a poodle of any size might be the dog for you! This breed is popular and prize-winning for a reason. They’re playful, adventurous dogs that get along with people and children (but can be a bit reserved of strangers). But if you work long hours or want a couch potato dog, a poodle will sadly not be a good fit for you.