French Poodles from the Languedoc, South of France
History of the Standard Poodle
are native to Germany not France as often thought. They worked
in the swamps as a water dogs trained to retrieve fallen birds
for hunters. Otherwise the breed's origins are shrouded in mystery.
Two theories have been proposed.
- The first is that they were developed from rugged Asian herding
dogs captured by Berbers, a North African people. They travelled
from North Africa to Portugal and Spain with the Moors in the
- The second is that they were descended from the dogs that
left the Asian steppes with the Goths, a federation of German
tribes, who travelled west with the Ostrogoths.
Ancient bas-reliefs found around the Mediterranean favour the
African theory. It is also supported by fact that the Poodle's
ancestors probably include North African Barbet, but this does
not prove the theory as the barbet is known to have been introduced
to Europe via the Iberian Peninsula.
In any case, the name is a corruption of the German pudeln, which
means "to splash in water."
The Standard Poodle was known at least as early as the 15th Century.
There are many references in art and literature. Poodles are shown
in the works of German artist Albrecht Durer (16th Century). In
the 18th century it was a favourite pet dog in Spain, as shown
by Goya. Their intelligence and disposition led to breeding down
to Miniature and Toy sizes for companion dogs for the ladies of
the Royal Court of Europe.
the 1800s poodles were used to produce the coat of the Curly-coated
Retriever. They were also crossed with English pointers to produce
the Pudelpointer, a happy-go-lucky, energetic, and versatile German
hunting dog. They also played a part in the development of the
Irish Water Spaniel. More recently they have been crossed with
Labradors to produce Labradoodles, which turn out to make good
Guide Dogs for the blind, and are extensively used as such in
Related breeds include the Barbet and the Portuguese Water Dog
as well as the Irish Water Spaniel.