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Group: Non_Sporting
Breed Family: Poodle

The Poodle is an ancient breed and while there is some controversy over its origins, most cynologists believe that it originated in Eastern Germany or Russia. Whatever its native land, the Poodle was known in many European countries. Poodles in lion trims appear on ancient Greek and Roman coins, and in the time of Emperor Augustus, around AD30, they were carved on monuments and tombs, resembling, in a primitive way, their modern-day counterparts.

Described in nearly every work dealing with dogs, the Poodle was noted for its retrieving capabilities, its swimming powers, and remarkable nose. Numerous authorities believe that the Poodle is closely related to, or was, the old Water Dog or "Canis familiaris aquaticus." The Standard Poodle, the oldest of the three varieties, was used for centuries to retrieve game from water.

There is no doubt that the Poodle’s name in different languages suggests a water dog: Pudel, his German name, comes from the verb Pudelin, meaning to splash in water, and Caniche, his French name, is a derivation of Canard Chien, or Duck Dog.

Given their ancient history and popularity, it is surprising that Poodles have not been depicted more often in art. The breed was, of course, very popular in France, in particular during the reign of Louis XVI, and while there were certainly Poodles in England during the eighteenth century, it was not until 1875 that they were first exhibited at dog shows. Miss Quain's Zulu was the first English champion, soon followed by many others.

The Poodle was very popular indeed in the late nineteenth century, with many fanciers owning this breed exclusively, and while most dogs around this time had an early version of our present-day show clip, there was a brief fashion for the corded coat. Difficult to care for, the hair was oiled so that it would not break, and the natural curl of the hair made to fall into corkscrew-like locks of hair. The sight of a corded Poodle was very impressive indeed, and great crowds would gather when they were shown. Unfortunately, as the corded coat could not be brushed or easily cleaned, the fashion soon fell out of favor.


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