Known for their elegance, proud attitude and intelligence, Poodles may be one of the most impressive dogs in the canine kingdom. After all, there’s a good reason why they’re one of the most popular dogs in the United States.
But behind the unusual hairdos, incredible work ethic and sharp sense, you’ll find an affectionate and loving dog that’ll surprise you every day. From their incredible smarts to their soft-loving attitudes, we can learn a lot from these dogs.
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10 Most Interesting Poodle Facts
Everyone knows about the Poodle – but there’s more to the Poodle than you know. Today, we’re counting down the ten little known facts about the Poodle.
1. Poodles were used as war dogs.
When you think “war dogs,” some of the most popular military dog breeds come to mind, such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Doberman Pinscher and the Giant Schnauzer.
But did you know that Poodles participated in several wars? Well, it’s true!
In the 17th century, Prince Rupert of the Rhine owned a Poodle named “Boy.” The poodle was his loyal companion, but also served as a war dog on the battlefield during the English Civil War of 1642.
And even when Prince Rupert was captured as a prisoner of war, Boy stood by his side in captivity while held in Lintz, Vienna. Boy had such a high reputation that people insisted the Poodle had all sorts of magical powers.
However, on an ill-fated night, the war dog was eventually killed during the Battle of Marston Moor, leading most historians to believe that Boy was the first ever, British Army dog.
And then there’s the beloved black Poodle named “Moustache,” who not only acted as the mascot of the French Grenadiers but also saved the troop from a sneak attack one night by Austrian forces.
And finally there’s the Poodle brigade that served in Napoleon’s army during the Napoleonic Wars. They were all Poodles, named Barbuche, Buff, Magrita, Moffino, Mohiloff, Muchuch, Sancho and Thoutou.
2. Poodles are one of the most ancient dog breeds.
Humans have domesticated dogs for tens of thousands of years. We know this through a variety of archaeological records and genetic analysis of ancient dogs buried next to their humans.
However, humans didn’t start to record our history until relatively recent.
And according to scientists and historians, Poodles were one of the first dog breeds that humans ever recorded in existence!
The very first depictions of Poodles can be traced back to Ancient Rome, thousands of years ago.
Not only were these dogs frequently featured on ancient roman artifacts and the republic’s coins, but the Romans also carved Poodle-like dogs on their tombs.
Even in ancient Greece, which goes back even further, Poodles were often featured on their currency coins!
But despite the overwhelming evidence that suggests the long-history of Poodles, historians can’t seem to agree if these ancient dogs died out or evolved into the modern poodles we know today.
3. There are actually 4 size variations of the Poodle, and not just 3.
Everyone knows about the three most popular Poodle sizes: the Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodle.
But did you know there’s actually a fourth size variation? They’re called the “Moyen Poodles” in France, but the rest of Europe refers to this size variation as “Kleins.”
The Moyen Poodle’s size falls in between the Miniature and Standard Poodle. However, despite popular belief, the size was not developed by crossbreeding the two varieties.
The smallest Toy Poodle is roughly 10 inches or under at the shoulders.
The Standard Poodle can range anywhere from 25 to 30 inches tall, whereas the Miniature Poodle is around 15 inches tall.
However, Moyen Poodles stand in between, at roughly 17 to 20 inches tall.
And while most kennel clubs, such as the American Kennel Club, don’t recognize this fourth size, the FCI does.
4. Poodles are the second most intelligent dog breed.
Ever wonder why Poodles are so easy to train? Well, it’s because they’re wicked smart!
But how did we measure the smartest dog breeds? In the 1990s, a canine psychologist and researcher named Stanley Coren set up a North American obedience trial in an attempt to measure dog intelligence.
His criteria measured how quickly a dog can learn a new command and how well they retained their obedience training.
In the Poodle’s case, they were able to learn a new command with fewer than 5 repetitions!
Plus, the Poodle’s success rate of obeying a known command on the first try was 95% or better.
Not only are Poodles some of the quickest learners in the canine kingdom, but they’re also some of the most obedient animals in the world.
5. Poodles are natural swimmers.
Some dogs naturally sink when swimming in water, such as the Bulldog, Pug or Boxer.
These types of dogs have a naturally short face. That is, they have a short nose with a flat face – making it difficult to stay afloat while keeping their heads up for air.
However, this isn’t the case with the Poodle. In fact, Poodles were actually bred to swim! In other words, swimming is in their job description.
Like the Labrador or Golden Retriever, Poodles are some of the best water retrievers the canine kingdom has to offer. They primarily retrieve ducks, geese and other waterfowl.
When hunters shoot down game, they send their Poodles into the lake to bring them back. This way, they don’t have to take a boat out just to bring back a duck.
There’s still physical evidence that suggests Poodles were made to swim.
For example, Poodles have webbed feet that act as a paddle for better efficiency when moving through water. Poodles also have a water-resistant coat that keeps vital organs warm and dry when they’re off in cold waters.
So if your Poodle can’t help but jump into water, let them do it! It’s just their natural instincts kicking in.
6. The Poodle’s iconic coat cut has a functional purpose.
Poodles are known for many things, though none as prominent as their classic Poodle-cut hairdo with extra fluff around the ankles, tail, body and head.
Thanks to this cut, It makes them one of the most easily recognizable dog breeds. But believe it or not, there’s more to this hairdo than just good looks for dog shows.
As mentioned, Poodles were great hunters that spent most of their time on the job retrieving waterfowl from bodies of water.
And most of the time, the lakes and swamps they retrieved from were freezing cold, especially during autumn and winter. So since they spent a lot of time in cold water, Poodles needed an extra layer of protection.
Having too much fur on the coat could drag them down in the water, so instead, hunters had to strategically trim their hair.
Thus, the Poodle’s signature cut was born.
Having extra fluff only in certain areas of the body would keep too much wet fur from weighing them down, but also offering extra protection to vital areas.
From there, several variations of the Poodle’s classic cut were born, including the Lion’s Cut, English Saddle Cut, Dutch Cut, and many many more.
7. The Poodle is the national dog breed of France, despite originating from Germany.
As we’ve already discussed, the origins of the Poodle is a murky one. We actually don’t know for certain where their ancestors came from.
Even so, most historians point to Germany as the birthplace of these curly-coated dogs. Well, at least the modern Poodles we know and love.
This may be a bit confusing, as the term “French Poodle” is so widely used. But that is, in fact, a misnomer.
The proof is in the name.
The Poodle name actually comes from the German word “pudel” or “pudelin,” which when directly translated to English, means “to splash in the water.”
Since Poodles are waterdogs, this name of German heritage makes perfect sense. But despite this, both still the French and German still dispute about the true origins of the Poodle til this day.
The French have even gone as far as recognizing the Poodle as the official national dog breed of France!
8. The Poodle is the mascot of an African American Sorority.
The first African American sorority, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, was established in 1908 at the campus of Howard University.
They make up one of just four African American sororities in America, though only one of them has the Poodle as their mascot – the Sigma Gamma Rho.
They’re an iconic establishment that’s had an impressive legacy in both the Greek and African American communities.
But what’s really interesting is that they chose the Toy Poodle as their sorority mascot.
From the sorority website, they wrote: “Sigma Gamma Rho’s greatness is embodied in its distinctively selected mascot and flower.”
“The French Toy Poodle and the Yellow Tea Rose truly represent all the unique qualities that form the sisters of and in Sigma.”
“The Poodle is credited for its superior intelligence, stunning beauty and wide-ranging ability. The Poodle like the Sigma woman has the potential to excel at anything that she puts her mind to…”
Everything they mentioned is true about the Poodle.
No wonder they picked one of the greatest dog breeds as their sorority mascot!
9. Winston Churchill was obsessed with Poodles.
Not only was Winston Churchill the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, but he famously led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
These are all facts well-documented in the history books all over the world.
But, did you know Winston Churchill was a “poodle man?”
Churchill’s first Miniature Poodle, named Rufus, died after a car accident in 1947.
Shortly after, he was given yet another Miniature Poodle, who he named Rufus the second.
This second Rufus was treated like royalty. Not only did he eat off a cloth laid on a Persian rug, but was served his meals even before Churchill was…and by a butler, no less.
And on Churchill’s 79th birthday, his cake featured a sugary version of Rufus that sat on top of the cake!
10. Some of the world’s biggest celebrities had Poodles.
Often called a “man’s best friend,” dogs have become the best companions for all types of families and people all around the globe.
Celebrities are no exception. In fact, some of the biggest and brightest stars owned Poodles of all variations.
For instance, the Mother of All Contemporary Pop Divas, Barbara Streistand, famously owned a Poodle in her early days as a multi-platinum artist.
Even the legendary Elvis Presley, along with his ex-wife Priscilla Presley, owned a Toy Poodle named Honey.
John F Kennedy also had a standard Poodle named Gaullie. While he first belonged to the First Lady, Gaullie eventually moved into the White House and was joined by several other dogs.
In fact, JFK had so many dogs that he built a special dog park just outside the West Wing so that they could play with the kids.
Other famous celebrities that owned Poodles include Bob Hope, Rihanna, Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso and many more!
So….what was your favorite Poodle fact? Were there any interesting facts that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
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