The next time someone in your company refers to the Poodle as a “foo foo” dog, give them a gentle V-8 smack upside the head and show them these pictures. Poodles were bred to be retrievers, and that instinct is alive and well as these pictures taken at the Central Carolina Poodle Club Hunt Test weekend show. The Poodle trim, as many of us know, dates back to the 16th century when Poodles were serious water work dogs. The word “Poodle,” in fact,comes from the German word, “pudel,” short for pudelhund which means ‘water dog’ in German. The Poodle’s coat, left to grow, is heavy in water which put the dog at risk. Hunters shaved the bottom half of to dog to lighten the load and help with buoyancy, but left hair on the chest to keep vital organs warm, as well as on the joints to protect them from injury and prevent rheumatism (it was believed at the time). Hair around the face was kept clean shaven to help with retrieving, and the head coat was tied up to keep it out of the dog’s hair while swimming. A bright ribbon was used to be able to identify one’s dog in the water from a distance.
Poodle cuts evolved into more ornate styles, particularly in 18th century France under the reign of Louis XVI. The breed (especially smaller varieties) was especially popular with the nobility who mimicked the elaborate pompadours worn by the aristocracy and royalty at the time. Over time, different styles and improved grooming tools lead to the Poodle trims we see today, but make no mistake, “that dog can hunt!”
Photos by Vickie Haywood