A little history about the poodle.
Poodles are people with fur! They are innately tuned into blending and being with their person! Based on history, we know that they've been around at least since the 15th or 16th century due to their images in artwork of the period.
Most people think the Poodle originated in France, but actually, it originated in Germany. The German word for Poodle is "Pudel," which means "to splash in the water." There were several Poodle type dogs in other countries during this time, including Russia, France and Italy.
The original Standard Poodle was highly valued as an excellent water dog because it was extremely intelligent and cooperative. It is actually the oldest known water retriever breed. Its bond with humans stood out from any other breed.
One of the most misunderstood aspects of poodles is why they are clipped in such an array of seemingly bizarre styles. (Or as some of us like to call them, "living breathing topiaries"!) The fact is that the unique poodle cut is a direct result of the poodle's working and sporting heritage. In order to protect the dog's vital organs and joints from the biting cold of constant water retrieval, certain areas were shaved for added mobility and to lessen the chance of snagging while other key areas (joints) were left densely covered for warmth.
Historically people think of poodles as pampered pets of the aristocracy but for centuries, the poodle's intelligence, athleticism and personality made it a favorite with gypsies and other traveling performers. Poodles of all sizes were trained to perform all sorts of tricks and skits to the delight of paying spectators. Accounts of famous royal command performances along with stories of amazing street shows are littered throughout the historical record. Variety shows featuring poodles dressed in all manner of costumes and displaying amazing feats of intelligence, balance and agility became all the rage in the 19th century.
It didn't take long for the ladies of the court and upper classes to discover that they could clip, dye, and decorate these amazingly intelligent dogs in an almost endless array of styles, adding their own variations to the former gypsy/hunter/street performer look. The French nobility adopted the poodle with a special zeal and brought clipping to the level of high art. Even today, most people associate the poodle with France instead of Germany.
Poodles have worked in virtually every capacity a dog is capable of filling. From cart-pulling draught animal to parlor room trickster, from sled dog to guide dog, from truffle-hound to eminently competent bird dog, and from watchdog to show ring master.
Today poodles are known to be good family dogs as well as a good watchdog. They get along very well with other animals, sometimes even to the point of being protective of smaller animals. As long as you have a sense of humor and don't mind a dog that outsmarts you once in a while ... pick a poodle!