Poodles Are Much More Than a Haircut
November 30, 2017 6:31 PM   Subscribe

A very old breed, indeed, poodles are and were everywhere and did every thing. As you can see by the links in this first section, they are not just prancing dogs in funny haircuts, they were working dogs. They were considered for use during WW II war dogs, though they turned out not to be ideal. They've raced in Alaska sled dogs and did fairly well. And they're being retrained for what their history suggests is their most suitable job water dogs
posted by MovableBookLady (24 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ohmysquishygosh! That poodle with the duck in his chops is every kind of cute!
posted by Lizard at 6:33 PM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


My big complaint about poodles is that they never seem to be wearing little brandy casks on their necks.
posted by aubilenon at 6:35 PM on November 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


One of my standard poodles won't go anywhere near water.
posted by Windopaene at 6:40 PM on November 30, 2017


Poodles were the Labradors of 50-75 years ago; the all-American dog. Read Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” Charley’s a poodle.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 PM on November 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the Iditarod, I'd heard about the team but had not read that clear an account. Sound like they would've started to win and that's why the breed was excluded from the race.
posted by sammyo at 7:02 PM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is why I don't understand the labradoodle trend. So, you want a curly-haired, friendly, trainable water dog? You are describing a poodle.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:34 PM on November 30, 2017 [10 favorites]


Not to be pedantic but why is it so natural for United States-ers, to take the Labrador...with a Portuguese/Canadian place name (and lineage) and claim it as all-American?..you've got the Carolina dog.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:36 PM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I particularly liked the comment the trainer said about miniature poodles: they can hold a grudge for half a day. I can just see the little dog sneering over its shoulder at him.
posted by MovableBookLady at 7:45 PM on November 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


Soren, that has always puzzled me, too. Standard poodles are great dogs. Why mess with something that works?
posted by winna at 7:53 PM on November 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


We had poodles when I was a kid. There's nothing funnier than a poodle fresh from the groomer (it's impossible to get them to not give one the ridiculous haircut) freezing and pointing 'cause it's seen a squirrel.
posted by asterix at 7:54 PM on November 30, 2017


Not to be pedantic but why is it so natural for United States-ers, to take the Labrador...with a Portuguese/Canadian place name (and lineage) and claim it as all-American?..you've got the Carolina dog.

That comment tracks to me not as if leotrotsky is suggesting that Labradors are an American breed, so much as that a stereotypical American family is most likely to have a labrador for a pet. According to the AKC labradors are the most popular US dog breed and have been for 26 years running.
posted by axiom at 9:23 PM on November 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


Pit bulls were considered to be the representative US dog 100 years ago. Our Gang's Petey was one.
posted by brujita at 9:42 PM on November 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


I particularly liked the comment the trainer said about miniature poodles […]

Full sized:Miniature :: Lake poodles:Puddle poodles
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:07 PM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


The post heading first had me thinking of this
posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 12:01 AM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is why I don't understand the labradoodle trend.

What I'd like is a highly trainable, intelligent, noble dog, but also one that will eat any stray socks on the floor. - The creator of Labradoodles, apparently.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:17 AM on December 1, 2017 [15 favorites]


My office looks out over a place where many people walk their dogs, so I get to watch dogs all day. I would say the pit bull is now the most popular dog, by far. I don't think I have ever seen a person under 50 years old, walking any other breed. Labradors are more popular with older people. I almost never see any poodles.
posted by elizilla at 5:42 AM on December 1, 2017


That first link is an incredibly detailed homage. Love that someone spent so much time on their passion for poodles.
posted by latkes at 5:46 AM on December 1, 2017


This emphasizes why my wife and I were surprised to see poodles were in the "Non sporting" group during the Thanksgiving dog show on TV. Sure, they get groomed in wacky ways, but we always thought poodles were hunting dogs.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:32 AM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


Zappa's poodle lecture is what I think of when I hear poodle...

Seriously, though, those poodles doing the Iditarod race! First I thought poodles pulling sleds in Alaska would be like penguins bagging groceries at a Whole Foods in San Antonio, but then you see a pic like this and you think: hey! that works!
posted by fregoli at 7:42 AM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


My family didn't have dogs when I was growing up, so I was fascinated by the neighborhood dogs and "knew" various adult by which dogs they had. There was the mean lady in the Victorian at the end of the block who had Weimaraners, the family who I only occasionally saw who had huge black Newfies (I always hoped to run into them more), and the very nice older couple with a pair of standard poodles. When you're in elementary school, a standard poodle seems pretty big and theirs were gentle and noble and kind about being patted by children, and difficult to associate with the screaming teacup poodle named Annabelle who lived next door and who was decidedly not one of my dog friends.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:12 AM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


Dog breeds ranked by how much I hate them:

1. Chihuahua
2. Toy poodle
...
4,793. Labrador

The feeling seems to be mutual.
posted by AFABulous at 9:33 AM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


All the dogs I've had were some kind of poodle mix, so I'm pretty fond of them. Plus the word is pretty fun to say. Poodle poodle poodle.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:15 PM on December 1, 2017


I have a medium poodle (and he's on Instagram, thanks to my youngest daughter), and it's very easy to get me to gush endlessly about what awesome dogs poodles are. He's just kind and smart, playful and well-behaved. If he were a little boy, he'd be the kid who wears a bowtie to school.

But the main difference between him and pretty much all the other dogs I've known in my life is how he's constantly paying attention to the humans around them. It's almost sort of weird sometimes, like he's just about to join in the conversation.

I took him to Agility for a while, and one of the main challenges was that in stead of merely responding to verbal cues, he decided the task was to anticipate the next command, so half of the time it seemed like he was reading my mind and the other half was "omg nooo what's he doing???" as he'd be flying accross the field to flawlessly tackle an obstacle he was not supposed to be doing at all. Probably because I had accidentaly tilted my head that way ever so slightly, or who knows.

And he understands so much of what we say, and I have a story to prove it. We were visiting my in-laws last year and decided their large house (where we'd been only briefly once or twice before with the dog) would be ideal for playing hide and seek. Wilson is usually rather bad at hide and seek, because for a dog, he has a rather poor sense of smell, doesn't really use his nose at all, and can walk right past you behind a curtain unless he hears you giggle.

My daughter asked me where she should hide and I suggested the upstairs bathroom - all the while Wilson sitting there, watching us closely, head cocked. So off she went, and as soon as I told Wilson to go search for her, he headed without any hesitation straight upstairs, and there shot right away to the bathroom. Not sniffing, not listening, not looking, it's like he just knew. Mind you, this was a relatively unfamiliar house for him. It really looked like he had immediately understood we were talking about playing hide and seek, had heard the word "bathroom", and had made the mental connection that it's not just the room in our house with that name, but the somewhat similar (tiled, echo-y, soap-smelling) space in this house, too. So odd.

Oh, he just now appeared in the living room and very obviously asked me why I'm still awake and wouldn't I rather go to bed already. And now his standing on the stairs waiting, staring at me reproachfully. It's already past belly rub o'clock!
posted by sively at 3:28 PM on December 1, 2017 [9 favorites]


My friend's poodle definitely watches and observes and jumps in. I was petsitting and had my mom as a houseguest during that time for a few days and the second night she was there, the poodle moved to her bed so she wouldn't be lonely. That was just so cute.

You know how some humans are like, human equivalents of Golden Retrievers? (Like the friend, actually.) After she pointed out that poodles will go find toys and amuse themselves and otherwise find themselves a project when bored--and I saw her poodle find some sort of sea detritus for us to throw for her when we took her to the beach and forgot a ball----I declared myself the human equivalent of a poodle.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:20 PM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


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