Once upon a time, long, long ago, I used to breed, train and hunt standard poodles. I learned of the dog's versality while on station in France. I used them as water dogs, pointers, and hounds. My stud, Cyrano, was 95 lbs of coyote killing hound. He loved to sleep on the floor beside my daughter's play pen, with her pulling on his ears.
I remember being awakened one morning by my host in Verdun, and going into the kitchen to see his standard poodle on guard in the middle of the floor, There was an intruder cowering in the corner, under the watchful eye of the guard dog. We had hunted with that dog the day before.
Although the Poodle has been known throughout Western Europe for at least 400 years, its origin is controversial. Whether it was developed in France, Germany, Denmark, or the ancient Piedmont, is uncertain. Despite the claims of several other countries, France has now been officially recognized as its country of origin, and the breed occupies a special place on the affections of the French. It is certain that the Poodle is descended from a now nearly extinct French water dog, the Barbet and possibly the Hungarian Water Hound. The name "Poodle" probably derives from the German word "Pudel," which means one who plays in water. The Poodle was used as a gun dog. Originally the breed was used in Germany and France as a retriever of waterfowl. Hunters clipped the dog's thick coat to help him swim, leaving hair on the leg joints to protect them from extreme cold and sharp reeds. The French capitalized on the breeds high intelligence, trainability and innate showmanship and made the Poodle into a circus performer. His great popularity in that country led to the breeds common name "French Poodle." In France, however, the Poodle is called the "Caniche," or duck dog