6 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Poodles

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Who doesn't love a Poodle? With their outrageous haircuts and friendly personality, Poodles have always been a popular choice for dog owners. You may think you already know everything about this incredible breed of dogs, but you are likely wrong.

1. There are five, not three, sizes of Poodle.

While most people know the Poodle varieties which the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes, the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle, there are two other varieties which continue to go unrecognized by the AKC. These two additional Poodles types are the Klein Poodle and the Teacup Poodle. The size of a Klein Poodle is between a Miniature Poodle and a Standard Poodle. Some people know Klein Poodles as Medium Poodles. Teacup Poodles are the smallest and weigh as little as 2 pounds.

2. It may be difficult to believe now, but people once used Poodles for hunting.

In fact, the name for this breed comes from the German word pudel, or pudelin which means "to splash." In Germany, the correct name for the breed is Pudelhund. This seems like an appropriate name since Poodles were used as water retrieval dogs by hunters of waterfowl for hundreds of years. Hunters continue to use Standard Poodles as working dogs throughout the world.

3. Don't laugh at their hairdos, the Poodle-cut had a purpose at one time.

Modern Poodle owners may now just enjoy the look of their dogs' unique hairstyle, but back when Poodles had to work for a living, there was a real and very practical reason for the way owners trimmed their dogs. Poodle hair is heavy when wet. By cutting the hair of a Poodle's hindquarters, it made it easier for them to swim. The Poodle's hair around its lungs and heart remained long to provide protection from cold weather.

4. Poodles are not afraid of a challenge.

An all-Poodle dog sled team once competed in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. This grueling 1,150-mile journey through the Arctic tundra of Alaska is recognized as the ultimate dog sledding competition. In 1988, John Suter entered the race with a dog sled team consisting of Standard Poodles. Unfortunately, although the dogs may have had the heart to take on the Iditarod, they just weren't cut out for the harsh weather and injuries forced many of the dogs out of the race before the first checkpoint.

5. Poodles prefer people to other dogs.

Many poodles would rather spend time with their human family than with other canines. But some Poodles, especially smaller versions of the breed, have a tendency to become depressed or act out when they are left alone for extended periods of time. If owners are not able to be at home during the day, they may want to add another dog to their family to help keep a Poodle occupied and happy.

6. Smart and ready to please, Poodles love to perform.

Combine the breed's high level of intelligence, physical ability, and desire to please their owner and you get the perfect dog for performances which require brains as well as brawn. At one point, Poodle circuses were all the rage. In the 1800s, people used to dress Poodles up in clothing and train them to perform complex scenes. Although such behavior might not be acceptable today, Victorian-era audiences loved it.

7. People who hate fur on their furniture will love Poodles.

Unlike most dogs, Poodles do not continually shed. This means they are a good match for a home where a member of the family is sensitive to dog hair. Besides not shedding, Poodles are well-known as clean dogs who lack the "doggy" smell of many other breeds. While a non-shedding and good-smelling Poodle is nice to your nose, their need for regular professional grooming every 4 to 6 weeks can become costly.