Poodle Versatility

Poodles: More than just a pretty face.

Poodles are probably best known for their fancy haircuts and circus antics. But long before Poodles were performing tricks for human entertainment, they were the staple breed for the various water retrieving dog breeds we know today. It is the long history of selectively breeding the Poodle type… from water retriever to trusted human companion… that gives us a dog breed so diverse in natural talents.


Did you know… Poodles are so intelligent, they are known as natural problem solvers? This means that Poodles are quick learners. Training a Poodle to do anything from sitting on command, to walking on two feet(!!) is easier than working with almost any other breed of dog.

But, being a fast learner means that Poodles can also get into mischief by finding solutions to problems like…

-finding food on counters

-opening doors

-or even playing your musical instruments!

Poodles in the Military

Yep! It’s true. This fancy haired dog breed played an important role in military history. A French Poodle named Mustache, fought alongside his human companions in the French Revolution in 1799 and the Napoleonic Wars.

Fun fact; the person to first suggest the use of dogs (of any breed) in American military service was a woman named Mrs Arlene Erlanger. And she was the owner of a poodle kennel.

The Standard Poodle was part of the early military program during World War II. It has even been noted that; 

"This breed has unusual ability to learn and retain and keen senses. A drawback is a rapidly-growing coat, never shed and required constant cutting to prevent its becoming matted."

Poodles as Hiking Companions

Wallace and baby Bryce accompany me on a hike to a summit!

Wallace and baby Bryce accompany me on a hike to a summit!

Poodles are incredibly agile dogs. And believe it or not, but the agile-ness of the poodle is credited to gypsies! This group of people traveled with trick dogs, often poodles. These dogs had to be quick, agile, and quick. 

It was perhaps the gypsies who began to breed the more common “off-square” retriever style poodle into the more square version of the poodle breed we know today.

A square dog is more compact and better able to spin, twist, flip, and dance to entertain the onlookers.

It is thanks to this square structure of the poodle breed that also makes them great hiking buddies! Particularly in Alaska, poodles natural athleticism and agile ability work to their favor when maneuvering boulder fields, following narrow game trails, climbing mountains and wading through creeks.

It’s no secret… I am of the not-so-modest opinion that poodles make the BEST hiking dogs for me!

Poodles in Performance

Dog sports have been around nearly as long as the domestic dog. And, as if there was any doubt, the poodle breed absolutely crushes it when it comes to competitive dog sports!

Agility, Dock Diving , Lure Coursing, Tracking , Water Retrieving , and even Truffle Hunting … are all sports that the poodle dog excels.

Best of all; the Poodle Couch Potato

Pali, a white standard poodle puppy, makes herself at home on the couch.

Pali, a white standard poodle puppy, makes herself at home on the couch.

All the sports, adventures and activities the poodle will thrive in, it is the art of lounging that differentiates the poodle breed from all the other active dog breeds.

If you can’t get outside to exercise your poodle… just enjoy some couch time together and your coiffed companion is just as happy.

And to me, having a dog that is just as happy to binge on Netflix or hike in the backcountry… that’s the best dog, right there.