People get used to making judgments based on how things appear to be. Just like the commonly used phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”, it is not wise to make decisions based solely on appearance.
No doubt that appearance or first impressions are important but they should not be the sole factor in making any conclusions about anything. Would it be surprising for you to know that poodles were once used for hunting?
That poodles were water retrieval dogs? That the poodle-cut hairstyle served a practical purpose related to hunting? That poodle is ranked as one of the most intelligent breeds in the world? These might be very surprising facts for you, but they are true.
Poodles are often misunderstood because people can’t get past their appearance. Poodles appear to be very delicate and vain but in reality they very intelligent, fun-loving, and energetic breeds of dogs.
It is no surprise that people often get the origin of the poodle wrong.
They did not originate from France, as many people tend to believe. Their roots trace back to Germany. The name Poodle, in the German language, means, splashing around in puddles or “water-dog”.
The reason why people think they are from France is that they very fashionable breed of dogs. There is a whole range of hairstyles and grooming that can be done with a poodle.
The poodle is blessed with extremely thick and curly hair which can be styled in a million ways. The elaborate haircuts and delicate physique have most people believe they are ditzy and delicate breeds.
A lot of the misunderstanding can be attributed to an image problem for the poodle. The root of this image problem seems to be their over-the-top hairstyle.
They are often thought of as “froufrou”, which a slur for high-maintenance. Poodles are also often thought of as being not so intelligent. The image has been further reinforced by media. Poodles are often shown as vain and rude.
An example of how poodles are portrayed in media is the character of Georgette from cartoon Oliver & Company. It is a cartoon by Disney, which is known for the very favorable projection of dogs in their animations, however, when it came to a poodle, they showed Georgette as a selfish and arrogant.
The physical characteristics of Georgette, the poodle, were also exaggerated to portray a negative image. For example, the nose was given an extra point touchy with an air of pride and the tail was given a nice puffy look, which a bit of arrogance about it.
More than anything, it was the dialogues of Georgette, which were rude and condescending to other charterers in the cartoon. The impact of popular culture on the negative image of poodles cannot be overstated.
Through different media channels, certain things get stereotyped into an image. For poodles, they get stereotyped into a “frou-frou” dog breed.
Another common misconception of the poodle is that it doesn’t require exercise. The appearance or image of the poodle is once again the reason behind this misconception.
The poodle is seen as a dog breed that is delicate with a fragile bone structure. Therefore, they are not allowed to exercise as much as they should be.
A lot of poodle pet owners make the mistake of under-exercising a poodle which leads to several health issues such as diabetes, cataract, and more. It can also lead to mental health issues such as depression or excessive behavior.
So, what is a poodle like?
Several experts in the field of canine intelligence have pointed out that poodles are highly intelligent dogs. In fact, they are ranked as the second smartest dog, out of 138 breeds.
The criteria used for this ranking included several parameters. They tested dogs for their obedience of commands, how quickly they learned new commands, and the number of times it took them to complete the command.
The only dog that outperformed the poodle was a border collie dog. It is not just one study, poodles are consistently ranked as one of the smartest dog breeds in the world.
The study showed that not only do poodles have great working intelligence, but they also seem to have high adaptive intelligence, which is the ability to change the response according to change in demand of the environment.
In short, poodles are not dumb, they have proven to be one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. Poodles are a great companion for humans. They prefer the company of humans more than other dogs.
They have shown to have a great sense of humor, which is contrary to their selfish and snob image. Many pet owners think the poodles are happier in isolation but they can get depressed if left alone for extended periods of time.
The other image problem the poodle has is of being a delicate and high maintenance dog breed. It might be surprising for some to know that poodles are excellent in the role of retriever or a swimmer.
The reason why it was named as Poodle, German for splashing around in puddle or a “water-dog”, is due to its ability in the water. The origin of the name also provides a clue to the tough and rugged characteristics of the poodle.
A high-maintenance delicate dog wouldn’t be named as a dog that “splashes in puddles”.
Have you ever wondered what was the origin of the elaborate hairstyles of the poodle? As the poodle has very curly and thick hair, the hair was cropped on the underside so the poodle can swim without being tangled in underbrush.
Some hair was left on the body so they can keep warm. The typical poodle hairstyle had a practical purpose behind it. It was not born out of vanity, it was born out a useful and rugged outdoor activity.
That is quite contrary to the popular image of the poodle.
A poodle is also a high energy dog that means that in most cases it is raring to go for an exercise. It might look like it is running for a beauty-pageant, but its genetics has given them everything they need to be physically active, exercise, and have fun.
The image of the poodle as high maintenance snob has been detrimental to their health. As a lot of poodle owners continue to believe that their pet doesn’t need a lot of exercises, which is an incorrect assumption. All dogs can benefit from regular exercise.
It helps keep them healthy in numerous ways. It also helps with their social and behavioral life.
Sadly, the poodle has not been allowed to live up to its potential. For example, why can a poodle not be a guide dog? They have been proven to be a great companion for humans, they are loyal, intelligent, high-stamina, and easy to train and keep clean.
Just because they are misunderstood by the public, they are not used for such service. A great advantage of poodle compared to other guide dogs is that they don’t shed as much, so they are great for people with allergies.
Poodles are often stopped from access to certain transportation or stores where they are entitled to go but because people view them differently to other dogs. They are denied access because of their image. People think a poodle cannot be well-trained, so they must be trouble.
There needs to be more awareness about the misconceptions of poodles so they can be better understood. They might be the most misunderstood pet in the world.
The reasons for this misunderstanding can be debated, but the fact is that poodle suffers from this image of being a selfish, arrogant, and mean animal.
They are extremely loving, loyal, intelligent, and fun companions and that is how they should be seen. Not for what the popular culture has projected them, but for what they truly are.