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Do Poodles Hunt?

Perhaps you aren't accustomed to a Poodle with a dead rooster in its mouth. photo courtesy of Native Performance Dog Food

The June/July issue of Gun Dog magazine landed in my mailbox last week with an intriguing cover teaser: “Making a Comeback: The Standard Poodle.”  The author of the article, James B. Spencer, comes out swinging against the thought running through most of your minds right now:

“Poodles hunt?  You gotta be kiddin’ me!”

Spencer explains there are in fact three different sizes of poodles; toy, miniature and standard.  Although AKC categorizes all poodles into the non-sporting group, the standard poodle does in fact have a long hunting history.  Spencer writes that standard poodles have been a popular breed of bird dog since Middle Age times. 

Here are a few key nuggets about the standard poodle:

  • Males weigh 45 to 60 pounds, while females tend to be a bit lighter at 40 to 50 pounds.
  • They are lean and muscular with boundless energy and great stamina.
  • Most common coat color is black, but some are gray, brown, apricot or white.
  • A standard poodle’s coat doesn’t shed and is hypoallergenic.
  • Hunters with poodles typically trim their dog’s coats down to one inch long all over for easier post-field grooming.
  • Although stereotyped as a trick dog, standard poodles are very smart and easy to train for hunting.
  • Their temperament is friendly and eager to please. 
  • The standard poodle hunts as a flusher and retriever.
  • In 1881, Germans bred the standard poodle with an English pointer to create the pointing breed known today as the Pudelpointer.
  • Standard poodles can be successfully used to hunt waterfowl or upland.

Personally, I have only hunted with a standard poodle on one occasion.  Although the pup was a mere eight months old during that particular hunt, I was impressed by the dog’s natural ability, interest in birds, enthusiasm to retrieve and overall obedience.  In fact, I know two Pheasants Forever colleagues with standard poodles as their hunting dogs. 

So tell me, have you hunted birds behind a standard poodle?  How did the pup stack up as a bird dog? 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

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7 Responses to “Do Poodles Hunt?”

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  1. Ben says:

    Funny you should write this, I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks back. I’ve never hunted behind one but wouldn’t pass up the opportunity.

  2. Ben says:

    Looks very interesting. I would never pass up a good hunt but it would be a little strange to have a poodle up ahead!

  3. Bruce says:

    Hey if it hunts I am all for it. Just don’t have that silly hair cut, I’ld be embarassed.

  4. Dave says:

    My experience is that they are not big fans of the water. They seem to do well on the land but blink the water frequently.

  5. Jake says:

    Bob, thanks very much for the article. I enjoy your posts but have to comment on this one. As an avid bird hunter, I was pretty concerned that my soon-to-be wife was allergic to almost all pets. The solution…we found a breeder in MI specializing in Springer/Poodle mixes (so, no…I do not have a pure Poodle). We picked up our Springerdoodle, Sally about a year ago and she’s been a joy. The most birdy dog I’ve ever had. Loves the water. Great nose. Trainable in every way. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with her. Plus, no shedding means Sally can curl up on the couch with my wife after running the fields with me during the day.

  6. Thanks for the kind words Jake. The key with bird dogs, in my humble opinion, is finding the one that matches what you need/want. It sure sounds like you’ve found the recipe for your family. Congrats!

  7. Angie Louter says:

    Come on down and hunt with us sometime Bob…you will be so impressed that you too will be on our waiting list for next years puppies!
    My husband hunts over our poodles and gets lots of compliments on his blind manners…there is nothing like a standard poodle! They have great noses and know how to air scent as well as trail a bird, flush and retrieve!
    The dog pictured above…is our UH HRCH “Layla” SH
    She will be working on her Master Hunter Title next Spring as she just gave us 4 new pups, all were sold to hunting homes!
    We were so thankful that James Spencer wrote this wonderful article to show case our breed…

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