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

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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