standard poodle standing on grass

When you think of poodles, you immediately think of stylish, perfectly groomed show dogs, but they are more than just pretty canines. The poodle is a smart and athletic breed, and it was originally bred to be a retrieving and hunting dog. It may be hard to believe that these soft and fluffy dogs are hunters, but they definitely are.

“Pudeling” means splashing in the water in German, and poodles were bred to be retrieving waterdogs—bringing ducks and birds back to their owners. Here are some traits to explain why poodles are great hunting companions.

Reasons Why Poodles Are Great Hunters

The standard poodle is an intelligent and friendly breed that is energetic and thrives on activity, and it’s no wonder they make good hunting dogs, but it’s not just their hunting instincts and prey drive that make this cutie a great hunting companion.

They are easy to train: Poodles are very obedient even though they are energetic dogs. Their intelligence means they are easily trained and are said to learn commands with less than five repetitions! This combination makes it easy to train a poodle to become the perfect hunting companion.

They have a waterproof coat: The perfect fluffy coat you see on poodles is not just for aesthetics, but it is water repellent, making it an ideal jacket for a water hunting dog that spends a lot of time in the water. A poodle needs to swim through lakes and swamps to bring ducks and geese back to their owner, and because they have a single coat, they won’t feel weighed down

They are active and energetic: Naturally, these dogs are active and energetic because they were bred that way. These are very necessary qualities for a hunting dog to have, especially with the amount of swimming they do! Swimming through marshes is no easy feat, but these strong pooches have the strength and stamina to be great water hunters.

poodle at the beach
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Are Toy Poodles Hunting Dogs?

The standard poodle is not the only type in its breed. They come in three different size variations: standard, miniature, and toy poodles. The toy and miniature poodles are recent breeds and were bred to be companions, making them cute cuddly pets and not much more. Although they wear the same coat as a standard poodle, their small size and lack of hunting skills don’t meet the mark for a hunting companion.

How to Train a Poodle

You will enjoy training your poodle as they are quick to learn and like you to keep their training regime interesting. You need to start when your poodle is young, like most dogs, and even though they are fast learners, it could become more difficult as they get older. Here are some tips to help you with the process of training your poodle to be a hunting companion:

  • Start with basic commands to develop trust like sit, stay, and fetch.
  • Allow them to observe and learn from more experienced dogs.
  • They need to learn not to be scared of birds, since the dogs will be retrieving them. Start by slowly introducing your poodle to a tame duck or pheasant.
  • You need to teach your poodle a freeze command that will stop them in their tracks and pay attention to you.
  • Playing fetch with a ball can help your poodle learn to drop an object. This is an important skill to learn so remember to reward your dog with a treat when it obeys. Eventually, you can move on to bird dummies.
  • Get your poodle familiar with the sounds and sights of hunting like gunshots, running water, and animal sounds.
  • When you feel your poodle is ready, you can move on to blind retrieval where your dog is blindfolded, and you direct your poodle with verbal commands.
  • Always praise your poodle when it succeeds.
  • Professional trainers can help, but it is best for your poodle to be trained by its owner.

Final Thoughts

Poodles are underrated and not given enough credit for their intelligence and hunting skills. They, without a doubt, make great hunting companions, especially when given the time and effort. It’s in their DNA and they have the instincts, and even though they are sweet and charming, it’s safe to say that a poodle is indeed a hunting dog.

Featured Image Credit: Anna K Majer, Shutterstock