The Hunting Poodle: Info, History, Appearance & Pictures

Hunting Poodle running in the forest

We have all seen the sweet and gorgeous Poodles showcased in dog shows, but have you seen hunting Poodles? Because of their cuddly looks, Poodles are not typically associated with hunting; however, they are interestingly good hunters.

In fact, hunting Poodles are impressively well-versed in locating and returning upland game birds and waterfowl. While these dogs may appear delicate, they are actually powerful and courageous canines. 

Are you curious to know more about the hunting Poodle? This article will cover everything from their history, temperament, price, and more. Let’s start!

Can Poodles Be Hunting Dogs?

A group of hunting Poodles running

Yes, hunting Poodles can be effective hunters by scouring fields, ponds, and lakes for birds. You can rely on them to return shot-down ducks and other waterfowl. Furthermore, a hunting Poodle is highly capable of hunting from a boat, field blind, or shore blind.

The Standard Poodle does not automatically evolve into an exceptional hunter. Although they possess innate hunting instincts, they still require a lot of guidance to sharpen and materialize their talents.

Only the Standard Poodles make excellent hunting partners. Toy Poodles are more like lap dogs because of their petite size and temperament. But some hunters have successfully trained Miniature Poodles to retrieve smaller birds. 

Why Are Poodles Good Hunting Dogs?

Poodles were originally bred for hunting and retrieving purposes. They were developed to have specific traits to hone their bird-finding ability. 

Hunters highly admire the Standard Poodle because of their intelligence. These dogs are often regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

As a result, they can easily be trained to track, locate, retrieve, and obey their owners. They also possess adaptive intelligence, which means that hunting Poodles can quickly learn and adapt to various environmental conditions.

Their drive, sense of smell, and hearing are also exceptional compared to other breeds. This is why they can obtain their target with proficiency and precision. 

Apart from their innate hunting ability, Poodles also have coats suited for the water. Apparently, these curls do not only serve aesthetic purposes. 

These canines have water-resistant, curly coats that provide extra insulation when swimming in cold water.

If you’re curious to see hunting Poodles in action, watch this video: 

Louter Creek Hunting Poodles (Tower Shoot 2017)

History of Poodles as Hunting Dogs

Hunting Poodle walking in the forest

Hunting Poodles originated in Germany. This is where they started working as gun dogs by accompanying hunters in lakes to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl. 

Furthermore, the breed name “Poodle” was derived from the German word “pudel” or “pudelin,” which means “to splash in the water.”

Even the staple haircuts we see on television and dog shows originated from their hunting history. Hunters shaved certain sections of their Poodles for increased movement and would leave the other parts unshaven for warmth. 

Following its popularity in Germany, this breed swiftly gained favor in France and other parts of Europe. In fact, the smaller variations of the breed originated in France. 

However, they were employed as circus performers instead of hunting dogs and were treated more as companion pooches. 

Poodles then arrived in the United States in the late nineteenth century. During this time, the Standard Poodle predominantly became show dogs and pets. Nevertheless, some Poodles retained their strong hunting instincts. 

The Standard Poodle is now a versatile, all-purpose hunting dog capable of locating and recovering upland birds.

Although Poodles are fantastic at hunting, the American Kennel Club does not recognize the Poodle as a sporting breed. Instead, they are classified under the non-sporting group. 

This is because the majority of the breed no longer participate in sporting or retrieving activities.

Despite this, United Kennel Club (UKC) and the North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA) allow Poodle dogs to compete in field tests as retrievers. 

Furthermore, Standard Poodles are classified as a retriever by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA). 

These canines are the only “non-hunting” breed eligible for AKC’s special test known as the Retriever Hunting Tests.

Hunting Poodle Physical Appearance: What Does a Hunting Poodle Look Like?

Hunting Poodle standing outdoors

Hunting Poodles can grow to be either medium or large-sized dogs. Their height can range from 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder. And as for their weight, they can weigh between 45 and 55 pounds. 

Probably the most prominent feature of Standard Poodle hunting dogs is their curly coat. These canines have a single coat of curly fur that is thick and dense.

Most Poodles exhibit a solid black coat. However, the Poodle coat can also have a long list of other colors, including gray, brown, parti, phantom, and white. 

Another feature we know Poodles for is their long fur. They can grow their coat up to an inch per month, so trim them regularly to keep them short and untangled. 

Furthermore, brown to dark brown eyes are Poodles’ typical eye color. However, a small percentage of the breed has light eye shades. 

Modern hunting Poodles are characterized by long necks and straight backs. With their elongated legs and muzzles, they are some of the most elegant-looking hunter dogs. Their dropped ears also offer a great deal of attractiveness. 

Hunting Poodle Temperament: How Do Hunting Poodles Behave?

The hunting Poodle is generally reliable and well-behaved. They make excellent companions even though they have all the fierce and intimidating characteristics of a gun dog.

People also love them because of their affectionate and caring demeanors. They are open to meeting new people and can even be ideal in multi-pet households when nurtured alongside other pets. 

A lot of owners also employ Standard Poodles as watchdogs because they are obedient and brave. These dogs are impressively attentive and will not hesitate to defend their owners.

This trait is similar to other duck dog breeds, like the Labrador Retriever. However, this does not make them even the slightest aggressive. 

And since these dogs were raised for duck hunting and other activities, they are very active and find joy in working. 

Hunting Poodle Training: How to Train Your Poodle to Hunt

Hunting Poodle chasing a bird

The Poodle is always eager to learn new skills. They are highly intelligent dogs capable of reading body language and facial expressions. 

But while they have natural hunting instincts, you will still need to train them. According to Gun Dog Magazine, the Standard Poodle requires a highly positive training regimen.

Poodles excel when they receive good feedback for completing tricks correctly. Unlike other dogs, they genuinely enjoy training and social connection with humans. 

There are many ways to train Standard Poodles, all of which require time, effort, and consistency. For waterfowl hunting, you can start by teaching your Poodle to retrieve toys and reward them after every success.

Teaching your dog obedience commands will also assist you in instructing them to wait in a duck blind. Some commands include “come”, “sit”, “stay”, and “wait.”

Hunting dog breeds must be versatile and capable of quickly adapting to new settings. You will need to expose your water dog to a muddy and wet environment as early as possible. 

Water retrievers can begin training between the ages of 4 and 6 months. And as a gun dog breed, your Poodle should also be used to the sound of gunfire. 

All the training methods will be the same with Miniature Poodle hunting dogs. However, you should know that Toy Poodle hunting dogs will be harder to teach because they are not naturally suitable for such activities and environments.

How Much Does a Hunting Poodle Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses 

If you are looking to adopt a hunting Poodle, expect to pay between $600 and $2,000. The entire cost of your purchase will be highly dependent on various factors, including your location and breeder of choice. 

The price of a Poodle can even rise to $4,000. This is because quality breeders devote significant time and resources to ensuring their Poodles’ health and happiness. 

After purchasing your Poodle, you will also need to consider its basic needs, such as food, beds, and veterinarian bills.

To help you determine the beginning costs associated with raising a hunting Poodle, check the table below: 

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$70 – $150
Bowls$10 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$40 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$50 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $80
Total Initial Cost$505 – $3,150

As you can see, the initial cost of raising a Poodle hunting dog will amount to between $505 and $3,150. However, you should not limit all your spending on the items mentioned above.

Besides all the mentioned expenses, you should also prepare for training fees. Training the Poodle hunting dog is very different from the other methods. 

Hiring a professional retriever trainer on a month-to-month basis might cost between $500 and $1,000. These programs typically run for three to six months. 

Places to Find Hunting Poodle Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Hunting Poodle face profile

Since the Standard Poodle is such a popular breed worldwide, finding breeders should be easy. However, the Poodle hunting dog is not widely available.

If you want to find hunting Poodle puppies for sale, check out the breeders below:

  • Louter Creek Red Hunting Poodles – Besides breeding hunting Poodles, Louter Creek Hunting Poodles conducts hunt tests and engages in hunting with their Poodles. Their training programs cover fundamentals, force fetch, introduction to firearms, and more. 
  • French Standard Poodles – This website showcases hunting dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. Their Poodles come with health guarantees, are microchipped, and are DNA-tested by FCI or AKC Champion parents. 
  • Lazy Y Ranch Kennels – They ensure that all puppies have received deworming, their first vaccination, and vet checkups. Lazy Y Ranch Kennels also offers Poodle hunting puppies sired by an international champion. 

If you do not have much experience buying a dog online, you should be aware of the safety risks. To avoid any issues throughout the process, do intensive research.

If you are someone looking to adopt rather than shop for a hunting Poodle, visit the following rescues: 

  • Doodle Dandy Rescue (DDR) – Based in Texas, Doodle Dandy Rescue is an organization dedicated to Poodles, Doodles, and other Poodle mixes. All dogs from DDR are trained, well cared for, and loved. Make sure to check out DDR’s website so that you won’t miss out on their adoptable hunting Poodles.
  • Carolina Poodle Rescue – Carolina Poodle Rescue is looking for experienced dog owners with a track record of providing good veterinary care to previous pets. You can discover the information for each rescued Poodle by visiting their profile on the website. 
  • IDOG Rescue – To adopt a hunting Poodle from IDOG, you must first complete an adoption application, a phone interview, veterinarian and personal reference checks, and a house visit. Pre-adoption treatment includes a complete veterinary exam, core vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying or neutering of all Poodles.

Since adopting a pet is not something to be taken for granted, adoption centers make sure only to select qualified and capable owners. That said, make sure you are emotionally and financially prepared before you adopt a hunting Poodle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hunting Poodle walking in a snowy forest

What Is a German Hunting Poodle?

German Hunting Poodles are trained to locate and retrieve upland birds and waterfowl. 

These Standard Poodles have inherent hunting instincts and physical characteristics that assist them in navigating and surviving outdoors. 

Do Poodles Have a High Prey Drive?

Yes. Poodles were originally bred to retrieve and hunt dogs, and they retain the acquired prey drive to this day. This explains why Poodles quickly pursue squirrels upon spotting them.

What Were Poodles Used to Hunt for?

Poodles were mostly used to bring ducks and other birds to their owners. They were not trained to catch the prey. Instead, they would retrieve shot ducks and geese from swamps and lakes.

Final Thoughts

Hunting Poodles are amazingly clever and obedient. These bright dogs are eager to learn and will quickly become your ultimate hunting companion. 

Apart from their extraordinary hunting instincts, they are devoted companions who will not hesitate to protect you.

Furthermore, these canines have a lengthy and fascinating history. While some Poodles lack the hunting abilities of their forefathers, there are still fierce and powerful modern hunting Poodles today.

Are you interested in owning one of these pooches? Let us know in the comments below what you think about hunting Poodles!

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