All dog breeds have a purpose in life; each was created to fulfill some role, to help humans in some way. Poodles are no different; there is controversy as to where and from what stock the Poodle actually originated, but many experts are in agreement that this breed is quite old. Pictorial references to dogs resembling poodles have been observed in art dating to Roman or even Ancient Egyptian times. As is the case with many dogs, Poodles have gone from working dogs to companions, as their original "jobs" have lost importance; as occurs with many dogs, however, the skills that made them so suitable for their intended occupations have very nicely been applied towards making them an excellent family pet.
One of the earliest functions of the Poodle, and perhaps the task for which it was bred was as a water dog. Hunters would take their Poodles, or Poodle-like dogs, on the hunt with them and if a hunted animal landed in some body of water, the Poodle's job was to retrieve the animal. The Poodle's coat is very similar to that of the Portuguese Water Dog; this type of curly, dense coat protected the animals from low water temperatures and also helped in making the dog more buoyant. As with many hunting dogs, the Poodle was also intelligent, able to think on its feet, no matter what the terrain or type of water. They were also used as duck dogs, retrieving anything with wings that the hunter shot down; they were also occasionally used to bait fowl into cages. In the Middle Ages, Poodles were used when nobility went hunting with falcons.
Poodles are intelligent and because of this, they can be easily trained. Their hunting behavior also made them loyal human companions. These traits together made of the Poodle a good military dog. Indeed, throughout history, there have been references to Poodles accompanying their masters into battle, saving their masters from death, capturing spies and guarding barracks, munitions and other establishments. Outside of hunting and military conquests, Poodles have been used for many other purposes. They have a very good sense of smell and have been used for things such as truffle finding. There is evidence that the ancestors of Poodles and many Poodle-like dogs were also used for herding sheep and other types of livestock.
Thanks to their many talents, Poodles today enjoy a wonderful reputation as loving and loyal pets. They are very good with children and enjoy human companionship. They also do quite well with other animals in the home. They love to play and will provide endless amounts of entertainment to the family that gives them the love they desperately look for. A sensitive pet, a Poodle aims to please and simply wishes to be shown praise and affection in return.