There are a lot of rumors about poodles and I’ve been asked some very unusual questions about poodles such as: are poodles psychic… do poodles have webbed feet… …were poodles bred to hunt lions and bears… So, I made a compilation of some of the oddest questions people have about poodles and have aimed to answer each of them.
Were Poodles Bred for Lion Hunting?
No. Poodles were not bred for lion hunting, they were bred for hunting ducks and other waterfowl in Germany around 500 years ago. Poodles’ intelligence, athleticism, and affinity for the water is what these dogs were really bred for, they helped their owners gather food and hunt birds for sport.
It’s not clear where the rumors that poodles were bred to hunt lions came from…. It is very possible that someone thought that because a popular poodle haircut is called the lion cut, that they were called this because they hunted lions. It may also have been a joke that has been retold by some gullible people, as the fluffy poodle will to some, seem like the least likely dog to hunt lions.
While the South African Rhodesian Ridgeback is known to have helped humans defend themselves against lions (normally in groups), there is no dog that has been bred to hunt lions. This is because lions are simply too big, strong, and fast to be hunted by any dog breed. An adult male lion weighs around 190 kg, whereas the heaviest dog breed, the English mastiff, while an impressive 58 kg on average, is still significantly smaller than a lion and would not be able to overpower a lion.
Did Poodles Hunt Bears?
No, poodles did not hunt bears. Again, it is not clear where this rumor came from. If you have a poodle and it accidentally encounters a bear on a hike or in the country, your poodle may become distressed or try and interact with the bear, which is even worse. It is important to keep your poodle close to you in this scenario. Advice is that if you are hiking in bear country, you should leave your dog at home, as there is a risk a free-running dog will agitate a bear and then come running back to you for protection with the bear in pursuit.
The dog breed you want if you have a bear problem is the Karelian bear dog, however, all dog and bear encounters pose more risk to the dog than the bear and many dogs have been killed or injured in hostile bear encounters, so it’s best to avoid completely if possible. I’d also say poodles make better household pets as the Karelian bear dog is known for being quite territorial, though I may be biased as a fully subscribing member of the poodle fan club….
Do Poodles Have Webbed Feet?
Yes. A lot of poodles do indeed have webbed feet, though you can not normally see this as the poodle’s curly coat gets in the way.
All dogs have some degree of webbing between their toes, but in water dogs, such as poodles and Portuguese water dogs, the webbing is more pronounced.
Webbing is a thin layer of skin between toes, which spreads out when toes are stretched apart in the water. Webbing means that animals can swim faster and better, as the webbing helps them push themselves forward with more strength. Webbing is common among many animals that swim well in the water, such as frogs and seals.
It makes sense when you think about it, poodles were bred to be water retrieving dogs, and having webbing would have helped a poodle swim long distances in the water. Other water retrieving dogs, like Labradors and Portuguese water dogs, also have webbed feet.
Webbing does not cause poodles any discomfort and means that poodles are generally strong swimmers.
Do Poodles Have Whiskers?
Yes. Poodles, like all other dogs, do have whiskers. However, some poodles whiskers are curly so are not recognized as being whiskers. Many popular poodle trims also involve a poodle’s face being shaved or close cut. This type of cut means that a poodle’s whiskers are removed entirely.
This is nothing to worry about though, dogs don’t actually need their whiskers to get on with their lives.
Whiskers are long course hairs on a dog’s muzzle, eyes and eyebrows. They normally protrude our of the dog’s regular fur and are often a different color or texture. Dog whiskers act as sensory hairs and help with a dog’s spatial awareness. Some smaller dogs may even use them to assess if they will be able to fit into a small gap. The base of each hair follicle is packed with nerve endings so these hairs are extra sensitive, which is why if you rub a dog’s muzzle they may look uncomfortable or flinch.
This is useful to the dog, especially whiskers around the eye as it sends the dog a message to close their eyes if anything that could hurt their delicate eyes comes too close.
Whiskers are also a way for dogs to convey their emotions, with them pushing forward when a dog feels threatened.
Whiskers do serve a clear purpose, however, there is no evidence that removing a dog’s whiskers causes them any harm or distress. Some people believe that dogs need their whiskers more as they grow older and their eyesight deteriorates.
Does Poodle Fur Ever Stop Growing?
Yes, though poodle fur is more like human hair and will grow very long before falling out. Most dogs have a much shorter hair cycle, with a lot of shedding. Poodles are thought to shed hair at a similar rate to humans and each hair follicle’s cycle is longer, meaning poodle hair can grow pretty long unlike other dog breeds.
In addition to poodle hair follicles having a longer life cycle, a poodle’s tight curls mean that often when a hair does fall out, it is trapped with the other hair in the curls and will not fall the ground or rub off on the furniture. So, it often seems like poodle fur never falls out.
Do Poodles Hunt Mushrooms?
Yes. Lots of poodle owners report their poodles hunting out mushrooms on their walks. This could be a concern as unless you are a fungi expert, your dog may accidentally be showing an interest in poisonous mushrooms. Unless you are confident your poodle is only going to safe mushrooms, you should discourage this behavior.
Miniature poodles were historically bred to forage for truffles, which are very similar to mushrooms. Poodles are still used for truffle hunting today, though the most common dog breed employed to do this task is the Lagotto Romagnolo, an Italian water retrieving breed, with fur similar to distinctive poodle fur.
The reason why dogs are used in truffle hunting is that their sense of smell is so much more powerful than ours. Poodles, as well as this keen sense of smell, are very intelligent dogs and are easily trained to fetch and retrieve things. The miniature poodle is favored above the standard poodle for this task, as truffle hunting often involves digging and burrowing, where a smaller sized dog is beneficial for squeezing through holes.
Are Poodles Psychic?
This is a tough one to answer, as poodles can’t speak it’s hard to know what’s going on in their doggy brain. Poodles may well be blessed with psychic abilities, but it seems unlikely…
However, there are reports of some owners who believe their pet poodles can predict and future and much more. Linda Lancashire, a tarot reader, and clairvoyant who lives in Derbyshire, UK, thinks her poodles Hilda and Tallulah have a 6th sense. Linda reports that her fluffy pets can sense financial trouble, health issues, and relationship problems and sit with her during client consultations to share their input.
Linda reports that she and her two poodles have helped famous politicians see what their future holds, but would not say who these celebrities were.
So, who knows, maybe poodles are psychic after all…