Can Poodles Be Used To Hunt? (Water Retrievers)

Poodles are known for their luxurious coat and for taking part in dog shows but can they partake in rougher activities like hunting?

Can Poodles Be Used To Hunt?

Yes, Poodles can definitely be used to hunt. It’s in their ancestry even. They may have the reputation to only be show dogs but they definitely have something to show for.

Poodles have been used to retrieve waterfowl for years, in fact, they were even named after it.

Poodle Ancestry

The origin of their name “Poodle” is from Germany and derived from the word “pudeln”, which is German for splashing in the water.

In the early days of the Poodle, they were hard-working dogs and not at all how they are known today.

Poodles were the perfect fit for hunters to retrieve their waterfowl, like ducks or similar small animals, as Poodles were not afraid to go for a swim.

With their will-to-please, the Poodles made a good hunting dog that was and still is, easy to train, has a curly coat that keeps him warm in cold weather and lunges more gracefully than any other hunting dog.

Which Poodles Can Be Used To Hunt?

When referring to a Poodle hunting dog, you’re speaking of the Standard Poodle.

Although there are the Miniature Poodle and the Toy even, the Standard (the biggest of the three) is normally used to hunt.

The Toy and Miniature Poodles emerged later when people were moving into apartments and had a busier day and didn’t have space or time to get the dogs a lot of exercise.

Can you imagine one of those tiny Poodles running over a field or pond to retrieve a duck for their hunter?

The duck might even be bigger than the dog!

Even though the smaller Poodles have the potential to be used in hunting, they are just too small to retrieve.

The Standard Poodle has a lot of potential for hunting as he has very long legs, is tall and has a lot of energy at his disposal. Together with their will to please their owners as well as being so simple to train, they make the ideal hunting dog.

Are Poodles Recognized Hunting Dogs?

The American Kennel Club has allowed Standard Poodles to partake in hunting activities since 1996.

The Miniature and Toy Poodles have not been allowed to join but were rather placed in the non-sporting group of dogs.

Does The Coat Get In The Way?

Poodles have a coat that doesn’t shed. The hairs that would usually shed off of the dog get caught in the tight curls, which makes then a non-shedding breed.

The Poodle is a hypoallergenic dog breed, meaning that humans are less likely to have an allergic reaction to a Poodle. Humans are allergic to the dead skin cells (dander) that the dog sheds but is also present in its saliva and excrements.

Because of the Poodles curls, these skin cells don’t leave the dog’s body which means the likelihood of you having an allergic reaction is reduced. When the dog licks your face or skin, you might still have a reaction though, like redness or swelling.

You can still be allergic to your Poodle. No dog has a zero percent chance to trigger an allergic reaction. Be sure to test whether you are allergic or not.

The coat is usually cut very short (about 1 inch) to hinder a lot of dirt from getting stuck in their coat when hunting.

The only disadvantage the Poodle really has as a hunting dog is that the coat needs to be cut every few months, more frequent during the hunting season.

You can cut the coat yourself because you’re not exactly aiming for a pretty haircut but rather a practical short coat all over the body to prevent stuff from getting tangled.

You should also brush the coat every so often (especially after hunting) to get all the foreign objects out of the coat, they tend to get stuck easily in the tight curls.

Some hunters also prefer to give their dog a special haircut to keep the dog warm in certain areas but cut the coat shorter in other places for practical reasons.

Can The Poodle Stay In A Kennel?

Poodles get very attached to their owners and should not be left alone outside in a kennel.

Poodles are a breed that love being the center of attention and thusly they want to be right in the middle of everything, every family event and dinner.

They want to lay at your feet and watch over you, while you work. Once you get up, it might even only be a quick bathroom visit, they’ll likely follow you.

Putting your Poodle in a kennel does not benefit the relationship that you should be building with your dog as your companion and hunting assistant.

Where Should I Get One?

Some lines of Poodles were bred to get the hunting instincts out of them and make then show dogs that have nothing to show for (how ironic).

When approaching a Poodle breeder, be sure to ask if the parents were used to hunt or not.

There are still a few breeders specialized in Poodles for hunting, which can make training the Poodle easier.

You could also check your local shelter for Poodles and ask their caregivers about their temperaments and skills.

How Early Can I Start Training?

You need to start training your Poodle right away.

Lots of puppies are scared of water when they are first bathed and if you want your Poodle to retrieve waterfowl, later on, you need to make sure that he doesn’t mind being in the water.

Getting your dog used to water isn’t hard. Try giving your dog a bath every week or so when he is still young (9-16 weeks) and eventually he’ll get used to it.

My own puppy hated the first time I washed him, he started panicking and just wanted to get away from the water, even tried to climb on top of me.

It gets better with time. The next time he was less panicked and soon he got used to it. You can try playing with a water house outside in the yard and get him used to water that way but don’t splash him if he’s scared of it.

After he’s gotten at least a bit used to being around water, you can take him to the first body of water but be sure that he has all his shots first.

When you’re at the lake, take a toy with you and throw it in the water and see what happens. Most likely he won’t go for it right away. Go in the water just so your feet are barely covered and call him or try to get him to get the ball from you.

Get him used to the water slowly but don’t force it. I noticed that my dog immediately also got in the water when someone else was in the water and he saw that it was safe.


Poodles make loyal hunting dogs that are easy to train and eager to please. The Standard Poodle is used to assist in hunting and retrieve, rather than its smaller versions: the Miniature and Toy Poodle.

The Poodle enjoys being close to their owners, likes being the center of attention and has a coat that doesn’t shed, making this dog the perfect hunting dog for anyone prone to a dog allergy.

The Coat has the be cut regularly though, especially during hunting season, to prevent it from gathering a lot of dirt and foreign objects. It’s usually cut very short, at around an inch which can even be done at home.

Take care that when you buy a Poodle puppy, to buy from a breeder that wants the pups to be used for hunting and not show. Some lines of Poodles were bred to get rid of the hunting-instincts of the Poodle.

Start training your pup to get used to water and hunting as early as possible, ideally after he got all his shots.


I'm Lisa. I grew up with a Yorkshire Terrier, recently got an Aussiedoodle puppy and have learned a lot of things over the many years. I created this website to help you with your puppy and dog-related troubles and share the information I learned about my dogs Fluffy and Teddy.

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