"THE POODLE. The particular cross from which this dog descended is unknown, but the variety produced has been carefully preserved. It is, probably, of continental origin, and is known by its thick curly hair concealing almost every part of the face, and giving it the appearance of a short, thick, unintelligent head. When, however, that hair is removed, there is still the large head; but there is also the cerebral cavity more capacious than in any other dog, and the frontal sinuses fully developed, and exhibiting every indication of the intellectual class to which it belongs.
"It was originally a water dog, as its long and curly hair, and its propensities in its domesticated state, prove; but, from its peculiar sagacity, it is capable of being trained to almost any useful purpose, and its strong individual attachment renders it more the companion of man than a mere sporting dog; indeed, its qualities as a sporting dog are seldom recognized by its owner.
"These dogs have far more courage than the water-spaniel, all the sagacity of the Newfoundland, more general talent, if the expression may be used, and more individual attachment than either of them, and without the fawning of the one, or the submisiveness of the other. The poodle seems conscious of his worth, and there is often a quiet dignity accompanying his demonstrations of friendship.
"This dog, however, possesses a very peculiar kind of intelligence. It will almost perform the common offices of a servant: it will ring the bell and open the door. [Examples: Poodle who could "play dead" to perfection, including death throes; Sancho, rescued by the Marquess of Worcester after the battle of Salamanca, also a Poodle who died heroically after the battle of Castella; see Army dogs. Observations of a veterinary surgeon who disliked treating Norfolk Spaniels and Poodles because although not difficult to manage, he couldn't attach them to himself, and they annoyed him by their pitiful and imploring gaze by day, and mournful howling at night.]
"Custom has determined that the natural coat of this animal shall be taken from him. It may be a relief to the poodle for a part of his coat to be stripped off in hot weather, and the curly hair which is left on his chest, contrasted with his smooth and well-rounded loins and quarters, may make it look pretty enough; but it should be remembered that he was not designed by nature to be thus exposed to the cold of winter, and that there are no dogs so liable to rheumatism, and that rheumatism degenerating into palsy, as the well-trimmed poodle."
"THE BARBET is a small poodle, the production of some unknown and disadvantageous cross with the true poodle. It has all the sagacity of the poodle, and will perform even more than his tricks. It is always in action; always fidgety; generally incapable of much affection, but inheriting much self-love and occasional ill-temper; unmanageable by any one but its owner; eaten up with red mange; and frequently a nuisance to its master and a torment to every one else." [Sic. See Larousse (1867) ...Lit...]
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