THE POODLE 71
most of the learned Poodles, and one remembers the instance of the Poodle of the Pont Neuf, who had the habit of dirtying the boots of the passers-by in order that his master-a shoeblack stationed half-way across the bridge-might enjoy the profit of cleaning them. In Belgium Poodles were systematically trained to smuggle valuable lace, which was wound round their shaven bodies and covered with a false skin. These dogs were schooled to a dislike of all men in uniform, and consequently on their journey between Mechlin and the coast they always gave a wide berth to the Customs officers. On the Continent Poodles of the larger kind are often used for draught work.
There can be little doubt that the breed originated in Germany, where it is known as the Pudel, and classed as the Canis familiaris Aquaticus. In form and coat he would seem to be closely related to the old Water-dog, and the resemblance between a brown Poodle and an Irish Water Spaniel is remarkable. The Poodle is no longer regarded as a sporting dog, but at one period he was trained to retrieve waterfowl, and he still on occasion displays an eager fondness for the water.
Throughout Europe and in the United States-wherever these dogs are kept-it is usual to clip the coat on the face, the legs, and the hinder part of the body, leaving tufts of hair on the thighs and a ring of hair on the pasterns. The origin and purpose of the custom are not apparent, but now that Poodles are almost always kept as house dogs, this mode of ornamentation at least commends itself by reducing the labour of daily grooming if the coat is to be maintained in good condition and the dog to be a pleasant associate.
The profuse and long coat of this dog has the peculiarity that if not kept constantly brushed out it twists up into little cords which increase in length as the new hair grows and clings about it. The unshed old hair and the new growth entwined together thus become distinct rope-like cords. Eventually, if these cords are not cut short, or accidentally