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The History of Royal Standard Poodles

The poodle is an old dog breed, and thus some of its history is unclear. Although most people know it as a French breed, it was already being kept by Persians and Romans over 2,000 years ago. Furthermore, the name “poodle” comes from the Old High German word “puddeln” or “pudeln” meaning “to splash in water.” So where exactly did this breed—and the royal standard subset—come from? Read on to learn more about the history behind our royal standard poodles in California.

Two Possible Heritages

Researchers have put forward two possible lineages for royal standard poodles and other subsets of the breed. The first theory is that these dogs were developed from Asian steppe dogs captured by the Berbers of North Africa and then traveled to Portugal with the Moors in the 8th century, spreading to the rest of Europe from there. After being introduced in the West, they then evolved into German water dogs. This theory is supported by the poodle’s webbed feet and love of water, suggesting that it may have been bred for water work, such as retrieving waterfowl. The second theory is that poodles are descended from Asian herding dogs that left their native home with the Goths and eventually came west with the Ostrogoths.

Other Possible Origins of Royal Standard Poodles

Asian steppe dogs and Asian herding dogs may be the most commonly believed ancestors of royal standard poodles. However, the uncertainty of their true ancestry gives way to other theories.

North African Barbet

Some historians believe that royal standard poodles are descended from the North African Barbet, which was imported to the Iberian Peninsula. The breed eventually arrived in Gaul, where it was used for its hunting abilities. This theory is supported by the fact that the poodle’s curly coat is similar to that of the Barbet.

Cross Breeding

Royal standard poodles may also have originated from the crosses between several European water dogs, including:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Russian


It’s also possible that poodles have been around since the first century BC. Some ancient Egyptian and Roman artifacts and tombs are adorned with illustrations and statues of dogs that closely resemble modern-day poodles.

A Beloved Breed Throughout History

The ancestry of royal standard poodles is not entirely clear. However, regardless of its origin, the royal standard poodle is a unique and beloved breed that continues to capture the hearts of dog lovers around the world, such as our team at Diamond Show Poodles.

A Favorite of the European Elite

Historically, the ancestors of our royal standard poodles were water-hunting dogs and circus dogs. However, you likely most associate them with their third historical occupation: pampered pets of France’s royal households. Due to their intelligence and cheerful personality, poodles became favorites of the European elite and were particularly popular among the French, thus their association with the country today. You can spot poodles in courtly paintings by famous European artists like Albrecht Durer and Francisco Goya; the standard poodle we know today appears as early as the 15th century.