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That is a fantastic bit of trivia. Poodles are such multi faceted dogs. I recently recommended the breed to someone who was looking for a hunting companion but wanted a very reliable dog around his small children.

George Roach

An excellent and informative article, !" I am thinking that rather than being worried about the poodles kicking husky butt, the other mushers really were concerned for the poodles safety.

Diamond Emerald-Eyes

That is very facinating. Cats do not pull sleds and we certainly have no desire to race to anything, except maybe the food dish.


yeah, they were afraid they'd look bad when the poodles took first place..haha..that's funny..not what i said ...your story...


I once watched a team of all border collies run away with my friend's son driving and my kids riding in the sled...it was exciting to say the least as they were headed right for the road. However, when my friend, their veteran sheep dog trial trainer hollered, "lie down!", they did. lol


I have no doubt that poodles can do anything, but if they aren't really suited for it, then I guess it's best that they don't do it. I don't like the idea of them freezing to the ground or anything else harmful happening to them.


haha.. that may be true .. but take it from me.. it ain't fun to be cold. :-)


One day I will have a mushing poodle. It's true, though, in those extreme northern climes that I would probably take a husky over a poodle out of concern for the poodle's well-being. But poodles being very smart and agile, they would probably mush perfectly in our southern-canadian weather, which isn't that cold (despite the rumours). I think probably one of the best team combinations would be having a poodle lead dog, malamute wheel-dogs and huskies in the team positions to combine the best of intelligence, strength and speed. Hmm. Something to think about.


Poodles are surprising dogs.


I had never heard this before about poodles & the iditarod - how fascinating.


oh boy...more pro-poodle propaganda :-)


Ha ha, Matt. Poodles don't get much good publicity.


Oh, I loved that story Jan! Now that's entertainment!
It does seem like the cold would be rough on their paws.
I read today where Police dogs in Dusseldorf Germany would be fitted with special shoes/doggie booties for assignments where there was a danger they could encounter glass shards or discarded drug-users' needles!


I remember hearing about that sometime ago! I guess it is good that they aren't doing it if they really can't handle the conditions, but it sure would look cool!


While I do believe that Poodles have the strength,and heart,I have to agree that they aren't sufficiently adapted to the climate.
But who cares?..they are champions at the purposes for which they were bred!


Sling, Your striking good looks are matched only by your discerning taste.

Turbo the Sibe

They could have put boots on the poodles and coats too. They should have! The more the merrier! Woo!


Poodles are wonderful dogs and can accomplish anything with which they are tasked and with much more enthusiasm than most breeds. Long live the Poodle!!!

Jack Anderson

I have a five year old male poodle, Max,and he has been pulling for four years but not sleigs,
wagons. He pulls two wagons with a kid in each one. If I knew how to email a picture I would. Jack

Marc the Lizard Man

My friends (CB & BD) love poodles but had no inkling of their remarkable accomplishments. In fact, my friends were taken aback by this sudden revelation. Standard Poodles are amazing dogs, and I think everyone should have a cool (standard) poodle.


My standard poodle is a conformation champ, in trinaing in agility, obedience and rally, does urban agility and also keeps an eye on my balance. He steps in at times to steady me, since I have vertigo. One time he did this during an evaluation as we were leaving up the stairs. I became dioriented and missed a step...he threw his chest and shoulder in at me to steady and support me. And that was his first time in a mall...
I have a second standard poodle, a show girl and she already started obedience and agility.
Poodles' minds never quit! My toy poodle saved my family's lives from a fire. Her story is in the IPPG.
Oh, the stories I could tell!

Winnie Denis

Our Poodle and we live in Vermont, and believe me, there's no more enthusiastic dog in the snow. Smart indeed, he-- now has about at 60-word vocabulary, would be great at agility if his handler--yours truly--had any ability, and the first time he sees snow each season, he goes nuts--can't get enough--nose down plowing! I find keeping his feet trimmed keeps him from struggling with ice balls in his feet - a major problem. Biggest surprise is the amount of exercise he wants year around - about 5 miles a day for us--heaven knows how much he covers! He is the strongest dog I have ever known, and I raised totally field trained labs--great dogs in every respect, and later, an adopted German Shorthair--great energy, very bright but just a tad cookoo! Yep, we're prejudiced, but Poodles do rule!


I just finished reading a book called "My Lead Dog was a Lesbian" which is the story of Patrick O'Donoghue's one and only attempt at the Iditarod in 1991.

This was the last year Suter completed the Iditrod and there were several references in there about "not wanting to be beaten by the poodle man"

1991 was as especially bad year for weather and according to the book, although Suter managed to finish several of his poodles had died completing the journey. He had a mixed team of poodles and northen breeds but the poodles for obvious reasons suffered the most.

Debbie Parrish

My sister is afraid or should I say uneasy around large dogs. But I just moved in with her with my Standard Poodle service dog....and she loves him. He is very smart and lets us know what he wants and he wants "it" right now. He just has his sixth birthday and acts like a pup. He loves the snow here in Colorado, even though we never had any snow in southern California where we come from. I just have to discourage his dislike for small yipping dogs that annoy the daylights out of him. But we are working on that.


The logical step is to breed and race pookys.

Leena Nikkarinen

Greetings from Finland, Northern Europe! My two lovely long-haired Standard Poodles love snow, and of course we go out every day of the year, and they have fun. They have snow balls in their paws and all over the dog, too, and they think it is my problem not to get floors wet when the snow is melting. In extremely cold weather they wear warm clothes, but they (or is it me) don´t want to go too far from home.

My two standard poodles are very wise and active, always wanting something new to do. They are excellent sports dogs, though I doubt not every poodle would race in the snow. The younger one (1-year-old) loves a lot to swim in the lakes, even in the cold water, and the older (9-years-old, not a swimmer at all) has always prefered to sit in a hot sauna with us.


It seems odd that after finishing several Iditarods it would be determined that only northern breeds can run. Some of those Alaskans don't seem to have great coats.


i want a poodle!!!!!


My 3 year old Standard Poodle is the first of her breed in British Columbia to pass the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) validation as a certified Search Dog (summer profile). A big accomplishment for us.
We are attempting the avalanche profile but struggle in certain snow conditions. Both snowballing in the feet, icing and balling in the coat and just being plain cold.
Do any of you snow-living poodle folk have any secrets to divulge? very short on feet, longer coat? Very short feet, shortish coat? Products? (I haven't much success with products)... Bless her heart, she still works when she's uncomfortable but it makes me uncomfortable seeing her not loving it.
Much appreciated!


I have 6 Standard Poodles and they all love the snow and cold weather here in South Western PA. I also raise sheep and a couple of years ago, we starting losing sheep to those destructive coyotes. It was recommended that I put a guard dog in with the sheep. So, I put one of my Standards, a 72 lb male, to work watching the sheep and he has stayed with them and remained on guard in temps as low as -5 degrees with no problems and snow doesn't seem to be an issue. I use a #10 blade between his toes and pads every 2-3 weeks and scissor some of the longer hair on his lower legs and no balls form. At three years old, when I first gave him the task, he was a natural at watching the sheep and warding off coyotes. And the sheep took to him instantly for protection.

As far as agility and speed, I have a female Standard poodle who would give a Greyhound a run for his money. She can run with me on the 4-wheeler at 28 mph for over a mile, effortlessly and in any weather. I run out of road or flat area to go further than a mile but I don't doubt she could do it.
I have been a Standard Poodle person for over 15 years. My other four Standards are just as athletic and smart but their job is "therapy dog" and are super at cheering the folks at our local nursing homes and Cerebral Palsy facilities.

I believe there is nothing Standard Poodles can't do. I think the problem is their name. People have poodle-phobia. Maybe they should be given a tougher name and then they wouldn't be thought of as wimpy.

Corey Reynolds

I met John Suter and his poodle team while I was stationed in Alaska along about '88 or '89. He was training his team in the training areas of Ft. Richardson and I was a paratrooper "in the field" on Listening post/observation post (LP/OP). My camouflage must have been good because his team ran me over. Those poodles sure were motivated but it was a little ridiculous, they were obviously not suited to the environment.


My 10-year-old standard poodle boy wears neoprene shoes during winter, because his paws are very sensitive. He, as well as my younger boy spoo (fills 2 in Sept) wear raincoats in a wet weather (because of me), and warm fleece under it if the weather is very cold. They are family dogs, and have a short cut in the summer and long hairs in the winter. In the winter the younger one enjoys outdoor life in all kinds of weathers playing with snowballs, the older prefers to stay inside.

Joseph Pyanoe

We had two female Rotty's who were as good as they get.
Now we have a seven year old male standard. He is as smart and tough as they come. We also have his four year old neice she is the fastest and most agile dog i have ever seen.
Their names are Jet and Nikki we feel blessed to have them.

Dorothy Stewart

Hi, thanks for the info on the Iditarod. I just wrote about Jon Franklin's The Wolf in the Parlor in which he mentions it, and I wanted to give a link. I used your blog, hope that's ok. I have a Standard Poodle - rescued after 5 years as a puppy mill stud dog. He's now a wonderfully silly, and smart, dog. He's my first Poodle and he lives up to everything good that's said about them.

Karen Morss

This story inspired me to write a children's holiday book called Flying Poodles - A Christmas Story where the poodles fill in when the reindeer get the flu! http://www.flying-poodles.com


Don't kid yourselves - those poor poodles SUFFERED horrendously from the cold and snow. Do some Google searches and read the whole story. I like poodles, I just think it was a brutal thing to do by entering them in the Iditarod.

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