one of a breed of very active dogs, probably originating in Germany but regarded as the national dog of France, having long, thick, frizzy or curly hair usually trimmed in standard patterns, occurring in three varieties (standard, miniature, and toy) differing only in size, and originally used as a water retriever.

1815–25; < German Pudel, short for Pudelhund, equivalent to pudel(n) to splash (see puddle) + Hund hound1

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World English Dictionary
poodle (ˈpuːdəl)
1.  a breed of dog, with varieties of different sizes, having curly hair, which is often clipped from ribs to tail for showing: originally bred to hunt waterfowl
2.  a person who is servile; lackey
[C19: from German Pudel, short for Pudelhund, from pudeln to splash + Hund dog; the dogs were formerly trained as water dogs; see puddle, hound1]

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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  poodle
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See French poodle
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

1825, from Ger. Pudel, shortened form of Pudelhund "water dog," from Low Ger. Pudel "puddle" (cf. pudeln "to splash") + Ger. Hund "hound." Probably so called because the dog was used to hunt water fowl. Fig. sense of "lackey" (chiefly British) is attested from 1907. Poodle-faker, British army slang for
"ingratiating male," is from 1902.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
For example, it may seem obvious that both a poodle and a pit bull are dogs.
He has a friend in the suburbs, who is a poodle owner.
Most are trendy toy breeds or designer poodle mixes in high demand.
To go from a standard poodle to a toy, it's fairly easily done.
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