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.
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.