Ever Wonder if Poodles Existed in the Wild?
The thought of wild poodles contending with the forbidding elements of nature makes us shudder. It’s hard to imagine a toy poodle surviving torrential rainstorms or blistering droughts in the desert, or slaughtering prey for its dinner (unless its prey was canned dog food). Or even getting its haircut messed up.
For that matter, what animal would make a toy poodle its prey in the wild? We have our doubts that it would be a status symbol for one lion to approach another predator and boast, “Guess what? I bagged myself a poodle today.”
If something seems wrong with this picture of poodles in the wild, you’re on the right track. We posed our Imponderable to the biology department of UCLA, and received the following response from Nancy Purtill, administrative assistant:
The general feeling is that, while there is no such thing as a stupid question, this one comes very close. Poodles never did live in the wild, any more than did packs of roving Chihuahuas. The popular breeds of dogs were derived from selective breeding of dogs descended from the original wild dogs.
Sally Kinne, corresponding secretary of the Poodle Club of America, Inc., was a little less testy:
I don’t think poodles ever did live in the wild! They evolved long after dogs were domesticated. Although their exact beginnings are unknown, they are in European paintings from the fifteenth century [the works of German artist Albrecht Dürer] on to modern times. It has been a long, LONG time since poodles evolved from dogs that evolved from the wolf.
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