Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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Hunting Poodles: Pretty and Practical

Standard poodle, Tuula, looks too pretty to be an effective hunting dog. Don't let her looks fool you.

Standard poodle, Tuula, looks too pretty to be an effective hunting dog. Right?

When I heard that Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty had bought himself a standard poodle for hunting, my first thought was “That’s reality TV for ya, pretty dang unreal.”

So when I heard that I was to play host for a gathering of poodles and their owners in my own backyard, I thought, “I gotta see this!”

This group was on their way to the week long Poodle Club of America’s Western Regional Specialty in Oregon, Sept. 21-27. They needed my backyard for a little pre-competition workout before heading south for the show.

I knew that poodles used to be used as water retrievers (and, in fact, the pudelpointer, a dog often seen in my own backyard at NAVHDA hunt tests is a cross between a poodle and pointer), but those days are long gone. Right? These pretty-as-a-picture, primped and preening poodles are only made to look good on the end of a leash. Right? Sure they’re smart, but what poodle in its right mind would jump into a muddy pond to fetch a duck? These dogs don’t hunt. Right?

WRONG. Not only was pretty Miss Tuula willing to jump into the muddy water …

Tuula, hunting standard poodle

… but she was also willing and more than able to fetch a dirty duck (or, as in her case, a dirty pigeon) to hand.


And Tuula (who lives just up the road in Adna and is slated to hunt the youth pheasant hunting weekend at Scattercreek) wasn’t the only fancy dawg that could hunt. There were plenty of others.











The poodle people were invited out to train by well-known and respected hunting dog trainer Richard Matzki of Onalaska, who has recently acquired a poodle dog of his very own. If you are looking for a trainer for your hunting dog, I wouldn’t hesitate to send you to see Matzki — whether you have a poodle, a pointer, a pudelpointer, or any other kind of bird hunting dog.

If you would like to learn more about hunting poodles, visit the Gun Dog magazine website.

After watching the poodles at work in the field and in the water I have a lot more respect for the breed, but I won’t be trading my Labrador Retriever in on one any time soon. (If God has a duck dog, I’m pretty sure it’s a Lab.)

Just look at this little pup that joined the poodles in play on that day …


There was also a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever attending that day. Now, this one has me thinking …




Good looking dog, compact size. Here’s what the AKC has to say about them:

Medium sized, powerful and compact, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the retrievers. He developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. This lures them within gunshot range, and then the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds. Their water-repellant double coat is any shade of red, often with white markings.


About Kimberly Mason

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer, photojournalist, and web designer. When she's not out chasing a story, you'll find her at work in one her three main offices — her big backyard, the Cowlitz River, or the recliner in her living room. She has four grown children, three grandchildren, and is owned by a Labrador retriever, Buddy the WonderDog.


  1. Poodles are way more than just pretty faces; they excel at retrieving, agility, obedience, tracking, SAR, nosework, etc., etc!!!

  2. Poodles do it all. Come visit us in Wenatchee. We hunt with our dogs for sure…including a few Champion Poodles. You go, Uncle Si!

  3. I also have Poodles, their versatility never ceases to amaze! Beautiful Photography!

  4. I love watching Poodles doing their thing in the field. I had the privilege of hunting with my Ch. Miniature Poodle Howie for many seasons.

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