When you think of a poodle, you probably think of the distinctive hairstyle. Is it merely a breed-specific fashion statement or is there more going on here?
The elaborate haircut originated in the late 16th century. Believe it or not, the fancy trim helped poodles retrieve wild game hunted near water. The dogs' bottom halves were shaved to improve buoyancy, while the chest and joints were warmed by unshaved hair. A bare face kept hair out of the eyes and mouths of the dogs.
In 18th century France, dog owners went a little overboard with the poofy look. Hair stylists would create matching looks for poodles and their owners. As fads go, it's certainly better than jorts.