dog breed, 1808, from German Pudel, shortened form of Pudelhund "water dog," from Low German Pudel "puddle" (compare pudeln "to splash;" see puddle (n.)) + German Hund "hound" (see hound (n.)). Probably so called because the dog originally was used to hunt water fowl, but in England and America it was from the start mainly an undersized fancy or toy dog with long, curly hair. Figurative sense of "lackey" (chiefly British) is attested from 1907. Poodle-faker, British army slang for "ingratiating male," is from 1902, likely euphemistic.
updated on August 28, 2020