A sporting breed? Historically known as the "Water Dog," the Poodle is a product of Germany and the lowlands, where the poodle's assistance with duck trapping and duck hunting were essential. They were also very effective at fetching ducks from the marshes when they were in the moult. They love marshes and love to get wet and muddy, but do not love deep water and are not born swimmers, so when they chase something in the water, they often look as if they are about to drown. "Poodle" comes from German puddle, for good reason. Call them "Puddle Dogs."
The only challenge in training this brainy breed is the fact that they are more intelligent than most humans.
Some are natural pointers; all can be trained to be effective retrievers. Since they are hypo-allergenic, they are becoming more popular as field dogs for the allergy-prone, and some breeders specialize in this.