The Irish Doodle is a hybrid dog canine, a cross between two very different breeds of hunting dog; a German retrieving dog, the Poodle, and an elegant red field hunting dog called the Irish Setter. The Poodle is often associated with France but it was actually developed in Germany, where it was known as a Pudlehund; Pudle meaning to splash around, and hund meaning dog.
Many people view the Poodle as mainly a companion or a trained entertainment animal, particularly the miniature and toy varieties, however, the Poodle was originally bred to be a hard-working retriever of waterfowl in the same vein as Labrador or Golden retrievers.
The Standard and sometimes even Miniature Poodles can still fill that role quite admirably, although the Miniature Poodle generally focuses on smaller game-birds. In fact, their signature haircut was designed to reflect that history, with the length of the leg and the body shaved to reduce drag and prevent tangling in the weeds but the vital organs and the joints are still covered by a thick layer of protective hair. Poodles today are still sometimes employed to retrieve waterfowl, although the modern hunter is more likely to clip them short all over to prevent tangling in the brush and weeds.
The Irish Setter was developed in Ireland, at some point in the 1700s as a field hunting dog and by the early 1800s, the breed was popular not just in Ireland, but also throughout the British Isles. Most experts believe that the Irish Setter is an ancestor of breeds such as the Irish Water Spaniel, the Gordon Setter, and the Irish Terrier, but written records from the time are nonexistent.
The earliest Irish Setters were bred to be able to search out birds then hold their position, preventing them from entering the line of fire and they often came in either red and white or yellow and white, but in the mid-1800s their characteristic deep red color became the ideal. This dog breed was imported into the United States as gun dogs and retrievers that specialized in retrieving game birds during the mid-1800s as well and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1878. Although the Irish Setter could be crossed with a Miniature or Toy Poodle, the most commonly included Poodle for this hybrid is the Standard Poodle.