Be All That You Can Be, Fluffy
The poodle's roots run just as deep as a hunting dog, as their speed and keen senses made them particularly valued as bird hunting companions. The now stylish "Poodle clip" complete with pom-poms of fur was an evolution of a cut done by hunters to help the dogs move through the water more efficiently. Earlier iterations weren't quite so fanciful:
The patches of hair left on the body are meant to protect vital organs and joints which are susceptible to cold. It also draws attention from the shame in the poodle's eyes and appeals to the hunter's seldom indulged metrosexuality.
What They're Known For
Straight from the American Kennel Club's mouth, the breed is described as "Gay and assertive, but chary of strangers." We're not so oblivious to miss that they are referring to the agreeable nature of the breed when they say "gay," but when you have a dog that commonly looks like this you might want to reach for alternative descriptors:
With their little, round faces and big, soft eyes, the puppies of this breed embody many of the desirable features in human babies. It's likely why batshit-insane people comfortably anthropomorphize them with such gusto. Even chatroom discussions on the breed degenerate into a faux first-person commentary from the dogs themselves.
The classically groomed L'hasa Apso's mane conceals the eyes and even the legs, giving it the profile of a lopsided Roomba. While they might be smart enough to act as a service dog, their aesthetic makes them more readily accessible as an ottoman.
What They Should Be Known For
The L'hasa Apso originates from the rugged climate of Tibet, a region known to be as godawful in the cold as it is in the heat. They are called Abso Seng Kye, the "Bearded Lion Sentinel Dog" because their primary station in life was to guard the interior of Buddhist monasteries and dwellings. Their breeding specifically targeted finely-tuned hearing and the ability to quickly distinguish intimates from strangers, unlike the modern version that interminably yips at foreboding coat racks.
These dogs were so prized that they were never sold. The only way to receive one was to get it as a gift. Further, it was believed that the bodies of the L'hasa Apsos could be entered by souls of deceased lamas while they awaited reincarnation into a new body. This empowered the lamas to finally seek all of the belly rubs they had yearned for in their previous life.
Ian will happily dispense all of the "dogs can lick their own balls" jokes he passed on here at his site, InternetSensation.com.
Read about some animals that are still genuinely terrifying in our rundown of The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World, and then read about some that are only terrifying once it's too late in The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You.