The Poodle is most likely descended from early German water retrievers. The name "poodle" probably derives from the German word "Pudel" (one who plays in the water). Hunters clipped the dog's thick coat to help him swim, leaving hair on the leg joints to protect them from extreme cold and sharp reeds. The French capitalized on the breed's high intelligence, trainability and innate showmanship and made the Poodle into a circus performer. His great popularity in that country led to the breed's common name, "French Poodle".