The French poodle rule is fairly straightforward.
French is a proper noun and therefore is capitalized.
But poodle is a common noun. There is no province called Poodle. Thus, poodle is lowercase in news style, no matter if the American Kennel Club insists it is up in their press releases and on their Web site.
Thus, as with so many things in writing and editing to style, we need to extrapolate to other instances of this in considering whether the first letter of a word is up or down. Sometimes, of course, that takes some research to determine if a name is derived from a proper noun.
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