Poodles are the quintessential ‘Good Hair Day’ dog and have a reputation for being well-groomed with luscious locks. One question I receive a lot more than I thought I would, is whether or not poodles always have curly hair? What about straight or wavy? This article answers exactly that and more. Let’s get into it!
Do Poodles Always Have Curly Hair?
Yes, adult poodles that are purebred will have curly hair. It can take a while for the curls to show in many poodles but by around 2-3 years their hair should be curly. If crossbreeding has happened at any point in the bloodline, this could impact the coat’s final curliness.
The Breed Standard For Poodle Hair
According to Kennel Club breed standards, all Poodles should have fur that is short, thick, and curly. Their coat should be dense and harsh to the touch. In the show ring, owners are allowed to trim their dog’s fur and any style is permitted.
Their curly coat can be a wide range of colors including:
Origins of the coat
While it can be hard for some of us to picture today, the Poodle was traditionally used as a working dog. They would retrieve waterfowl from bodies of water after they had been shot by hunters. To be able to wade through the water and reeds, it would have been preferable for them to have a harsh outer coat that kept their bodies dry and warm. The classic ‘poodle cut’ was actually developed, not for fashion purposes, but to make the coat easier to manage when out and about hunting.
What Age Does a Poodle’s Hair Go Curly?
As you likely already know, Poodles are not born with curls so don’t worry too much if your Poodle pup has not yet developed their beautiful coat.
Initially, a puppy poodle has fur that is wavier rather than curled. It can take six to nine months for their curls to really develop. Between the ages of one and three, they will have grown their adult coat.
If you have bought or re-homed an adult Poodle but they do not actually have curls, they are unlikely to be a full pedigree. If they closely resemble a Poodle, it is possible that one of their ancestors (perhaps a parent or grandparent or even a more distant relative) was a different breed.
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Do The Curls Make Poodles Hypoallergenic?
Today, the curly coat of the Poodle is highly desired by dog owners. Not only is it attractive and relatively low maintenance, but it is also generally considered hypoallergenic. To some extent.
This means that humans who suffer from sensitivities or allergies to dog dander may be able to tolerate keeping a Poodle as a pet.
However, this shouldn’t be assumed as some people are allergic to the dog’s saliva, while others have more extreme allergies and will react to all dog breeds.
Do Curly Poodles Shed Much?
Poodles hardly shed their fur at all, making them a good choice for those with allergies or who are house proud.
Of course, they will naturally lose and replace their fur but they do not experience seasonal molts and their fur is lost in relatively small amounts compared to other breeds.
Due to their tight curls, fur that is shed tends to remain in the coat. This fur needs to be removed when brushing your dog. To keep your home fur-free, consider carrying out these grooming sessions outdoors.
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Will Poodle Mixes Be Curly Too?
The Poodle is a ‘frequent flyer’ in the world of hybrid and designer dogs. This, in large part, is down to their desirable coat. When crossed, many will retain the curls of the Poodle although this is not guaranteed.
More popular crosses such as the Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Cavapoo, and Cockapoo may or may not inherit the curly coat.
And in some cases, Poodle crossbreeds may not have a single curl!
How To Maintain Your Poodle’s Curly Coat
Many owners worry about maintaining the fur of the Poodle in good condition, especially when they see Poodles in the show ring. Realistically, most pet Poodles are not ever clipped to show standard, so this isn’t something that needs to be a concern.
At home, the curly coat of Poodles should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks. The fur around their face and paws will need to be trimmed more regularly than in other areas. Some owners will prefer to use a professional grooming service every couple of months. In order to save money, this can potentially be reduced to two to three times a year.
Daily brushing with a wire brush is best and waiting too long in between brushes can lead to matting. This is especially true in areas such as the paws, armpits, groin, and face. Mats can be difficult and painful to tease out. In extreme cases, large mats may need to be clipped out.
It is important not to over-bathe your poodle as this can result in a lackluster coat and dry skin. This is because shampoo tends to strip natural oils and can lead to flaky and itchy skin.
Additional Coat Maintenance Tips
As well as regular trims and grooming, there are a few things that can be done to create a beautiful curly coat. These include:
Skin and Coat supplements
Ingredients like fish and seed oils that are high in essential fatty acids can help keep the skin nourished and the coat silky and shiny. There is a range of supplements available that you can purchase through your vet, online, or from your local pet shop. Supplements are available as tablets, capsules, powders, or liquids and are usually put on the food each day.
Some dog foods are specifically designed to ensure a glossy coat and healthy skin. If your Poodle isn’t keen on taking supplements, this can be an easy way to provide them with the nutrients they need.
The majority of dogs need to be treated for external parasites regularly. Parasites like mites, fleas, and ticks can all lead to skin and coat issues. As treating an established infestation can be difficult and affected dogs are itchy and uncomfortable, it is best to prevent this situation from occurring when possible.
Use of the appropriate products
Steer clear of harsh chemicals and shampoos that have not been designed for dogs. As some Poodles have sensitive skin, consider a hypoallergenic, mild shampoo to cleanse their fur. Those with dry fur may benefit from oils that can be brushed through their coat. However, dogs can ingest these oils so stick to products that have been designed for dogs and have been thoroughly tested.
Addressing any underlying medical issues
There are certain medical conditions that can lead to fur loss, a dry coat, and dermatitis.
For example, Poodles can be predisposed to Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease; two hormonal conditions that can result in a poor quality coat.
Similarly, those with chronic skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis can suffer from unhealthy skin and coat.
While certain diseases might not be totally curable, managing them will go a long way towards restoring their coat’s former glory.
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Can I Make My Poodles Hair Curlier? Or Less Curly?
You may have a preference for a certain type of curl or you may prefer the look of no curls.
However, a dog’s coat cannot be changed in the same manner as human hair (so no straightening irons or perms for them!).
Ultimately, how curly their fur gets is really dependent on their genes.
For those owners who prefer a less curled look, clipping the coat tightly year-round will achieve this look. Although excessive clipping of their coat should mostly be avoided.