Do All Poodles Have Curly Hair?


I absolutely love my fancy poodle’s curly hairdo! There’s nothing better than seeing the smile on his face when I scratch his fluffy coat, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish brushing him was a bit easier. Trying to get the slicker brush through his hair is a chore! 

So, do all poodles have curly hair? Yes, all adult purebred poodles have curly hair. A poodle puppy is born with straight hair which can take up to three years to fully mature into the curls. Some poodles’ coats could take longer to mature. Typically, though, unless your poodle is a mixed breed, the poodle will have curly hair.

After finding this information, I realized just how much I did not know about my little furry buddy’s hair. What started off as a quest to answer a simple question has turned into a fun, in-depth research project. I spent quite a bit of time learning as much as I could about my dog’s curly textured hair. And I share it here with you!

Why Do Poodles Have Curly Hair?

Not everyone realizes that poodles are water dogs. That’s why they have those spongy, curly locks. Poodles were bred to have long, tight curls that protect them from cold or even freezing water temperatures. 

Poodles were initially used as working dogs for hunters, but after realizing how useful these smart breeds could be, many sailors, seamen, and even military men began using water dogs in their fields. Poodles are at the top of the heap for working dogs due to their intelligence as well as their curly coats.

Historically, poodles have been used to:

  • Retrieve ducks and other birds shot by hunters
  • Retrieve objects that had fallen overboard
  • Pass messages between ships

The shaggy cut of water dog breeds has been around for quite some time, and I do not imagine that it will be going anywhere soon.

How Do Bouncy Curls Protect a Poodle’s Skin?

The way curly hair protects the skin of poodles (and other water dogs), is actually pretty interesting. Unlike most dogs who have both topcoat and undercoat layers of fur, poodles only need to have their single-layer coat to keep them warm. The dense, tight curls keep water from reaching their skin. Essentially, a poodle’s hair soaks up the water before it even has the chance to get to the skin and make them shiver. 

Curly Hair and Those Fancy Poodle Haircuts

There is actually a practical reason behind the fancy poodle show cuts. Many of us probably thought that these cuts were a bit silly, but they have a history as well! When a poodle’s curly hair gets wet, it tends to become heavy as well. So, to prevent the heavy curls from slowing down waterdogs during their many jobs in the seas, owners would shave their hind legs to make them faster and more aerodynamic in the water. Today, this cut is still popular since poodles are still used as working dogs by many people, but it is also seen as the most traditional look for a show dog.

Check out this article I recently wrote on 25 haircuts for poodles. in it, you’ll find pictures of the most popular and unique haircut styles for your poodle out there.

Is curly Poodle Hair Hypoallergenic?

Like many other poodle owners, I thought that they—and other curly-haired breeds—were hypoallergenic. However, during my research about poodle’s hair, I found out that their praise has been routed in myth. The truth is that their hair might be a part of the rumor’s longstanding popularity. 

Henry Ford Hospital’s department of public health took dust samples from homes where “hypoallergenic” dogs lived and compared them to homes with other dog breeds. After this study, the department found that there is no scientific basis to claim that poodles, Portuguese water dogs, or any other dog deemed “hypoallergenic” have fewer allergens

In most cases, the scientists say that there was virtually no difference between homes with the fabled hypoallergenic dogs and homes with other dogs. In fact, some rooms in the homes even had a considerable amount of more dander and allergens, but the scientist chalked that up to lenient and lax dog owners who were under the impression that their dogs had no allergens.

The reason some people tend to believe that poodles and other curly-haired breeds are hypoallergenic is that they are breeds that do not shed very much. Since they do not shed as much, it seems that less of their dander and allergens would be able to be spread around the house. Though this logic may seem sound, it did not hold up to the experiment.

Why Don’t Poodles Shed?

Surprisingly enough, having curly hair is also what keeps poodles from shedding. As I said before, most dogs have two coats, an undercoat, and a topcoat, while poodles only have a single layer coat of hair.

It is actually the undercoat that sheds most of the hairs that other dog breeds leave all over the furniture. While poodles still technically shed and regrow hairs like any other dog breed, but their curls create an illusion. As their hairs shed, the poodle’s luscious curls trap the hairs in their long strands. 

While this is great for keeping your dog’s hair off of the furniture and minimizing clean up around the house, it generally isn’t great for the poodle’s coat. After a little while, the lost hairs can become tangled with the rest of the coat, causing them to matt, which makes grooming quite hard. 

If you are thinking of purchasing or adopting a poodle mix, it can be difficult to know if they will shed or not. Read this article to help determine which poodle mix is for you and your family.

The Right Tools for Untangling a Poodle’s Matted Curls

If your fluffy best friend ends up with some mats in their hair, here is how you can get rid of them without hurting your pup.

First, gather the right tools to start this job. You’ll need a proper de-matting tool. A proper tool could either be a comb or a gentle rake. If your pup is having slight to moderate tangling, the comb would be the best option. However, if your pup has severe tangles, a rake would be more appropriate. The typical brush for this breed is a slicker brush, but that will not be needed in this situation.

Next, you should use some type of product for your pup’s matted coat. A great product to use would be Petway de-matting solution. I have used this product for years and it does a great job. This can be easily found on Amazon here

These products will have conditioning oils to add to the body and help repair the damage. This tool is essential to painlessly remove the mats. The last thing you want is for your dog to feel pain during this process. 

Though these products will help you in the process, remember that they are not magic. This process will be tedious and will take time. Let’s go through the steps:

Steps to De-Matting Your Poodle’s Curly Hair

You’ve got the right tools and supplies. Here are the steps to de-matting your poodle:

  1. Saturate all of the matted hair with the product of your choice. Make sure that all of the mats are completely wet and then massage the hair deeply with your fingers. This is an important step since the conditioning oils are needed to prevent friction.
  2. Let the product dry into the hair.
  3. Using your fingers, separate the large clump into smaller sections. Then use your tool to comb through the small sections.
  4. Continue to break the mats into smaller sections and comb from tip to skin until all tangles are gone. 

If your dog has larger mats, consider breaking the up the project into multiple days. Some groomers recommend carefully using scissors to split large mats.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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