Do Poodles Have Hair or Fur?
Unlike most dog breeds, the standard Poodle is considered to have hair rather than fur, but what does this mean for your standard Poodle shaved? Well, for starters, hair does not stop growing and doesn’t generally fall out in large amounts (great news for your carpet!).
The only time the hair would noticeably fall out in a standard Poodle is when it responds to hormonal changes or underlying health issues. So while there are many subtle differences between fur and hair, they are not too different overall.
In this article, we will explore the evolution of the Poodle haircut in the different styles and answer the age-old question: to shave or not to shave?
What Does a Poodle Look Like?
When you think of a standard Poodle, you may already have an idea in your mind of a perfectly white, pristine poofball strutting down the street. However, while this is a trendy style amongst standard Poodle owners, not all standard Poodles look like this at all!
When a Poodle is left unshaved, it has shaggy, curly hair similar to the doodle hairstyle that crossbreeding with a Poodle can produce. So essentially, an unshaved standard Poodle will look like a giant teddy bear!
When we dip our toes into the pool of Poodle grooming, we start to see some majorly different grooming styles that will dramatically change your standard Poodle’s appearance. These styles of shaving a standard Poodle are for convenience or often simply for aesthetic purposes.
A standard Poodle haircut can vary from a subtle short-coat cut or Teddy Cut to a dramatic Continental Cut or European Cut.
The History Behind the Standard Shaved Poodle
While some people might think the hairstyles of a standard Poodle look silly, they have an efficient origin. Poodles were used as hunting dogs for wildfowl, and they played a vital role in the hunting process. The hunters used Poodles to retrieve game birds from the water and challenging terrains for humans to venture to.
As you can imagine, having a thick heavy coat of hair would be quite a hindrance for a Poodle when they are constantly getting soaked in water, hence the birth of the Poodle haircut. This haircut aimed to make them more efficient hunting dogs and ensure they stayed clean between hunts.
The body was shaved to ensure they would be agile and speedy while swimming, while the chest and head had some hair left for buoyancy in the water. The hair was left long in the body’s vulnerable areas for protection, such as the ankles, joints, and tail tip, to protect from the rough terrain around the rivers (rocks, ditches, etc.).
The hair left on the Poodle’s back was to protect their kidneys (close to the skin surface on their back) from injury and exposure to cold water.
We are still unsure whether the Poodle originated in France or Germany, and there are arguments for each side. The French word for Poodle is Caniche– which means “duck dog,” and in German, it is Pudel which means “Poodle.” Both make sense, and both cultures used the Poodle for the same purpose!
So next time you see that perfect-looking Poodle prancing down the street, remember they were once a bloodthirsty hunting dog!
The Evolution of Poodle Haircuts
The Poodle Cut remained essentially unchanged from the 1600s to the 1900s, as they were still used at this time mainly for hunting. However, this began to change in the mid-1900s when the Poodle became a fashion accessory for the wealthier classes.
Around this time, the grooming equipment got a dramatic upgrade, and the invention of the electric hair dryer led to the unique blow-dried style we see today. Around the 1960s was the boom in popularity for the Poodle, and the hairstyle developed to having longer hair on the body and shorter top knots for ease of maintenance.
In the 1970s, many people entered their Poodles in dog shows and wanted the perfect Poodle cut to win prestigious awards. And those not competing would see the new hairstyle in the news and want their Poodle to look the same!
It was common to have their hair kept short (sometimes shaved) on the underside but with plenty of volume on the ears, shoulders, and head. The front legs maintained their appearance of keeping the single bracelet of ankle hair long, but the hind limbs adopted a new style of one bracelet on the ankle and an additional bracelet on the knee.
The Poodle styles have become much more relaxed and varied, with many people loving the long hair look that a Labradoodle can have and some still loving the classic Poodle show dog look.
Poodles are often victims of pet-friendly dye jobs, making adorable and wild styles. If you are going to be using any dye on your Poodle, make sure it is pet-friendly! We don’t want any visits to the emergency hospital over a hairstyle!
The Different Types of Poodle Grooming Styles
With over 50 styles of haircuts being recognized for the Poodle, you may feel a little overwhelmed when choosing a coat style for your pet! Just remember the most important factors to take into consideration:
- Comfort for your dog.
- Aesthetic appearance.
- Ease of maintenance.
All three are very important, and you may choose which is best suited for the location you live in, your pet’s health needs, and your lifestyle. For example, if you live in a very cold climate, having a short shaved body may not suit your dog.
We have included some of the most popular haircuts for Poodles below:
Lion Cut/Continental Cut
This is probably the most famous haircut for the Poodle and is preferred when showing Poodles. It is a very distinct look with the legs and feet shaved, with only a pom-pom left around the ankle joints.
They have a shaved face, full hair on the chest, head, and ears, and have pom-poms located on either side of the back.
English Saddle Cut
The difference between the Continental Cut and the English Saddle Cut is the addition of an extra pom-pom on the hind limbs at the stifle. As a result, the upper chest hair is left longer while the lower chest still has hair, just not as long as the upper chest hair.
The Dutch Cut (or Sporting Cut) is famous amongst those submitting to participate in agility contests. The hair is around 1.18 inches (3 centimeters) in length and is kept the same length throughout the body. The hair on the ears and head are kept long, but the face remains shaved, and a pom-pom will usually be shaved into the tail.
Modern or European Cut
This haircut is a more modern approach to the continental cut and is easier to maintain, giving a softer and rounder appearance. The face is still shaved, and the head and ears are left long, but the rest of the body is the same length hair (except for the legs).
The rear legs are cut in a flare shape, and the tail is shaped into a cylinder. Finally, the hair is rounded with scissors at the bottom of the feet, which works as an optical illusion that can almost look like the dog is floating!
This style requires a skilled groomer as it combines technical scissoring and different lengths of hair which are achieved through differing clipper attachments. They will generally leave the ears, mustache, beard, and eyebrows long. In addition, the legs will appear thicker, as they tend to leave the top of the legs with long, thick hair.
You probably will recognize this cut as it is very popular with the “Doodle” breed and is the most recognized cut for them. It works by accentuating the facial features and leaving the rest of the hair casual and one length. The facial hair such as beard, eyebrows, and mustache are left slightly longer, while the ears are cut shorter using scissors.
Teddy Bear Cut
This is the other trendy style amongst “Doodle” owners because it gives them an adorable teddy bear appearance! The hair is cut with scissors only to ensure it is left mid-length, with well-rounded ears and a circular facial hair shape. In addition, the legs and feet have rounded feet and a fluffy appearance to further resemble a giant teddy bear.
One of the most practical and manageable cuts is the shortcut. The hair is kept one length and trimmed with one size of clipper blade all over (with scissoring for the ears and head). This may be a good haircut for you to start with if you are interested in grooming at home.
Many everyday Poodle owners like this style as it is very easy to clean and dry after a messy day at the park!
When Should you Start Having Your Standard Poodle Shaved?
The Poodle is a breed that will require a lot of grooming throughout its life. This is why it is so important to introduce handling and grooming at a young age to prepare them for handling in the future.
If you desensitize your Poodle puppy at a young age, you will thank yourself in the future when you see other anxious dogs shaking, crying, and fighting with the groomers or their owners. You can start using positive reinforcement and gradually introduce grooming tools and handling techniques as young as eight weeks old.
This may just be touching them all over their body to get them used to the sensation, touching their body with brushes and other tools, and turning the clippers on around them to get them used to the noise. Of course, positive reinforcement is always best when paired with rewards such as treats or praise.
Many groomers recommend 12 weeks of age to bring them for their first grooming appointment. This may not include a full shave and haircut but will get them used to the experience of going to the groomer.
The Decision Between a Completely Shaved Poodle and a Poodle Not Shaved
Shaving a Poodle is a personal choice for the owner. While the Poodle needs regular grooming to keep their hair fresh, clean, and at a manageable length, it is not a requirement to shave them, nor is it beneficial to their health.
Some Poodle owners may find it more manageable to shave the hair if their Poodle is prone to getting very tangled and knotty. On the other hand, many Poodle owners pride themselves on having a stylish and well-groomed Poodle with a fancy continental cut; as long as your dog is happy to be groomed, then go for it!
Should Poodles be Shaved?
It is recommended to shave certain areas for practicality and cleanliness in some aspects. For example, many Poodle owners opt for a shaved face to minimize the amount of eye gunk, dirty mustaches, and wet beards. The genitals and paw pads are other commonly shaved areas for cleanliness reasons.
If you are shaving the body of your Poodle, it is essential to consider whether this is suitable for the climate you live in, as if the hair is too short, it can get sunburnt in summer or too cold in the winter. Also, remember that a dog’s coat protects them from environmental factors such as the sun, scratches and abrasions, bug bites, etc.
If you are shaving your Poodle purely to keep them warm in the summer, you may want to reconsider, as when you expose the skin, it will expose them to the sun more and will not keep them cool.
Some Poodles have double-coated har, which means they have a fluffy undercoat that will grow quickly and help the top layer by picking up the grass seeds and burrs in their coat.
A dog with a double coat will suit better in winter as it provides them with extra insulation. However, during the summer, the undercoat will shed more so that the outer layer can circulate air throughout the dog’s skin.
How Often Should you Shave a Poodle?
How often you should be shaving your Poodle depends on the style that the groomer is giving them, some are more high maintenance and may require more frequent grooming, while others may just need touch-ups less frequently.
Groomers generally recommend bringing your Poodle for grooming every 6-8 weeks. If you do not want to bring your Poodle in so frequently, it is essential to maintain grooming at home to ensure their hair does not get very dirty and matted. Poodle’s hair does not shed the same way as regular dogs, so maintaining cleanliness is essential.
Should I Shave my Poodle’s Feet?
While shaving the feet can be a style choice, it can benefit your Poodle by ensuring their feet stay clean and free of knots. As we know, the Poodle’s hair does not shed, so when the hair on their feet is kept long, it can get filthy and matted when going out for walks.
It may make it much easier for an owner to shave the feet, which will help with keeping them clean and free of debris. Dogs are also prone to getting injuries in the feet area, and shaving can help you identify any cuts or scratches on the paws.
Going to a groomer to get this done is recommended as it can be a sensitive and challenging area to shave and requires professional blades and grooming equipment.
The Benefits of Poodle Shaving
Some benefits of Poodle shaving can include the following:
- Cleanliness around the face prevents a buildup of eye gunk or that constant wet mustache feeling.
- Cleanliness of the paws will make the feet easier to clean off dirt and not allow the hair to pick up so much debris when outside.
- To prevent matting and knots in the long Poodle hair.
- For aesthetic purposes.
When considering what style of grooming you would like for your Poodle, you should consider your lifestyle and what you value most when it comes to your pet.
Poodles can vary drastically from having perfect show dogs groomed frequently with a classic continental cut to a Teddy Bear Cut that is easy to maintain and can be groomed less regularly.
You may want to experiment with different styles throughout your Poodle’s life until you find the perfect fit for you and your fur baby!