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Do Poodles Have Hair or Fur? [Explained]

Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Veterinarian Dr Alice Adams BVSc (Hons)

(LinkedIn)

Before becoming an unabashed canine fan, I always assumed all dogs have fur coats. So, I was pretty surprised to learn that some of our canine companions have hair like us, not fur! 

If you didn’t know this, you’re probably pretty shocked. But it’s not that surprising when you think about it. After all, hair and fur are both primarily made of the same thing: keratin.

do Poodles have hair or fur
Do Poodles have hair or fur? [Explained]

The main difference between hair and fur is their growth cycle: hair has a much longer growth cycle. A longer growth cycle lets hair grow much longer before it falls out. 

The Poodle doesn’t have fur. It has hair, instead. Hair is different from fur in that it can grow long. Fur only grows a short length before it falls out. 

Matted hair can be a common issue for Poodles, so it’s important to brush and groom them regularly, starting from a young age.

Dr. Alice Adams (UQ)

Poodle Hair Grows Much Longer Than Fur 

do poodles have hair or fur
Do Poodles have hair or fur?

Technically, hair and fur are made from the same material. What’s that? Well, it’s keratin.

However, hair tends to grow much longer than fur before it falls out. That is because of its much longer growth cycle. Fur has a much shorter growth cycle. 

As the hair can grow to these lengths, your Poodle will grow quite a mop if you don’t groom them often enough. Undergrooming may eventually cause skin conditions, such as potentially dangerous skin infections. Also, your Poodle will be distressed and unhappy. 

black Poodle comb
Combing a black Poodle.

Do Poodles Shed? 

Poodles have minimal shedding. The dog breeds with troublesome shedding always have fur coats, not hair, which means that Poodles have little shedding. 

Like human hair, Poodle hair eventually falls out. It should always grow back, of course. If it doesn’t, then your Poodle has a hair loss problem. 

Poodle Coats Have One Layer

Most hair coats only have one layer. Some kinds of dogs with fur coats have two layers. You should be aware that your Poodle has a thin layer of cotton-wool-like fiber beneath its main hair coat. 

Hair Doesn’t Fall Out as Fast

Hairs eventually fall out at the end of their growth cycle but tend to get stuck in the coat before they fall on your furniture or the ground. The already minimal shedding will be even less noticeable in these dogs. 

Poodles Are Great for Allergy Sufferers

brown miniature poodle on grass
A young Brown/Chocolate Miniature Poodle puppy lying down outside and off the leash (still wearing harness)

The Poodle’s hair coat is one reason why it’s considered a “hypoallergenic” breed. Technically, no dog is hypoallergenic. But compared to breeds with fur coats, especially double-coated fur growing breeds, a Poodle is a great choice if you’ve got allergies. 

If you have allergies, grooming your Poodle will be even more important

Poodle Grooming 

All dogs need appropriate grooming. But, as Poodles have hair coats, they’ll keep growing and can get extremely long. So, if you have a Poodle, you’ll have to be attentive to grooming. 

Your Poodle can’t stay healthy if you don’t provide adequate grooming. Without continual checking and prevention of mats and tangles, your Poodle could develop skin infections.

Without question, the Poodle’s hair coat requires a lot of maintenance. There are several different ways you can maintain your Poodle’s coat. The coat cuts for Poodles are called clips (or cuts).

You’ll need a more formal clip if you want to put your Poodle on the show circuit

grooming white beautiful poodle
Grooming a beautiful white Poodle at a pet salon.

Simple Poodle Grooming 

I mentioned earlier that there are many different clips (or cuts) you can give your Poodle. For more complex grooming, you’ll need to take your dog to a professional groomer. An example is the show clip that Poodles must have to be show dogs. 

If your Poodle is just a pet and you don’t care about putting it in shows, you can give it a simple cut that doesn’t require much expertise or work (other than routine maintenance). One of these is usually called a “short” cut. 

The great thing about a “short” cut is that you probably won’t need the help of a professional groomer. Once you get the hang of cutting hair with the right equipment, it’s easy to do. You need to cut all the hair to around the same length. 

You will have to regularly brush and clip your Poodle’s coat. Poodle hair grows faster than you might expect, so there are plenty of trims in store. Only use tools especially made for dogs, so you know they’re safe. 

Always brush your Poodle’s hair, but don’t start cutting with scissors until you’re sure you know what you’re doing. You don’t want to cut your pet accidentally. Ensure that you have a pin brush and a slicker brush, as well as steel combs.

The slicker brush is important for longer areas of hair. 

How Much Brushing Does Your Poodle Need? 

Most Poodle owners brush their pets at least two times a week, and often three times per week is better. If you want, you can brush them every day. You can’t brush a Poodle too much, as their hair coats are prone to tangling and matting. 

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Poodle

First things first: Only use shampoo formulated for dogs on your pet. Don’t use human shampoo. Many experts say you should shampoo Poodles every few weeks, or a minimum of once a month

Many Poodle owners decide to have a groomer shampoo their Poodle. For example, you could get a wash for your Poodle whenever he goes in for a trim or cut. As it’s so prone to tangling, Poodle hair needs a dog-friendly cream rinse or conditioner after every shampoo. 

What Happens if You Don’t Groom Your Poodle?

Your Poodle is at high risk of skin infection if you don’t groom it. Any kind of infection can be dangerous. Not only that, but an improperly groomed Poodle will be uncomfortable and unhappy

If a Poodle is left ungroomed for too long and the coat gets too matted, you may even have to have all the hair shaved off. Shaving a dog is an intense job, as it’s difficult to do without nicking or scratching the skin. 

Don’t take the chance of your precious pooch ending up with a painful medical condition or without a coat. Ensure you groom it regularly

what does a poodle look like without a haircut
What does a Poodle look like without a haircut?

Do Poodles Get Winter Coats? 

There are some fur-coated breeds for cold climates that grow in heavier coats for the winter. As the Poodle has a hair coat and wasn’t specifically bred for cold climates, however, you won’t see this breed growing a lush winter coat. 

Instead, Poodle hair grows at the same rate all year long. Do you live in a cold climate where it gets frosty in the winter? Be cautious about giving your Poodle too bare of a cut.

You want your dog to retain as much of its hair as possible to guard it against blustery winds on winter walks. 

In most cases, Poodles need their owners to buy them cute little winter coats for their comfort during that time of year. 

how often should you walk a poodle
White Poodle in a winter coat.

Hair Coats Don’t Shed for Different Seasons 

Many dog breeds with fur coats will have a big shedding period before the warm weather. Their undercoats tend to fall out during this time. A Poodle, however, has a hair coat and so it doesn’t have an undercoat to shed. 

Final Thoughts: Do Poodles Have Hair or Fur? 

So, now you know! Poodle coats are made of hair, not fur! Taking care of a Poodle is different from caring for most other dog breeds, especially ones with fur coats. 

As this breed has hair, it will continue growing much longer than you would ever see with fur. Grooming is much more time-intensive for Poodles than for most fur-coated dogs, so know what you’re getting into before adopting your new pet.