Poodles are the most easily recognizable dog breeds. This is because of their distinct fur. Or is it the hair?
Unlike most dogs who have fur, poodles have hair. Their hair is a single coat that does not shed like fur. Fur and hair have a lot of similarities, but there are a few important differences. Poodle hair responds to environmental and hormonal changes, just like human hair.
Keep reading to learn more about poodle hair and how different it is from fur.
How is a hair different from fur?
Fur and hair look very similar, and hence people assume they need the same care. However, there are a lot of nuances between the two which need to be kept in mind. There is no material difference since both are made up of keratin. The differences lie in how they feel, look, and how you should take care of them.
One of the major differences is in the texture of hair and fur. Poodles have only a single layer of hair. However, dogs with fur have a double layer. Hair is smoother and keeps growing if you allow it to.
The fur, on the other hand, sheds at specific lengths. Hence poodle owners don’t have to worry about being covered in fur. Poodle hair and be straight, wavy, or curly. Just like human hair, their hair can get tangled very easily. You need to pay close attention to their grooming needs.
Dogs with fur have a topcoat along with an undercoat. The undercoat is soft and regulates the dog’s body temperature. This gives me a thick furry look. The fur is mostly denser and shorter than hair. This is because they have more follicles on their skin for fur growth.
Growth Cycle Differences
Fur and hair have significantly different growth cycles. This difference impacts the look and feel of dog fur and poodle hair.
Both have similar stages during their growth cycle at different speeds. Poodle hair undergoes a shorter growth cycle, which results in negligible shedding.
The growth cycle involves the steps given below.
At the stage, the follicle becomes active.
During this phase, the sheath of the root bonds with the hair. The growth comes to a pause.
This is a dormant phase where hair neither grows nor dies.
At the phase, the fur starts shedding, and the cycle begins again. Dogs shed more in summer to get rid of the winter coat.
The differentiating phase is the anagen phase of the growth cycle. This phase is slower in the case of poodle hair. Dogs with fur need to maintain a healthy coat and undergo this phase faster.
Dogs with fur shed every 3-4 days. Along with the fur, they also shed dander. This is very problematic for people who are prone to allergies. The dander and protein compounds can lead to continuous sneezing and watery eyes. The allergens keep spreading everywhere with the shedding fur that can become difficult to control.
Poodles shed unnecessary hair and dander after 21 days. The occasional shedding makes poodle an ideal breed for someone with an allergic tendency. However, this means that dander would remain trapped in your poodle’s hair for a very long time. This accumulation of dander can lead to dander-related allergies whenever you play with your dog. Constant grooming can help avoid such dander build-ups in hair.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all allergies are due to the fur or hair itself. Various factors contribute to an allergic reaction. Some of these are:
- Dog’s Urine
Grooming Advice for Poodle Hair
Poodle hair care is mostly preventive. Poodle’s curly hair can become difficult to manage if not groomed regularly.
Brushing tips for poodle hair
As poodles have hair instead of fur, matting becomes a common problem. Proper hair care can prevent the formation of knots and dander build-ups.
- Massaging strokes
Brush in massaging strokes and go all the way down to the skin. This improves circulation and removes dander along with dead skin particles. Poodle hair can get tangled very easily. This can lead to matting of hair. Hence it is important to reach the roots while brushing.
- Slicker brushes
Slicker brushes are tightly spaced with thin wires. This makes them suitable for penetrating curly poodle hair.
- Ticks and burrs
Always look for ticks and burrs while brushing your poodle. There are high chances your poodle will pick them up outdoors.
- Coat dressings
These products have anti-static compounds that control non-oil conditioners and fly-a-away. It helps in repelling dirt, which otherwise sticks to the hair. Mostly these products also have ultraviolet sunscreen.
- Trim regularly
Keeping your poodle’s hair short helps in avoiding some major problems. It is also easier to brush shorter hair.
- Make it a routine
It is advisable to brush your poodle’s hair daily. This way, your dog will get accustomed to it and welcome it. Poodles can be stubborn sometimes. Hence a routine will help your poodle have shining smooth hair.
Bathing tips for poodle hair
Ideally, a poodle should be bather after 4-6 weeks. However, if your poodle stays mostly outdoors, goes for a swim, and plays in the mud, then you need to bath it frequently.
A few things to keep in mind are:
- Shampoos and conditioners
Bathing products should have minimum sulfates, parabens, phosphates, and phthalates. These chemicals can damage their skin over time. Poodle hair is water-resistant, so the shampoo needs to be strong enough to penetrate the coat. A pH balance of 6.5-7.5 is suitable for poodle skin.
- Don’t overdo it
You might think bathing your poodle every other day will be good for them. Excessive bathing can lead to skin irritation and damaged follicles. Dogs need a bath to get rid of dirt and grime. However, they have natural abilities to maintain their hygiene.
- Skin issues
In case your poodle has skin or hair issues, it is better to use shampoos and conditioners recommended by your vet.
Female Poodles suffering from Hair Loss
When a female poodle is in heat or whelping a litter, her coat can become thin, leading to hair loss. This happens due to the surge of estrogen in the blood, which causes hormonal imbalances in her body.
In some cases, hair loss can be severe, causing exposed skin patches. It takes around four months for the hair to grow back to its original length. However, by that time, your poodle will start another heat cycle.
A nutritious diet taking care of the special needs of the poodle will control hair loss to an extent. Vitamin supplements provided by the vet can help in faster regrowth.
Hair Loss in Poodles suffering from Health Issues
A health problem can lead to sudden hair loss in male poodles. For female poodles, if the hair loss continues after three months of giving birth, there could be some underlying issues. Whenever a poodle has health issues that cause the hair to fall out, there is a high possibility that the hair won’t grow back as expected. This condition is known as post-loss alopecia.
With proper care, it takes approximately 24 months for poodle hair to grow back. Melatonin greatly helps in stimulating the growth of hair follicles.
Summing it up
Though most people think every dog has fur, poodles do have hair instead. These curly, wavy locks look beautiful but need special attention. The rarely shedding hair will suit allergic people only if they are maintained and groomed properly.