Poodles are an easily recognized breed of dog that is well known for its intelligence and elaborately trimmed coats. Poodle hair differs from most types of dog fur, as it will not stop growing at a certain length, but will grow continuously, much like human hair. If considering a poodle as a pet, it is important to understand the different types of poodle coats to properly groom them and to achieve a poodle-specific look.
The coat of poodle puppies differ from that of the adults; it grows in as waves or gentle curls. When the puppy reaches 9 to 16 months old, the texture of its coat begins to change and will begin to mat more easily. The poodle's hair will then either become more coarse curls or softer curls or waves.
Poodle coats are naturally curly and generally coarse in texture. Unlike the fur of other dogs, the dense and curly poodle hair will continue to grow until it is clipped. It gives the impression of not shedding, however, the hair that does shed tangles in the curls as opposed to falling loose. This makes frequent brushing a necessity to prevent matting.
The corded poodle coat comes from allowing the poodle's natural curls to mat instead of brushing them out. The mats are separated into ropelike cords that are approximately as large around as an average pencil. With certain types of clipped styles, these cords are often kept longer on the dog's head, mane, ears and body, and kept shorter for the pompoms, bracelets and puffs. This type of coat is difficult to maintain, but according to "The Everything Poodle Book," it was popular in Victorian England.
Puppy Clipped Coats
The puppy clip is meant exclusively for poodles under the age of 12 months. This clip shaves the coat completely from the poodle's face, throat, feet and around the base of its tail. The rest of the coat is left long and well shaped with a pompom at the end of the tail.
English Saddle Clipped Coats
The English saddle is a cut that is meant for dogs participating in competition or shows and conforms to the American Kennel Club standards for poodles over 12 months of age. This has the dogs coat cut from the face, throat, feet and base of the tail; in addition, hair is also shaved from the forelegs, leaving only puffs. A pompom is left at the end of the tail.
Continental Clipped Coats
A poodle who has a coat with the Continental clip will have its body fur left full and well shaped, with the exception of the face, throat, feet and the tail base, which are shaved. The tail has a pompom shaped on the end, and the hindquarters and legs are also shaved. Pompoms may be left on the hips and puffs of fur on the forelegs. Also a bracelet of fur is left on the hind legs. This type of coat is an approved AKC competitive cut for poodles over 12 months old.