Poodles have a coat that feels strangely like that of human hair. Is it hair or is it fur? You need to define the difference between fur and hair before you can evaluate if a poodle has hair or fur.
Do poodles have hair or fur? Poodles are classified as a breed that has a hair coat because it is only one layer. Breeds that have two coats have fur instead of hair. Also, the hair on a poodle does not shed as the fur does for other dog breeds. This characteristic is similar to that of our human hair.
A way that poodle hair is similar to human hair is that it has a distinct growth cycle. It will grow to a certain length and then stop. It is possible that a hair will eventually fall out, but the follicle will push out another hair that will its own life cycle.
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What is the growth cycle of Poodle Hair?
The growth cycle of poodle hair is longer than that of the fur of other breeds. Other breeds, that have two shedding periods, need to grow fur that is new each year which requires that the fur grows quite fast during its period of growth. Here are the stages of poodle hair growth that are distinct and relatively long:
- Anagen – This is the growth phase of the newly formed poodle strand of hair that is pushed out of the follicle.
- Catagen – The catagen phase is the transitional phase where the hair reaches its full length and it starts to form a sheath that is attached to the strand of hair on poodles.
- Telogen – The telogen phase is the phase when there is no growth. Some call this phase the hair resting stage.
- Exogen – This is the last phase in hair growth. The hair starts to weaken its hold in the follicle and may even fall out over time. If it falls out, it will be replaced by a hair that starts its growth at the first phase called the anagen stage.
The phases of hair growth for a poodle are quite predictable and they are not dependant on the change in seasons as with dog breeds that shed. However, the structure of the hair will change as a puppy ages. Its hair will become curly. This is a genetic trait that allows more warmth to be trapped in the coat of a poodle.
When Does a Poodle’s Hair Become Curly?
You will notice that poodles in competition tend to have tight curls in their hair. No, they have not received a perm. It is a style that judges are looking for instead of strictly wavy hair.
Most poodles are born with wavy to straight hair and it changes as they age. As the length of their hair increases, the curls become more and more apparent. Their coat takes on a coarse, tight appearance that is classic for a poodle breed. I recommend that you use a brush that is specialized to deal with the curl tight hair of a poodle, click here to see the pricing for the Chris Christensen Slicker Brush that can be purchased on Amazon.
Poodles presently almost all have curly hair because they have been bred to have this trait in competition. You can still see a poodle that has almost straight hair but it is likely that it is a mix or that it has parents that were not pure breed poodles.
Typically, a poodle will shed its baby coat of hair at the age of one to two years. It is a gradual process that may go unnoticed for some time.
Maltipoos Have a Slow Transition from Wavy to Curly Hair that is Sometimes Like Fur
A Maltipoo is a mix of a Maltese and toy or standard poodle. Maltese dogs also do not shed and mixing them with a poodle produces a charming bred that does not shed.
A poodle or a Maltipoo does end up shedding its puppy coat. Although the transition is hard to notice in a Maltipoo because the consistency of the hair remains the same. If the poodle bred is more apparent in a Maltipoo, the curly hair will form and it will be noticeable once the Maltipoo has its adult coat. The transition usually takes around 1 year to happen.
What is different about a Maltipoo, is that the hair seems to have more of a consistency of being fur because it has a thicker coat. Nevertheless, it would still be classified as hair because this bred does not shed.
You are probably wondering if a poodle can have straight hair like that of a Maltipoo or other poodle mixes. It is possible, but it is rare to see an adult poodle with completely straight hair.
Can a Poodle Have Straight Hair?
It is possible that a poodle has straight hair. All that it takes is for the straight hair gene to be dominant which could happen to any poodle. Although, seeing a poodle that is over two years old with completely straight hair is rare.
I read about how certain colors of hair seem to be straighter than others for a poodle. For instance, the apricot color of hair is relatively non-curly because it tends to be softer in texture. In order for hair to hold a curl, it needs to be thicker. A slimmer strand will remain limp and non-curly.
Nevertheless, if you have a poodle that has hair that non-curly, there are many styles that can be used to highlight its straighter hair. Also, your poodle will have a unique look that the average poodle will not be able to achieve.
Some people are worried that their poodle will always have straight hair, but just find a creative groomer and you will be surprised at the outcome.
Another concern that some owners besides that their poodle is lacking in tight curls, is that their poodle tends to lose hair.
Why do Some Poodles Lose Their Hair?
I had stated that I feel that poodles have hair instead of fur. Is it more likely that they will have more permanent hair loss? Just because poodles do not have fur, they can still lose some hair, but that does not mean that it is permanent like male pattern baldness.
There are different reasons why a poodle might lose its hair. Here are some examples that are non-medically related:
- Since the hair on a poodle is more spaced out than the double coat on a dog that sheds, rubbing can cause some of the more exposed hair to fall out.
- If your poodle is stressed, they may start to scratch certain areas to relieve their stress. This scratching could cause hair to dislodge itself from its follicle.
- If your poodle has areas that were burnt due to a groomer’s clippers cutting too close to the skin, the skin will become irritated. Irritated skin will cause itchiness and your poodle may pull out surrounded hair in an attempt to reduce the burning sensation.
There are medical reasons why your Poodle Might be Losing its Hair
- Allergies – Poodles are more likely to develop skin problems than other breeds. Their skin is not being protected by a thick coat of fur. If your poodle is allergic to pollen or dust mites, it will develop a skin rash that will cause hair to fall out.
- Cleaning Products – The chemicals that are contained in some cleaning products can affect negatively the health of your poodle. For instance, if they were to sit in an area that had been cleaned with a stronger cleanser, their skin will become damaged which will cause hair loss.
- Genetic Problems – The condition called sebaceous adenitis occurs in some standard-sized poodles. It is a condition that is hereditary that causes inflammation. One of the symptoms of this disease is hair loss along with an extended growth period for hair. It is best to check with your vet if you feel that the hair loss in your poodle is genetically induced.
- Cushing’s Disease – Is another disease that can occur in a poodle. This disease causes the adrenal glands to malfunction. If your poodle has this condition, you could also be dealing with hair loss, bloating and even excessive thirst.