Do poodles have fur or hair? As a veterinarian, I get this question a lot. Poodles are adorable dogs with a distinctive coat. The question is whether they have fur or hair. While some believe they have fur, others say they have hair. Can you tell us who’s right?
Do poodles have fur or hair?
Poodles have hair. Poodles are among dog breeds that are known to have hair instead of fur. Their body is covered with a single layer of coat that grows constantly. Poodle hair does not shed either. Instead, poodles experience hair thinning or hair loss mostly due to hormonal changes like pregnancy.
Why do we say poodles have hair and not fur?
Don’t you find it strange to say that poodles have “hair”? I do.
People say that the only difference between hair and fur is more on word usage or semantics. Besides, in terms of chemical composition, hair and fur are indeed the same. Both are made up of a tough protein compound called keratin. In addition, hair and fur are also made up of 3 layers – the cortex, the cuticle, and the medulla.
But using the word “hair” for poodles is surprisingly appropriate. That is because the hair of poodle breeds is different from dog fur in terms of texture, growth cycle, and maintenance.
What is the difference between hair and fur?
Although hair and fur are both made up of the same protein compound called keratin, they have specific characteristics that differentiate them one from the other.
Texture is the term used to determine the circumference, feel, and appearance of a particular thing.
Standard poodles are covered with a single coat of dog hair which tends to be smoother compared to other dog breeds. Their hair can also be curly, straight, or wavy depending on the breed.
On the other hand, dog breeds like chow, husky, German Shepherd, and Samoyed are covered with three layers of coat: the guard hair (top coat), the second coat (undercoat), and the whiskers. The top coat is thicker compared to the undercoat which tends to be softer and finer.
2. Growth cycle
Dog hair, like human hair, undergoes 3 stages of growth – the anagen phase, the catagen phase, and the telogen phase.
- The anagen phase refers to the active phase of the hair. This means that new hair is being formed and continues to grow.
- The catagen phase is when the new hair stops growing and starts transitioning into the last phase.
- The telogen phase is when the hair completely stops growing and has been cut off from its blood supply. This usually accounts for 6-8% of all types of hair.
Dog fur also undergoes the same growth cycle as dog hair.
The difference? Time.
Dog hair tends to have a longer growth cycle compared to fur.
While most dog breeds shed upon reaching the telogen phase, poodle hair undergoes the same growth cycle, but longer. So, instead of shedding, they experience hair thinning or hair loss, especially if they undergo physical or hormonal changes like pregnancy.
Poodles have a single layer of coat. And when their hair reaches the last stage of growth, the hair follicle loosens and the hair strand will fall out. If your poodle has curly hair, this is going to be a nightmare. You see, the loose hair will be entangled in other hairs and if neglected will result in matting.
This is why poodles need to be groomed every 6 weeks.
Meanwhile, dogs who shed need regular grooming, too. But not to prevent matting, but rather to manage the amount of fur that is being released by their body every single day. If you suffer from allergies, brushing them once or twice a week can help control or minimize the shedding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What dog breeds have hair instead of fur?
Here is a list of some popular dog breeds that are known to have hair instead of fur. By definition, I mean dog breeds that don’t shed, but rather lose their hair and have a longer growth cycle similar to human hair.
- Bearded Collie
- Bedlington terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Brussels griffon
- Irish water spaniel
- Kerry blue terrier
- Peruvian Inca orchid
- Portuguese water dog
- Shih Tzu
- Tibetan terrier
- Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo)
- Yorkshire terrier
Q: Do poodles have an undercoat?
No. Poodles do not have an undercoat. Poodles are covered with a single layer of hair that grows constantly. Poodle coats are soft and luxurious. They also come in different varieties, straight, curly, or wavy. No wonder they look so good in dog shows.
Q: Are poodles hypoallergenic?
Poodles and other dog breeds like Shih Tzu and Maltese are considered hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic dogs are known to be ideal for animal lovers who suffer from allergic reactions caused by drool, fur, and dander. With poodles, you won’t experience any of these. Besides, not everyone enjoys vacuuming dog fur all day every day.
Q: Can people with dog allergies have poodles?
Yes, poodles are great pets even for people with dog allergies. Thankfully, poodles are considered hypoallergenic, which means they don’t produce allergens (excess drooling, dander, shedding) that can trigger your immune system.
Q: Do poodles have hair or wool?
Poodles have hair and not wool. Even though most dog breeds are covered in fur, poodles have a single layer of hair that protects their skin and regulates body temperature. But, there’s also an extinct breed of dog called Salish Wool Dog or Comox Dog, which is famous for its wool. Their wool is mixed with goat wool, feathers, and plant fibers used to create priced items such as rare “Salish” blankets.
Poodles are such unique creatures. Every time I see a poodle owner walk his dog in the park, I always see people stop and admire how regal they are. I believe what really sets them apart from other dogs is not their hair. It’s their fun and energetic personality that makes them excellent pets.
But remember, poodles need regular grooming. if not, their hair will be super tangled and may cause skin irritation. Of course, we don’t want that. Always make it a habit to brush your poodle’s hair once or twice a week to prevent matting. And don’t forget to bathe with shampoo and conditioner to keep their hair soft and silky.
If you enjoyed this post, I’m sure you’ll feel the same when you read the one I wrote about Goldendoodles.
Dr. Elly has always loved animals, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. After studying hard in veterinary school, she practiced in several different countries before moving to North Carolina with her husband and young family. She currently works part time as a veterinarian while caring for her 4 busy children and writing this blog. Dr. Elly genuinely cares about the welfare of her patients. She currently has three dogs, two cats, 5 chickens and 2 rabbits (yes a bit of a zoo!)