Poodle Grooming

Poodle grooming. This breed (and its Toy, Miniature, and Standard size varieties) requires as much grooming as any dog breed that exists. A Poodle's hair is very much like human hair--and it's wavy, curly, and incredibly frizzy if not cared for. Owners will need to devote at least an hour per day on average to grooming their Poodles.

And all a Poodle's grooming needs--brushing, bathing, haircuts, and more--are covered in great detail below. New Poodle owners worried about taking care of their dog's coats: Relax, and read on!

Poodle Coat Care

As most people know, Poodle grooming is quite an extensive undertaking--and much of the work involves maintaining the dog's coat. Poodles have soft, wavy-to-curly hair that is essentially non-shedding, making their coats hypoallergenic and thus great for allergy sufferers. In reality, the coats actually do shed, but the shed hairs become trapped beneath the curls/waves. What this means, though, is that the coat will get incredibly tangled and matted if the dead hairs aren't consistently removed. (Anyone who's seen an ungroomed Poodle and its nappy coat can surely understand!)

Grooming for Poodles will need to include daily brushing, and owners will need to own several grooming tools for Poodles. Baths will be necessary often as well (owners and veterinarians say every week or two is best). And a wide variety of Poodle grooms, haircuts and styles are possible. See the sections below for further details on brushing, bathing, and haircuts.

While some owners learn DIY Poodle grooming, others leave all their Poodle dog grooming to professionals. Even those who know how to groom a Poodle at home will need to take their dogs to a professional groomer every month or two, as the groomer will certainly have a high-quality Poodle grooming kit and tools--and the groomer can teach owners how to groom a Poodle step by step. And finding the closest Poodle groomer isn't hard; simply perform a Google search, with "location services" turned on, for "Poodle groomer near me."


First, it's a good idea to begin brushing a Poodle when the dog is still a puppy, so it'll get used to the process. And it's best to give your Poodle a brush every day. And several Poodle brushes will be required: a Poodle slicker brush, along with a pin brush and a 2-in-1 comb, are great. (One of the best brushes for Poodles, which many owners use, is a double-sided brush with pins on one side and the slicker on the other.)

Poodle brushes are best given every day, but 3-4 times per week will suffice. How to brush a Poodle: first wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle (and you can mix in a bit of de-tangling solution if you like). Then, starting at the shoulders use the slicker brush to go through the coat section by section to work out any mats or tangles. (If you encounter a particularly stubborn one, see the details below.) Once the entire body is done, repeat with the pin brush to smooth the de-tangled hair. Finish by going through the hair on the head, face, and ears with the comb.

Keep in mind: a brush for Poodle dogs can and should be a pleasant experience--and it's a great opportunity to bond with your pet.

Getting Out Tangles

Plenty of owners are aware that tangled and matted Poodle hair is huge headache. How to keep Poodle hair from matting much: the more often you brush, the better! And when you do brush, using a high-quality slicker brush (like the FURminator brush) for Poodles.

But if you find a tough tangle or mat, work it out as follows:

  • Saturate with de-tangling solution. Massage the solution into the clump with your fingers.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes. This allows the solution to penetrate the entire mat.
  • Pull the clump apart into sections with your fingers. Then comb or brush each section to further separate it.
  • Continue separating the sections bit by bit. Use both the comb and your fingers to break the mat down into as few hairs as possible.
  • Brush through the de-tangled hair.


When it comes down to it, bathing a Poodle is just as important to the overall grooming process as is brushing or clipping. Poodle hair is much more similar to human hair than that of other breeds, so it needs to be washed more often; plus, the dog's skin constantly releases a bit of body oil--and after 2-3 weeks that oil will clog skin pores and begin to stink. (Anyone who's ever wondered why do Poodles smell, that's the reason.) A regular Poodle bath will both clean the hair and wash away those oils.

Though opinions differ on what's the best Poodle shampoo and conditioner, the All Poodle Info site has a page dedicated to the best shampoo for Poodle dogs. Regardless, make sure the shampoo is formulated for canines, as the human kind can severely irritate a dog's skin.

If your Poodle is Toy or Miniature, you can do the dirty Poodle bathing in the kitchen sink; Standards can be bathed either in a bathtub or in an outdoor kiddie pool using a garden hose.

Here's specifically how to bathe a Poodle: first give the coat a thorough brushing, then wet it completely. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the dog's back, then lather well, working downward. (Don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail.) Use a washcloth to clean the Poodle ears, head, and face, then rinse thoroughly. Repeat the entire process with Poodle conditioner. Last, dry the dog using two steps: first with a towel, then with a blow-dryer, using a brush with the dryer to keep the hair in control.

Another often-forgotten aspect of grooming: Poodle ear cleaning. Actually, though, learning how to clean Poodle ears is simple: use a cotton ball and a gentle cleansing solution to wipe out the surface inside the ear flap.

Poodle Styling & Haircuts

Probably as much as any other breed, cutting Poodle hair has an incredible amount of interest. Poodle hair cut styles are the subjects of a large number of books, videos, and even full-time jobs! And most owners leave the Poodle trimming to professional groomers. Just a few of the numerous popular Poodle grooming styles:

  • Puppy Cut: Considered a "low-maintenance" style, the Poodle Puppy Cut consists of the hair being clipped short (to 1-1½ inches) all over. Sometimes the groomer leaves the hair on the head, legs, and tail a bit longer for better balance.
  • Lion Cut: A very popular Standard Poodle haircut. In the Poodle Lion Cut, the rear half of the body, the hind legs, and most of the tail are shaved close; the head, chest, and front legs are left at full length; and decorative "poms" are sculpted on the feet and tail tip. The overall look makes the dog resemble a lion.
  • Teddy Bear Cut: On a Poodle, this style makes the dog look like an adorable stuffed animal. Similar to a Poodle with a Puppy Cut, a Teddy Bear Cut sees the Poodle shaved close on the body, but the legs and hair are carefully rounded and sculpted to look like a teddy bear.
  • Continental Clip: Similar to the Lion Cut--but the Poodle Continental cut has the longer hair on the head, chest, ears, and body, and the feet/tail "poms," nicely rounded. An additional pom is added to the rear hips.
  • Pink Poodle: As a bonus, any Poodle clip can be augmented by dyeing the dog's hair! Owners can do either solid or mixed colors; a groomer can perform the procedure--or owners can use these instructions to dye their Poodle's hair themselves.

Paw Care

Some tips for caring for your Poodle's paws:

  • Clip the Poodle nails. Using standard nail clippers, cut the nail to about half an inch long (just make sure not to cut into the "quick," which will make the nail bleed and be painful).
  • Or better yet, take the dog for a pedicure! Many groomers will perform pedicures on dogs--and if you're fashion-minded, try some Poodle nail art and get the nails painted.
  • Moisturize the paw pads. Buy a good canine paw pad moisturizer and apply it weekly. Be sure not to use hand lotion or other human products, as they can soften the pads and make them prone to cuts and other injuries.
  • Trim the hair between the toes. If left long, that hair can actually get infected--plus it doesn't look very good! And while you're at it, check between the toes for dirt and debris, which cause infections as well.
  • Be mindful of temperature extremes. If a dog walks on scalding pavement or icy/snowy ground, the paws can get burned or frostbitten. Try to avoid these surfaces when you can.

Fleas, Ticks, & Other Pests

"Can Poodles get fleas?" It's a question that's been debated for many years. While some say this breed is "flea-proof," any quick Internet search will reveal numerous forums in which Poodle owners complain about their dogs getting fleas and other pests. The honest truth is, for every dog breed, including the Poodle, fleas are a potential problem. Preventative flea maintenance includes the following:

  • A flea collar
  • Keep the home as clean as possible
  • Walk the dog only on pavement
  • The less carpeting in the home, the better

If your Poodle does get fleas, ticks, or other critters, the remedies are too numerous to list here--everything from bathing the dog in Dawn dish soap, to sprinkling the floors with boric acid. The safest and most sensible solution: see a veterinarian. The vet should be able to solve the current flea problem and offer further preventative measures to take.

Other Care

In addition to caring for a Poodle's coat, here are some other areas that need regular maintenance:

  • Teeth: Many people don't realize how important dental health is to a dog's overall health--and this is especially true for Poodle teeth, which are prone to more problems than most other breeds. Owners should brush their Poodles' teeth 3-4 times per week using canine toothpaste; they can also feed the dogs dental chews, which not only clean the teeth but minimize Poodle bad breath.
  • Poodle Tear Stains: Tear stains on Poodles, as with other light-colored breeds, are a common occurrence. While not necessarily harmful, these Poodle eye stains--caused by the tears naturally oxidizing over time--don't look too good, especially when accompanied by unsightly Poodle "eye boogers"! Owners can minimize the stains by purchasing commercial Poodle tear stain remover--or they can make their own Poodle tear stains home remedy using rosehip seed oil and/or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Nails: If the dog's nails "click" when walking/running on a hard surface, it's time for a trim. Use standard nail clippers to trim the nails to ½-inch--just be sure not to cut them too short.
  • Ears: Clean the inner ear flap using a cotton ball and hydrogen peroxide.
Poodle Care

See the complete guide on how to care for Poodles.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:March 19, 2019