The highly intelligent and athletic Poodle makes a fantastic addition to practically any household.
With an eager personality, willingness to train, and family-friendly disposition, it’s no wonder this breed is one of the most popular in the United States.
Poodles are also known as being an excellent pet choice for anyone who suffers from allergies to pet dander. But is this reputation true, or will their characteristic curly locks wreak havoc on your allergies?
Yes, Poodles shed, but are considered low shedders. Their cycle of shedding is also longer than others, which further reduces the shedding.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Before we discuss Poodles specifically, let’s talk about what causes this pet annoyance in the first place. Why do dogs shed?
All mammals shed hair, and dogs are no exception–shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle process.
When a dog’s hair becomes old or otherwise damaged, it naturally falls out, and new hair grows in its place.
The amount of hair a dog sheds varies depending on the breed, the season, and what kind of coat they have.
Dogs like St. Bernards, Alaskan Malamutes, and German shepherds are some of the breeds that shed the most, which means they’re not the best choice if you have allergies.
However, if you have allergies, you may be able to share space with a hypoallergenic dog.
What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog Breed?
You’ve likely heard the term hypoallergenic to describe a product that causes fewer allergic reactions than others. We also use the term to describe certain dog breeds.
A hypoallergenic dog breed has fur that’s more similar to human hair, making it less likely to cause allergic reactions in humans.
It produces less dander, a common allergen, than that of other breeds, who also shed very little or lack an undercoat.
While hypoallergenic dogs have become a popular pet choice for anyone with allergies, some pet owners choose them because they prefer not to clean dog hair.
Do Poodles Shed?
Now let’s answer the question you came here for: do Poodles shed?
The short answer is yes, Poodles shed. Despite the breed’s reputation to the contrary, it does lose hair.
However, the hairs Poodles lose get stuck in the thick curls of their coat, which makes their shedding harder to notice.
Besides being difficult to see, Poodles are low shedders in general. Most dogs’ hair growth cycle results in shedding every few days, so you can expect moderate to heavy shedding from many breeds.
Conversely, the Poodle’s cycle is much longer, and they only shed every few weeks.
Because most owners brush their dogs to release dead hair, you may think that brushing a Poodle is not necessary.
However, you still need to brush your dog daily. Potential Poodle owners should also be aware that Poodle coats require lots of maintenance, which we’ll discuss below.
Single vs. Double Coat in Poodles
Curly hair creates less shedding in the Poodle, but another factor that makes them allergy-friendly is that they have a single coat as opposed to a double coat.
Dogs with a double coat have an undercoat. This undercoat is shorter than the outer coat, and it has a dense texture. Double coats are common in long-haired dogs.
These breeds undergo heavy shedding twice per year, where they shed their undercoat completely as the weather changes.
This process is called “blowing the coat.” Since Poodles only have a single coat, they don’t blow their coat.
Poodles are not the only breed that has a single coat. Some other examples include:
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Bichon Frise
Are Poodles Hypoallergenic?
So, what about the claims that Poodles are hypoallergenic dogs? Is it true?
Though the American Kennel Club makes this claim, it’s vital to note that no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. If a breeder makes this claim, you should probably steer clear.
Every dog produces allergens, such as hair, saliva, sweat, dander, and urine, which is what causes allergies (so even hairless dogs are not completely hypoallergenic).
Hypoallergenic dogs produce less of these things, which means people with allergies are often able to tolerate living with these breeds.
The Poodle is an excellent example. When you combine the Poodle’s single coat and low-shedding fur, allergy issues reduce drastically. Plus, most Poodles don’t drool very much, which is another factor that causes allergies to flare up.
But keep in mind they may still cause a reaction. The best way to figure out if your allergies will allow you to have a Poodle is to spend time in other Poodle households.
Do your homework before bringing a dog home, as you want to avoid having to rehome it–or worse, send it to a shelter–because of an easily preventable issue.
How Much Shedding Can I Expect from a Poodle?
So, now that you know that poodles do in fact shed, how much shedding can you expect? What is “low shedding”?
It’s difficult to give you an exact number of Poodle hairs you can expect to find in your house every month.
Suffice it to say, you will not be picking up Poodle hair regularly, and you won’t find it all over your furniture. If visitors do not see your dog right away, they would not know you have one.
But if you’re truly concerned about shedding, you may want a miniature or a toy Poodle instead of a standard size. The smaller versions have less coat area, so they lose fewer hairs.
Do Poodle Mixes Shed?
Hypoallergenic dog breed mixes are on the rise, with Poodle mixes like Cockapoos, Labradoodles, and Goldendoodles among the most popular. Many owners wonder if these mixes take after their Poodle parent when it comes to shedding.
There are some things to keep in mind when answering this question.
Though Poodle mixes will likely shed less than other breeds, no breeder can guarantee that the dog won’t shed.
Your best bet is to mix another low-shedding dog with the Poodle, which will increase the chances that your mixed dog will have a low shedding coat.
Even so, there are no guarantees about what the coat will look like, which is the best indicator of whether or not your Poodle mix will shed. The more coiled their fur, the less likely it will shed.
Poodle Fur Maintenance
By now, you may be thinking, “Great! Since Poodles hardly shed, I won’t have to worry about grooming.”
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Ask any Poodle owner and they’ll tell you that Poodle fur maintenance requires a lot of time and energy.
While releasing dead hair is not the primary concern when grooming this breed, Poodles require lots of coat maintenance to keep the beautiful distinctive curls looking their best.
It’s critical to be aware of the intense grooming needs of the breed before bringing a Poodle home, as they’re not for everyone.
Because the Poodle’s fur gets caught in its curls when it sheds, you have to help dislodge excess fur.
Daily brushing is an integral part of this process.
Brushing also helps prevent matting, which occurs when fur becomes tangled and knotted around itself.
It’s easy for mats to accumulate in the Poodle hair, causing discomfort or pain, and they can even lead to more serious health problems. Brushing is especially vital if your Poodle has a full coat, as matting is more common in dogs with longer coats.
Daily brushing also helps prevent canine skin irritation, which can occur if hair and dander remain in your dog’s coat for too long.
Though Poodles require less bathing than some other breeds, it’s a good idea to bathe them regularly. Many owners do this task monthly or bi-monthly.
With Poodles, bath time is less about eliminating odors and more about encouraging health.
Poodles don’t have the typical “dog” smell that others do, but their thick coat can trap moisture, which can lead to bacterial growth if it stays on their skin. Make sure you fully dry your dog after bath time to avoid any issues.
Another thing to pay attention to when bathing your Poodle is that she is properly brushed and all mats are removed before bathing.
Otherwise, you may inadvertently tighten mats and make them impossible to brush out.
Finally, you have to decide whether to keep your Poodle’s coat long or short and what kind of haircut to give your dog.
Trimming requires the right tools and some patience as you learn techniques, which is why most dog owners prefer to leave this job to professionals.
Once-monthly grooming is ideal, though many Poodle owners choose to groom every six to eight weeks.
Frequent grooming–whether at-home or professional–is the best way to ensure that your dog stays hypoallergenic and healthy.
If you want to avoid vacuuming pet hair every few days, a Poodle is an excellent option.
But despite infrequent shedding, anyone considering this breed should be ready to commit to extensive grooming.
And if allergies are driving your decision, ensure that the Poodle breed doesn’t make your allergies worse before bringing one.
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