How to Cord a Poodle Coat

A short haircut isn't the only attractive style for your poodle.
i standard poodle with ball image by MichMac from

Poodles have naturally curly coats, and most owners choose to keep their coats short and manageable. If you’re looking for a distinctive hairstyle for your poodle, give cording a try. A corded coat takes time to start and maintain, but the unique look is worth the effort.

Step 1

Trim the hair short along the hindquarters. Clip the hair under the tail and around the genitals to a length of approximately half an inch. This prevents urine and feces from matting into the cords.

Step 2

Stop brushing the dog. The first step in cording is to allow the entire coat to tangle and mat, and constant brushing will prevent the formation of mats. Pick sticks and vegetation from the coat to keep the dog clean and free of debris.

Step 3

Separate large mats into smaller cords. Grip a small piece of mat in one hand, and pull it horizontally away from the larger chunk of hair. If the hair is severely tangled, pull the hair apart with a steel dog comb.

Step 4

Continue separating the mats until the entire coat has been divided into even cords. Aim for strands that are approximately a quarter-inch wide, and snip the hair near the skin with small scissors to fully separate each cord. Most poodles are corded in smaller sections than other breeds, such as komondors or pulis, resulting in a smoother, lighter coat.

Step 5

Bathe a corded dog once a week. Set the dog in the bathtub and soak the cords with warm water. Apply a handful of dog shampoo to the coat, squeezing it into each cord with your fingers. Rinse the dog with copious amounts of water, massaging each cord to remove all the soap.

Step 6

Wrap the dog in a towel and set her on the floor. Squeeze as much water from the cords as possible, and blow-dry the coat. Turn the dryer on low heat and separate the cords as you dry the dog. It is vital to get the cords completely dry to prevent mildew and skin irritation.

Step 7

Line the bottom of your dog’s crate with dry towels, and place a large fan on the left and right sides of the crate. Place the dog in the crate, and leave her crated until her cords are dry. Drying times vary based on the length of the cords, and it may take anywhere between two and eight hours to get the coat completely dry.

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