Have you heard of cords? I’m talking about Poodle cords, a truly unique grooming style. If you have a Poodle or plan on owning one, you may wish to recreate this quirky look to allow your Poodle to receive well-deserved attention and love from passersby.
What Will I Learn? 👇
What is a Corded Poodle?
Corded is the name given to a unique hairstyle for Poodles. The hairstyle exhibits long curls or cords that droop and twist down to the Poodle’s body. Cords tend to be shorter on their head, ears, face, and ankles.
If you’re familiar with dreadlocks, cords are kind of like the dog version!
Except, this hairstyle looks more beautiful, clean, and well maintained. But if you have a bit of knowledge about the Poodle, you might know that this breed does not naturally have long hair, which means the corded hairstyle can take a bit of time to achieve and maintain.
Cords are carefully created and are not brushed or clipped out when grooming. Typically a Poodle’s hair starts out as a straight when they’re pups, then it curls and afterward is made into a cord through washing and drying. But, I’ll explain this process later.
The Poodle achieves this dreadlock look as the cords continue to grow in that shape. Initially, their coat will start to cord around 7-9 months of age. Part of the reason for this is that their puppy coat will fade, and their adult coat will grow in.
Can a regular coat be corded?
Naturally, Poodles have soft curly coats, which means it can be achieved. While most people tend to keep their coats short and curly for easy maintenance, you can certainly still choose to cord a Poodle. After all, it’s worth it if you want to give them a unique look.
Another reason why their natural coat is good for cording is that it can protect them from cold weather. The reason behind this is that their coat is naturally water-resistant (dates back to their waterfowl hunting days), and the more corded it is, the more they repel.
Back in the day, though, when their natural coats were corded, they mainly had a sour smell attached to them, alongside bits of twigs, mildew, and more stuck in their hair. You might also think that this could be easily the case with the lack of brushing cords. However, due to better canine hygiene, cleaning products for corded hair, and grooming facilities, it’s highly unlikely cords will smell as bad as they once did.
How To Cord a Poodle’s Coat – step by step
If you’re interested in trying this hairstyle out with your Poodle, then you should set aside time for its maintenance. While initially, it might be an easy task, you must devote a lot of care to the upkeep. If you feel like you have time on your hands and are up to the challenge, then you will need to do the following:
First, trim the hair of your Poodle short along with its hindquarters. Then clip hair that’s located right under the tail. Make sure you also carefully trim around the genital region, keeping the hair at the length of 0.5 inches. You must do this to stop urine and fecal matter clinging into the cords and causing them to matt.
Do not brush your Poodle at all! To make sure you cord properly, you must let your Poodle’s entire coat tangle and mat. Even the slightest of brushing strokes can stop its coat from matting. However, if there are any sticks or debris in the coat, you should use your hands to remove them.
Separate into smaller cords
Split and separate the more giant mats into small cords. To do this, you will want to place a small piece of meat in one hand, then pull it away in a horizontal direction from the larger chunk. If you find your Poodles hair is heavily tangled, pull the hair apart using a steel dog comb.
Keep separating the mats until your Poodles whole coat has been divided evenly. Try and make sure the Poodles strands are a quarter-inch in length. Moreover, you might want your Poodles sections to be small to fit in with the general cording trend of the breed. Different breeds tend to have longer and thicker chords.
Grooming a Corded Poodle
It’s important to know that grooming a corded Poodle requires more maintenance than a non corded Poodle or other typical dog breeds. The most important tip that must stay in your mind throughout the cording process a Poodle has is to not brush! All brushing will achieve is the deterioration of the cords you’ve worked hard to achieve. There are some hairstyles that will have a shaved back, mimicking a lion cut.
How to properly bathe a corded poodle
When it comes to bathing a corded Poodle, it’s often a touchy subject. Baths can easily remove any essential moisture in cords, making them droop and fall apart. Therefore you have to be really careful how you bathe a Poodle.
Washing the cords
The best way to bathe a corded Poodle is to apply dog shampoo and soap individually to each cord. You must massage the cord to remove any debris or dirt. But make sure you rinse the cords thoroughly with warm water and soap.
You should also be prepared that the bathing experience will take a lot longer than it did previously. Moreover, you might want to use a leave-in conditioner to keep their hair soft and smooth. However, this is completely subjective to you, some groomers believe in doing this, and others think it interferes with the matting process.
Using other moisture like vaseline or other oils may be tempting to keep the cords clean, but this isn’t recommended. Often, a Poodle with a good diet will grow a healthy coat that won’t need additional oils.
Drying the cords
After your Poodle has had their bath, you will want to gently squeeze each cord using a towel to remove any excess water. Following this, you should use a blow dryer and dry each cord carefully. Often when doing this, you might want to clip sections of the Poodles coat to make sure each cord is dried properly.
To ensure its hair is dried completely, you might wish to place a fan in the room after using the blow dryer. If you fail to dry the Poodle’s hair properly, their cords might develop a bad odor and get skin irritations.
Corded poodle puppies
It’s not ideal to cord a Poodle puppy as their hair is still growing. The reason why Poodles can be corded so easily as an adult is because their hairs have become finer and curlier. Plus, the adult coat is easier to clump and cluster around the core. Moreover, the puppy part of their coat becomes the core of the chords at this point.
A corded Poodle is definitely a unique coat trend for a Poodle to have. However, note that this coat requires a lot more maintenance as you have to carefully spend time cording each strand of hair and washing the cords finely. It’s important not to cord their hair when they’re a puppy as it’s still growing and the curls are yet to be present. Most importantly, you should not brush a Poodle as it will demat their cords when cording a Poodle.
Overall though, cording can be a love or hate hairstyle for many Poodle owners.
What are your thoughts, do you like cording? Let us know down below.
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Marko is the founder and author at PoodleHQ, where he leverages his expertise and passion. With three generations of poodles under his care, Marko is a lifelong enthusiast of the breed and all animals, bringing his love and appreciation to his work every day.
1 thought on “Corded Poodles: How To Cord and Groom Them (Video)”
I have 3 corded Poodles and agree with most of your recommendations.
If you want a natural cord expect this process to take 1 to 2 years to achieve a look like on this post.
I tested two ways to start the cording process, 1 is to brush the dog regularly until the hair reached 3 to 4 inches long than stop all brushing, and let the cords form, at this stage you should only split the cords on a regular basis. this method worked best in my opinion.
The second test was to let the hair mat from the puppy stage, so zero brushing. When the coat changed from puppy to adults it really depended on the type of hair, one of my SPOO had tight and coarse hair, it became extremely challenging to split the matt and I had to use a scissor to separate the cords which is not ideal, while my other SPOO had a soft coat that corded nicely when it reached 3 inches in length. But this was a nice breach from the daily brushing.
As for bathing I first let the cords soak in a tub, drain the tub, then loosely apply a 1 to 4 mix of shampoo and water, and massage the cords, rinse with a handheld shower, and apply conditioner and rinse again. I use several towels to dry the excess water but it can take up to 24 hours to fully dry, I never use a blow dryer it’s to hot, I take them on a leash walk instead. So, I never wash the boys in winter and if I need to, I only wash the lower part of their legs, I find that washing helps with cording, but you need to split the cords as soon as they are dry to avoid big unwanted clumpy matts.
A well groomed Corded Poodle is always a show stopper and crowd pleaser, so enjoy your grooming.