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I air dry my Asta because I like the curly coat. and think of poodles in history when there were no dryers. Never once have I had an issue of skin problems.
 

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Think about it, who are you trying to please, the poodle critics, and yourself if you listen to them, or your dear dog and what he/she would like? I love my spoo curly, or however he turns out. He is not fond of baths, and he doesn't like the blow driers, so I bathe him, and then towel him dry. I let him run around a bit, and then he lays down next to me snuggled on the sofa, shivering a bit. So I wrap him in plush towels, make sure he is warm with maybe even an extra blankie, and let him sleep it off. He normally sleeps about 3 hours!

I always get compliments on him, every time we are in public.
 

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It is funny... Misha is so used to being blow dried that he detests air drying. He just curls up and shivers for hours and cries pitiful whines. He tries to jump up on his drying platform and gives me meaningful stares. He is a silly dog. He loves to be told he is pretty and loves the attention. Each dog is different. The important thing is to maintain them in a way that keeps them happy and healthy. Sometimes I get tired of the grooming and do a shave down. And then after a while I miss the fluff. The good thing about poodles is there are so many ways to groom them.
 

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Misha is so used to being blow dried that he detests air drying. He just curls up and shivers for hours and cries pitiful whines. He tries to jump up on his drying platform and gives me meaningful stares.
If they have thick hair, many of them literally get cold until their hair is dry, unless in a hot climate. I used to have really thick hair myself and can relate!
 

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I would try a desensitization program for now. If she is a puppy, drying isn't as critical, setting her up for drying in the future is.

So, go, turn the hair dryer on, give lots of treats. No need for a fresh bath, just getting her used to it. If that's too stressful, go, turn the hair dryer on then off, lots of treats. Don't restrain her unless maybe to put her on a table. Once that's not terrifying, you can quickly touch her with the air on low, turn it off, treats. The idea is to never let her get to the point of being scared, or that you need to restrain her. Do this over a few weeks, slowly getting used to more and more air and time and she should be ok with the dryer.
 

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If they have thick hair, many of them literally get cold until their hair is dry, unless in a hot climate. I used to have really thick hair myself and can relate!
Yep! My hair will literally stay damp underneath for hours.

Peggy loves being towel dried after a romp in the rain or the kiddie pool. From day 1 she acted like it was the most normal thing in the world. I have no idea why. She's good about having her paws wiped, too.

But if she was soaked right through, towel drying would only work superficially, and it would take a long time for the rest of her to air dry. Maybe she has a thick coat. I have nothing to compare it to.
 

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People can say they get compliments on their poodles that they let air dry, and I'm sure they may. But that is likely from the general public who doesn't know the difference. But there is no doubt that you will get a nicer finish on a dog that is blown out. If you put a dog that was air-dried, clipped and scissored next to a dog that was blown out, clipped and scissored, the difference WILL be evident. You can't get the clipped areas as neat (excepting FFT) and you will not get as nice a scissor finish. And it is actually easier on the dog to blow out because the drier helps separate the hair as you dry so you never miss a spot that might have a mat forming, etc. It is also not healthy, in some cases, for the hair to be wet against the skin for the amount of time it will take to fully dry. For example, my dogs have very thick long ears (see picture below) and it would take hours for them to dry completely. The amount of time damp hair would be laying against the ear leathers inside and out, and the ear canal is asking for problems. My dogs also have very thick body coat, I keep them in various fancier cuts and their bodies would take a long time to dry and I'm not waiting to finish grooming for hours and hours while they air dry (and back to my foregoing, they wouldn't look as good anyway). I also don't want damp wet dogs laying around my house, on the carpets or on their beds, which will then also get wet. If you want to keep your dog very short with short top knots, ears and tails, then you could do it. But if you are going to do any kind of fancier cut blow drying is the proper way. Your dog will get accustomed to it over time if you go slowly and desensitize with very short sessions at first and lots of praise and high value treats. My puppies have already been groomed several times when I bring them home from my breeder, but they are up on my grooming table very soon after I get them several times a week and learn to behave properly for all grooming needs.
 

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Maybe one of you can help me with this: If poodles were bred to retrieve in water, why would their coat require this type of dedicated drying time and energy? Is it because the breed standard has evolved over time, and they're no longer quite so "waterproof"?

Or maybe because baths, by necessity, soak right down to the skin, whereas a brief trip into shallow water would only penetrate superficially?
 

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I've seen some photos of poodles from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Quite a few look rather bedraggled compared to a modern dog.

Additionally, poodles, as waterfowl dogs, probably would have been owned by relatively affluent households. Their owners had the leisure to go hunting and the disposable income to purchase firearms and ammunition. Most middle class and all upper class families had servants back in the day. It's a lot easier to ensure a dog gets its daily brushing if you can delegate the work to a maid or a stableboy.

My big guys were like giant soggy ambulatory loofah sponges if I didn't blow them dry. Even after wiping them off with three beach towels apiece they would still leave a trail of dampness through the house. Additionally, they tended to develop mats if I just let them air dry. Simply combing them out once wasn't enough; the damp hair would coil back into a knot. I needed to keep combing, and neither they nor I had that kind of patience. In summer, when they were trimmed short, I could wash them and toss them out into the yard to run themselves dry in the sun. Not so much in winter.
 

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I've seen some photos of poodles from the late 1800's and early 1900's. Quite a few look rather bedraggled compared to a modern dog.

Additionally, poodles, as waterfowl dogs, probably would have been owned by relatively affluent households. Their owners had the leisure to go hunting and the disposable income to purchase firearms and ammunition. Most middle class and all upper class families had servants back in the day. It's a lot easier to ensure a dog gets its daily brushing if you can delegate the work to a maid or a stableboy.

My big guys were like giant soggy ambulatory loofah sponges if I didn't blow them dry. Even after wiping them off with three beach towels apiece they would still leave a trail of dampness through the house. Additionally, they tended to develop mats if I just let them air dry. Simply combing them out once wasn't enough; the damp hair would coil back into a knot. I needed to keep combing, and neither they nor I had that kind of patience. In summer, when they were trimmed short, I could wash them and toss them out into the yard to run themselves dry in the sun. Not so much in winter.
Yeah, it's the mats/health or comfort-related issues I'm wondering about specifically. That makes sense that poodle owners would have had staff that could assist.

It's an interesting topic.

Poodle coats couldn't be more different than say, a Labrador's, and yet both are bred for water. I wonder why the distinct textures. I need a good historical resource to satisfy my curiosity!
 

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P.S. Poodle ears provide a great little lesson in the dangers of wet poodle hair. Peggy's, when long, will dip in her water bowl and develop horrible mats along the edges. The first time it happened, I had no idea. The mats were so tight, I thought they were a part of her ear leather and felt AWFUL when I discovered my mistake.
 

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PTP - I saw in another thread you mentioned borrowing Kalstone's poodle grooming book? When you get it, be sure to check out the historical section. It has a great description of poodles in London going to special poodle barbers to have the family crest shaved on their back. Talk about skill.

I have a pet theory that the modern poodle has avoided some of the weirdness in other breeds (think German shepherd back legs and CKC spaniel heads and many breeds with squished faces) due to breeders going nuts on the coat instead. Old pictures seem to show poodles with much less full coats than modern poodles. I joke somewhat seriously that poodles were bred for thicker and thicker hair that can rise to ever more elaborate versions of the Continental, with ever longer neck hair, instead of for weird body shapes. I imagine less thick/dense coats would have been faster to dry and a bit less mat-prone.
 

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PTP - I saw in another thread you mentioned borrowing Kalstone's poodle grooming book? When you get it, be sure to check out the historical section. It has a great description of poodles in London going to special poodle barbers to have the family crest shaved on their back. Talk about skill.

I have a pet theory that the modern poodle has avoided some of the weirdness in other breeds (think German shepherd back legs and CKC spaniel heads and many breeds with squished faces) due to breeders going nuts on the coat instead. Old pictures seem to show poodles with much less full coats than modern poodles. I joke somewhat seriously that poodles were bred for thicker and thicker hair that can rise to ever more elaborate versions of the Continental, with ever longer neck hair, instead of for weird body shapes. I imagine less thick/dense coats would have been faster to dry and a bit less mat-prone.
Thanks for the tip! I'm so excited to get my hands on that book.

And that theory totally makes sense to me. Would be so neat to compare a modern poodle side-by-side with a poodle from the 1700s.
 

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Yeah, it's the mats/health or comfort-related issues I'm wondering about specifically. That makes sense that poodle owners would have had staff that could assist.

It's an interesting topic.

Poodle coats couldn't be more different than say, a Labrador's, and yet both are bred for water. I wonder why the distinct textures. I need a good historical resource to satisfy my curiosity!
An interesting quote from the Spanish Waterdog club site:
The Spanish Water Dog generally requires little grooming. The coat should never be brushed or combed. At least once a year, the coat must be evenly sheared from the entire body, very similar to shearing a sheep – twice per year is not uncommon. During the phase in which the Spanish Water Dog’s coat begins to cord, more work is required to assist proper cording and to prevent the cords from matting near the skin.
I've seen no evidence, but I wonder if some poodle owners dealt with their poodles the same way
 

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An interesting quote from the Spanish Waterdog club site:
I've seen no evidence, but I wonder if some poodle owners dealt with their poodles the same way
Yes the lagotto has a coat that is groomed the same way. I do not think poodle coats fair as well without grooming. There are probably slight differences. But maybe those have been bred in after they were kept for pet and show.
 

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I keep my Spoo in a 5 in winter or a 7 the rest of the year, with face, feet, and fanny in a 10 or less. He has a very thick coat and does not like long hair at all! He refuses to wear a human made coat even at 0 F, and loves to run in the snow and cold. He is 11 years old and has always been like this. Even in winter inside he will lay on a hardwood floor and pant if his hair is longer. And we live in the UP of Michigan. I do keep his topknot and tail poofy. This kind of cut requires much less grooming and brushing. I keep my place at 66F in the winter.

How much of a lot of grooming is what the poodle wants, and the vanity of the owner?
 

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I keep my Spoo in a 5 in winter or a 7 the rest of the year, with face, feet, and fanny in a 10 or less. He has a very thick coat and does not like long hair at all! He refuses to wear a human made coat even at 0 F, and loves to run in the snow and cold. He is 11 years old and has always been like this. Even in winter inside he will lay on a hardwood floor and pant if his hair is longer. And we live in the UP of Michigan. I do keep his topknot and tail poofy. This kind of cut requires much less grooming and brushing. I keep my place at 66F in the winter.

How much of a lot of grooming is what the poodle wants, and the vanity of the owner?
I think this is a very sensible cut. I have been doing a similar cut during the rainy season because it's just constant mud pits here.

I do think a lot of poodles actually enjoy grooming. It is special time spent with their human where they get lots of attention. I would not say Misha loves all of it but he will certainly request to be brushed or dried. He very much enjoys the attention he gets when he looks pretty. I do think desensitization to grooming processes is a responsible thing to do with a poodle. Regardless of the cut chosen, grooming will be a regular part of life. I believe that a lot of poodle manners are learned through grooming. Being still and patient, and tolerating mildly annoying sensations are extremely useful skills for a dog to have. I would venture to say that lack of enjoyment on the dog's part tends to be due to insufficient desensitization. I'd rather get the dog accustomed to the process since they will have to tolerate some level of grooming for their entire lives.
 

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Yes the lagotto has a coat that is groomed the same way. I do not think poodle coats fair as well without grooming. There are probably slight differences. But maybe those have been bred in after they were kept for pet and show.
Interesting, I had not known of the Lagotto before. In the photos I have seen I am not sure how they can even see, maybe doing the truffle finding by scent?
 
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