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I see a lot of toy poodles with curly fur and I'm not sure what identifies as tangled fur and matted fur. I can see how brushing every day will make the fur softer and not as curly. Does this mean that many of the toy poodles I see on the streets are somewhat neglected in their daily routine of getting brushed by their owners?
 

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Not necessarily... when you brush hair it will start bunching into curls again before too long. If a dog is blown dry the curls will be loose but if air dried they will be tighter curls. Matted hair does not easily separate and you can't run a comb through it. Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the dog because the hair is clumpy, but other times the mats are underneath and hard to see. If you run a comb through the hair, it is easy to see that it is matted.
 

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Not necessarily... when you brush hair it will start bunching into curls again before too long. If a dog is blown dry the curls will be loose but if air dried they will be tighter curls. Matted hair does not easily separate and you can't run a comb through it. Sometimes you can tell just by looking at the dog because the hair is clumpy, but other times the mats are underneath and hard to see. If you run a comb through the hair, it is easy to see that it is matted.
I assume you mean after the dog has been washed, to blow dry to have looser curls?
 

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Poodle fur is naturally curly. It can be blown dry straight, just as human hair can be, but will revert to curly. Brushing or combing alone don't really make it either softer or straighter but will keep tangles and matting at bay. This is why brushing alone isn't the way to keep tangles/mats from forming. A brush only smooths thru the outside fur. It doesn't get down thru to the skin.

It is very parallel to caring for naturally curly human hair. After shampooing, conditioner may make the hair/fur feel softer and blow drying will straighten it. Humidity or wetness will allow the natural curl to return. Combing will take out tangles and brushing will smooth. The longer the hair/fur, the easier it is for it to tangle or mat up.

We've all seen the horror photos of dogs who were found severely matted
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In less severe matting, it's harder to see from just looking since the tangling/matting doesn't happen from the outside edge in, but closer to the skin/scalp.

This poodle is matted but it's not obvious just by looking. If you try to get a comb thru it tho, you won't be able to. This dog wasn't so badly matted that a full shave down was required.
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After a bath, blow dry and getting the mats out

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Fully trimmed

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If I don't comb thru my boys daily or every other day, the small tangles/mats that develop, like I showed in the other post, will just start spreading and catching other tangle/mats and grow to beyond being combed out but will need to be clipped out. If I neglect long enough, the top photos will be the result.
 

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The one time that I gifted myself by taking Wilson to a groomer, I took him in before his appointment so that the groomer could do a hands on check of his coat's condition. She has a gal that specializes in the longer poodle cuts and needed to know how much time to book. I told her his coat was long, but not matted. When she met him, she ran her hands through his coat, and said it was the first time that the dog was actually "mat-free" as had been stated.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The one time that I gifted myself by taking Wilson to a groomer, I took him in before his appointment so that the groomer could do a hands on check of his coat's condition. She has a gal that specializes in the longer poodle cuts and needed to know how much time to book. I told her his coat was long, but not matted. When she met him, she ran her hands through his coat, and said it was the first time that the dog was actually "mat-free" as had been stated.
I can see in the before picture you brushed your poodle quite often. You take care of your dog very well!
 
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