Brushing & Drying a Poodle

Knowing how to dry a Poodle and knowing how to brush a Poodle is one of the most important elements of grooming this breed.
If it is not done correctly, the hairs can break, frizz or curl up in a matted mess.
Whether you have a pet Poodle or a show Poodle, it is vital that proper brushing and drying be done after a bath.
The process differs depending on whether your dog is a pet or in show…
So let’s take a look at some of the most important things to know!
Poodle with towel on him

After giving your Poodle a bath, the brushing and drying process will be combined. One cannot happen without the other. If you allow the Poodle’s hair to dry naturally it will over curl, can become frizzy and most likely will quickly become a big, matted mess. Alternatively, if you brush a dry coat, you can destroy the Poodle’s hair, as it will create terrible split ends and cause quite a bit of damage.

If you need to brush your dog between baths, always be sure to first spritz the coat with a trigger spray. This should be a mixture of water and canine conditioner.
Now, let’s look at some of the most important things to remember when you want to properly dry your Poodle (also known as fluff drying)


You will want to dry the coat with a towel regardless of whether or not you use a blow dryer. The type of towel that you use to dry your Poodle will have an affect on both how well moisture is absorbed and whether or not there will be any contract friction that could be detrimental to the hairs.
While most towels are made of cotton, it is the density of that fabric that will categorize one to be of higher quality than another. This is known as GSM (grams per square meter), which gives the fabric of the towel its weight.
The higher that number, the better the towel for after-bath needs.
handsome Poodle
Photo courtesy of owner Judie Hinman

It is suggested to invest in one or two high quality towels for your Poodle that are made with either 100% Egyptian cotton or 100 % American pima cotton.

With that as your drying method, you will want to dab and blot the coat. Rubbing must be avoided. Any time you rub a Poodle dry after a bath, this can cause breakage or tangling even if you do have a quality towel. Since water drips downward, you will want to start at the head, go over the neck and back and then work your way down each leg. And do not forget about the tail..

Using a Hair Dryer

If you have a pet Poodle in a puppy clip or other ‘easy care’ coat trim, you do not necessarily need to use a blow dryer; though in most cases it will be best. It does have its pros and its cons.

The pros of using a blow dryer on a Poodle include:

  • Speeding up the drying process
  • That faster time drying time will help leave-in products stay on the coat as opposed to possibly rubbing off
  • It allows you to lift and ventilate the hair to make it look proper
  • A high velocity dryer will help make the Poodle’s coat smoother (particularly if a quality leave-in product is used)
  • If allowed to air dry, the coat can be curly, kinky and difficult to scissor
The cons of this would include:
  • Possible heat damage if held too close or if the wrong appliance (non-ionic dryer) is used
  • While it will dry the coat faster, this is an extra grooming task that some owners feel that they do not have time for; though again if the right appliance is used it only adds an extra 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the Poodle.
When all is said and done, the coat will have a better appearance if this used after giving baths.
When this is done correctly, by brushing in small sections as you dry, this is called “fluff grooming” in professional canine grooming salons. You will want to set the dryer to medium/high but hold it far enough away as to not cause burns. Speed is a crucial element to proper drying.
Spritz sections of the coat with a quality finishing spray as you go along and use a quality slicker brush. This will offer the hair strands protection and will help make the coat fluffy and soft.
Ionic dryers are the best choice for this grooming tool; these emit negative ion charges which break up the water molecules which in turn allows the coat to dry much faster. You’ll find that ones made for us humans actually work much better than those branded as ‘pet’ dryers.
You may also like:  Poodles and Ingrown Hairs – What happens when a hair (often due to being curly) grows inward, into the skin. How to prevent this and treatment for it.