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International Parti Poodle Gazette /

Reportage sur SEVEN

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Volume 5, Issue 2 Founded 2004  April 2009

My Corded Poodle

Author: Marie Galante
Patay, France
Translated by: Michal Cline

I live in France in a small commune in the department of Loiret near Orleans in a city named Patay which is south of Paris. (ED note: a commune is similar to a county in the United States and a department is similar to a state.) Patay has a population of 2,027 and is approximately 14 square kilometers. The people who live here are called "Patichons or Patichonnes."

Patay is an ideal place for taking long walks with my two dogs through the wonderful fields of corn and wheat. Seven is my white corded Standard Poodle and Number is my Miniature Poodle. I am very passionate about animals. In addition to my two Poodles, I have two adopted cats, Kangoon and Hermine, and two miniature goats. My animals are my reason for living.

My Miniature Poodle Number will be 15 years old this May and is a proud grandfather who still loves to play. My white Standard Poodle Seven de Cybel de Cantzu is corded. She was born June 23, 2001 by a breeder in our department. She is a very sociable dog and loves to play with all baby Poodles.

When Seven was eight months old, my groomer told me that Seven's hair was not quite the same as most other Poodles; that her hair could easily be corded if I worked with it to make cords. Thus began Seven's journey into becoming a corded Poodle.

It is important to know the history of the corded Poodle. They have a long and rustic history: Once viewed in the same manner as a curly Poodle, a rather rare variation of Poodle fur is referred to as "corded," a style characterized by rope-like mats. The coat of a corded Poodle is rolled and twisted into long, tight ringlets that demand individual attention. After bathing, blow drying, and hand brushing, the fur begins to twist, making small rope-like curls.

Interestingly, everyone who sees Seven asks, "Is that natural?" My response is, "Yes, it is natural. It is transmitted through a gene that affects the texture of the fur." All corded Poodles can be groomed with curls, but not all Poodles can be corded. My Miniature Poodle does not have the same hair texture as Seven. When she was young, Seven's fur was very thick and, as an adult, her hair spontaneously forms small cords . . . thus, her future as a corded Poodle.

To cord a Poodle, one must wait until the Poodle is about eight months old. The cording process may then be started by patiently using ones fingers, taking thick tufts of hair and separating the tufts leaving a small space between each of the small cords. One must never use a brush and, above all, one must never cut the hair . . . especially at the beginning. After starting the cording process, it is necessary to work with the cords several times a week to keep them separate. At this early stage, if a cord is too thick, it is still possible to separate it by starting at the base of the cord.

When I first began cording Seven, the results were quite unattractive, and people thought that it was shameful. I don't know how many times I threw my hands up and vowed to shave her down. However, I received a lot of support from both the breeder and my groomer. Without them I would have given up. Fortunately, I never quite reached that point. I realized my dream of having a beautiful corded Poodle – the result of which required much patience, time, and love.

Even with a firm devotion to having a corded Poodle, grooming is something else! Bathing the cords is similar to washing a wool sweater. One must wash the cords gently and air-dry them naturally. It takes about three days at the groomer's as it is necessary to pat each cord to remove the water without using a dryer: This takes five or six hours. Obviously, it is a lot of work! When we return home, her hair is still quite damp but it must dry naturally.

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