Getting Color Cord-inated - Groomer to Groomer

Getting Color Cord-inated

By Dawn Omboy

While we are seeing more and more of it, cording the Poodle coat is not just a new fad. In the early 19th century, corded coats were very common and often seen in the show ring. Cording is not an instant grooming style. If you cannot handle your Poodle looking quite unkept for several months in the initial stages, this style isn’t for you. Once the cords are formed, the upkeep on a pet coat is quite simple.

What are cords?

Basically, cords are controlled matting. Most Poodle coats, when wet, separate into ringlets. Those ringlets, when left on their own, eventually become the cords. These are the words of a dear friend and fellow groomer, Barb Hoover of Leavenworth, Kansas. Many know Barb from the Groomers Lounge or Barb has three Poodles that are in various stages of cording. Addie, her six-year-old, has well-formed cords about eight to ten inches long. Being a friend of the Queen of Color, Barb was inspired to color Addie, and I have been just dying to see the cords multi-colored!

“You must make sure to pick a color you really like, because it will not fade out of the cords as it does with a brushed coat, and you cannot just cut it off either,” says Hoover. She was stuck with orange ears for a year and a half before it faded and grew out enough to cut some of the cord length off and cover the rest with another color.

To color the cords with a semipermanent dye, Barb diluted Queen of Color Pink Petunia (one of my favorites) into a squirt bottle and sprayed it on, working it into the cords. You must be sure to lift the cords to check for missed spots. Have them separated before you begin to ensure even color for initial coloring. Because it’s sprayed on and because of the excessive amount of rinsing, it’s pretty wet. After waiting out the processing time of about 30 minutes, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, oh and rinse again! Barb says she has problems with color run off on the non-colored areas no matter what she does, since there’s no quick rinse to avoid it. Leaving the uncolored areas unclipped until afterwards will help to catch it. Clip that part off after drying. It helps some, but so far, it is not fool proof.


For my part, I wanted to see Addie in multi-colored cords. I recently had the chance to do this at the All American Grooming Show in Chicago. Addie was a great sport as I used Pet Paint and Pet Chalk to get this great effect. With Pet Paint, I held up each cord I wished to color and sprayed the color onto the bottom half of the cord. For the Pet Chalk, it was just as simple to rub my thumb across the Pet Chalk round and then rub it onto the cord. Addie slept with us in the hotel room with absolutely no color transfer from the Pet Paint or the Pet Chalk, and when she was bathed two days later, all of the color was gone from the cords except the Queen of Color Pink Petunia. Addie was back to her normal color in the pink! It is great to know that even corded coats can be color cord-inated!

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