If you've ever wondered how professionals keep their quaff looking good, wonder no more. Poodles don't have fur. They have hair. This means they require regular brushing to prevent matting. The single most important tool in your grooming arsenal is a 6 inch steel toothed comb. You'll need to brush your poodle's hair from root to tip to prevent tangles and matting. The more you brush their hair, the less matting there will be. Also, spending a few minutes a day brushing their hair will save you from having to spend hours trying to get out the mats. With regular brushing it is entirely possible to keep your poodle's hair mat free. There are certain spots on their body that are more prone to matting, i.e. ears and poms, but it can occur anywhere the hair is kept long.
Sometimes mats can get so bad that the only option is to cut them off and let the hair grow back out. It is better to cut off severe matting than submit your poodle to painful brushing that won't get the mats out. Do NOT expect a groomer to brush out mats. Most groomers charge for brushing for a certain period of time, but will not handle matting. And if they do, they will charge you an arm and a leg. Regular brushing is key to maintaining your poodle's coat and can also be a time for bonding.