Like many dog lovers out there, one of the things that attracted us to the Labradoodle breed in the first place was their amazingly soft and teddybear-like coats. But that coat doesn’t come without cost and will require a little TLC on your part.
Do Labradoodles need grooming? Yes, it’s recommended that a Labradoodle be professionally groomed every 6-8 weeks. Exactly how often they need grooming depends on the dog’s coat type and the owner’s preference for their appearance. It’s also critically important to brush and comb your Labradoodle between clippings to prevent matting.
I own 2 Labradoodles and in my personal experience, both pups start looking a little shaggy around the 6-week mark.
I can usually tell it’s time for a grooming session when I start having trouble seeing their eyes.
I highly recommend searching for a groomer before you bring your Doodle home. Try to find one that has experience with Labradoodles.
This will help you avoid the nightmares I ran into with my first pup, Oliver (I share that experience in my best-selling Labradoodle book).
But you’ll also need to take them in for a “puppy cut” early on. This is an important set in getting them comfortable with your groomer.
To make the grooming process as easy as possible…make sure you take good care of their coat at home.
I cover all that in the next section – so read on!
Basic At-Home Grooming Supplies You’ll Need
Early on, we relied on our breeder and other Labradoodle owners for recommendations on what supplies and tools to use. I wanted to make sure we had everything ready when we brought him home, so we could start the routine from day one.
- Comb – When just a puppy, a comb should work just fine. We use this stainless steel Poodle comb. One side is narrow and the other wide. It works great! And since its metal, it doesn’t create static.
- Brush – We use a Furminator® slicker brush.
- De-Matting Comb – Mats and tangles are bound to happen at some point in your pup’s life. And when they do, and the normal comb or brush can’t get them out, you’ll need to bring in the de-matting comb. We use this Safari De-Matting Comb. (Caution: these have a sharp side to them. So you’ll want to make sure you read the instructions so you don’t hurt your pup).
- Detangler – This can be used along with the comb or de-matting comb to help loosen problem tangles and mats. We love the Cowboy Magic® Detangler & Shine. It’s a little expensive, but will more than pay for itself in grooming costs and headaches.
Caring for a Labradoodle’s coat really isn’t bad as long as you put in the effort and keep up with it. But it’s important to know what you’re getting into.
Importance Of Brushing And Combing
Regardless of the coat type of the Labradoodle (more on that down below), combing and brushing are extremely important. It’s essential with any breed, really. Not only does it keep your pup looking good and mat-free, but it also helps in the bonding between you and your dog.
3 Tips For Success With Brushing
- Start Early – Getting your pup used to being touched and handled is really important for their development. And getting them used to being brushed will make your life a whole lot easier down the road.
- Do It Often – I comb Oliver out each morning after breakfast (and brushing his teeth). It can start out rough, but I found involving a toy to distract him and the occasional treat really helps. Also, working it into their routine gets them used to it faster.
- Before And After Bathing – You’ll want to comb/brush your pup before you bathe them. Might sound odd, but if they have any mats or tangles, getting their coat wet will only make things worse.
As they get older and their coats longer and thicker, brushing becomes critical. Without proper care, Labradoodles are prone to matting. Mats that are left to worsen will result in your pup having to get shaved. How embarrassing would that be!?
Labradoodle Coat Types
There are 3 coat types seen in Labradoodles and Australian Labradoodles. Because they are cross-breed or hybrid dogs, there’s always the chance a pup’s coat can have characteristics of more than one type (we’ve included some of these possible variations for you below). You should also know that your pup’s coat will look different depending on the length you keep it. To get a better idea of what your pup’s coat will be like, ask your breeder to see pictures of past litters from the same parents.
The Hair Coat (Straight)
The Hair coat is sometimes called a straight (or slick or flat) coat because it’s, well, usually pretty straight. This coat more closely resembles that of a purebred Labrador Retriever. It’s not going to produce the same look you associate with a Labradoodle. In fact, I’ll sometimes confuse them with a normal Labrador. This coat is not nearly as desired as the Fleece and Wool coats.
- Possible Variations: This coat can sometimes have a slight wave or curl to it, but nothing like you see with the other two coats types.
- Touch/Feel: Silky and soft to the touch.
- Degree of Shedding: Typically minimal, but I wouldn’t call this a non-shedding coat since it draws more characteristics from the Labrador.
- Maintenance: Low maintenance, requiring normal brushing.
The Fleece Coat (Wavy)
Probably the most common and most sought-after coats of the Labradoodle, the Fleece coat is characterized by it’s wavy and extremely soft texture. It’s the coat that most people associate with a Labradoodle.
- Possible Variations: The Fleece coat usually takes on one of the following appearances – Wavy (most common), Curly, Straight
- Touch/Feel: Silky and soft to the touch.
- Degree of Shedding: This coat’s shedding is nearly non-existent.
- Maintenance: Relatively low-maintenance, but does need extra care and attention as the puppy coat transitions into the adult coat. This usually happens during the 8-12 month mark.
The Wool Coat (Curly)
The Wool coat is made up of small tight curls which makes it more dense to the touch – it most closely resembles that of a Poodle. As the coat gets longer, the curls tend to become tighter.
- Possible Variations: Most of the variation with this coat is seen when it’s clipped a little shorter. When it’s shorter, it can have more of a Fleecy look.
- Touch/Feel: While the Wool coat is still soft, it’s not as soft as the Fleece coats.
- Degree of Shedding: This coat too, like the Fleece coat, is extremely low shedding if at all.
- Maintenance: Of the 3 coat types, the Wool coat requires the most care on a very consistent basis to prevent matting. You’ll likely want to brush your Wool coated Labradoodle daily.
Labradoodle Breeding Basics
According to the AALA (Australian Labradoodle Association of America), “a Labradoodle is the result of breeding the Labrador Retriever to a Poodle, a Labradoodle to Poodle, or a Labradoodle to Labradoodle.” (source)
So a Labradoodle only has genes from a Labrador and a Poodle. No other breed. You might have seen things come up in your research about Australian Labradoodles.
An Australian Labradoodle starts with a Labradoodle and can have hints of Irish Water Spaniel and Curly Coat Retriever (and possibly others). Breeders have included these other breeds in attempts to perfect their low-shed and low-allergy traits.
FUN FACT: We had no clue there was a difference between a Labradoodle & Australian Labradoodle until after we brought our pup (Oliver) home. So if you are just starting your search, you already know more than we did at that stage! If you’re still in the research process, our Labradoodle Buyer’s Guide is definitely something you should check out.
How much does a Labradoodle groomer charge?
A groomer will likely cost you $50-75 to have your doodle groomed. But it’s definitely possible for you to learn to clip your pup at home. It would save you money over time, but you’d need to invest $50-100 to get clippers and shears.
Can you have your Labradoodle groomed by any groomer?
Most quality groomers have the skills to groom a Labradoodle. The question is more of ‘do they have the experience with different Labradoodle grooming styles’. You should call and talk to the groomer before making an appointment to see if they are experienced with that breed. We recommend you search the internet and Instagram for some styles you like. Take these along and show the groomer what look you’re wanting.
Well, There You Have It!
We’ve covered a ton here, but hopefully, all your questions have been answered. Don’t let the fact that Labradoodles need grooming and a little more care than the average pup deter you from the breed. They are amazing dogs and well worth the extra time and investment.