Brushing and grooming is a necessary evil if you decide to become a dog owner – this is especially true for the Labradoodle breed. These dogs have fairly long coats that come in a variety of different textures. As beautiful as they are, some Labradoodle coats require a lot of trimming and grooming so make sure you are up to the task before you bring your Labradoodle home!
Grooming the Different Coat Types
Something that many people don’t know about the Labradoodle is that they come in three different coat types. Dog genetics can be complicated and the type of coat your Labradoodle has will vary depending on the two dogs used in the crossing. If your Labradoodle has more Poodle blood than Labrador Retriever blood, he could end up with a wool coat – this is a very curly coat that grows long like a Poodle’s coat but it has a softer texture. If your Labradoodle has more Lab blood, he may have a hair coat – a thick coat with a slight wave that sheds more than wool coat. The fleece coat is almost a combination of the first two coat types – it is generally kinked or wavy without being curly, but it has a soft texture and it flows freely.
Labradoodles with fleece or wool coats tend to shed very little – they inherit this trait from the Poodle. Although shedding may not be a big concern for these dogs, they still need to be brushed frequently (ideally every day) because their coats are prone to matting. Labradoodle owners often choose to keep their wool-coated Labradoodles shaved or clipped fairly short to reduce matting and to make grooming easier. Fleece-coated Labradoodles also require plenty of grooming to prevent tangles, though their coats are a little easier to maintain because the curls aren’t so tight. The hair coat is the easiest to brush because it only has a slight wave to it, but it requires the most brushing because it sheds the most out of the three coat types.
Clipping and Shaving Your Labradoodle’s Coat
The way you choose to maintain your Labradoodle’s coat is entirely up to you. If you plan to show your Labradoodle, you may prefer to keep his coat long but you should be aware that this will require a lot of regular brushing and grooming. If you are keeping your Labradoodle as a pet, you should seriously consider clipping his coat short for easy maintenance. Many Labradoodle owners shave their Labradoodles’ coats down to a half inch all over the body twice a year. If you do this, you will find that your daily brushing becomes easier and you only need to do some monthly trimming to keep the fur on your dog’s face, feet, and tail short and tangle-free.
Although the Labradoodle is frequently considered a hypoallergenic breed since it sheds minimally, this is not true of all Labradoodles. Some coat types require more grooming than others, so be sure to do your research before deciding which type of Labradoodle to get. No matter which option you choose, however, you should be prepared to brush your dog’s coat daily and to trim it as needed.
Photo credit: liz west/Flickr