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How to groom a Labradoodle

Labradoodles make great family pets. They were first bred in Australia in the late 1980s; this Labrador Retriever and Poodle hybrid breed is a popular choice for those who struggle with pet hair and dander allergies as they are low-shedders. 

As Labradoodles are mixed-breeds, they have varied coat types. Typically their coats fall under three categories, hair, which is usually wiry, wool and fleece. The type of coat a Labradoodle has will affect how you should groom it. 

LABRADOODLE COAT TYPES

HAIR COAT

These coats are most common in first-generation Labradoodles as their makeup is 50% Labrador Retriever and 50% Poodle. This Labradoodle type has wiry, thick, coarse, straight hair. This type is also the most prone to shedding, requiring regular brushing between grooming appointments to remove dead hair.

When grooming in the salon, hair coats are normally tidied up with thinners instead of being cut into a specific style. 

WOOL COAT

Labradoodle wool coats have the most similar profile to Poodle coats as they consist of a dense, curly single layer. These coats cast the least as the hair sheds inside the coat rather than out, making this type a popular choice for those with pet hair and dander allergies. Because of this, wool coats require more maintenance as they are prone to matting and require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles from forming. 

Wool coats look beautiful when clipped short, making them easier to maintain. If you groom a Labradoodle with a wool coat, it's worth recommending to your client that for best results, the dog should be brushed at home every day and clipped at least three to four times a year, or for best results, every six to eight weeks. 

FLEECE COAT

A Labradoodle with a fleece coat has hair that resembles a combination of the other two coat types. Because of this, this coat type is typically wavy and shaggy. 

Fleece coats are super soft to the touch, are the easiest to maintain and are well suited to various grooming styles.

HOW OFTEN DOES A LABRADOODLE NEED TO BE GROOMED?

How often an owner should have its Labradoodle groomed depends on how they prefer its coat to look. 

If a longer-looking coat is a preference, then their dog should only need to visit the groomers every six to eight weeks. However, it would help if you stressed the importance of daily brushing at home to prevent the coat from forming mats and tangles. 

Matted coats can be uncomfortable for dogs; they cause the coat to become uncomfortable and heavy, and if left untreated, can also lead to skin sores and allergies. 

If your client prefers their dog to have a shorter clip, they may only need to visit the groomers every eight to twelve weeks, but again, it's important to stress the need for at-home coat maintenance between appointments. 

With older dogs or those with medical issues, you should advise that grooming appointments are kept to a minimum to prevent stress and discomfort. Encourage your client to stick with a fuss-free cut for their Labradoodle rather than an elaborate style. 

AT HOME GROOMING TIPS BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS

For best results in the grooming salon, you may want to give your clients tips on maintaining their Labradoodle's coat between appointments. We'd recommend the following:  

BATHING BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS

If your client's Labradoodle spends a lot of time outdoors, it may need to be bathed now and again in between appointments to keep its hair and skin in the best condition. 

Please bear in mind that most Labradoodle coats don't have an odour and the oils in their coats help to build up a resistance against dirt and bacteria. Overbathing can reduce the oils and result in coat damage. 

• Advise your client to use a coat-specific shampoo, such as Groomers' Crazy Curls for Poodle coats, or a soothing shampoo for sensitive skin and always encourage them to brush the coat before bathing to remove knots.

BRUSHING

For best results, a Labradoodle's coat should be brushed daily; however, two to three times a week should be enough to keep on top of any mats and tangles. 

Your client should invest in a good slicker brush and a metal comb for grooming, alongside some scissors, a sharp, straight pair for removing difficult knots and a bull nosed pair, should they need to trim the hair on the face.  

• The hair should be brushed from the skin outwards using the slicker brush or comb for longer hair. It should be taught to prevent discomfort, especially when working out a knot or mat.

• Knots should be worked out gently. Small, difficult knots can be cut into and then gently pulled apart. However, if the dog has larger knots or solid mats close to the skin, cutting into them should be avoided to prevent nicks. In this case, mats can be trimmed out with clippers which are a much safer choice for getting under a mat than scissors. Your client should always seek your professional grooming advice and experience if in doubt. Knots are common around the jaw, behind the ears, under the collar and at the top of the legs so these areas will need extra attention.

• If the hair on the face becomes too long and causes discomfort, bull nosed scissors can be used to trim around the eyes and face. 

CARING FOR THE EARS

Labradoodles are naturally floppy-eared, so the inside of their ears don't get a lot of air circulation. Because of this, yeast or bacterial infections can occur, so it's important that their ears are checked regularly, and the hair in and around their ears is trimmed short.

For at home-maintenance, it might be worth advising your client to consult their vet to learn how to care for and clean their Labradoodle's ears regularly to prevent waxy build-ups and infections.

HOW TO GROOM A LABRADOODLE PUPPY

 

For a Labradoodle's first few haircuts as a puppy, the focus should be on trimming them down rather than concentrating on a specific cut. Typically, a first full clip shouldn't be necessary until they are six months old when their adult coat begins to grow.

 

A puppy trim should concentrate on the following:

• To prevent discomfort, you should trim the hair around the ears and   between the eyes.

• The fringe should be cut, leaving an inverted 'V' shape above the nose.

• The hair on the ears should be trimmed back to about 1cm following the shape of the ear.

• Trim around the face to neaten it if the beard is long.

• Trim the hair in and around the pads.

• Brush through the coat, checking for and removing any knots and tangles. Scissor split or use a dematter for difficult knots. 

• Shorten the hair on the belly  but leave the rest of the hair long. 

• Trim around the private areas to leave them clean and unmatted.

• Clip the nails

POPULAR CUTS FOR LABRADOODLES

Labradoodles come in all shapes and sizes and with different fur types. Clients may request a variety of popular cuts. Here are some of the most common and general tips for achieving them.

 

SHORT CLIP

A short clip is a simple cut, which sees the dog's coat kept short all over, usually trimmed down to an inch (roughly 2.5 centimetres). 

To achieve this look, clip the Labradoodle's body all over, except for the head, tail and feet. You should trim the head, feet and tail with scissors for a cleaner finish. For this cut, the ear and chin hair shouldn't be too long, and the hair shouldn't be in the eyes. The muzzle should be well-rounded, and the feet should be nicely shaped. 

For this look to be maintained, dogs need regular trips to the groomers.

LONG CLIP

The long clip is achieved in the same way as a short clip, but the hair is trimmed down to two inches (roughly 5 centimetres) growth all over the body, rather than an inch. This look requires daily brushing between appointments to minimise mats and tangles.

TEDDY BEAR CUT

The teddy bear cut is a popular cut choice with owners as it creates a cute, teddy-like appearance that is fluffy all over.

To achieve this cut, the Labradoodle's coat must be trimmed down your desired length but sees the face and ears left with longer hair. The hair around the face is rounded and left full-looking to resemble a teddy bear.

The teddy bear cut is high-maintenance and requires regular touch-up appointments to maintain the look. 

LAMB CUT

A popular cut for poodles and other curly-coated breeds, the lamb cut leaves the legs slightly long and fluffy, whilst the body and head are sheared short.The ears are left long to create a lamb-like appearance.  

Although it requires a lot of skill to maintain, this cut is a great choice for preventing knots, mats and tangles.

KENNEL CUT

 The kennel cut is a great choice for Labradoodles that live in warmer climates or for a cooler cut for summer months to prevent the coat from becoming too heavy. Except for the ears, the coat is shaved down to ½ inch of hair for a cool, low-maintenance cut.

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