Doodles are a cross between a Poodle and other dog breeds. Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are two of the most well-known examples of Doodle dogs. Doodles are growing increasingly popular amongst pet owners and animal lovers. We’re pleased to share great information on caring for your Doodle courtesy of Jamel Hamka and Recherche Kennels - Doodles,
How To Manage Doodle Hair
In 2021, Doodles ranked fifth a list of the most popular dog breeds in America. This was a big jump from their ninth place ranking in 2020. This growing popularity of Doodles is hardly surprising. These designer canines are known for being good-natured, smart, and beautiful. Most Doodles also have low-shedding coats, which have made them especially popular with those who have allergies.
What Is a Doodle?
Before discussing the care and maintenance of a Doodle's coat, it's important to note that these dogs are a mixture of two breeds — specifically of a Poodle and another breed. Arguably, the most popular versions are the Labradoodle (Poodle/Labrador Retriever) and the Goldendoodle (Poodle/Golden Retriever). However, there are many other doodles out there, including the Whoodle (Poodle/Wheaten Terrier), Bernie Doodle (Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle), and the Aussie Doodle (Australian Shepherd/Poodle). Depending on the Doodle mixture, the coats of these dogs can vary greatly — from soft and silky to wavy to stick straight.
Doodles are often advertised as non-shedding and, thus, hypoallergenic. The truth is that all dogs shed, even Doodles. The degree to which a Doodle sheds can, again, vary. For instance, one Labradoodle puppy might take after its Labrador Retriever parent and have straight hair that sheds quite a bit. Yet, another puppy from the same litter might take after its Poodle parent and have curlier hair that sheds very little.
The Doodle's Coat
To understand why Doodles require regular maintenance for their coats, it's important to learn a little bit about dog coats. Some canines, such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, shed year-round. Owners of these dogs are accustomed to finding little tumbleweeds of fur rolling around their homes. On the plus side, their coats require minimal care. Other dogs, such as Samoyeds, blow out their coats seasonally. This means that they lose their undercoat in large clumps about twice a year.
Then there are Doodles and other low-shedding dogs. For the most part, Doodles only shed a little bit of hair each day. Without diligent brushing, though, that dead hair can become entangled in the dog's coat. Over time, those tangled hairs could clump together to form thick knots and mats.
Poor Grooming Issues
Tangles and mats are not just a cosmetic problem. They can negatively impact a dog's health and cause them pain. For example, if a dog's fur becomes thickly matted, moisture can get trapped against the skin, which can lead to bacterial infections such as hot spots. The mats and tangled hair can also be heavy and pull at a dog's skin, causing irritation, pain, and discomfort.
If a Doodle's fur is only mildly matted, a groomer may be able to salvage the coat by de-matting it. This process involves detangling small sections of the knotted hair a little bit at a time. However, this is not only time-consuming for the groomer, but it can also be painful for the dog. That is why most groomers will not de-mat a Doodle's coat if it is severely matted.
Instead, most groomers will shave the dog's coat. This look is not popular with most Doodle owners. In fact, some owners have accused their groomers of ruining their dog's appearance after a shave down — but a groomer can only do so much. It's up to a Doodle's owner to keep the dog's coat in the best shape possible to help prevent matting.
Grooming Tips for Doodles
So, how can you prevent tangles and mats in a Doodle's coat? It starts with daily brushing and the right tools. Because Doodle coats tend to be thick, they require a brush with stiff bristles that can reach down to the skin and remove loose hair. Many groomers recommend a self-cleaning slicker brush because its bent wire bristles can penetrate deep into the coat. Because these bristles can retract with a click of a button, this brush is also easy to clean of dead hair.
While brushing a Doodle, owners need to pay special attention to the areas where constant motion and friction could create knots and tangles, such as the dog's armpits. To work out those knots, owners should have a de-tangling comb, in addition to a good brush. This comb should be used gently, as the tugging can be painful for a Doodle, especially if the knotted hair is in a sensitive area, such as the abdomen. Another item that owners should have on hand is de-tangling spray. This can be spritzed on a dog's coats to get rid of and prevent knots and tangles.
With daily brushing, a dog's coat should remain mat-free. If for some reason a dog does develop thick mats, groomers warn owners that they should never try to cut them out of their dog's coat themselves. Without the proper training and equipment, it would be too easy for an owner to accidentally injure the dog.
Doodles should also get baths on a regular basis or whenever they are dirty. For the best results, canines should be bathed only with shampoos that have been specially formulated for dogs. Before bathing a Doodle, it is also imperative that the coat be free of knots and mats, as these can worsen when a dog gets wet.
Finally, Doodles require professional grooming about every four to six weeks. If a Doodle's coat gets too long, it's more likely to develop tangles and mats.
The Puppy Cut
Many pet owners wait too long to take their puppies to the groomers for the first time. It's true that a young Doodle probably won't need a full grooming clip until it is about six months of age or older, but it's important to introduce a puppy to a groomer while it is still relatively small.
To help a Doodle get used to the grooming table, most groomers offer special appointments for puppies. During this session, a groomer will typically give the puppy a bath and trim its nails. The groomer might also use scissors to trim the fur on a puppy's feet and around the buttocks for hygienic purposes. This gives the puppy a chance to get used to the sounds and scents of a grooming shop before it is introduced to the clippers, which can be scary for some dogs.
Doodles Are Delightful!
Although a Doodle's coat requires regular maintenance, these dogs are well worth the effort it takes to keep them looking and feeling their best. They are a true delight to own and are sure to bless their owners with many years of joy, love, and laughter.
AUTHOR BIO: Jamel Hamka is the owner/CEO of Recherche Kennels - Doodles, a professional breeding and training facility. Hamka has over 10 years of experience breeding with top parent bloodlines and training puppies to be the perfect family pet.