Your Labradoodle will require moderate grooming due to a coat that for the most part doesn't shed. Although you won't be vacuuming up much hair, you will need to brush your 'Doodle's coat a few times a week to get out the dead hair and to keep it from matting. You will also need to have his coat trimmed a few times annually as it will most likely grow continuously, shed little and need to be kept out of his eyes, ears and elsewhere.
The Labradoodle coat requires a lot of grooming as it is essentially non-shedding. As your 'Doodle pup matures into an adult, her puppy coat won't shed but become a sort of undercoat that, if neglected, will quickly tangle and mat. To not brush her at least three to four times a week will result, eventually, in an expensive trip to the groomer who will have no choice but to shave her nearly naked — and it will take a long time for her to regain a good coat and her comfort with subsequent visits to the groomer.
There are three types of Labradoodle coats: hair, curly (or woolly) and fleece. Hair coats are most common with F1 (first-generation) 'Doodles; wool coats grow relatively slowly and are more dense; and fleece coats are the softest but require much more brushing to keep the fine hairs from knotting. At-home grooming of Labradoodles may be difficult but manageable, so be sure to get advice from a reputable groomer.
Like any puppy, Labradoodle pups should be brushed when their coats don't need it so as to get comfortable with being brushed and touched all over. Once he is mature and his coat needs to be brushed, you must be sure to brush thoroughly no less than three to four times weekly— meaning all the way down through the newly grown hair to the puppy coat where tangles and mats will occur if not brushed. The best way to brush is start lightly with the topmost hairs and deeper on subsequent passes so as to not tear out the hair. After a thorough brushing, the topmost part of the coat will be frizzy, but a spray bottle of water spritzed over the coat (after brushing) will help tame this.
The best brush for Labradoodles is a slicker brush, and many groomers recommend either the Les Pooche Green Variety for the upper part of the coat and the Furminator Rake to prevent (or get out) matting from the lower part.
Once mature, a Labradoodle's lower coat is prone to tangling and matting very quickly; because of this, their coats need frequent brushing. Brushing should be done carefully, and it is recommended that certain types of brushes be used for the upper and lower parts of the coat as well as combs for the more delicate and hard-to-reach areas. A comb, slicker brush, and two-sided brush are a couple of highly recommended tools you need for the various parts of your beloved 'Doodle. A comb is great for the paws and a brush that gets down to the bottom of the coat.
If there is any tangling in the coat (which will usually be in the deeper parts), a detangling agent will help to allow the brush's bristles to glide through the hair without too much pulling and give the coat a clean deep shine.
Bathing your Labradoodle should be done no more than three to four times a year unless necessary — such as when he becomes visibly dirty or gets fleas. Frequent bathing destroys the coat's essential oils, which in turn leaves your Labradoodle susceptible to allergies, skin problems and a dull coat. Bathing your 'Doodle while he's still a pup is strongly recommended so he gets used to being touched all over. Luckily, they are usually free from "doggy" smell.
Before any bathe, however, you should thoroughly brush his coat. The water in the bathtub (or whatever you may use) should be lukewarm and only needs to be about 3-4 inches deep. When applying shampoo, start with the neck at the top of the head and move down, being sure to get the tail and all the way down around the paws. (If bathing to prevent or kill fleas, etc., this keeps bugs from moving to the highest point of the body, the head — and for your dog is the worst place for these parasites to find a home.) You can take him on a walk to dry or you can expedite drying with a towel and blow-dryer.
As Labradoodles tend to have a variety of coats that, for the most part, tend to be more Poodle than Labrador Retriever, there is quite a bit that can be done to style his coat.
One of the most basic Labradoodle grooming styles is the semi-shaved body and "teddy bear" face that makes 'Doodles so adorable. To get this, you should trim the facial hair with a pair of scissors just enough to frame the eyes but also to allow for clear vision. Special attention should be paid to the ears so that they blend but don't remain long enough to mat.
The muzzle area can be allowed to grow on the sides so as to allow for a "mustache." The paws should have a rounded look but the hair should not remain so long that they step on it when they walk. The underside of the tail, the rear area and the inside rear legs should be very closely trimmed — half an inch is recommended — so as to not mat nor become soiled.
The body hair is cut a bit short, usually around 1-2 inches long, but for you who wish to have your Labradoodles present a coat that is 3-4 inches in length, be prepared to brush more frequently as well as for longer periods of time.
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