When I decided that my next blog topic would be on grooming, I consulted with our groomer and co-owner Juanita on what seems to be the most difficult breed to groom or maintain. Juanita didn’t even have to think about it, she just answered with a very firm: “Doodles!”
It seems these days that the current breed du jour is the Doodle. It is our most booked breed for grooming and it isn’t hard to understand why people are opting for doodles over other breeds. Depending on what the mix of the Doodle is, it is most commonly comprised of a Retriever and a Poodle which would end up being a Goldendoodle or a Labradoodle. Each of these breed types brings something different to the table. Retrievers, both Labrador and Golden, are considered to be intelligent, people-pleasing dogs and Poodles are considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Generally speaking, the Doodle temperament blend is unique, and you’ll find the best traits of both Retrievers and Poodles. Ideally, the Doodle is a smart, easily trained dog with good social graces, and for many families, it can make for the ideal canine companion.
This all sounds too perfect doesn’t it? What we haven’t mentioned yet and what most people don’t know before purchasing a doodle is the amount of time, energy and money that will go into maintaining their coats. Doodles have three coat types: wavy, curly and straight. There’s no way of predicting what kind of coat your doodle will have. Most commonly a doodle will be wavy or curly and this is where the trouble starts… These coat types are quite demanding to maintain and require brushing daily to prevent matting.
If you are unfamiliar with matting, it is densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet's coat. If a coat is not properly and frequently brushed, loose hair becomes embedded in large masses. Sometimes “mats” can be combed out, but if left too long, it is impossible without seriously harming the animal. Although mats may seem like minor annoyances, they can actually become serious problems for dogs. If they aren't brushed out or removed, mats can tangle fur to the skin, causing sores. These sores can be hidden by the mats and become infected, spreading across the body. The best way to prevent matting and its complications is through regular grooming and daily brushing of your dog's coat. Sometimes if the mats are too large or close to the skin, then the only option is to shave the dog to relieve their pain.
When discussing with Juanita why doodles are so difficult to groom, she says it is because of matting issues. Doodle owners are completely unaware of how matted their pups are when they drop them off to be groomed. When the groomer gets started and finds they have dozens of mats to deal with and the dog is in pain it makes the grooming process nearly impossible. The groomer is then faced with the difficult call to the owner advising them that their doodle needs to be shaved, and no doodle owner wants a shaved doodle! They are meant to be fluffy! So before opting for this breed, be aware that doodles will require daily brushing- yes I said DAILY. They will also require regular professional grooming, preferably every 6 weeks.
So how can you current doodle owners step up your game and prevent matting?
Here are some tips from our groomer:
- Brush your doodle DAILY using a slicker brush.
- Remove any tangles with a detangling comb.
- Use a detangling shampoo and a pet conditioning spray to prevent tangles.
- Get professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.
- Pay attention to areas that are susceptible to matting like armpits and legs.
- Always remove collars or harnesses when not in use to avoid mats from forming.
- Do not try and remove mats yourself- leave that to the professionals!
In conclusion, Doodles are a truly wonderful breed and if you can commit to the maintenance of their coat then they will be a great addition to any family.