The Labradoodle breed started in Australia in the 1980s.
The impetus behind creating the mixed breed was based on finding a Labrador, which is a great family dog and often used as seeing-eye or service dog, but without the allergen-causing fur.
Australia’s Royal Guide Dog Association started the long process of testing various dog coats and saliva until they arrived at one that was hypoallergenic.
What eventually came out of the testing was combining the Labrador with a Standard Poodle, known as a Labradoodle.
Despite being a favorite cross-breed for many dog owners around the world, the Labradoodle’s lush hair and locks require regular and ongoing grooming. So let’s take a look at some tips for keeping up with this maintenance.
Grooming Tips for Your Labradoodle
- There’s no need to bathe your Labradoodle too frequently, really only if they become muddy or dirty.
- If you have an indoor Labradoodle, you can get away with brushing them every couple of weeks. If you have an outdoor Labradoodle, once a week is better.
- Because of their long fur, when your Labradoodle is still a puppy, brush them regularly to avoid tangles and matting. As they age and get bigger, always brush in the direction of the fur starting from underneath the coat. It’s best to start at the feet and work up to the body. Over time your dog will come to like this process.
- Regular walking on cement or pavement will help keep your dog’s nails smooth, however, they need to be trimmed every six weeks. Not only do long claws pose a hazard for you, but your dog can also hurt themselves by getting their nails stuck on something.
- If your Labradoodle comes in the house covered in mud, rinse them off with a hose and let them dry before using shampoo.
- Keep the dangling fur on those long ears cropped to prevent matting and tangling.
- Labradoodles have webbed feet (they are good swimmers), so check the underside of the paws to keep them free from dirt clods and other debris.
- Use clean clear water to bathe the eyes if necessary, and keep stray hairs from hanging.
- Use an ear cleaner on cotton to gently swab out any dirt inside the ears. And as mentioned, keep the hair around the ear trimmed so your pup doesn’t attract dirt or block venthilation.
- In order to keep the hair beneath the tail and on the belly clean, keep that shorn.
Other than brushing, bathing, and trimming, we recommend you leave the heavy lifting to a professional groomer. Not only could you injure your dog or yourself by using regular scissors, the unevenness of the grooming may leave your Labradoodle more matted or tangled than before. You can get by with a professional groomer about three times a year.
Hair Maintenance Tips for Labradoodles
- Be sure your Labradoodle’s curly hair does not hang over their eyes, which can restrict vision.
- Carefully trim the hair in between the eyes and that falls over the bridge of their nose. You can use a wet paper towel or eye wipes to clear away any lingering eye boogers.
- Be sure to keep the ear hair no longer than an inch below the ear itself. If you let the hair go, it can become matted and impossible to untangle. In addition to keeping your Labradoodle looking like their cute self, if you can trim the hair to only a half-inch below the ear, you allow for better air flow to keep the ears dry and free of infection.
- Be sure to check frequently for hair inside the ear canal. This can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Use your ear cleaning solution to keep the canal clean, and visit the groomer if you dislike getting this intimate with the delicate part of the ears.
- Be sure to keep the hair on the paws trimmed. As you can imagine, long hair on paws will attract dirt and debris. When your dog spends a lot of time outside, they can easily bring in mud, leaves, and pine needles.
- Be sure to trim the hair around your Labradoodle’s muzzle. Similar to the ears, keep the hair no longer than one inch past the jawbone and even on both sides. Long muzzle hair is little more than an attractant to water, wet food and whatever your Labradoodle might get into outside. And who wants to kiss a muddy dog’s muzzle?
- With the tail, you have a bit more leeway when compared to other body parts with hair. The tail can become matted, however, you can let it grow as long as three inches and it will still look attractive. Matting of the tail is especially unpleasant because it’s closest to the rear end of the dog. Be sure to keep the hair on the inside of the legs and rear end beneath the tail to about a half inch. This will help prevent matting after your dog does their business. It’s pretty clear why this is important.
Labradoodle Grooming Tools
If it’s incredibly cost prohibitive for you to take your Labradoodle to the groomer at all, here are a list of tools you should have on hand.
- Epi-Otic ear cleaning solution
- Ear powder
- Organic soap, such as oatmeal or a natural oil
- Shears for trimming around the eyes, muzzle and head
- Dremel nail clippers
- Brush for detangling and dematting
Labradoodles are a relatively good smelling dog, so don’t overdo it on the bathing. Of course, if your dog finds a stinky pond to swim in or rolls around in carrion, then, of course, bathe them. Use your common sense – too many baths strip a dog’s skin of oils and can damage the coat.
As well as bathing, be sure to maintain your Labradoodle’s hair to prevent matting or infection. If you’re not confident in doing this yourself then consider working with a professional dog groomer.