Once the puppy coat is gone, your Labradoodle will need some maintenance to keep them looking good and free of mats.
However, even before the pups coat needs brushing, you should begin brushing a puppy at about 3 or 4 months of age to help them become accustomed to brushing and being touched in sensitive places like paws and their back-end area.
As your dog matures, the coat should be combed once a week, they should be bathed periodically as needed, and have their hair trimmed every 3 to 4 months to maintain their Labradoodle “look.” The timing of cuts are up to your discretion, depending on the longer or shorter look you desire.
Some owners choose to cut their Labradoodle’s coat down to less than an inch once or twice a year, to fully remove all mats and knotting and allow for a fresh coat. Some owners think it’s makes for easy maintenance to “shave” their Doodle this way, only having brushing and minimal trimming done in between the semi-annual or annual shave.
Labradoodles have different types of coats, depending on their pedigree line and genetic makeup.
There are different types of Labradoodles including American and Australian, and also there are additional indicators of genetics that can affect their coat; some genetics include Cockapoo and Cocker Spaniel infusion and others Labradoodles are “first generation” and directly bred from Poodle and Lab. This is what makes various Labradoodles unique, and where distinctions are identified such as “F1” or “F2” or “multi-generational” on breeder websites.
A good breeder should identify specific pedigree information and also include the type of coat the Labradoodle parents have.
“HAIR” coats are the easiest coats to maintain. They don’t need much grooming, except for a little trimming around the eyes and chin these coats do shed! You will need to use a soft bristle brush on their coat to distribute their natural oils. The “hair” coat is a very low maintenance coat if you can live with the shedding. A “hair” coat would be common with a first generation (F1) Labradoodle, meaning a first generation direct breeding between a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever.
CURLY or WOOL coats shed very little or not at all. It should be barely noticeable. The wool coat is dense and will take more time to comb thoroughly and can be maintained by combing once or twice a week. The wool coat grows slower and therefore will need less frequent haircuts.
FLEECE COATS are low or non-shedding and have a soft feel and requires more frequent combing to keep it from matting. Both the wool and fleece coat should be thoroughly combed out to insure it is mat free before they get wet. If the coat is maintained in a short cut you still may have to comb it frequently.
Dealing with Mats
There are great tools available online and at pet stores to help work mats out of your Doodles coat. They can range from $10 to $60 but I’ve found even the inexpensive mat combs work quite well. Using a mat comb (ask your pet store professional) helps you to easily work out a mat without having to shave or remove large chunks of your dogs coat.
Some owners like to fully comb through their Doodles coat with this matting tool (instead of the normal brush) every few months, going with the “grain” once and then against the grain a second time, removing lots of hair down to the dogs skin. The coat may look a little shabby after this technique, but within weeks, new fur grows in and seems to come in with a more beautiful lay and texture. This process seems to remove all the older fur, allowing for a fresh, soft coat to grow in. This technique helps keep mats to a minimum without having to “shave” the coat to a really short length as some owners choose to do periodically.