Over the years, crossbreeds like Cockapoo, Cavapoo, Labradoodle, Shnoodle, and many more became ever so popular. Peoples hearts melt when they see photos of cute fluff balls, with soft eyes saying ‘do you want some cuddles?’
And then they decide to become a pup parent of one of those cuties and start searching for one. Especially for new pup parents, the ‘adverts’ for these pups/breed can sound like a dream come true: non-shedding doesn’t need professional grooming (or not as much as poodles), is friendly, is easy to train, etc.
Perfect! Isn’t it?
Well, it all sounds fantastic, but it’s far from the truth when it comes to grooming and coat care.
Let’s look at the individual coats of two parents: poodle and labrador.
Poodle’s coat is called a wool coat.
A wool coat is very thick and curly and has a lot of volume. It requires a lot of regular grooming, even daily, because it matts very easily and can grow quite quickly. Breeds like poodles and bichons don’t molt, per se, so you won’t find dog hair on your furniture. However, they still lose hair, but the hair stays trapped in the coat, causing matting.
This coat can be low maintenance when kept short… but very short. We don’t see many Poodles and Bichons in full coat, do we? Unless they are show dogs, most of the owners like to keep the coat short.
Labrador’s coat is short but dense. And they do molt pretty much constantly.
Now, imagine the curls from poodle that are already pretty dense, and now we are adding even more hair density from a labrador. So the new coat will probably be super dense! But it also can be longish and straight, longish and wavy… the possibilities are endless. That’s why you can get differently-looking crossbreed puppies in the same litter. But that would be another blog. Let’s get back to the coat.
When we put two different types of coats together, we get a mixed wool coat.
The mixed wool coat is wavy or curly with different densities. It requires a lot of regular brushing, just like wool coats, and regular grooming by a professional.
The coat is easily managed in the earlier stages of life, but once the puppy is about 6/7 months old or slightly older, the fur changes from a soft, thin puppy coat to a dense, curly/wavy adult coat. In this stage of life, many new owners lose track of brushing, and the then matted coat has to be clipped off. This is far better for the puppy than de-matting, which I wouldn’t recommend. A mixed wool coat grows pretty quickly, and the puppy will be a fluff ball in no time… if the pup parent wishes to.
De-matting can be very painful and stressful, especially when the coat is matted all over the body and looks like a felted jacket. In a case like this, the only option is to clip the coat off. Sanity before vanity. In other words, your dog’s wellbeing is the priority.
Short clipping doesn’t damage the coat. The new coat will be as wavy or curly as the one before.
Once the coat starts growing, start brushing and combing it regularly.
The best method is line brushing.
We use this method we use in the salon, and I also recommend for home. Line brushing is suitable for a wool coat and long hair, double coats, and mixed coats. Line brushing will allow you to methodically work your way through your dog’s coat, down to the skin, making sure you cover all the hard-to-reach spots.
I’d recommend putting your dog on a grooming table or some other non-slip work surface, using this area as your’ brushing station’. It’s also good to spray the coat with some de-tangling or conditioning spray first. With one hand, hold and push the coat up and work inseam line with your slicker brush pulling down a small amount of hair with each brushstroke. Once your brush glides smoothly through the coat you then move on to the next layer. Once you’ve finished brushing, use a comb the same way you used the slicker brush.
A comb will help you to catch the smaller or bigger knots you missed with, the slicker brush. If the comb is easily sliding through the coat, you did a great job with brushing. If the comb stops, it means there is a knot, and you need to go back to a slicker brush and brush the matting out.
If you just got a puppy, I recommend taking it to your groomer about two weeks after his second vaccination. The first session doesn’t take long, and it will help your puppy to get used to new people, noises, environment, etc. And this applies not just to crossbreeds.
And how often should you take your Cockapoo or Cavapoo to a groomer?
That depends on coat density, length, and your ability to keep the coat matt free. Ideally every 4- 6 weeks, and maybe a bath and brush at the groomers in between. Especially if you like your pup more fluffy.
Happy brushing 😊
About the author: Jitka Krizova has a great love for animals and became a professional dog groomer in 1998, subsequently establishing the Vita Canis Dog Grooming Salon in Slovakia. She has won many awards including British Groomer of the Year 2006, Euro Groom Best in Show 2006, 2007, 2009, Groomania Best In Show 2010 and Master Groom Best In Show 2012.
Jitka also owns a brand of natural products for dogs & their owners called Vita Canis. All the products are 100% natural and hand made.