About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grooming Labradoodles & Goldendoodles

I received a very nice comment from Adina, the Admin of a Social Network for Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, www.Doodlekisses.com .

I spent the morning looking at and reading the website.
It is a very nice and well put together site.
I will recommend it to my Doodle customers.

I do have to say that some of the Doodle owners comments frustrate me.
They do not surprise me, I have heard them before.
After about an hour of reading their grooming group forum, I have found that what I have believed all along, that the official groom for a Doodle is SHAGGY, SHAGGY, SHAGGY!

Let me just say as a groomer, I have always struggled to keep a dog shaggy.
The groomer in me just wants to neaten everything up, even if I am only doing a trim to neaten.

One of the Doodle owners had a link to another Doodle website that showed the Correct way to groom a Doodle.
You know I click on that link in a flash.
I had to see the Correct way.
There where before and after pictures!
I love pictures.
Bet you couldn't tell. ;)

The pictures where very nice, but, there was hardly any difference in the before and after.
The grooming mostly talked about trimming.
The Author suggested that Doodle owners copy these pictures and take them to the groomer.
The Author also stated that most groomers were not trained to groom Doodles.....

Excuse me.

Trying really hard to bite my tongue here.
Ouch, I hurt myself.
Damn, now my tongue is bleeding.

I am about to toot my on horn here, and the horn of any groomer out there worth their salt.
Any decent groomer, myself included, knows what they are doing.
I will admit that I am NOT a By-The-Book groomer.
Don't get me wrong, I can groom By-The-Book, no problem.
It is just, that after 26 years of grooming, I feel that all pet dogs should be groomed for comfort and it's lifestyle.
If the owners don't have the time and commitment for a full coat, then that pet should be kept short.
That does not mean shaved, just short enough for the owner to handle.

*If the dog swims in the summer...short.
*If the owner can't afford regular grooming to keep up a full coat....short to medium.
*If the dog does not like to be brushed regularly.....short to medium.
Just because a breed standard calls for a long, full cut, does NOT mean that that dog has to have the Breed Standard cut.
If the owner is not showing the dog, why not clip the pet anyway you want.
This is my opinion, not all groomers agree with me.
I groom for the dog and the owner, not a show judge.

Stepping down off of my soap box now.
Can you tell that this is a touchy subject for me?

I have no problem with an owner bring in pictures for me, to show me what they want on their dog.
The problem I do have, is that nine times out of ten the customers dog does not have the coat required to copy the picture.

The Doodles that I have groomed over the years have so many different coat types and textures.
Some are long and silky and don't shed.
Some are thick and plush and actually have an under coat that sheds.
Some are very thin, dry, and wiry.
Last but not least, there are all various stages of curly coats.

The biggest problem that I have with Doodle owners is, when they bring in their dog wanting the long or medium shaggy style and their dog is matted.

"I like him the way he looks now, just take a little bit off," the owner will say.
Meanwhile I have been running my hands all over the dog and feel that it is matted.
"He is pretty matted, I will most likely not be able to keep him as long as you would like." I inform the owner.
"I don't want him shaved," the owner demands. "I have been brushing him."
"He is not matted," the owner insists.
"I can see that you have been brushing him, unfortunately you have only been brushing the top of his coat," I say as I part his hair to show the owner the matting under the brushed hair.
"You can see the mats here under the part of the coat you have been brushing," I say as I show the owner the mat.
"I should be able to part the hair and see all of the way down to his skin," I continue.
"I have no choice but to find a safe blade length that will safely clip between the matting and your pets skin," I explain.
"The severity of the matting will determine how short I have to clip your pet." I finish explaining.
"I don't want him that short!"  the owner states. "You just don't want to do the work!"
"Your the professional, you should be able to get the mats out!" she demands firmly.
"I don't want to hurt your pet." I explain, while chanting in my head...stay calm, stay calm, stay calm.
"Some mats will brush out easily without hurting the dog, these will not." I continue.
"I will not take your dog any shorter then needed to clip him safely."
"I will also show you the correct way to brush him so that this will not happen again." I finish.

I can not tell you how many times I have had this same conversation with Doodle owners and many other dog owners.
Groomers that know what they are doing are not the bad guys.
I can say for myself, that I got into grooming to help make pets feel good.

This Labradoodle's owner admits that he does not brush his dog.
At the same time he does not believe that his dog is matted.
He was told by a Doodle breeder that his dog has a very tight curly coat.
"It will not mat."
The breeder also told him "don't let your groomer tell you the dog is matted."
It took a lot of talking to convince this owner that his dog was matted.

I truly do not think that the owner believed me when he left the dog.

The picture above is a picture of the dog after the bath and HV dry.
I am sure that most people would look at this dog and say, "He is not matted."
Most groomers would look at this picture and say, "He is probably matted."
The groomers would be right.
As I have said in other blogs, I bathe ALL of my dogs before the groom.
This matted Labradoodle was no exception.
Because, I professionally know how to bathe and HV dry a matted dog in order to get the mats as far away from the skin as possible.
This helps me to safely clip a clean, matted pet.
It also pulls the mats away from the skin, possibly letting me leave the pets hair longer.

**I DO NOT recommend that an owner bathe their matted pet, unless they have been shown to correct shampoos and way to thoroughly HV dry a matted dog.**

In some cases, bathing a matted dog with special shampoos and HV drying it will remove most of the mats.
Not in the case of the Labradoodle above.

 This Labradoodles mats did not come out with the bathing and blow drying, but it did loosen up enough to use a longer blade on the dog.

I took these pictures to show the owner that his dog was truly matted.

This particular dog will not let the owner brush him.
This owner also only gets the dog groomed 3 to 4 times a year.

This Labradoodle needs to be kept in a short clip, for the dogs comfort and the owners lifestyle.

I have noticed that most of the white and creme colored Labradoodles that I groom have the curly poodle coats.

Most of the Black Labradoodles have wavy,plush coats or wavy, thin,wiry coats.
Some of these pictures date back a few years.

<--Labradoodle Before.

Wavy coat with a plush undercoat.


Labradoodle after-->

Scissored 1/2 off.
Neaten ears.
Shaggy Head.
Short beard.

Labradoodle sisters.

Both could pass for Standard Poodles.

Both have thick curly coats.

Tails have been docked.

Both Labradoodles get Lamb clips.

Body: 5/8 blade and scissor.
Legs: scissor a little longer then the 5/8 blade.
Head: Full and round.
Ears: Long on one, shorter on the other.
Tail: Long and full on one, same length as body on the other.

This Labradoodle is kept very short.

He is clipped 3 times a year.

His owners like everything shaved off with a #7f blade.

Labradoodle Before -->

This was one of the very first Labradoodles that I ever groomed.

He has a beautiful coat under all of that shaggy hair.

<-- Labradoodle After.

The owners wanted everything short but not shaved.

I used a #4f on the back and 5/8 blade and scissor the legs.
Short and tight face and ears.

Apparently this is not a correct Labradoodle head.

It should have been left shaggy.

This is exactly what the owner asked for.

<-- Goldendoodle

Full, all Hand Scissored Puppy Cut.
Very full head.

 Goldendoodle Before -->

According to the Doodle websites, this is the correct look for a Doodle.


<-- Labradoodle After.

This is what the owner wanted.
Scissor all whispies off the coat, down the the plush coat underneath.

Not short enough....

Wanted shorter next time.

This Goldendoodle started out as a very long Hand Scissored Puppy Cut when I first started grooming her.

Over time, her owner has asked for her to be clipped shorter and shorter.

She now gets a #4f on the body and legs, scissor her head in proportion with her body.
The owners do still like her ears long.

 This Goldendoodle, one of the biggest I have ever groomed, has a wonderful owner that is trying her best to keep up with his coat.

Although I have a feeling that his cut will get shorter over time.
Mom has three little ones and he is a job.

Oh, and Mom understandably has a hard time with the cost of his groom, and I only charge her about half of what I should for his size and coat.

As some who read my blog already know, I no longer accept new Labradoodle and Goldendoodle customers.
I know that it is a pet peeve of mine, but most of the Doodle owners that I have dealt with, have a big problem with the price of a groom on a Doodle.
I am on the cheaper side and don't come close to what the work involved is worth, so I can only imagine what the owners think when they are quoted some of the prices that I know other groomers charge.

Most groomers charge in the $XXX range.
I am still in the middle to high $XX range.

I was getting too many calls for these extra large dogs.
I love what I do, but I am still a business that has to pay overhead and payroll.
I don't come close to charging what I would need to charge to cover my time and overhead.
I am also very tired of trying to justify my prices to people who want a lot of quality work done for next to nothing, because, "it is only a dog, it can't be that hard to give it a bath and hair cut."
Grooming a large Labradoodle or Goldendoodle is very time consuming no matter what type of coat they have.
Personality and behavior of the pet also counts in the grooming.
If the dog is untrained and misbehaves, or does not like being bathed, brushed, or clipped, the cost of grooming should be higher.

Quality grooming takes time.

Depending on the behavior of the pet, coat type, how long the hair is and how dirty the dog is, a bath on a Doodle can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

 The time it takes to HV blow dry a Doodle depends on the pets behavior, (this pet lays down for most of the drying, requiring more time) coat type and whether or not the coat holds on to the water or lets it go.

HV drying on a Doodle can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes.


 If the pet does well with the HV dryer and the groomer is able to get the pet around 95% dry, the fluff drying should only take about 5 to 10 minutes.

If the pet does not allow the groomer to use the HV dryer to dry the head and ears, it will take another 10 to 20 minutes to fluff dry the head and ears.


 The time that it takes to do the main cut depends on the pets behavior, whether the pet is being clipped with a clipper or Hand Scissored.

 The time also depends on the groomers skill level and experience.
Some groomers are fast, some are not.

 Just the Hand Scissoring on this pet could take between 1/2 an hour to an hour.
This does not include the time for clipping nails or plucking and cleaning ears.


 Grooming is an Art.

It takes skill and patience to Hand Scissor.
The groomer is working on a moving target.
Even well behaved pets are known to move at the most inopportune moment.

A groomer must always be ready to pull the scissors or clippers out of harms way.

Grooming safely takes time.
A Doodle owner should only schedule their pet when they can give the groomer as much time as need to do a safe and proper groom.

I feel sorry for the Doodle owners.
I do not think that some of them understand the work and commitment that is involved in taking care of these dogs.
If you are a Doodle owner and feel over whelmed by your dogs coat, don't feel bad if you would like to keep it short.
Do what is best for you and your pet.

I my humble opinion, the only correct cut on any pet breed of dog, is a cut the works for the comfort of the pet and its owner.

If you are a Doodle owner that loves the full shaggy coat, and are able to keep it in good condition, more power to you, that is great!

I also noticed on a few of the Doodle websites that a lot of the Doodle owners groom and clip or scissor their own dogs.
Once again, more power to you.
That is great that you care so much for your pet.

I have one last pet peeve for Doodle owners.
PLEASE do not tell me that I made your dog look like a poodle!
I don't know a groomer out there that has not been told this.
Yes, I understand that some groomers out there do tend to make Doodles look like a Poodle.
Some Doodles can't help but have a little (or a lot) of the Poodle look because...they are part Poodle!

I don't see where any of the Doodles on this blog look like my Poodles.

In my opinion, even the two Labradoodle sisters on this blog don't look like my Poodles.
I just don't see what other people see when they say their dog was groomed like a Poodle.

I hope that some Doodle owners see this blog and it helps them to understand and appreciate their groomer.
If your groomer can't seem to understand what you want, keep looking, there are really good groomers out there.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Thank you for this.

    I have a doodle, live near the water, doodle loves to swim....

    I am looking for a short practical cut. I do however brush my doodle every.single.day. and I make sure I get right to the skin. This is time consuming though, hence wanting a shorter cut.

    Thank you for the info.

  2. Haahaha,
    I found this quite interesting to read.
    I have a doodle.
    I hate it when she has long hair, as she has a very curly, very dense wool coat.
    I like her shaved quite short, no particular style, just all off.
    We live in Australia and she gets incredibly hot.
    It takes our groomer about three hours to clip her completely, and I actually like her completely clipped coat, it looks like crushed velvet, and feels similar. She loves her clipped coat too and has loads more energy when its taken right off.
    I also dislike the doodle style of longer hair around the face and paws, as I hate food in the hair and grass seeds in the paws.
    The Poodle clips make more sense and are more practical...away from the face, away from the paws.

  3. LOVE this! Grooming 28 years myself and this sounds like me typing this out! HAHA! I have a goldendoodle in today the owner has been trying to keep fluffy and the matting won as of today. She said it's too much..yet..she doesn't want her shaved? So..she has an unusual coat and I was looking for pictures for Ideas to do with this coat and I saw your picture and ended up reading your blog on the doodles! I LOATHE doodles!!!!I have 2 in today...one short..and this one with about 5" of hair and not sure what to do it with it yet. Guess I better get started!

  4. I loved this too. I am also a groomer and I have to say grooming the doodle is always a challenge!! Really good to see you informing others as I'm sure some people think what we do is a breeze!! I may have to get information sheets based on your blog to give to doodle owners, do you think the would appreciate that ;-)

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    I think that an information sheet on how to take care of your Doodles coat between groomings would be a great handout. Good idea. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  6. I loved this, I am a new groomer and reading this and seeing the pictures really helped me put the doodles in perspective. I'm doing one next week that is probably heavily matted. I don't think the owner realized how much work the dog was going to be.

  7. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for reading my blog. Congratulations on becoming a groomer!
    I don't think that there is a Doodle owner out there that realizes how much work Doodles really are. lol
    Good luck grooming that dog. If that dog is matted, don't let her try to talk you into trying to save that coat. Take a camera to work with you and take pictures of the matted coat as you clip it off. That is to protect YOU in case she gives you a hard time about how short you had to take her dog. Also save the mats so that you can show them to her.
    Lisa, MFF

  8. Hi All, I totally agree with this last post. nothing gets through to an owner than holding up a full side of dog coat, in one large, felted, matted sheet. realy hits home. Till next time anyway.
    Love your blog.Glad to see we are not alone, groomer Australia

  9. Hi Groomer in Australia!!
    It is so nice to hear from groomers in other countries. It is especially nice to hear that they deal with the same things that we do. :)
    Thanks for reading my blog!
    Lisa, MFF

  10. I'm a doodle owner of a doodle with a hair coat. Lucky for me I knew what I was getting into and brush and comb my boy every single day (except for that long weekend earlier in the year when I was on vacation.) I'm actually having a difficult time trying to find a groomer to just clean and pluck the ears and trim the hair between his pads. I don't want to clip any part of him (and so far have no need as I haven't yet had any matts that need to be cut out) but the two groomers that were recommended to me have not returned my calls. I explained thouroughly in my voice messages what I wanted; would they not return my calls because what I wanted was so little? Should I try to clean out and pluck the ears myself? Any recommendations?

    Thank you SO much!

    1. Hi Queen Goob,
      I am sorry that those groomers have not returned your calls. I personally don't allow my customers to leave voice messages. I like them to call during my shop hours so that I can talk to them when they call. I can only imagine that groomers could get overwhelmed with messages to return. Maybe try them again during their business hours. If you have called during business hours and they still are not answering your calls I would move on till I found a groomer that WILL answer my questions.
      Unfortunately, there are groomers out there that don't want to groom Doodles, but there are also groomers out there that enjoy grooming Doodles, you just have to find them.
      I wasn't sure, from your post, whether you were just looking for a groomer to bath, brush, trim pads, and pluck ears, or you just wanted to do a walk-in where they would clip pads, and clean and pluck ears while you wait. I offer both, although my fist appointment for a Doodle is not till late Oct. Every groomer is different. Some groomers will not pluck and clean ears without a full groom.
      If you don't want your Doodles hair cut, and your Doodle is not matted as you say, then I see no reason why any groomer would not do what you ask for. I groom a couple of Doodles that only get a bath, brush, and trim around the feet, rear, and corner of the eyes.
      As for plucking the ears yourself...that really depends on the type of hair your dog has in his ears. Dogs with really thick hair, deep in the ears can be tough to get plucked out. If your Doodle only has a little hair in the ears, you could easily buy some ear powder that you can put in the ear to help grab the hair and pluck it out. Pluck gently by rubbing the powder into the ear and then gently pulling out small amounts of hair at a time. Follow up with the ear cleaner. Google ear powder for plucking ear hair and you should be able to find it. Some pet supplies store may also carry ear powder. I hope this helped a little. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  11. Thank you so much for you quick reply and advice. The first two groomers I called I did call during regular working hours. Funny, I actually did as you suggested and yesterday afternoon actually spoke to a groomer and explained what I wanted. No bath, no brush, just a simple ear pluck/cleaning and a pad trim. I explained this was my (rather large) puppy's first time at a groomer and that I thought it best if I scheduled this on a day that I was home so that I would be at her disposal and not have to leave to pup too terribly long at her shop. I also explained that I had been handling the pup’s feet on a daily basis and brushing and combing him to get him used to being groomed/handled BUT had not done too much as far as getting him ready for a blow dryer so I wanted to wait on that part of his grooming. She told me to come on in to her shop this Friday and she would fit him in while I waited. She was informative, helpful, and most of all kind.

    So for my next question, is it rude of me to ask her to teach me the proper way to trim the hair between the pads of my dog’s feet? I do not want to clip his nails as I am a tad paranoid with black nails and don’t want to hit the quick BUT I would like to learn some basic grooming technics. I will continue taking the dog to a groomer for nails and ear plucking but would like to maintain his coat myself. Is that rude to ask that of her? I would be willing to compensate her for her time but I don’t want to overstep the bounds between a customer and a groomer.

    Thank you yet again for your advice!
    Her Royal Highness, Queen Goob

    1. Hi again!
      I am very glad that you found a groomer that would work with you. I personally have no problem teaching my customers little things to help them keep their dogs groomed and healthy. I have a number of Self-Serve customers that do a lot of the grooming themselves and just ask me to clip nails, ears and anals. Every once in a while I will have a Self-Serve customer ask for scissors or clippers to clip out a mat that they found on their dog. For insurance reasons I CAN NOT lend them MY scissors and clippers. So I will clip out the mat for them.
      Because you want to be the main groomer for your dog, I think that it would be a good idea for you to invest in a cordless clipper. In my opinion, clipping the pads of your dogs feet with a clipper is much safer than using scissors.
      I would recommend either a Wahl Arco SE, a Wahl Chromado, or a Wahl Bravura cord/cordless clipper. They are an investment of @ $120- $140, but they are good quility clippers. They come with an adjustable 5 in 1 blade and comb attachments that aren't bad.(PetEdge.com)
      If you got a clipper and took it with you to the groomer I would think that it would only take the groomer a few minutes to show you how to use it. A good way to get your dog used to the clipper is to turn them on, without the blade, and hold the body of the clipper against your dogs body till he gets used to the vibration. If he shy's away, just keep following him, reassuring him softly till he realizes that the noise and vibration of the clipper is not hurting him.
      I have a couple of videos on youtube that show me clipping out the pads of feet in the first minute of the video. One is:
      The other video is of shaving a Poodle foot, but the first 40 seconds will show me clipping out the pads of the foot.
      I hope that this helps. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Hi,
      Could you please recommend a Shampoo and conditioner (Or other products)and how to HV dry the dog with mats? As mentioned above in green? Thanks so much!

    3. Hi,

      I am sorry that it has taken me so long to reply.

      It is very hard to describe how to HV a matted dog, because it really depends on the hair type and the type of matting that the dog has.
      Depending on the type of hair, and type of mats, some mats can be totally removed from the coat with a HV drier.
      More than likely, the HV would only be able to loosen the mats enough to get a blade safely between the skin and the mat. As with the dog shown above.
      Keep an eye on my blog. I will work on making a video to demonstrate HVing a dog with mats.

      As for a shampoo...I like to use Best Shot shampoo and Creme rinse on matted dogs.
      Here is a link:


      Lisa, MFF

  12. I found your info extremely helpful..i have a 6yo male labradoodle, that really enjoyef his trip to the groomers four times a year...until they took on a new groomer whilst the owner was on maternity leave....she hurt my jack and as a result she got bitten...he now wont let anyone groom his rear end, back legs and tail...i appologised for his behavior, although I dont believe it was really down to him, as hes has always been so laid back and patient....anyway, my trouble now is that I have to bath and groom him myself...he loves a bath, doesnt mind the clippers, and as long as I can keep him standing long enough doesnt mind brushing..(he does tend to sit down on the bit u want to brush, mouth your hand if he wants u to stop, and roll on his back when he has had enough) needless to say, sometimes it takes about2 days to finish the complete task......he has a loose curly coat..... Can u recommend a good shampoo and conditioner, good brush for his coat, and should I bath him before cut and clip, after cut before clip?....he does have small matts around hips..(the bits he sits on when I try to do them)... Sorry im a little long winded..but he is such a gorgeous boy I hate letting him down with my efforts....

    1. Hi,
      I am very sorry that Jack was hurt while being groomed. It is a shame when it sounds like he used to enjoy it.

      I use to compete with my Standard Poodle until my Vet came up behind her and jabbed her in the hip with a shot, scaring the crap out of her. Now she will not let the Judges touch her. She acts like they have fire in their fingers. Grrrr :/

      Did you try taking him back to the original groomer after she came back from having her baby? Maybe he would have done well with someone he was used to.

      Anyway, if you like grooming him yourself, a good shampoo and conditioner is called 'Best Shot'. There are many pet suppliers who carry it. Just Google Best Shot pet shampoo and conditioner. A slicker brush is a good brush to use on your dogs coat. I like 'Tougher than Tangles' brushes.

      As for clipping before or after the bath...as a groomer, I like to clip after the bath, but that is because I have a nice HV dryer that fluffs the coat and blows the mats away from the skin. Not many pet owners can do this without a little training to learn how to do it the right way.
      If you like to let your guy air dry after a bath, I would clip him BEFORE the bath. When mats in a dogs coat air dry, they tighten up and get worse.
      I hope that this helped. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  13. Enjoyed reading your blog! I am a Doodle owner and I would totally agree with what you have said here. We do brush at least twice a week (we have a fleecy wavy doodle non shedding, very nice thick coat but does matte a bit). We work with our groomer to mutually agree on cut and have come up what is best for our doodle and his lifestyle with our family. We camp a lot, and are outdoors a lot, so we keep him a 3/4 inch Teddy-bear. Legs longer, shorther beard and ears cut to beard length. He's adorable!. I think the 'shaggy' doodle look is not realistic and does not look like a well groomed dog at all. Thanks for your blog. hopefully others will read this and get real!

  14. I am a Labradoodle owner, breeder and I groom all my dogs myself. I know exactly where you are coming from! In large grooming facilities there are
    employees who will do the bath, brush, combing, etc. and the 'stylist' does the cut and most times, this works really well. The normal groomer does everything herself and that takes lots and lots of time with doodles. I empathize with all groomers who have the kind of client that does not have common sense. A curly, wool coat cannot be trimmed (or look) like a wavy fleece coat. That is like asking a Ford Pick Up to look like a Volkswagon - impossible!

    From the client point of view, I began my foray into grooming my dogs because I could not find a groomer who would give me the look I liked - my doodle did look like a Poodle and that was not what I wanted. I have had no training but can read and follow simple guidelines. It works for me and my doodles. I have the time and commitment. I agree with you 100% - groom your doodle for your lifestyle. It is cruel to keep a doodle long and matted. I know it took me a week one time to groom a horribly matted doodle for a breeder friend. I used nearly an entire bottle of Cowboy Magic and picked at these mats for hours on end being very conscious of the poor dogs tolerance. We had lots of breaks. I did succeed in saving her coat but what groomer could possibly take the time to do this? I would NEVER do it again! Kudos to you for your honesty.

  15. I think I ended up here from a post on someone's FB page.
    Nice write-up. I'm a doodle owner and DIY groomer, so I know exactly how hard it is to do ONE dog. I'm sure you're more efficient than I am, but still, there is so much work, and my dog is very cooperative for me. I'm certain that your profit margin on doodle cuts is probably non-existent. Not sure how you could actually price it correctly.

    I like your practical approach to choosing the right cut to fit the dog and owner, not a breed standard. The "don't make my dog look like a poodle" comments come from the early days when most groomers would do clean feet and face and some semblance of a top knot on a doodle unless you said that. From reading this post, it is safe to say that you aren't "most groomers." I think it is also safe to say that "most groomers" have come a long way since then. I can see why you don't want to take on any new doodle clients, as you then need to go back to square one on the education front. I'll try and post a pic, not sure if it will work. Here's how I like to keep my doodle:


    Excuse the jury-rigged grooming table. I have since invested in a real table.

    1. Wow!
      You do a VERY nice job on your Doodle. Beautiful Doodle too!

      You are right, there is NO profit on grooming Doodles. They require a lot of time and physical labor no matter how experienced you are.

      The saying 'don't make him look like a poodle' has been around as long as I have been grooming, way before Doodles. lol I have had people say that to me when I am grooming their Schnauzer. As if I could possibly make a Schnauzer look like a poodle. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    2. I love your doodle cut, Anonymous! That is what I aim for with my girls...but they are not full sized and take much less time, I'm sure.

  16. I just read your posts after combing the internet for photos to help me describe the cut I would like for my doodle. I'd like to get your advice regarding just what I should say to a groomer to get the cut I'd like, without becoming the client all groomers seem to hate... My doodle has silky non- shedding fur. She always looks messy (which I love), and her wavy, wiry looking hair is very forgiving of scissor marks or an uneven cut. She rarely mats, and only if I skip her weekly brushing. I have had her hair as long as eight inches without mats, and I comb her with a fine tooth comb as a final step of grooming. I trim her nails weekly and trim the hair inside her ears at least once a month and therefore request the groomer skip these tasks. I am probably not a typical doodle owner as far as her coat care, and I receive compliments this when I deliver her to the groomer.

    So here is a customer's point of view: I provide photos, I speak concisely and do not take too much time. I do not complain about cost and I am polite and friendly. Yet as soon as I hand photos of the cut I would like to pay to have my dog receive, the groomer's eyes glaze, their attention wanders, and I know I just lost my battle. My doodle came home "looking like a poodle" after her first cut. Yep, the dreaded phrase. Yet she had a top knot, she had trimmed feet, combined with long, one layer, ears. It turns out it is pretty stinkin' easy to get a doodle to look like a poodle. I'm a rookie, but each (3) times we have returned from the groomers, I have gotten a photo, sat my fanny down beside my dog, and corrected the cut on her head and ears. She ended up looking pretty good, but I know if I try to cut the hair on her torso she'll look like I used a chain saw.

    I am not an idiot. I know doodles have a million different coats. But if you bring in a photo of a dog with ears trimmed in layers, following the shape of the ear, and hair blended from the ear over the top of the head, why would you interpret that as long straight, one layer ears and a top knot? I have tried two groomers and each said they trim doodles... How do I find a groomer who can groom mine to look like one?

    1. Hi,
      Sorry for the late reply. Busy time of year. :)

      I am sorry that you are having a hard time finding a groomer that will listen and do the groom that you want. Believe me, I no longer hire groomers because of the same problems. BUT, there are many groomers out there that WILL gladly do what you want and will listen to you.
      I personally have never understood why some groomers get upset when the owner brings in a picture. To me, that would help greatly to know exactly what the owner wants. Of course, sometimes I do get some pictures that are just impossible to copy because the customers dog does not have the type of coat for the cut in the picture.
      Unfortunately, because doodle coats vary so much there is no set way to groom them. I always get detailed instructions from my customers and do whatever they want. (as long it won't hurt the dog) Sadly, some groomers only groom the way THEY think the dog should look even if the owner wants something different. I have never really understood that mentality, but I ran into it often when I was hiring groomers.
      I wish that I had an easy answer for you, other than keep trying. Maybe on the phone before you make an appointment, find out if they don't mind you bringing in a picture and detailed instructions. To be honest, it sounds like you are doing everything right. I am not sure what more you could do.
      I am sorry that I was not much help.
      Lisa, MFF

  17. Thank you for the very candid blog and all the replies to comments! I am currently researching the ideal breed for my first pet purchase - I've grown up with both standards and labs. The poodle personality is the perfect fit for me, but the hours I'd spend helping my mom groom each week, plus the bi-monthly cost of professional grooming, made me hope that a cross with my second favourite breed, the lab, would be a better fit for my income and willingness to groom. Thanks to your blog, I clearly see that this is not a wise purchase for me (or the dog!) at this stage in my life. I am so eager for this pet one day, but not eager enough to pretend he wouldn't get matted, and suffer quietly for it! There's nothing quite so spunky and happy as a tidy poodle (and doodle I'm sure), and only homes that understand that should have the priveledge of owning such a special pet. Some day for me, not just today.

    1. Wow,
      I am not sure how to feel. Happy that I helped you, or sad that my post talked you out of a dog that you wanted. :/

      Doodles seem to be a crap shoot. Some are low maintenance, but most are high maintenance. I had a Goldendoodle in the other day that I think has a perfect coat. I told my daughter that if I got a Doodle that dogs coat is what I would want. :) Unfortunately, I don't see many with that dogs coat.
      I have to say, I love standard Poodles (I have three of them) but some of the best dogs I have had, and have ever groomed, have been good old mixed breeds. Terrier mixes are great dogs. (I tend to like females personalities) One day just the right dog will come into your life. I can tell by your post that you will make a great owner. Some dog will be very lucky. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  18. I just finished grooming my golden doodle. It took me 3 days. She is now 2 years old, and has been professionally groomed only once. It is very pricey, for good reasons. It took me 3 days to finish the cut. I just recently realized that #5F was just perfect for her. We camp all summer, she swims, and a short cut is quite nice. Your blog has helped me a lot. I have watched some of your you tube pieces. Thanks again

    1. Glad that I could help. You will get faster with time. :)

  19. I have a labradoodle and took a grooming class to see how it was done. I completely agree with you on how much time it takes! We were there almost 3 hours. Between the first cut, washing, and then the touch-up cut, I was exhausted! And he was only 3 months old. I can't imagine how long it will take me when he's full grown! I think if owners of these breeds really take a class or sit and watch the entire time, they might get a clue why a cut would be expensive. I didn't know a lot of things that I should be doing like the tear ducts being clogged so they need to be cleaned or having to pluck the ear hair. Anyway. I appreciated the pictures you posted. Gives me some ideas. Good blog!

  20. I Thank you so very much I never really had to clip a dog like this be for so this really help me out a lot

  21. I have a doodle who we keep styled like a portie-meets-schnauzer with medium legs, short back, long tail duster, and a rounded head. I appreciate the challenge our groomer faces and the effort involved in each of the steps. I am always happy to pay as much as she needs and I always tip heartily.

    I come to you for advice on how to make the groomer's job easier. Do you have pointers on how I should care for my dog every day to make the groomer's job as low-level a nightmare as possible?

    When I brush him, I try to look for that "line" to progress from but his hair is so felty it's tough to be sure i'm doing the right thing.

    Also: how do I take care of his feet so they're not so awful when it's time for a groom?

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog, I'm fortunate to have found it!

  22. Hi Langeae,

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    It sounds like you are already helping your groomer by brushing your dog. If you are not sure that you are brushing your dog good enough, get a medal dog comb. Once you have finished brushing, use the comb to go through the coat to see if you have missed any knots.
    As for the feet, that is a hard one. Since the feet get wet in the rain, or the morning dew, they tend to mat up faster than the rest of the body. The best thing that you can do is to dry off your dogs feet when he comes in from outside, let the feet completely air dry and then brush the feet out.
    Because I don't personally groom your dog, I think that you should ask your groomer if there is any more you can do to help. I am just happy when a customer is truly trying to help, even if they are not able to keep all of the mats out of their dog between grooming's.
    Hope this helps a little. Sorry for taking so long to reply.
    Lisa, MFF

  23. This is hands down one of the best grooming pieces I have ever read. It expresses so much of what I think myself. I absolutely love that groomers and doodle owners have responded. I truly hope more doodle owners are able to read it and learn. I have read Doodlekisses and felt the same way. It is a very nice forum. But some of the comments re: doodle grooming are truly irksome. As a general rule they unrealistic about the grooming needs of their dog. I have a great deal of respect for you, I like that you do not take on new doodle customers. I do not think I am at a point in my career where I can do that. It is something I will think about in the future. I have charged accordingly for some doodles that I have dematted and I know I have lost customers that way. But a few have returned so I must be doing something right. One doodle owner replied about the way a groomer's eyes glaze over during instructions. I would just like to offer the flip side. I can't tell you how many times I have demonstrated brushing and combing noticing that glazed look in the owner's eyes, they smile, acknowledge you in some way, and go on their way. Aaaand the dog comes back a matted mess again. Also the glaze is sometimes due to you are in fact hearing what they want but you are also looking at the condition of the coat envisioning the amount of work that goes into it. Groomers offer recommendations and knowledge. Take advantage of it. I love reading blogs like this to increase my knowledge and hopefully improve my communication skills. I will definitely be incorporating your guidelines about what groom would suit the dog based on the owner and dogs lifestyle. The groomer/client relationship is definitely an interesting one.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      I agree, I have also seen that glazed look many times when trying to educate my customers.....but I still try. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  24. All I can say is - great blog!! I've started grooming my own goldendoodle as I live in a very small town, and had to travel to get it done, plus the expense of the grooming. I really appreciated you taking the time to explain what blade you used for the different cuts. I like my doodle cut really short, with the legs a tad bit longer and fluffed out. I loved your labradoodle head. Mine is like that, but with longer ears - she's a girl, nuf said. Anyway, you did a "fantabulous" job on all the above, and I must say I don't blame you for not wanting to do them. May I ask which grooming clipper you use?

    1. Thank you Lori,

      I use the Andis AGC 2 speed clippers. I also use the Wahl Bravura cordless clipper and their clip comb attachments.

      Thanks for reading my blog. :)

      Lisa, MFF

    2. Enjoyed reading your blogs!

  25. Wow, happened upon here because I am trying to purchase a new blade for my clipper and wanted to know the difference between the numbers
    I used to get my boy professionally groomed by an amazing groomer but I couldn't afford the upkeep of every 6-8 weeks.
    So I purchased my own clipper and do him myself. The first few cuts were horrid but I must say I think I do OK now :) it's been 4 years since he was groomed professionally and every time I come into bonus money I think I'll treat him and myself by getting him groomed lol
    He has a non shedding soft coat which curls quite tight. I brush him out every week.
    So what blade numbers should I use please?

  26. I just wanted to say thank you!!!! I am a groomer and also have a doodle. I hate brushing him and he lives on a farm. He gets clipped down to 3/4" on the body. Trim tail and his head left long and shaggy and a short beard. This happens every 6 weeks and a good bath, brush, and blowdry every 3 weeks. I wish more people would realize the different care that goes into mix bred dogs. And I agree the breed standard is only possible of the pet owner is willing to put in the work for it. But pet cuts are for comfort of the owner and the dog.

  27. We looked at four pups today -- 3 month old goldendoodles -- seems like one is going to require a lot of maintenance. I'm hearing they're a wonderful breed but not sure we are up to the challenge.

    1. Hi,
      Every Doodle that I have groomed has been very sweet. Yes, they are a lot of maintenance. Also, because of their size and coat, they are a costly groom. If you can afford to have a Doodle groomed every 6 to 8 weeks (depending on how long or short you keep the coat) go ahead and add one to your family. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  28. Thank you so much for such an informative site. I am a doodle owner (11 months now). I have a great groomer, but just can not afford to have him groomed as often as needed. My groomer is very supportive and will help me when needed. She is great!

    However, I do have a couple of questions of someone who has groomed lots of doodles.
    How short should I groom? I have a single speed andis and have been trying to use a 1" plastic clip on comb. It has been a very unsatisfactory way to do this. Seems to push the hair down in front of the clipper blades and won't clip it down. I am getting a very ragged, uneven cut (if it does get cut at all). I am thinking it is my techniques and not the clipper. I did get one recommendation to use the longest blade (3/4") and not use the combs. Would this be a good thing to try? Is 3/4" too short?

    I know that currently he is about 2-3 " and beautiful, but way too long for me to maintain. Any additional info. or insights would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Don

    1. Hi,
      I know that most Doodle owners like to keep their Doodles on the longer side. I tell all of my customers, no matter what breed, that they should keep their dogs coat length at a length that works for THEIR life style, not what a breeder says, or Vet says, or another fellow Doodle owner says or believes.
      If you have time to faithfully brush your dog everyday (10 to 20 minutes) a longer coat should be no problem. If your lifestyle is very busy and there is no extra time (a long coat can mat very quickly if one or two days are missed) a shorter clip is much easier to maintain and may only need to be brushed a couple times a week.
      Clip combs are great if the coat is prepped correctly and a #30 blade is used under the clip comb. To prep the coat, it MUST be Clean, brushed and free of all mats. Bathe and completely dry the coat. Brush again and then run a metal comb through the coat making sure that all mats have been removed and the coat is dry. The clip comb should now glide smoothly through the coat. Clip combs are not made for, and do not wok well at all on a dirty, uncombed, or matted coat.
      I like the 3/4 blade. I think that it is a nice length. Some owners may think it is too short. Everyone's idea of long and short is different. You could try the 3/4 blade to see if you like the length. The coat will always grow back and you can try a different length if you don't like it. The 3/4 blade can be used on a dirty coat, but would look much better if used on a clean coat.
      I have a couple of customers on fixed incomes that bring their dogs in for me to do a nice short haircut, and then they maintain the coat, and let it grow out until the coat gets out of their control and starts to mat, then they come in for another cut. I give their dogs a full clipping 2 to 3 times a year. These owners all bring their dogs in between full grooming for nail trims and a trim around the eyes while they wait. They do a good job brushing out their dogs coat in between full groomings and save money by not having to have their dogs groomed on a 4 to 6 week schedule. This is also an option you can do with your groomer.
      I hope this helps,
      Lisa, MFF

  29. Just wanted to say that this is a wonderful post. I live in Chicago and for the first year of my golden doodles life I groomed him myself. He's great when i groom him and is very comfortable. I prefer to keep him short, I just like the way he looks. We had a bad winter that wouldn't end and i prefer to groom him outside because i am very allergic to him so I decided he needed to go to a groomer. A family member brings her laso opso to a groomer that she said was "great" so I felt comfortable bring him there. He was there for 7 hours. I was very worried so I called and the owner told me to come pick him up in a half hour. So 7 1/2 hours later I went to pick him up and picked up my baby with razor burns all over him. I couldn't believe it. I will never bring him back to another groomer again. He was itching and red for weeks. So disappointed. needless to say neither dog goes back there and from now on I do it myself. I'm no where close to being a professional groomer so he isn't the prettiest looking pup when I am done but at least I know that he is comfortable and safe in my care.

    1. Hi njwalter92,
      I am very sorry that you had such a bad experience having your Doodle professionally groomed.
      Please try not to take it out on ALL groomers. There are many really good groomers out there.
      There is nothing wrong with grooming your own dog, but if you ever feel the need for another professional grooming, try checking out websites and facebook pages of groomers in your area so that you can see pictures of the groomers work and maybe even on-line reviews, or rankings on facebook to help find a groomer you can trust. It is a possibility that the groomer that had been grooming your friends Lhasa so nicely had moved on and the owner of the grooming shop did not tell you that a different (less experienced) groomer would be grooming your dog.
      Lisa, MFF

  30. form another groomer that so under stands what you are saying I just had a doodle owner leave me as I said to her if her dog is going to go swimming every other day and you can not groom your dog your self in between visits to me your groomer then you will need to clip her short the owner the said but I have been giving her baths as if this would win her a pat on the back good job well done and all that the owner got mad at me thinking I was telling her that I did not like her dog going swimming but all I was trying to say is I do not have a magic wand this client has 2 doodle dogs one I have been keeping long for years both go swimming every other day the new dog though has a different coat and just a pup with lots of mats and this was just to hard for this owner to under stand I hat being the bad guy all the time cant win groom the mats out be mean to the dog don't or cant groom the mats out and you are just no trying hard if only the owner could under stand that most good groomers do always try but trying is not always enough

  31. A very honest article, you told the truth and backed it up with pictures. You were spot on. I groom my Doodle myself, slicker brush, followed with a comb with 2 in tines, to find any mats left behind and then I will use the clippers with a 3/4 HT blade, perfect length for that puppy look we all love I think you called it a *Lamb cut*. For me and my Doodle it is bonding time, lots of lovin going on while we do this. ;0)

  32. Hello,

    Just want to let you know that I really enjoyed reading this post. The photos about grooming these cute and gorgeous dogs are really helpful. I am looking at these lovely labradoodle puppies and I decided to have one and learning how to groom them is really great. Thanks to you. More power! Will surely keep coming back :)

  33. This is very insightful, as I am about to get a doodle myself, and am thrilled (apologies for the groomers out there who hate doodles). I am wondering, though, if any of you groomers have experience with both the F1 (which is 50% poodle, 50% golden retriever) and F1B (75% poodle, 25% goldend retriever) and see a difference in grooming needs for each of them. I have a deposit down on a litter that will be F1B and apricot/red, which I am so excited about. But I am wondering if maybe the F1's require less maintenace than the F1B's. Thank you in advance for your insight!

  34. Thank you so much for spending all the time and effort you have in creating this blog post! I’m sure lots of groomers and hopefully some doodle owners with find it helpful!
    Our 8 year old doodle boy has a combination coat with the curly wool undercoat being the most problematic areas! At first I had no idea what the groomer meant by mats! I thought mats were those big tight wads of hair some dogs get behind their ears and he surely did not have any of those! NO, mats are fine little tangles of hair way down at the skin only removed by line brushing or combing or both. What I see is just piles of fluff, not really anything solid, as I brush him. When not removed the clippers could not go through the hair and then he ends up being shaved or cut very close as, you said. Just brushing the top of the coat, not matter how much a person would do that, will ever get those mats out. There sure was a learning curve! Now I always ask our groomer if I missed anything so I am sure to get that area better the next time.
    Here are a couple of things that some people might think are “too poodle looking”, and what I myself really don’t like! Shaving between the eyes, shaving or clipping way down the tail (a little ways is necessary and looks fine), and, the worst, shaved poodle feet – doodles should have rounded feet! The head should be rounded (but without a “crease” where the head meets the top of the ears).
    So, our boy just looks best, stays neater and survives the Texas heat better with a short body cut, little longer on the legs. Yes, his head and ears are fluffy, maybe like a poodle, and a little too tailored, when we get him back. But it grows out only too fast! And one trip out in the rain or a spritz with a spray bottle and he gets more of his doodlly look back.
    Bottom line – it’s a learning experience and education from the groomer is really important. And It’s really important for the doodle moms and dads to be sure their dog is ready for the groomer by doing their very best to brush/comb their dogs out properly first. And you need to communicate your preferences. Groomers don’t assume everyone knows that at first.

  35. interesting input and in principle I can understand the argument....However, what is greatly missed here is that the Majority of Doodle parents.... really love the goofy and playfull look of the Shaggy Coat... which IS the proper cut for a doodle. So while groomers want to continue to go against the inherent appeal of this mix, they continue to be unhelpful (matting aside) to what doodle owners are looking for. A doodle looks best with a clean shaggy coat...without hard lines...