Can You Shave A Labradoodle?

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The first time I saw a Labradoodle, I immediately fell in love with its teddy bear face and its adorable curly coat. Later, in the hot summer months, I saw that the same doodle was completely shaved!

I was so shocked to see all that woolly coat gone; that doodle puppy was almost unrecognizable!

Shaving your Labradoodle is a heavily debated topic in the dog grooming world. Is it alright to shave your dog? How much should you even shave off?

There are so many important questions. This article will guide you on the safest way to shave your doodle, or if you should even do it in the first place.

What coat does a Labradoodle have?

Golden Labradoodle sitting on the grass

Labradoodles are a mix between a poodle and a labrador. Depending on how much of its genes it gets from the poodle parent, a doodle’s coat can range from a straight coat to a wooly coat. 

Typically, there are 3 possibilities. The first is a hair-coat or straight coat, much like a labrador. This hair-coat type tends to shed more and is not as hypoallergenic. 

Straight Coat

A straight coat doesn’t require as much grooming. You need to brush it just once every 2 weeks to get rid of any loose hairs and prevent shedding. Matting is usually not an issue with this coat type.

Fleece Coat

The second type is a fleece coat (my personal favorite!), which is probably what you think of when you think of a traditional Labradoodle coat. They have wavy locks that are separated into loose curls. This often gives them an adorable teddy bear look.

This hair is more hypoallergenic and sheds less than a straight coat. You can’t get away with infrequent grooming if your Labradoodle has a fleece coat; you must brush it at least 1-2 times a week. 

Wool Coat type

The final type is a wool coat type, which closely resembles poodle fur. In this case, the entire coat has a sheep-like texture. This hair is often hypoallergenic but can mat easily.

Therefore, these dogs with very curly hair need everyday grooming (brushing to prevent mats) and extra consideration of the grooming style.

Evidently, Labradoodles come in a variety of fur types. Therefore, the decision to place your pooch on the grooming table is a personal one, dependent on its coat type and your free time. 

However, one common factor is that all doodles have a double coat. This means they have an inner, softer coat that serves to keep the dog dry and an outer, oilier coat that repels water. 

The outer coat, or the guard coat, also helps to repel dirt. Therefore, it helps the pup stay cleaner for longer. 

What do they look like shaved?

Cheerful labradoodle in a pet grooming salon

What your doodle will look like shaved is greatly dependent on how much you shave off and the style you choose. If you shave close to the skin, your doodle might end up looking naked. This is because skin may be exposed when you cut past the undercoat.

If you only shave the outer coat and leave the undercoat untouched, your dog will look entirely different!

In this case, you will be able to see their labrador characteristics a little better, such as their strong nose, and athletic body. However, the soft undercoat layer will still remain.

Finally, if you style their outer coat like in a teddy bear cut, lamb cut, or lion cut, the illusion created by their thick and wavy fur can help shape your doodle is something brand new!

Since the outer coat contains the specific texture of your dog’s fur (wavy, curly, etc), keeping the outer coat will retain your puppy’s doodle charm.

Should I Shave?

To shave or not to shave? That is the question! First, we must consider what the fur does if we want to pick up the hair clippers.

The most important feature of fur is its ability to insulate. Both the undercoat and outercoat work together to balance the dog’s internal temperature with the external temperature. 

So, in the hotter months, the coat traps the cool air around it, sort of like a thermos. This prevents your pooch from overheating.

Conversely, in the cold months, the shorter hairs in the fur traps heat so that your dog doesn’t get too cold. 

So, although it seems counter-intuitive to wear a jacket in the hot months, your dog’s fur jacket is actually keeping them nice and cool!

This clever system of insulation prevents heat strokes, which dogs are especially prone to. 

When is shaving necessary?

Beautiful pet labradoodle at hair cutting procedure

This is where we must make an important distinction based on coat types. Doodles with wavy/straight hair types should not be shaved whatsoever. There are only some instances where curly-haired doodles can be shaved.

If you shave your doodle with straight hair, this can cause sensitive skin. This is because, without the protection of fur, you can expose your dog’s skin to friction. This can cause the skin to rub on itself severely, creating red, itchy patches. 

Furthermore, your dog’s fur also provides UV protection, which is crucial in the hot summer months. If you shave off all the hair, you can expose your dog’s skin to sun damage.

Also, removing the oil-producing outer coat can make your pups skin dry, as they have lost their natural ability to moisturize their sensitive skin.

Why can Poodles be shaved?

After all this information, you must be wondering about the Doodle’s Poodle parent. Poodles often sport those unique shaved styles we have come to associate with that breed (think poofy tails & naked bodies). If Poodles can be shaved, why can’t Labradoodles?

The simple answer is the difference in coat type. Poodles are not double coated; they have a single layer of fur which means that they can be shaved with little repercussions.

Poodle fur is a lot like human hair. There is only one layer of very curly hair. When this hair falls out, it stays in the coat. This is one of the main reasons that Poodle grooming is so tedious.

Poodles are very prone to matting; their loose hairs can easily bunch together and stay on the skin.

So, owners will often take hair cutters and shave their Poodles close to the skin. This doesn’t affect their ability to regulate their temperature. Instead, it makes it very easy to groom them and manage their coat. 

On the other hand, Labradoodles have two layers of fur. So, shaving them can lead to all sorts of health complications, as mentioned above. 

This is why you should avoid shaving your hair-coated labradoodle at all costs.

However, if your curly-haired labradoodle has severe matting that can not be removed with hair clippers or a brush, then you may be forced to shave parts of the fur off. 

In this case, try to loosen the mat out with a wide-toothed comb. Your goal is to (gently!) move the mat as far away from the skin as possible. You may also use a detangling spray to help you.

Once the mat is a few inches away from the skin, you can carefully place scissors in the mat and then open it up. This loosens up the mat, so it’s not just one dense lump. Finally, when the mat is almost at the end of the fur, you can cut off the mat.

If you follow this process, your pup should not lose a lot of furs when you do this & you won’t have to shave it all off.

Pros of Shaving

There are a few pros to shaving off your dog’s fur.

  • Easier to groom: If your dog’s long and curly hair is shaved off, this means you won’t have to spend hours drying & brushing it every month. 
  • Parasite prevention: It’s much easier to spot an annoying tick or flea on your pooch’s skin when they have no fur. This helps prevent it from becoming a huge infection later on.
  • Reduced infections: Since your dog will dry faster, he is less likely to develop a skin infection that is often caused by bacteria growing on wet fur.

Cons of Shaving

There are a few pros to shaving off your dog’s fur.

  • Increased UV Radiation: Your pup’s fur is like the ozone layer! By removing it, you expose its skin to increased UV radiation, which can cause irritation and skin cancer.
  • Inefficient Cooling: As mentioned before, your dog’s fur is like natural insulation. Removing the fur can cause overheating, especially if you live in an area with over 90-degree weather.
  • Dry Skin: If you remove the oil-producing outer layer, your pup’s skin can become dry and itchy.
  • Irritation Due To Friction: Without fur, bare skin rubbing together easily becomes red and inflamed.
  • Damaged Coat: Many pet parents complain that after shaving off their labradoodle’s fur, the coat has grown back strangely. For example, the hair has lost its texture and is now a different color. While this has mainly anecdotal evidence, it is one of the most common complaints about shaving.

The evidence shows that the consequences of shaving your doodle greatly outweigh the benefits. Do not shave off your doodle’s hair to cool them down for the summer.

 If you do decide to take a bit of fur off, we recommend not going under 1 inch. Keep around 1.5 inches of fur (measure this hair while it is curly & dry) to prevent sunburn and irritation.

You can use dog hair clippers with the largest attachment. Then, make sure that you don’t press the trimmer too close to the skin. Keep your movements light and topical.

Conversely, you can also use scissors to trim off the excess. This more hands-on approach allows you to have greater control of your dog’s coat shape.

Labradoodle fur usually grows back to its maximum length in 6-12 weeks. So, if you want a short style, you have to keep up the trimming every few months.

How to keep your dog cool

Now we know that shaving does not keep your dog cool in the summer months. So, how can we keep our puppies cool without harming them?

  1. Brush them frequently. Removing any loose hairs can prevent heat retention.
  2. Give your dog cold water. If their bowl is outside, place it in the shade.
  3. Provide treats like frozen bone broth, ice cubes, or frozen fruit.
  4. Don’t stay out in 100+ degree weather. Your dog’s insulation abilities might not work at such a high temperature.
  5. Don’t leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes. Temperatures rise fast in the summer, and your little errand can quickly turn lethal.

How to Prevent Mats

Curly Hair Cuts scaled e1643287851907

One of the main reasons that people shave is to prevent matting of the fur. However, there are many other ways to stop matting.

The most important is to make sure that your dog is completely dry. While it is pretty adorable to see your dog run around and rub themselves on everything after their bath, this is a surefire way to create stubborn mats.

Instead, spend a few minutes thoroughly blow-drying your dog’s entire coat. After this is done, you can also brush out the fur to get rid of any loose hairs.

You can also try an undercoat rake to quickly remove any stubborn dead hairs.

Conclusion

The debate on shaving Labradoodles is definitely a confusing one. However, we know that shaving your dog for the sake of heat protection is a big no-no. In fact, it can cause more damage to your dog’s skin than leaving it on!

The best things you can do are to just protect your pup from the sun & prevent any mats from forming.

If you found this article illuminating or have any questions on this topic, please leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading!

Meet our writer

Alison Page was brought up with dogs and various other pets! For a few years, Alison worked as a Practice Manager in a small animal veterinary clinic. Alison is now a full-time writer, specializing in creating articles on the care and training of dogs, cats, and fish.

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