Grooming Guide for wool coated dogs


happy groomed cockapoo

Wool Coated Breeds & Cross Breeds…

Poodle, Bichon Frise, Cockapoo, Cavapoo, Labradoodle-most dogs of these breeds & cross breeds are classed as ‘wool coated’. Wool coats are low shedding & fast growing. This guide is designed to help you make informed grooming choices for your dog & to be aware of the challenges & rewards of maintaining a ‘wool coat’.




When you first bring home your puppy, their coat is usually fine, wavy & easy to manage - this is the perfect time to get your pup used to being brushed out regularly, giving treats for good behaviour will help them to enjoy being groomed at home. At around 6-12 months your pup will start to lose their fluffy puppy coat & their thicker, curlier adult coat will come through. Puppy coat & adult coat do not mix well & often, despite your best intentions, they may become easily matted (tight knots & tangles). It is important to take your pup to the groomers regularly as soon as possible after their first vaccinations. It is vital that they learn to accept and enjoy the grooming process, which includes bathing, a very loud hairdryer, noisy clippers, sharp scissors near their face and a lot of sitting still. A lack of regular grooming from an early age may result in a ‘groomer asbo’ as a scared dog who is unused to being groomed will often resort to aggression to try & stop the groom.


relaxed cockapoo dog nicely groomed

Matting & How to Prevent it…

Matting is uncomfortable for a dog as the skin is unable to breathe & may become sore. Matting occurs because although wool coats do not usually ‘shed’- a small amount of dead hair moults into the coat & stays there, forming a layer of dead ‘fluff’ that compacts to form a matt next to the skin. Also as this coat type is usually very curly, it needs to be straightened regularly to prevent knots forming. A groomer uses a process called ‘fluff drying’ to straighten the coat before clipping. This can be replicated at home by brushing gently with a slicker brush whilst drying with a warm hairdryer. If you do need to bathe your pooch at home between grooms, it will help if you dry them using this technique rather than rubbing with a towel or allowing to dry naturally - both of these will increase the likelihood of your dog getting matted as moisture will tighten any knots in the coat.


poodle laying down outside


Under the Animal Welfare Act it is an offence to cause pain or suffering to any animal - this is why your groomer may sometimes advise clipping short rather than trying to brush out & save a matted coat as this would be distressing & traumatic for your pooch. Essential items of ‘grooming kit’ for coat maintenance between grooms are a slicker brush & metal comb. Brush in layers, starting at the feet & working upwards, going over with the comb afterwards to make sure nothing is missed.


bichon frise groomed to breed standard

Regular Grooming Appointments

Wool coated breeds can look amazing & a well maintained coat is a real pleasure for a groomer to work with. Whether you prefer the fluffy look or a short clip, regular 6-8 week appointments are recommended to keep your dog clean, comfortable, matt free & happy & relaxed about being groomed. A dog that is groomed only when it is ‘desperate’ may think that it is being punished-whereas a dog that is groomed regularly will see it as a normal part of its routine & can establish a bond of trust with their groomer, allowing them to do a neat & tidy haircut!