The Ultimate 'Oodle Grooming Guide: Labradoodle, Cavoodle, Spoodle & more
Of the many coat types we get asked for advice about, the ‘oodle or doodle coats are one of the most frequent. Whether you have a Labradoodle, Spoodle, Cavoodle, Retrodoodle or another lovely ‘oodle cross… this guide is for you. This guide covers coat types, clippers and trimmers rated for each coat type, help choosing blades and comb attachments, coat lengths, coat prep and the link to a gallery full of 'oodle clips for ideas and inspiration.
- What are the different doodle coat types?
- How to keep the 'oodle coat long and knot free
- Our clipper recommendations for the 'oodle coat
- Do I need to get a trimmer as well as a clipper?
- Trimmers rated for the 'oodle coat
- Blades and comb attachments for the 'oodle coat
- Oodle grooming guide by body area
- Scissors for the 'oodle coat
- What coat prep is required before clipping an 'oodle coat?
What are the different doodle coat types?
To make sure you get the right clippers, you first need to know what coat type your 'oodle has. The most common coats are these 3 types below:
FLEECE: Loose, shaggy waves. Soft texture. Low to non-shed. Medium to high maintenance as can be prone to knotting, especially in areas that rub, like the collar area and around the ears. Single coat (usually). Can sometimes have a cotton-soft, dense, knot-prone undercoat. Frequent brushing required if kept long.
WOOL: Often like lambswool. Similar to a Poodle coat. Normally tighter more spiral type curls compared to the fleece coat. Non-shedding. Tends to vary in texture, from lambswool texture to a dense, fine, cotton-wool texture. Typically coarser than the fleece coat. Can be high maintenance as very prone to knotting. Frequent brushing required if kept long.
HAIR or STRAIGHT: A hair coat is often wispy or wiry, typically with a mixed texture and often with mixed lengths. It's easy maintenance and usually low to medium-shed. A straight coat is similar to the Golden Retriever or Spaniel coat type. Usually easy maintenance, typically with a silky texture, often with different lengths on different parts of the body. The straight coat is usually medium to high shed.
The myth of 'non-shed' coats
All coats shed, even 'non shed' fleece and wool coats still shed. The difference is any old, dead coat is not 'dropped' or shed out like a shedding coat does, and the rate of shedding is often far lower, as the coat growth cycle tends to be slower.
Instead of dropping to the ground like a hair or straight coat does, in fleece and wool coats, dead coat usually gets stuck in the coat. A key reason non-shed coats are much more likely to form knots and mats unless that dead coat is removed with regular brushing. That's also why non-shed fleece or wool coats are considered high-maintenance compared to a hair or straight coat that sheds.
Beware the 'oodle puppy coat change!
An 'oodle pup goes through a coat change anywhere from 6 to 14 months of age, with 9 to 12 months being most common. That super soft, thinner, fluffy, easy care puppy coat will transition into the adult coat, becoming high maintenance (at least in the short term). During the change, the puppy coat is being replaced by the thicker adult coat, and coat texture and colour may change too. It may become less or more curly, the coat colour may darken or lighten, and the rate of shedding may change. If you want to keep the coat long as an adult, you'll need to keep it free of knots. If you can't keep on top of the knots, you may have to clip the coat short instead.
During this change, the coat may become extremely prone to knots and mats, and daily brushing is highly recommended, moving to weekly longer-term. If not kept on top of, a pup's first visit to the groomer may result in the coat having to be cut very short to remove the mats.
Ideally before the coat change, you'll already have your pup used to daily or weekly brushing. When the coat starts to change, begin daily brushing and use a pin brush or slicker brush to help remove that stuck puppy coat and prevent knots forming. A bristle brush is popular for puppy coats, but won't remove knots and get down deep enough through the adult coat.
How to keep the 'oodle coat long and free of knots
Tangles turn in to knots, and knots turn in to mats. Mats can cause serious health concerns from discomfort to nasty skin infections. Make sure to brush right down to the skin (which is why a pin brush, not a bristle brush, is recommended). Brush section by section, also called line brushing, to make sure you don't miss any knots. YouTube is a good resource to see how line brushing is done.
When you discover a tangle or knot, swap to a slicker brush or grooming comb. A comb is ideal for getting out finer tangles. A slicker brush is better for knot removal. Gently 'pat' the knot out, starting from the end and working down to the skin. Use along with a detangler spray to reduce discomfort and help the knot separate. Spend extra time on areas that rub, including behind and under the ears, paws, armpits, ankles, backs of the legs, and around the neck.
Want fewer knots? Avoid the shampoo mistake!
Never skip conditioner with the fleece and wool coats (whether it’s a rinse off conditioner, a spray-on, or a leave in formula). For shampoo to work, it needs to 'open' the cuticle, removing some of the protective layer of oils, in order to clean the coat. This can leave the coat 'rough' and make it more prone to knots.
Use a more mild shampoo, and apply conditioner after shampoo. It helps close and smooth the cuticle to reduce knots forming and return that protective layer. Coat sprays - especially oil-based ones like argan oil or mink oil, also called anti-stat sprays - are popular with the wool coat in particular to prevent frizz, damaged ends and fly-aways. Those types of sprays also help prevent knots and are recommended to use during and after brushing.
What clippers are rated for the clippers for the 'Oodle coat?
There are a lot of clipper models to choose from but to help shorten your list, work out your oodle's coat type first (check the coat list above), then match their coat to the clipper list below.
How to know if clippers are rated for fleece or wool ‘oodle coats
Clippers generally come in 4 levels: light use, medium duty, heavy duty, or super duty. They are available in corded or cordless. For the fleece or wool coat, look for a clipper rated from high-level heavy duty up to super duty. Always upgrade to super duty if budget allows. The clipper description might say they are super duty, otherwise it will say something along the lines of 'rated for full body clipping' for ‘difficult’ coats. The clipper shortlist below doesn't include every model rated for wool and fleece coats, but does include our best sellers as a shortlist to get you started.
If you don't see 'super duty' mentioned in the clipper description, look for mentioned of 'for full body clipping' for 'thick, difficult or matted coats'. That tells you the clippers can handle knotted or matted coats, dense or double coats, thick or cottony undercoats, and tangle-prone coats. If you're looking for clippers that can cope with full body clipping, then avoid clippers that say they are rated 'light use' or 'medium duty' or clippers that say they are for 'touch ups' or for 'trimming only'. Trimming and clipping are not the same.
Most clippers rated for the 'oodle coat will be multi-speed clippers. 2 speed are the most common, but 5 speed are also available in the newer models. Some single speed clippers are rated for the fleece and wool coat (because what they don't have in speed, they make up for in torque). Aim to run clippers on the lower speed in general, which keeps blades cooler for longer, and save the higher speeds to keep in reserve for thicker or knotted areas.
What about clippers for the straight or hair coat?
These 2 coat types aren't as often trimmed with clippers, but can be. A heavy-duty clipper, single or 2 speed, will do the job nicely, just be sure to follow standard coat prep (below) before you clip.
IMPORTANT > Know what A5 means before you buy!
If the clipper description says A5 model (or A5 style or A5 type), that means the clipper is compatible with all standard blades and all universal comb attachments by any brand. That means no restrictions on you now or later, and you can mix and match brands. Some clippers have a limited range of blades and comb attachments, but A5 model clippers fit every size standard blade by all brands, and have the widest range of universal comb attachments available, for coat lengths from under 1mm to over 3cms.
Clipper models rated for the fleece or wool coat
These are all A5 models. This is not a complete list! Just a handy starting point so you're not overwhelmed with options. Don't rule out other clippers just because they are not listed here.
Andis AGC Brushless Super 2 Speed. Assorted Colours
Wahl KM10 Brushless 2 Speed in Blue
See below for the differences between a 2 speed and a 5 speed, and for more about brushless motors
Andis Pulse ZR II 5 Speed. 2 colours and 2 blade options. All options come with 2 batteries and case: Original Black with 10 blade | Limited Edition Galaxy > with 10 blade | Original Black with 40 blade
Wahl KM Cordless 2 Speed Brushless (this model doesn't have removable batteries): KM Cordless
Andis Excel Cordless 2 Speed Brushless: Pink
Heiniger Opal 2 Speed Brushless: Teal
2 speed or 5 speed?
If budget allows, a 5 speed clipper is worth considering. Most clippers have 2 speeds. A 5 speed clipper has the same top speeds as a 2 speed, but gives you extra, lower speeds. Those lower speeds means you can turn the clippers down to run quieter with less vibration. That's a benefit for very anxious dogs who are more touch-sensitive or noise-sensitive than normal. At lower speeds the blade stays cooler for longer also, helping avoid blade burn. 5 speed clippers still have the same high speeds and extra torque as a 2 speed offers, needed for difficult, thick or knotted areas.
How do you compare clipper speeds?
To compare speeds look for the SPM (Strokes Per Minute). Lower speeds tend to be around 1,500 to 2,000 SPM. Higher speeds can go up to 3,800+ SPM or more. To keep blades cooler for longer, always use the lowest speed that will do the job. To reduce blade burn, touch the blade every 10 minutes or so and apply coolant when needed. Remember to always apply oil to the blade before use, and again after you apply coolant. Oil keeps the metal lubricated to reduce friction, which reduces blade heat. Most clippers only come with a very small amount of oil, so it's recommended to always buy a bottle of clipper oil with your clippers. You'll need it.
What does brushless mean?
Like the name suggests, a brushless motor doesn't have brushes. Brushes wear down over time. Being brushless extends a clipper motor's lifetime up to 10 to 12 times, like the 10,000+ hour Andis Endurance model. Brushless motors provide better power efficiency, around 85% to 90% efficiency vs brushed motors at 75% to 80%. They offer increased torque as well. Brushless motors adjust to the job at hand, giving more torque when needed for tough jobs, dense, difficult or matted coats. No brushes to wear out means lower maintenance. A brushless motor also tends to be noticeably lighter and quieter than a brushed motor clipper. They also run cooler, with less friction and reduced heat. Being newer technology however, brushless clippers can require a higher investment than the traditional brushed motor clippers, but as everyone moves to brushless, prices are starting to come down. Both Andis and Wahl offer a number of brushless clipper models.
Clippers for STRAIGHT or HAIR coats
Andis Pulse ZR II 5 Speed. 2 colours and 2 blade options. All options come with 2 batteries and case: Original Black with 10 blade | Limited Edition Galaxy with 10 blade | Original Black with 40 blade
Wahl KM Cordless 2 Speed Brushless (this model doesn't have removable batteries): KM Cordless >
Heiniger Opal 2 Speed Brushless: Teal
Do I need to buy extra blades with my clipper?
All the clippers above come with a standard #10 blade included free. They do not come with longer blades, or with comb attachments. To get longer coat lengths check the 'oodle blade guide below before you buy. With most clippers you will also need to purchase: oil, coolant, at least one comb attachment or one longer blade. See the blade and comb attachment guide below.
TRIMMERS FOR THE 'OODLE COAT
Do I need to get a trimmer as well as a clipper?
No, a trimmer is not essential, but many 'oodle owners do get a trimmer. Trimmers are made for injury-prone, sensitive, delicate, smaller areas. Including tidying up the feet, trimming fur short in-between paw pads, tidying up around the face, the inside and edges of ears, around the eyes, nose and mouth, and for sanitary areas (around the rectum and genitals). Trimmers are cordless, and are smaller, lighter, quieter and lower vibration than clippers.
Full-size clippers can be used for those same areas too, however they are larger, with a wider blade, noisier, and higher vibration. Vibration is felt more by a dog on sensitive areas and where the coat is thinner. Rather than decide now, you can always just get a clipper for now, and see how you and your dog go with clipping those delicate areas, then decide about getting a trimmer later.
Trimmers rated for ALL 'oodle coat types
MINI trimmers have around a 3cm blade width. Ideal for all size ‘oodles but particularly well suited for toy and smaller size 'oodles, including Cavoodles and Spoodles. A full size clipper has a blade width of around 5cm.
MIDI trimmers have a medium width blade around 4cm. For trimming all size ‘oodles but most popular for medium to larger ‘oodles, including larger and standard size Labradoodles and Retrodoodles. Can also be used as a puppy's first clipper for full body clipping before they get their adult coat.
Blades and comb attachments for the 'oodle coat
Check your clipper model first before you buy a blade or comb attachment. If you have an A5 clipper of any brand, all standard blades by any brand will fit on your clipper, no matter what brand your clipper or the blade is. An A5 model clipper lets you mix and match brands, so an Andis blade can go on a Wahl clipper, a Geib blade on an Andis clipper, a universal Wahl comb attachment on an Andis blade and so on. If you don't know if you have an A5 model clipper, check the A5 clipper chart here >
The most popular blades for the ‘Oodle coat are listed below.
The short blades
#10 blade > The ‘standard blade’. Comes free with most clippers. Leaves the coat around 2mm (or up to 3cm when used with a comb attachment). Use by itself for anywhere you want the coat very short, such as paw pads, inside / under ears, sanitary areas, tummy, rectum and genitals.
You can also attach any brand of universal comb attachment on any brand of 10 blade, to get longer coat lengths, from 3mm to over 3cm without buying multiple blades.
#15 blade > Shorter than a size 10, leaves the coat around 1.2mm. An optional length for paw pads instead of a 10. If you have a trimmer you would not need this length of blade. Some comb attachments also fit on size 15 blades.
See 'How to choose comb attachments' below
Important to know before buying longer blades
Blade sizes 10, 15, 30, 40 and 50 are short blades. They only come in one tooth type, called finish cut. Popular body length blades like the 7, 5, 4 and 3, are long blades. When you buy any longer blade, they come in two teeth types. Either finish cut or skip tooth. A finish cut blade will have F or FC listed after the blade size. A skip tooth blade will say ST.
A skip tooth blade has every second tooth shorter. A finish cut blade has all the teeth the same length. Unless you are experienced or trained using skip tooth blades, always get the finish cut version when buying any longer blade. All blades 10 or shorter - such as 10, 15 or 30 - are always finish cut (all the teeth are the same length) so short blades don't say F, FC or ST after the size.
For more about blade types, search 'finish cut' or 'skip tooth' in the Help section
The long blades
#7 blade > (3mm) For badly knotted or matted coats (if the mats have formed up close to the skin you may have to use a shorter 10 blade instead). Leaves the coat around 3mm depending in the direction you clip* Get the F or FC version unless experienced.
*Search 'direction' in the help section to learn more about what direction to clip the coat, and how it changes coat length
#5 blade > (6mm) For a very short trim, or when the coat has a few tangles but isn't knotted. Leaves the coat around 6mm depending on the direction you clip. Get the F or FC version unless experienced.
#4 blade > (9mm) Standard length for a summer trim, or to keep the coat trimmed short all year round. Leaves the coat around 1cm depending on the direction you clip. Better coat prep required. Get the FC version unless experienced.
#3 blade > (13mm) For a longer trim, leaving the coat around 13mm depending on the direction you clip. Very good coat prep required. Get the FC version unless experienced.
3/4 HT blade > (19mm) The longest blade. Excellent coat prep is needed. Important: This blade is best for experienced users only, and the coat must be 100% free of knots & tangles, otherwise use a 3 or 4 blade instead, or use a comb attachment on a 10 blade (see ‘puppy cut’ below). A blade this long is more difficult to use unless experienced.
Puppy Cut or Teddy Bear Trim (2cm to 3cm) > For a longer, fluffier coat length, make sure the coat is free of knots or mats first, then use a universal comb attachment on top of your 10 or 30 blade. Comb attachments go up to 2.5cms in stainless steel or 3.2cms in plastic.
Search for 'puppy cut' or 'teddy bear' in the Help search bar, to learn more about this style
How to choose comb attachments
Any brand of 10 blade fits any brand of universal comb attachment. You can mix and match brands (use a Wahl universal comb attachment on an Andis 10 blade for example). Some universal comb attachments also fit on size 15 and size 30 blades.
Stainless steel comb attachments are recommended for the wool or fleece coat, as these clip on to the blade more firmly on all 4 sides, so are better for thicker, curlier coats. Check the coat prep instructions below, because if a grooming comb cannot get through the coat without getting stuck in tangles or knots, a blade with a comb attachment on will not get through either. To keep an 'oodle's coat long, you need to keep it free of knots, otherwise you can choose a shorter blade which can go 'under' the knots.
'Oodle grooming guide by body area
HEAD, TAIL, EARS > Use scissors or mini trimmers for these areas. Short, safety tip scissors are the most popular for trimming delicate areas to avoid injury. Ideal for eyebrows, around eyes, the nose and mouth. Thinners are popular for a more natural, textured look, popular for longer ears and feathery tails, for blending shorter coat areas smoothly into longer coat areas, for creating a smooth, rounded 'teddy bear' head, and removing clipper track marks. Check the 'oodle gallery (linked below) for ideas.
LEGS > You can clip the legs the same length as the body, or for that popular ‘oodle look of a shorter body blended in to a longer length on the legs and head, clip the areas the two different lengths you want first, then use thinning scissors to smoothly blend the two lengths together.
BODY > Comb attachments offer a range of body coat lengths from 1.5mm to over 3cm. You might like the body the same length as the legs and head, but typically you'll want the body slightly shorter for a balanced look. Getting at least 2 comb attachments, or a set with 8 or 9 different lengths, means you can go shorter in some areas, longer in others, shorter in summer, longer in winter. A set of comb attachments costs less than buying individual longer blades. For a smoother finish on the body, and for very sensitive dogs, using a longer blade such as a 3 or 4 is recommended, instead of using a comb attachment.
AFTER YOU CLIP > For a smooth finish, use thinning scissors to go over the coat to remove any track lines or uneven areas, and to blend shorter in to longer areas. Use a grooming comb while you work to lift the coat during clipping and scissoring to check your work for uneven areas you may have missed.
Tip for very thick coats > If your ‘oodle has a very dense or thick coat, use a deshedding rake to thin the coat before you clip. This helps comb attachments and blades get through extremely thick areas more easily. If you have a brand new sharp blade, and you followed the correct coat prep below, but the blade is getting clogged, or 'chewing' or 'grabbing' instead of going through the coat 'like a hot knife through butter' then thinning the coat first usually resolves it. The Andis Original Deshedding rake is the most popular for 'oodle coats.
Scissors for the 'oodle coat
The 'oodle coat type is particularly tough on scissors. We have a category for 'oodle scissors which are more hard-wearing 'workhorse' level scissors. This is not the entire range rated for the 'oodle coat, just a place to start when choosing scissors rated for the 'oodle coat when you want something more robust that will keep a sharp edge for longer.
Where can I see photos of Labradoodle Cavoodle & Spoodle clips for ideas?
We get asked that A LOT so over time we've created a gallery of inspiration for popular styles and clips for oodles. View the Labradoodle Cavoodle Spoodle & Oodle Gallery > on our Facebook page for lots of ideas.
There's no right or wrong for how you clip your Labradoodle. In general though, aim for the head and legs to be longer than the body length for a more in proportion, balanced final look. You can of course do the same length all over, but take a look at the gallery (linked above) for more ideas.
How can I learn to clip at home?
A book like The Theory of 5 by Melissa Verplank (you'll find that under the Education section on AllGroom), is a superb resource for learning how to do all the most popular pet clip styles. It covers 5 styles each for ears, tail, body, legs and face, as well as how to use grooming tools, including clippers, blades and comb attachments. It includes step-by-step instructions and lots of photos.
YouTube videos are also a great resource to watch how other groomers use their tools to achieve different clips. There are also multiple grooming schools who offer courses of different lengths for practical 'hands on' learning for all levels. Search 'grooming school nz' to research your options.
Even with a brand new, sharp blade, and clipper rated for your dog's coat type, poor coat prep will cause a lot of (avoidable) problems when clipping. Good coat prep will make everything easier and faster, you'll get a better result, be able to keep the coat longer, and your blades will stay sharper for longer also.
Before you clip:
1. Remove all knots and tangles first (if you can!). Start with a wide toothed comb or pin brush. Swap to a slicker brush if you find a knotted area. Use a detangler spray for faster knot removal and less discomfort for your pet.
TIP: Never wash a knotted coat! This almost always makes knots much worse and harder to remove. If you want to wet the coat to help with knot removal, use a detangler spray, or dilute your conditioner with a little water and apply straight on the knotted area.
2. Shampoo AND condition. Always condition a fleece or wool coat after you shampoo, before you clip. See ‘the shampoo mistake’ above for why. Keep in mind as well (and this applies for all breeds), that the more frequently you wash any dog, the more important conditioner becomes. As a general rule, any coat needs conditioner when washed monthly or more frequently, however for the fleece or wool coat, conditioner is always recommended.
3: 100% dry the coat. 'Blot' the coat with a towel or fast-dry chamois (you'll find chamois options under Dryers on AllGroom). Use a chamois to blot up excess water, twist it to wring out the water, and repeat. A chamois saves you creating tonnes of wet towels to wash every time you bath your dog. Avoid rubbing the coat with a towel, as this can cause tangles and knots to form.
Once the excess water is removed, use a high powered dog dryer to make very quick work of thoroughly drying the coat. If your dog is noise-sensitive, put a Happy Hoodie on over their ears. A dryer also helps temporarily straighten a wavy or curly, fleece or wool coat while drying, making clipper and scissoring so much easier, and giving you a smoother more even result. A dryer also helps blow out missed tangles, dead coat and loose hair. Help choosing dryers >
4: Comb. Once dry, use a wide-toothed grooming comb (or a combination comb with wider and finer teeth spacing), to go through the coat and check for any remaining tangles or knots you may have missed. If a wide-toothed comb can’t get through the coat, your blade and/or comb attachment will struggle also! If you want to keep the coat maintained long, you need to remove knots before you clip. If you have knots or mats you can't remove, you'll usually need to use a shorter blade to clip 'under' the knots. You can also use safety-tip scissors to cut out the knots before you clip.
5: Now you’re ready to clip
If you decide to clip the coat before you wash and dry it, your blade will become dull or blunt much faster compared to clipping a freshly washed coat. A dog's coat can quickly attract dust, dirt, sand, grit, dander and uninvited guests. Cutting through all that is like cutting sandpaper with scissors, and can damage or dull your blade, sometimes very quickly. You can get most types of blades sharpened, rather than having to buy new blades all the time, but with good coat prep your blade will stay sharper much longer.
To find out more about blade care, blade sharpening, blade heat and more, search 'blade' in the Help section
The end! Now what?
Well done for getting to the end of the Ultimate 'Oodle Grooming Guide!
If you need a hand deciding what best matches your needs from your options above, or have any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We're always happy to help. There are no silly questions!
More resources for 'oodle owners