Whether you recently brought home your first Goldendoodle or you’re tired of groomers telling you they have no choice but to shave your Goldendoodle, you may be looking for the best brushes and brushing techniques for grooming your Goldendoodle yourself.
As a dog groomer of 12 years, I want to help give you the Goldendoodle grooming tips and tool recommendations you need to keep your pup brushed out and looking and feeling their fluffy best.
This will include the best brushes for Goldendoodles, techniques for brushing, and how to groom your Goldendoodle at home.
Goldendoodle Grooming Tips from a Dog Groomer
Goldendoodles seem to be one of the most difficult dog breeds for owners to maintain at home, so I want to give you as many tips and tricks as possible to help you keep your dog brushed out.
Goldendoodle Brushing Tips
Depending on what generation they are, Goldendoodles can have a variety of different coat types. The most common, however, along with the most difficult to keep brushed out, is a very thick, curly coat. When it’s brushed out regularly, it gives the dog a very plush look and feel.
Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to maintain this type of coat. Often, the coat winds up being a matted mess that must be shaved off, leaving behind a naked Goldendoodle and an upset owner.
I’d like to help you avoid that situation, so here are my Goldendoodle brushing tips to help your dog have a beautiful plush coat that doesn’t need to be shaved.
- Incorporate brushing your Goldendoodle into your daily routine. Whatever your daily schedule involves, try to work brushing into your regular grooming routine. If your family sits down to watch TV every evening after dinner, for example, use that time to brush your Goldendoodle so that it becomes as part of your routine as brushing your teeth every day.
- Make sure you’re brushing all the way down to the skin. A common problem with grooming Goldendoodles, especially those with longer hair, is that the owners are only brushing the top layer of fur, and all the fur next to the dog’s skin becomes completely matted. Your dog may look nice, but if their skin feels “squishy,” you may not be brushing all the way down to the skin.
- Use layer brushing. This form of brushing is achieved by lifting your dog’s hair out of the way to brush right next to the skin. One layer at a time, you can brush through your dog’s entire coat.
- Remove collars and harnesses before brushing. It’s not uncommon to see a Goldendoodle that’s well-brushed over most of their body with a ring of mats around their neck where the owners neglected to brush under the collar. Make sure you brush every inch of your dog, every time.
- Make the comb your best friend. While you’ll be able to remove mats and tangles better with a brush, the comb will help you find areas that need more brushing. You should be able to get the comb through every inch of your dog’s fur, all the way down to the skin.
- Pay special attention to mat-prone areas. Some parts of your Goldendoodle are more likely to get matted than others. Pay special attention to in, under, and behind the ears; the armpits; the on top of and between the toes; around leg joints; and in the tail.
- Water makes Goldendoodle mats worse. That means you should always brush your Goldendoodle BEFORE you give them a bath (with one exception, which I’ll discuss in the section on bathing your Goldendoodle at home). This also means that grooming Goldendoodles who like to swim need even more brushing than those that rarely get wet.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. If your Goldendoodle has mats, it’s already too late. You can do a little bit of dematting, but too much dematting is cruel as it can be very painful for your dog. The key is to brush your dog well enough to remove any small tangles before they have a chance to get worse.
Goldendoodle Haircut Ideas (and What to Say to the Groomer)
Many people show up to the groomer and say something along the lines of, “I just want the standard Goldendoodle cut.” The thing is, there’s not really a standard Goldendoodle cut, especially since Goldendoodles are hybrids rather than an official dog breed.
While many breeders and websites claim that your Goldendoodle’s coat should be 1-3” long, that much hair is a lot to keep up with. Many owners are unable or unwilling to commit to brushing their dog enough to keep their hair that long.
With that being said, if you keep your Goldendoodle well brushed out, you can have any length you ask for. It’s important to understand a few basic things about dog grooming before you go in and ask for a light trim all over, though.
Short haircuts are typically done using blades. Every groomer should have blades as long as 3/8”, and most should have blades as long as ½” or 5/8”.
This may vary depending on where you live. When I was a groomer in Denver, just about every groomer I knew had blades as long as 5/8”. Now that I’ve moved to a smaller city in the Midwest, I’m having a difficult time finding a local groomer with anything longer than 3/8”. It’s also possible that groomers who live in hotter climates may not have anything longer than ¼”.
For cuts longer than about ½”, most groomers have (or should have) attachment combs that can leave hair up to at least 1” long. There are attachment combs as long as 2”, but they aren’t very common.
Pricing varies greatly, but assuming your Goldendoodle isn’t matted, the grooming price should be about the same for haircuts from 1” left all over down to a naked shave.
However, if you want a Goldendoodle haircut that’s longer than the longest blade or attachment comb your groomer has, the groomer will likely need to hand scissor the entire dog. That is likely to cost extra, and many groomers have little experience or skill in hand scissoring, so you may end up with an uneven haircut.
That means that if you want to keep your Goldendoodle in the 1-3” length that websites promote, you may need to try several different groomers to find one with a good level of skill in that area.
How to Groom a Goldendoodle The Right Way
Pro Tip #1
Always ask if the groomer is comfortable hand-scissoring long lengths when you call to make the appointment. Some groomers, especially those with less experience, may flat out refuse to do hand scissoring, and it’s better to discover that before you bring your dog to the appointment.
With all that being said, the haircut I recommended for most of my Goldendoodle clients in Denver was about 5/8” all over. This left enough fluff on the dog for them not to look naked, but it was easy enough for most owners to maintain for up to 8 weeks between grooming appointments.
Pro Tip #2
Unless you are exceptionally good at brushing your Goldendoodle, the longer you want to go between grooming appointments, the shorter the haircut you should get to prevent matting.
The inverse is also true – for longer haircuts, you should get a professional grooming at least every 4 weeks. You don’t need to get a full haircut every time, but frequent appointments allow the groomer to find any mats or tangles that you may have missed and handle them before they become a bigger issue.
Now let’s talk about your Goldendoodle’s head and face. The “typical” head on a Goldendoodle is called a “teddy bear face.” That means that your dog’s head and face are quite rounded. A groomer generally won’t shave your Goldendoodle’s face to look like a Poodle unless you specifically ask for it.
Now, some people like a long, shaggy teddy bear face, while others like a nice, tight one. Be sure to communicate to your groomer how you want your Goldendoodle’s head and face to look and whether you want a little or a lot to be taken off.
When it comes to ears and tails, a light trim of the ends is most common, but it’s entirely up to you. Some people prefer their Goldendoodle’s ears to be trimmed nearly to the leather so they’re easier to maintain. Make sure you tell the groomer how much length you want to be taken off your dog’s tail and ears.
Bathing Your Goldendoodle at Home
Dog grooming can be expensive, especially for Goldendoodles, so you may not want to take your dog to the groomer every time they roll in a mud puddle. However, since water can make mats worse, I wanted to give you a few tips for bathing your Goldendoodle at home to help prevent the next grooming appointment from turning into an unwanted shave.
I can’t state this too many times: WATER MAKES MATS WORSE. You should always brush your Goldendoodle BEFORE the bath, with one slight exception.
High-velocity dryers can help blast apart mats and make them easier to brush out. I need to emphasize that this won’t work with just any dryer. It must be a professional-grade high-velocity dryer. Check out our list of the 5 Best Dog Dryers for Home Grooming for suggestions on choosing one for home use.
If you choose to invest in a high-velocity dryer, you may soak mats with a leave-in conditioner and blast them apart with the dryer. You will still need to do some brushing after the bath, but it should be easier than brushing the mats out before the bath.
You should know that high-velocity dryers work by using air pressure to blast water, loose hair, debris, and anything else off your dog. This can make quite a mess, so you may prefer to dry your Goldendoodle in your garage rather than your bathroom.
Apart from brushing your Goldendoodle before the bath, the best tip I can give for bathing your dog at home is to rinse, rinse, rinse. Shampoo residue can cause white flakes at best and skin infections at worst, so even when you think your Goldendoodle is well-rinsed, keep rinsing for another couple of minutes to be sure. The longer your dog’s fur is, the harder it will be to rinse out all the shampoo and/or conditioner.
READ MORE: 5 Best Dog Shampoos for Itchy Sensitive Skin
The Best Type of Brush for a Goldendoodle
For most Goldendoodles, a slicker brush is the best type of brush to keep your dog well-brushed out. If your Goldendoodle has hair that’s more than one inch long, a pin brush may also work well.
Regardless of whether you opt for a slicker brush or a pin brush, you will also want a sturdy metal comb. You will use the comb to check for mats and knots that you missed with your brush.
You may also want a small dematting tool for removing mats that are too big to brush out with a brush or a comb.
Best Brushes for Goldendoodles
Even though most Goldendoodles don’t shed much, you will still be pulling out undercoat when you brush them. With this self-cleaning slicker brush, you can remove hair from the brush with the click of a button and a swipe of your hand. No more digging hair out of the sharp tines!
Our rating: 4
Color Options: Purple
Sizing Options: One Size
- Works well
- Irritates some dogs
- Pins may get stuck in or out
While the Hertzko isn’t perfect and may malfunction from time to time, it’s still an affordable choice for a self-cleaning slicker brush for grooming your Goldendoodle. While it is a little heavier than a traditional slicker brush, most reviewers say the tradeoff is worth it.
If you want a slicker brush that will last a long time, this is a great option for Goldendoodle grooming. The simple design is sturdy, yet effective, even against tricky Goldendoodle hair. This brand has been a staple of professional groomers for many years.
Our rating: 4.5
Color Options: Gray
Sizing Options: Regular, Mini
- Works great
- Bothers some dogs
- Difficult to clean
This is a solid choice for an everyday slicker brush. It doesn’t have any fancy self-cleaning features, but short of dropping it on a cement floor, it should last for a good long time.
For Goldendoodles with long hair, especially if it’s straight or wavy, a pin brush can be a better option than a slicker brush. With the Andis name behind it, this one is a solid choice.
Our rating: 4
Color Options: Black
Sizing Options: One Size
- Good for longer fur
- Round-tipped pins are gentle on skin
- Counterfeit products are low quality
- Pins may fall out in time
- Doesn’t work as well on shorter fur
If your Goldendoodle has longer fur, this is a great option for keeping them brushed out. Just remember to use layer brushing to get all the way down to the skin.
Most combs can be hard on the hands, and Goldendoodles require a lot of combing to ensure they remain free of mats. These combs have a comfortable handle that protects your hands while you comb your dog. Both a small and a large comb are included, and both have coarse teeth on one end and fine teeth on the other, so you’ll have exactly what you need for each task.
Our Rating: 4.5
Color Options: Purple
Sizing Options: Includes both a small and a large comb
- Good deal
- Easy on your hands
- Works well
- Irritates some dogs
- Reported shipping issues
This two-pack of combs gives you everything you need to comb every inch of your Goldendoodle while providing comfortable enough handles to give you the patience to do so. They’re also very affordable.
This is one of the best tools for picking out mats that won’t come out of your Goldendoodle with just a brush and a comb. Use a twisting motion with your wrist to pick apart mats from the top of the mat down to the skin. Be careful, though, since those are curved blades in there.
Our rating: 4
Color Options: Purple
Sizing Options: One size
- Curved blades cut through mats but are less likely to cut skin
- Picks mats out better than a comb
- Blade can be switched for left- or right-handed use
- Can tug on dog’s fur if you aren’t careful
- May ship with dull blades
This is the most effective, safest tool to use for dematting your Goldendoodle. Keep in mind that it may tug on your dog’s skin, so try to hold the base of the fur to prevent as much pulling.
A Final Word About Goldendoodle Grooming
Even though keeping your Goldendoodle groomed and brushed out can be difficult, it is so worth it to see your fluffy fur child happy and healthy. You can be confident knowing that your dog doesn’t have mats pulling painfully on their skin and hiding or even causing sores. With a little bit of work, you can have the best-groomed Goldendoodle in your area!
For even more information on brushing and de-matting your Goldendoodle, check out The Best Dog Brushes for Large Dogs.