The Shaved Goldendoodle: Right or Wrong?

In the article we will be discussing an oddly emotive subject, the shaved Goldendoodle. This is a subject that most Goldendoodle owners or lovers, including myself, have a strong opinion on.

The FOR Argument

We will start by looking at the pros of shaving your Goldendoodle. When talking about the shaved Goldendoodle, we do not mean clipped or groomed, we mean completely shaved all over. The main reason for shaving a Goldendoodle is for practicality rather than a preference looks wise, as the shaved Goldendoodle doesn’t really look like a Goldendoodle anymore.

If a Goldendoodles’ coat has become severely matted for any reason (perhaps he is a rescue dog or due to owners circumstances there has been no time for daily grooming, or even the owner did not know how to properly groom the dog) a complete shave can be the kindest, or indeed the only option.

When the Goldendoodle has a completely shaved coat, the daily grooming time is greatly reduced as he will only need a check over and perhaps a quick brush with a soft brush to check for injuries and remove any dust accumulated on the coat. If you take him on a muddy walk or he has a swim (we know how much Doodles like to swim) all he will need is a quick rinse off and rub with a towel and he’s as good as new.

Your home cleaning time will also be massively reduced as Goldendoodle coats are ‘dirt magnets’ and without his crowning glory, he won’t be tracking mud, water, and foliage indoors. You will also miss out on the wonderful soggy beard soaking your trousers when he puts his head on your lap with water dripping everywhere every time he takes a drink! Shaving your Goldendoodle will also mean he needs a bath much less often, so a shaven coat really is a huge time saver.

Some owners also report that their dogs are much happier when they’ve been shaved and bounce around like newly shorn sheep. They also claim that their pooch can see better without his hair obscuring his vision somewhat. Some owners also choose to shave their Doodle as they say he is too hot in the summer with his heavy coat and liken it to us wearing a fur coat during the summer months. They say the dog is much happier and more energetic when he has been shaved.

The AGAINST Argument

Now we will look at the cons of shaving your Goldendoodle. The first argument against the shaven coat is one of aesthetics. A shaved Doodle doesn’t look like a Doodle at all and many people would ask why buy a long-coated, low shedding dog if you are going to shave his hair off? Why not simply buy a Labrador or other short-coated breed if short hair is your preference. While walking a shaved Goldendoodle you must be prepared to be asked ‘what sort of dog is that?’ usually followed by ‘oh he doesn’t look like a Goldendoodle does he.’ However, looks alone are not the main reason many people are against shaving the Goldendoodle coat.

We often see shaved Poodles, but we must remember that the Doodle coat is not the same as a Poodle coat. It is often much finer and softer with a layer of finer hair underneath known as the undercoat. This undercoat provides a buffer between the skin and the outside climate, it provides insulation against cold and indeed heat, and protects the dog from the elements (even sunburn). It also provides protection from insect bites and scratches from brambles and thorns whilst out walking or playing in the garden.

Shaving the coat completely can also actually damage your Doodle’s coat and it may never grow back quite the same again. This is especially true if you shave a puppy under nine months as his adult coat can be permanently damaged. Some people report after having their dog shaved, that his coat grew back coarser and curlier than ever before which makes future grooming much more difficult and time-consuming, and even leads to the dog having to be shaved again.

Grooming time is also bonding time, a great opportunity to spend quality time with your furry friend, and to check him over for injuries. It also gets your dog used to being handled thoroughly and having his feet, ears, and other sensitive areas touched on a daily basis. Many dog owners and their dogs find their daily grooming time a great form of relaxation which is missed if the dog is shaved.

A huge part of the Doodle’s appeal is his wonderful coat and the typical shaggy eyebrows, beard, and mustache known as the furnishings. It’s what gives our wonderful Goldendoodles their characterful signature appearance.

My Personal Opinion

So now we come to my favorite part of this article, my own opinion on shaved Goldendoodles! I wonder if you can guess from the first two parts, we have looked at how I feel about this subject?

I have never and hope never to shave my beloved Goldendoodles! I absolutely adore the classic Doodle look and thoroughly enjoy grooming my dogs. I strongly believe it is better for the dog to keep his undercoat intact, but it MUST be thoroughly brushed out every day. Matts are painful for a dog and the only time I would personally consider shaving a Doodle is if his coat was too matted to be comfortably and humanely brushed out.

I believe the long Doodle coat keeps the dog cooler in summer (much like us wearing a maxi dress or cotton shirt on holiday) and warmer in winter. I prefer to keep my dog’s coat slightly longer in summer and a little shorter in winter to reduce drying time after the frequent baths they need in the winter months.

I do clip my Doodles of course, but never too short and never remove the furnishings, I prefer to scissor cut their faces, carefully trimming eyebrows and mustache with thinning scissors. I also prefer the long fluffy ears and plumed tails that they sport even though they frequently soak me when they’ve had a drink or been for a swim and I have to wipe my walls down regularly.

I use detangling spray a couple of times a week to make the coat easier to groom and finish with a conditioning spritz of doggy cologne.

How to Shave a Goldendoodle Correctly and Safely

In this section, we will ignore the for and against opinions and assume you are going to shave your Goldendoodle. The right tools for the job are essential. You will need a good set of clippers with detachable blades. A #10 blade which comes as standard with most professional clipper sets (professional clippers are a must for the Goldendoodle coat) is ideal for a close, neat shave.

You will also need blade coolant and remember to turn the clippers off and oil the blade frequently to avoid burning your dog and also to prolong the life of your blades. You will also need blunt-tipped scissors to get between the toes and for any areas that are inaccessible for clipper blades.

You also need a way of restraining your dog. A grooming table with leashes attached in preferable but alternatively a collar and lead can be used if you prefer to groom on the floor.

A clean coat is not only easier to shave but will also prevent blunting your blades too quickly and damaging the clippers so first, you will need to bath and dry your dog thoroughly. I prefer to do this the day before clipping to ensure the coat is thoroughly dry. Make sure you use a shampoo that is safe for your dog. Dog shampoo is available in most pet stores or online.

Once your dog is clean and dry make sure you have all the equipment you will need within easy reach. Brush through the coat thoroughly to make absolutely sure there are no knots or matts.

Always clip with the lie of the hair rather than against it to avoid cutting your dog or leaving him with ‘razor rash’. Most people like to start from the back of the neck and shave down the back first. Shave as much as you can with the dog in a sitting position. Then have your dog stand while you shave the belly.

Make sure the hair is even on both sides, you may need to go over the area several times to achieve a nice smooth finish. Next work your way down the legs. You will need to pull the legs forward and hold them while you shave under the ‘armpits’. Work your way down to the paws. These can be tricky and fiddly, especially underneath and between the pads so take great care with these areas. You made need to use your blunt-tipped scissors here.

Next, we come to the head. Hold the dog’s muzzle firmly while clipping the top of the head and always work front to back, away from the eyes. Then clip under the ears before shaving inside the ear. Be very aware of the ear flaps as these are very sensitive and easy to accidentally cut finishing by clipping the outside of the ear, holding the ear in your hand, and clipping downwards with the lay of the hair.

Then move to the muzzle. Be extremely careful here as you are clipping towards the dog’s eyes. Try to clip nice and close and as smoothly as you can here to achieve the ‘clean face’ look often seen it Poodles. Lastly, clip the tail. You need to hold the tail taught with one hand and clip away from the tails root. Try to use long strokes here so that the tail looks smooth.


Can You Shave a Goldendoodle Puppy?

This is a question that is asked of groomers regularly. Can you shave a Goldendoodle puppy and at what age should this be done?

Well, you CAN shave a puppy, as in it is possible (if the puppy stands still long enough ) but SHOULD you shave a Goldendoodle puppy?

The answer is no absolutely not. Up until the age of approximately nine months, you should only give your puppy a hygiene trim around his eyes and bottom or you will damage his adult coat. Of course, you should bath him regularly and groom him daily and introduce him to clippers in preparation for his adult life but never ever shave him.

Can You Shave a Goldendoodle’s Face?

You can shave a Goldendoodle’s face and some people prefer the cleaner look and give their Goldendoodle the style more often seen in Poodles with a close shaved face even if they prefer to leave the rest of the dog fluffy. Poodle or Doodle? It’s all in the haircut, you can ‘Poodle’ a Doodle or ‘Doodle’ a Poodle!

Does Goldendoodle Hair Grow Back and How Long Does It Take?

Let’s assume you’ve had to shave your Goldendoodle or you’ve opted for the shaved look and hate it. Will your dogs flowing locks grow back? The good news is yes, they will, always and without question. The length of time it takes depends on the individual dog and how close the shave was.

This can take anywhere between two and five months. However, rest assured that in two months even with the harshest of shaves, your dog will look like a fluffy Doodle again, and in five months he will be fully coated and you may find yourself once again asking the age-old question ‘to shave or not to shave?’. In fact, his coat may even grow back thicker and curlier than it ever was.