Since most Goldendoodles have a majority of Poodle genetics, they obtain the hypoallergenic and non-shedding features that most people desire. However, the downside of this is that you have to groom your Goldendoodle’s curly hair every day (this includes brushing and combing your dood down to the skin level). Failure to properly groom your Goldendoodle’s curly hair will result in matting, tangles, and knots to their fur. Don’t worry, matting is extremely common with Goldendoodles. However, the only way to get the severe matting, tangles, and knots out is by shaving your Goldendoodle. Thus, we created this brilliant Guide on Shaving a Goldendoodle with lots of pictures! It’s not that difficult to shave your Goldendoodle once you have a system down.
To prevent matting, knots, and tangling in your Goldendoodles fur, a good routine is to brush at least one body part every single day thoroughly to where you can comb through without any resistance. My daily routine is to switch off and rotate between brushing and combing my Goldendoodle’s Back + Belly, Legs + Feet / Paws, and Face + chest. A regular routine where you brush and comb at least one body part is essential to prevent shaving a Goldendoodle.
My last recommendation is to go to the groomer if the hair is super-severely matted to the point where you can’t even put a brush through any part of the fur. Shaving a Goldendoodle with matted fur will cause the dog to be really uncomfortable.
Tools for Shaving a Goldendoodle
Having the right grooming tools is extremely important. Below is the list of tools that we use and we consider mandatory to have a successful shaving session.
Notes about purchasing the right grooming tools:
- Dog Clippers: Get one with detachable blades. I start with a #10 blade which should come standard in any dog grooming kit.
- Blade Coolant: This ensures that your dog clippers remain sharp enough to cut through the fur. It also makes sure they cool down since clippers will get hot.
- Scissors: We highly recommend the We Love Doodles grooming kit. It comes with a straight scissor, curved scissor, and thinning scissor.
- Thinning Shears: Useful to blend the short and long hair together.
- Grooming Table or Pet Leash: This will help keep your dog still while you groom them. You don’t want to cut your dog with the shaver because they were moving around.
Tips Before Shaving a Goldendoodle
- Be sure to listen to your Goldendoodle and let them smell the equipment that you are using so they can get used to it.
- Paw-sitive reinforcement with treats, and kind words like “Good boy / Good Girl.”
- Patience. Your first time shaving your Goldendoodle will likely take several hours. Don’t get flustered because the process gets easier as you practice!
Step 1) Bath your Goldendoodle
Since you don’t shave your Goldendoodle often, I like to clean my Goldendoodle first with a nice bath. I use either a no-tears baby shampoo that is gentle on the dog’s skin or a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Be sure to avoid shampooing in the eye areas. Lather the dog’s body thoroughly, and rinse your Goldendoodle.
Using a shampoo makes it easier to comb through the Goldendoodle’s coat after the bath is done. I try to give my Goldendoodle a bath only once a month, so if I recently gave him a bath then I skip this step.
Step 2) Set up your equipment
- Attach your Goldendoodle to a dog groomer’s table. This means attaching the Goldendoodles collar to the stand so they can’t jump off the table. I like to use a groomer’s table so you don’t have to constantly bend over and strain your back while your shaving your Goldendoodle.
- The best way to start is by having your Goldendoodle sit down at the table. I like to leave the equipment out so my Goldendoodle can see and recognize the equipment: brush, comb, shaver, and shaving blades.
- Optional: Shaving a Goldendoodle is an uncomfortable process. Many grooms have to use a muzzle to prevent the dog from biting them.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog. I like to have some small treats handy throughout the shaving process.
Step 3) Brush and Comb your Goldendoodle
As any Goldendoodle owner knows, it is essential to have a good brush and a good comb since your will using them so often. I like to brush and comb my Goldendoodle as much as possible before shaving them so the blades of the shaver can go through the hair as much as possible.
Step 4) Shaving a Goldendoodle
- Attach the right blade to the hair clippers. I like to start with a longer-sized blade like a Size 10 which correlates to 1 1/4 inches in length. If your dog’s hair is severely matted, you’ll have to use a shorter blade and likely shave the dog multiple times. See the hair clipper sizing reference chart below.
- Have your Goldendoodle in the sitting position.
Shaving a Goldendoodle’s Back
Once your Goldendoodle is in the sitting position, I like to start by shaving their back. I start with the top of the Goldendoodle’s back and work my way downward.
Trim as much hair as possible while the dog is sitting
Shave your Goldendoodle’s Belly
Have the Goldendoodle stand to shave the belly. There is a dog-up stand to have the dog stand in the saddle. Make sure you even out the hair on each side. I like to repeat the shaving process a few times to make sure the hair length is even.
Shave the Legs and Paws
Switch to a smaller blade to shave around the feet area — typically, I use like a size 5 or size 7. Around the paws and underneath the paws are usually the most matted areas since these areas are difficult to brush on a daily basis.
Make sure that the dog is on the dog stand. There will likely be some discomfort when shaving the feet area because this is a common matting area. This means that your Goldendoodle will squirm and squeal — THIS IS NORMAL. You need to constantly say your dog’s name to keep positively reinforced by saying things like “good boy or good girl.”
Use shears to trim further under and around the paws.
Cut around and inside the ears
I usually use a smaller shaving blade for the ears, like a size 5 or less since the hair on the ears is typically shorter. Start by cutting under the ears, then shave the inside of the ear. BEWARE of the ear flaps as it’s very easy to cut them, and the ears are the most sensitive areas of the Goldendoodle.
Use scissors or shears to cut the hair around the edges of the ear that are difficult for the razor to trim.
Shaving the Face Area
Attach a larger blade for the face portion of the shaving, maybe like a size 9. Make sure you go in a downward pattern when shaving the Goldendoodle’s face. In addition, be sure to hold the dog’s ear out of the way of the blade so you don’t cut the ears.
Step 5) Trim the Nails
Now that the hair is shaven around the feed of the dog, it’s best the trim the nails. I usually use a manual clipper and look for the tip of the nail that doesn’t have a blood vessel running to it. Be sure not to trim the nail too short or the dog nail will start bleeding. You’ll need to use a powder like corn starch to stop the bleeding.
Step 6) Finishing Touches!
- Blowdry the dog to get all the hair off the dog
- Brush all parts of the dog including the tail
- Comb the Goldendoodle. The comb should be coming through without any resistance
View a YouTube video on shaving your Goldendoodle here:
Shaving a Goldendoodle can be difficult which is why most owners will opt to go to a groomer. Your first time shaving your Goldendoodle will likely take several hours as you get your dog used to the equipment and different sounds coming from the razor. As your dog gets used to getting haircuts, the process should become much simpler. Best of luck shaving your Goldendoodle and we hope you learned something!
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Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.