Like all dogs, Cockapoos need to be groomed and if done with care they all enjoy it!
Cockapoo grooming should begin early, ideally as soon as you bring your puppy home. It gives them a great deal of physical attention and gets them used to being handled. Like training it also serves as fun early bonding that dog and owner can both get pleasure from to gain trust for one another.
Whether you groom your Cockapoo yourself or pay someone else to do it it’s important to be aware of all the attributes to a good grooming regime, and ensure it’s designed specifically for your Cockapoo. After all you want your pride and joy to look his best and feel great!
This guide explains the most important information you need to know about grooming your Cockapoo no matter what style coat he has.
You will learn a lot about his fur, ears and nails and how to keep him at his best so you are proud when out and about.
Grooming A Cockapoo Puppy
The Cockapoo has two main coat types: the Poodle type ‘woolly’ or the Cocker type ‘satin’.
Both Cockapoo puppy coats are relatively easy to look after.
A puppy only needs light grooming but it’s good to be consistent so he gets used to it. Keep sessions short (5-10 minutes) and give him a few treats so he knows this is a special experience for him to enjoy.
The Puppy Grooming Kit
A simple grooming kit consisting of a comb, several brushes and nail clippers (special designed doggy nail clippers). That’s all you need to groom your pup until the adult coat comes in. Then depending on what coat type comes in, ‘woolly’ or ‘satin’, you may then want to either learn to groom an adult coat yourself or pay a groomer.
Losing Puppy Fur
After about eight months your puppy will lose or ‘moult’ it’s lovely puppy fur. This is when the adult coat ‘comes in’. From now on you will need to devote more time to grooming.
The moulting phase only lasts a month to six weeks but will vary according to coat type.
If you don’t take care to groom out the puppy fur that is making way for the adult coat you will start to see a matting or a dread-locking effect.
Obviously this is undesirable as it’s difficult to comb out and really it means you’re not grooming him regularly enough.
Puppies need proper nail care from the early months of their life. Starting early will get them used to the idea.
Your Cockapoo’s nails will need trimming every 2-3 months with a specially designed dog nail clipper.
If you do this yourself be conservative with the amount you cut off as his nerve ending are very close. Just trim the very end hooks. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this any dog groomer will do it quite cheaply.
Hold your puppies foot and gently press down at the base of the nail. Cut back a little at a time until you get close to the pink part. Snip off the nail tips at a 45-degree angle being careful not to cut too far down.
If you trim to far you’ll catch the vascular quick, which will hurt the dog and bleed profusely. Keep some styptic powder handy which will help stop the bleeding if needed.
Frequency of bath will vary according to how mucky your Cockapoo gets. If he’s mostly home-bound once a month will suffice.
Also use warm water and a puppy friendly shampoo. Be careful to avoid getting the soap in his eyes and ears. Just use a damp cloth for those sensitive areas.
After the bath towel dry him thoroughly and leave him in a warm room with the towel until he is fully dry.
Avoid letting him get cold.
For more tips read how to bathe your cockapoo for the first time.
Grooming Adult Cockapoos
If you have a preference between the two main types of Cockapoo coats and if you have not yet chosen your puppy you may want to think about this before your choose your dog and dog breeder.
All dogs lose hair at the end of each growth cycle but a Cockapoo with an ‘improper’ coat is one with a thick undercoat that sheds seasonally. This type of coat is more common in F1 Cockapoos (1stgeneration cross).
A ‘proper’ coat will have a thinner undercoat and will not shed seasonally.
The ‘woolly’ coat has tight curls and the ‘satin’ coat has little curls or a wave and is smooth to touch. You might prefer a wire woolly coat rather than a silky ‘satin’ one as these are the light shedding variety that has earned the Cockapoo the reputation as a hypoallergenic dog.
Woolly coats are completely curly with a wiry texture which softens with good grooming.
Woolly pups have less dander and you will know their coat style from the moment they’re born. It means if you love the ‘curly’ look you can easily choose your puppy.
This coat type requires grooming more regularly and also a trip to the professional groomer for a clipper cut when needed.
Tight Curly Coats
The tight curly coat absorbs dirt and mud so clipping the coat back to about 3-4 cms long makes it easy to rinse off and dry after fun times on muddy walks. This clip can be brushed when dry.
Special attention must be paid to carefully removing the moulted ‘undercoat’. It’s a slow daily process.
Taking your Cockapoo to a professional groomer every three months or so for a full wash and clip is a really good idea to compliment your own grooming routine. This will keep him smart and comfortable.
These Cockapoos can look glamorous with a full coat (up to 15 cms long). For those who wish to keep the coat long they will discover that twice a year the coat will moult over about a two week period.
If you brush this full coat when dry it reacts rather like frizzy human hair as the brushing damages the hair shaft and breaks it so it then fluffs up into an ‘afro’ style.
To prevent this the coat can be ‘line’ groomed whilst wet and soaked in coat conditioner.
Satin coats are rarer and require far less grooming- just weekly combing and he won’t ever need professional grooming.
Fleecy or satin dogs can have soft rather wiry spirals or slick curls but it’s impossible to tell which puppies will have what curls for several months. The satin coats are low shedding.
Described as ‘smooth’ if their facial hair is smooth and the dog does not have long eyebrows, a beard or moustache. The ‘smooth’ pups’ coats shine and the facial bone structure is clearer.
These refer to facial features and include long haired moustaches, pronounced eyebrows and beards. With these features your dog will be a ‘furnished-faced’ Cockapoo. Without them he or she will be described as an open-faced or ‘smooth’ Cockapoo.
Even though owners often refer to their Cockapoos as having shorter and longer length coats in fact they all have long coats. It’s just that those with facial furnishings will be very long, whilst those with open faces will have a shorter overall coat but with feathery style hairs on their legs, ears, body and tail.
Curl and texture
In terms of curl your Cockapoo will either have a ‘woolly’, ‘satin’ or ‘fleecy’ curled coat. The ‘fleecy’ is most common with a soft curled coat.
Cockapoos also vary in look according to their ‘traits’. In terms of coat traits you need to consider the coat length, curl, texture and furnishings.
Tips From Professional Groomers
The following quotes come from groomers across the UK-
- “I’ve used many expensive new combs when they are first advertised but for me a simple metal toothed comb is still best for the job”
- “If getting your cockapoo professionally groomed check what they plan to do with its nails, fur, eyes (especially eyelashes) and ears”
- “Tell your groomer exactly what you do and don’t like for your Cockapoo, they will not be offended, but they will otherwise follow the lines from the last cut whether you like it or not”
- “You can do the grooming yourself- save yourself a good deal of money, especially if you have more than one dog. Remember you will get better as you practice as well.”
- “Your dog will be safer and happier at home with you, but is more likely to be naughty at home than with a stranger so expect to do some training.”
- “It’s worth getting a professional cut once in while, because if your next cut is DIY at home you can follow the style lines”
- “Your first session might take you a long time but, as with all things, you will get much faster as you get better.”
- “People tend to dissect and pick fault in their own grooming jobs, just remember not to beat yourself up and enjoy doing it”
- “Although some brave owners may clip their dogs at home, I recommend using the services of a professional. The risk of injuring your dog with a cutting implement is too great in my opinion, and most groomers are quite reasonable, charging in a range of £15-£30 per session.”
How To Choose A Groomer
The Pet Industry Federation has launched its new Quality Assurance Standard for Groomers, offering a benchmark of quality for professional groomers and members of the British Dog Groomers’ Association, which will show pet owners that their dogs and cats are in competent and capable hands.
Groomers who have achieved the City & Guilds Level 3 dog grooming qualification can undertake the quality assurance scheme. The standard consists of an independent audit of the grooming business, covering areas such as animal welfare, staff training, equipment, health & safety and customer care. Groomers also take an online assessment to measure their technical competence.
If you would like to know more, a brochure with details of professional grooming standards and what it means can be downloaded here.
Tell your groomer exactly what you want! Bring in photos of haircuts you like and show your groomer what you like prior to the cut. After the cut you have to be honest and tell the groomer exactly what you like and don’t like.
Things to avoid
- If you use a professional groomer be clear that person knows exactly how to groom a Cockapoo. They need to understand your dog’s coat and many groomers can charge a good deal of money so it’s important you know what you are getting.
- Unless it’s your preference make sure a groomer knows you don’t want a schnauzer, poodle or any other standard cut.
- Do not allow yourself to get caught in the “my Cockapoo doesn’t like it” trap, which is an excuse many owners will use to avoid regular grooming sessions. Some early reward-based training will ensure he looks forward to his grooming sessions.
Remember you take the lead not the dog. Show you are in control and its safe for your Cockapoo to trust the groomer. The job will get easier every time.
Get Started As A Groomer
You will have to pay money upfront on equipment.
But they aren’t that expensive thanks to suppliers like Amazon, so you will soon recoup the cost.
You’ll learn about yourCockapoo and your individual tastes will develop as you go, so be patient.
It takes half a dozen times styling your dog before you feel comfortable doing it so don’t give up after the first session. And I guarantee there will be a big difference in the cut between the first and sixth cut!
The bonus? By the time you’ve fulfilled your commitment you’ll have more than made up the money you invested in your grooming tools/supplies. And if you do give up you can still sell your grooming tools on ebay to someone else looking to give it a try at home.
And if you go back to hiring someone else to do the job you’ll appreciate how hard they work for their pay, too.
So… win/win! Give grooming a go!
Web References and Credits
Cockapoo dogs, particularly Poodle style coats do need time invested to groom them well.
A popular groomer’s reference book ‘Notes from the Grooming Table’.
Many thanks to Annette from Eden Dog for permission to re-produce her original article.
Other Grooming Guides