If you own a cockapoo, you know that there is no sweeter pet to have. The crossbreed between a Poodle and either an American or English cocker spaniel has the kind, even temperament of a spaniel and the fun, energetic disposition of the curlicued Poodle.
Now, if you have a cockapoo, you also know that keeping them groomed well can be quite a job. Though they are hypoallergenic and don’t shed much or at all, their coats are prone to matting, especially if your pup takes after the Poodle more, and has curlier fur.
What Are the Different Coat Types for Cockapoos?
A cockapoo’s coat type will be evident around six weeks of age. There are generally three types your dog’s fur will be expected to have: straight like the cocker spaniel, curly like the poodle, or a wavy mix of the two.
Puppies that are bred back to a poodle, meaning that they are of the F1b generation, will have curlier fur because they have more poodle genes in their DNA. Litters that are bred after this initial generation can have a variation of the three types of coats.
The different types will need different degrees of grooming. The straight-haired cockapoo will need the least amount of grooming and less frequent haircuts. A simple wet brush (more on this product later) used a few times a week will keep your pup’s coat lustrous.
This crossbreed does not have undercoats but are still prone to matting. Cockapoos with wavy or curly fur will need more frequent brushing throughout the week to prevent matting, and haircuts every four to eight weeks.
What Exactly Is Matting and What Causes It?
Fur mats form when the shed hairs from a dog’s undercoat mix and tangle it with their top coat, causing them to clump together. A mat feels like a cushion pad. They will be easy to notice because they will look and feel lumpy against your dog’s body.
Even though cockapoos don’t have an undercoat and are hypoallergenic (which means they shed less or not at all, therefore, produce less pet dander), the curly coat types can get tangled with each other and still result in mats.
A matted cockapoo is a sad cockapoo, so make sure you avoid creating them. These buggers are formed by:
Lack of grooming. Not brushing their fur enough and letting it grow too long will make it unruly and harder to manage.
Disturbing the fur in any way. This is done by scratching and petting the dog (yes, there is a downside to showing your pup love), them rubbing themselves against objects like the floor or furniture, or playing with other dogs.
The dog’s fur coming into contact with water. Whether your dog goes for a short walk in the rain or likes to swim in your pool, getting their fur wet will result in matting.
Mats are painful to your cockapoo. The fur strands get tighter and heavier against their skin and will pull on it, irritating and sensitizing it after a while. Fleas and other parasites love them. They are great and hard-to-reach places for them to nest.
Common Body Parts That Mat
In essence, since your cockapoo–and all dogs– have fur all over their bodies, mats can form anywhere. The following list describes where the worst matting can occur.
- high-touch places: behind the ears and the neck
- hips and outer thighs
- sides just before stomach
- joints and armpits
These places are high-touch, and not just because of external causes (you petting or the furniture your dog rubs against), but when your cockapoo’s joints and body parts rub against each other or come in contact with wet surfaces.
How To Prevent Matting
The number one way to avoid a matted cockapoo is to establish a grooming routine. Brushing your dog at least three times a week will remove any loose hairs and detangle the healthy fur. This is especially crucial to do if you like to keep your cockapoo’s fur long. Frequent brushing keeps your dog’s fur free of knots and dirt, and leaves it feeling sleek and soft.
No matter what tool you use, brush against the growth of your cockapoo’s fur to find the mats, then gently work them off.
Owners who have cockapoos with curlier fur usually like to keep it shorter. The fur is easier to brush and manage, and are less prone to matting. Even if you keep their fur long, trimming it every few weeks will keep it manageable.
Brush your cockapoo and trim them before bathing them. Water will create or worsen the mats and prevent a deep even cleansing of the fur and skin.
A professional groomer’s metal shedding comb is an excellent tool to use to prevent matting. It has rounded teeth that are differently spaced for different-sized knots. The smoothness of the teeth are gentle on the dog’s skin. While it is good for avoiding matted fur, it is not the best tool for existing mats.
It is no match for large chunks of knotted fur and ends up just pulling on my dog skin. When I’ve used it, the comb caused her to cry out in pain and left her sore. So what is a good brush or comb to use when you have cockapoo matted fur?
My Cockapoo Grooming Secrets
3 Must-Have Dog Brushes
Through trial and error, there are three dog brushes that I have found to be the best at removing significant clumps of cockapoo matted fur but are also gentle on the skin.
De-matting comb. This comb has steel serrated blades that easily remove matting while brushing through the rest of the fur. It is very gentle on the skin. Since it is serrated, if a mat is unmanageable, you can put the comb under the base of the mat and shear it off by pulling it over the blade. This technique removes the mat without taking off any healthy fur.
It can be reversed to suit your dominant hand and the ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold and grip.
I haven’t experience this with my pet, but some professional groomers have said this product can break the ends of the fur strands.
- Removes mats and tangles from your dog's coat
- Perfect for dogs with coarse or long, matted coats
- Handle designed for comfortable gripping
Slicker brush. After you get out all of the serious mats, the slicker brush can work off the smaller ones. This brush is great for dogs that have undercoats, too. It has super thin bent wire bristles that are designed to brush the undercoat, or the thick curly fur of a cockapoo, without irritating the dog’s skin. To clean the removed fur off the brush, simply click the button on the back of the brush and the bristles will retract, making pulling or combing through the bristles not necessary.
The comfortable anti-slip grip handle protects your hand and wrist from straining.
Wet brush. This brush is advertised for human use, but works perfectly for dogs, too. Just remember not to use the same one when grooming a matted cockapoo. This product might be best for cockapoos with straighter hair since those are less prone to matting. However, this can be good to use after more strenuous grooming as its flexible bristles and cushioned middle massage the skin (this increases blood circulation and relieves your pup’s post-grooming stress), which will feel amazing on sensitive skin. The wet brush is great for daily grooming as well because it does not rip out the healthy hair strands and works for all hair and fur types.
In addition to proper brushing and combing tools, it is best to have a good detangling conditioner on hand. These products can make the process of grooming a matted cockapoo a lot easier for you and a lot less painful for your fur baby.
Cowboy Magic was recommended to me by a professional dog groomer. It is a deep conditioner that has silk protein and vitamin E. This detangling solution is concentrated and absorbs deep to strengthen and soften your pup’s fur, making it easier to manage. It does not have water or alcohol in it, and is not oily. Cowboy Magic keeps dirt, sand, and dust from sticking to the fur, keeping the dogs fur lustrous for longer.
In fairness, this is a good product. However, I noticed that it didn’t help to prevent pain for my cockapoo during our grooming sessions. On the hunt for a detangling conditioner that would save my girl from unnecessary torture, I discovered this homemade solution. Who doesn’t like a good DIY product, am I right?
Okay, it is more like a semi-DIY because one of the ingredients is the store-bought Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Fortifying Conditioner, but still. The concoction is made up of four parts water, one part of the Garnier Fructis conditioner, and a tablespoon of water. You can put the solution in a spray bottle for easy application.
Take care not to use too much oil. This can make the fur too oily; the hair strands will then stick together and collect more dust and debris, which creates the mats we are forever fighting against.
Cockapoo Grooming Secrets with the Detangling Conditioner
To get the best results I follow this routine while grooming my cockapoo:
First, I spray a generous amount all over the area I am going to work on and massage the solution into the fur. Next, I use the wet brush to get out all of the loose hair strands and smaller mats. I will usually apply more conditioner on the bigger mats and let it soak in before loosening up as much as I can with the wet brush. After that, I use the serrated comb to get off the most problematic mats.
Once the worst mats are gone, I go over the area once more with either the slicker or wet brush to make sure there are no lingering clumps.
Since using the do-it-yourself conditioner, the need to cut off mats has decreased significantly. The fur is much more shiny and soft, without looking weighed down. I just might have to audition my cockapoo to be a dog model!
Proper grooming is an essential part of owning a pet. It is part of keeping your pet healthy. Grooming a matted cockapoo is important to their overall health. As mentioned before, mats can get tight and harden which makes them heavy and pull on your dog’s skin. This can result in irritated, sore, or even broken skin. Open cuts on your cockapoo can cause infections which will become expensive due to vet visits and medications. Also, your beloved pet will be suffering unnecessarily.
A cockapoo that is groomed well is a happy one. A happy one shows the best characteristics of their breed: the loving, gentle, and cuddly nature of the cocker spaniel, and the fun and adventurous one of the Poodle. And the fluffy soft fur of the crossbreed, whether it is curly, straight, or wavy can be an added bonus in itself. I mean, who doesn’t love to put their face in their cockapoo’s clean, cloud-like curls?
So, make it a point to establish a grooming regimen for your cockapoo. There are a plethora of ways and products besides the ones outlined in this article to create one that works best for your schedule and dog’s needs and preferences. Be patient with yourself and your pup. The benefits of having a good grooming routine exponentially outweighs the cons and frustrations of finding it.
Try out the brushes, combs, and detangling conditioners that I recommend in this blog. It took a lot of trial and error. A lot of frustration and crying from my cockapoo, but we finally got it down. And you can, too. Put in the work to give your pup the best grooming experience they can get. They deserve it.