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Is a Short Summer Cut Essential for Doodles?

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Are you hearing conflicting information on whether a summer cut is essential for Doodles?

“Is a Summer Cut essential for Doodles? Some say a dog’s fur/hair keeps them cool by insulating from the heat, while others think the less hair, the cooler they are during the summer. Which is it?”

Kyle H., reader

Many people say that Doodles overheat, and are adamant that you should clip them very short or outright shave them for the summer.

But, others are also adamant that a longer coat insulates from both the cold and the heat, as well as protects from sunburn.

Confused yet? You are not the only one. In this article, we will discuss whether short summer cuts are safe for Doodle coats, what length of hair makes the best happy medium for hot weather, and what lifestyle questions you should ask yourself when considering keeping your Doodle long over the summer. Let’s get into it!

Be sure to follow along by watching the video below!

YouTube video

Are Doodles Double-Coated?

There seems to be this common myth that Doodles are double-coated, that their coats insulate them from both the heat and the cold, and that shaving will most definitely ruin their coat and ability to regulate their temperature forevermore.

In case you don’t know, a double coat is where the dog has two distinctive layers in the coat – these are the top coat and the undercoat. The undercoat is the fur that sheds and is excellent at trapping air and insulating a dog, whereas the topcoat is made up of tougher guard hairs that don’t shed and protect a dog from the sun’s harmful rays and bug bites.

Dogs with a double coat include those with wiry and harsh coats, such as Terriers, Huskies, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Collies.

The primary reason that double coats are never to be shaved is because the undercoat grows back quicker than the topcoat, which can alter the coat for the rest of a dog’s life and strip him of his natural ability to protect himself.

So…Does Any of This Apply to Doodles?

For the most part: no!

The fact is that vets, breeders, and groomers alike know that most Doodles do not have double coats. Actually, most Doodles have a [perceived] single coat, which is basically a coat that combines the top coat with the undercoat with no real distinction between the two. Single-coated dogs are known for hardly shedding, which typically means you have to cut the hair eventually because it will never stop growing. You can thank the Poodle in your Doodle for that!

All this is to say that Doodle coats aren’t particularly insulating the way true double coats are, and unless you have a Doodle with high genetic makeup of a northern or harsh-coated breed, you can rest assured that your Doodle’s coat is going to be just fine after being shaved.

Groomers and vets will agree that keeping at least half-an-inch of coat will protect a Doodle’s skin from the sun, and will help him regulate his body temperature.

Questions To Ask Yourself

HOWEVER! Your lifestyle choices should determine whether your Doodle should get shaved for the summer.

The coat is indeed its own cooling system, but ONLY if air can flow freely through the coat to the skin. This means that a matted dog cannot regulate their heat. And we all know how prone to matting Doodles are.

In terms of lifestyle, you should ask yourself these three questions

  1. Does your dog swim?
  2. Do you brush and comb properly on the regular?
  3. Do you really brush and comb properly on the regular?

If your Doodle likes to go swimming regularly, throughout the summer or otherwise, then he should most definitely get a summer cut. This is because water contributes to matting and acts as a sponge, making hair mats tighter.

“We always go short, but partly because she loves to swim in the pool, and then she’s on the beach when we visit my parents – and she loves the sand and water.”

doodle summer cut
Chloe jumping into a pond…because she’s a Goldendoodle

If you can keep up with the coat care required, then a summer cut is not necessary. In other words, you can keep him long if the coat is brushed regularly and your dog has NO mats.

But is this a realistic scenario?

“The average owner doesn’t have the time to maintain a coat like this. It just isn’t reasonable for a family dog to require this much coat care. As a groomer, I can tell you that a dog in this coat would almost be a guaranteed shave-down in no time flat after one trip to the lake or a few dips in a chlorinated pool. Not too many modern families have time to get home from a family outing, get unpacked, get the children fed, bathed, and to bed, and then deal with the dog’s coat. In the perfect world? Yes. In the real world? Nope.”

“I keep my boy pretty short year round. He always seems hot, even in the winter… but the main reason we do is just easy maintenance. He’s handsome both ways so why not pick the haircut that’s easier to deal with.”

Basically, if you don’t regularly brush your Doodle, then he should most definitely get a summer cut.

Consider Your Doodle

Aside from these lifestyle questions, you should also consider whether your Doodle would simply prefer to have his hair cut shorter for the summer. 

Plenty of people in online forums agree that their Doodle just feels better when they’ve gotten a short summer cut.

summer cut

Moreover, based on survey data, Doodles tend to be largely intolerant to heat. We can see that in this graph showing feedback from hundreds of Doodle owners:

For me personally, I know I’ve noticed a huge difference in Chloe’s demeanor after shaving her down. She definitely becomes more playful and energetic and it’s almost as though she’s been liberated from her hair.

As such, giving your Dood the gift of a summer cut in hot weather could be just what he needs.

If you do end up getting your Doodle shaved really short for the summer, be sure to have him wear a t-shirt or sunblock for protection if you’re going to be outside for a long time.

Also, if you’re wondering what kinds of summer cut styles your Doodle can get, check out the following pages for tons of adorable pictures and inspiration!

I hope that dispels the myth that Doodles can’t get shaved and answers any other questions you had on the subject.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the summer cut? Let us know in the comments!

The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional groomer advice. Always seek the advice of your groomer, veterinarian, or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.

2 thoughts on “Is a Short Summer Cut Essential for Doodles?

  1. Our Goldendoodle (½ retriever ½ poodle) expresses more retriever in his coat, definitely a double coat, but it GROWS; so I do use the clippers all over him, keeping his feet, legs and face shorter than the rest of his body. I use a comb to pull out the undercoat. He does not tolerate the heat well at all, always sleeping on tile.

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