Oh. My. Goldendoodle! I just spent three hours grooming my Doodle dog! I’m not sure who’s hairier me, the floor, or my dog! So, right at this very minute if you ask me, “Are Goldendoodles high maintenance?”, I’d answer, “H*ck yes!”
And…I love it.”
I love my Goldendoodle’s unruly Einstein hair.
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Love having a bathroom buddy—because my Goldendoodle follows me everywhere. I love her won’t-say-no stare when she drops her fetch ball at my feet.
However, as crazy as I am about Goldendoodles and the quirky things they do, I want to spill all the tea in answer to the question, “Are Goldendoodles high maintenance.” Because you need the facts about why Doodle dogs may fall in the “higher-ish maintenance” category of dogdom.
My hunch is that, if you’re curious about whether Goldendoodles are high maintenance, you’re probably curious about what it’s like to be a Goldendoodle parent. Or, you may be wondering what to expect as a the parent of a new Goldendoodle puppy. Or, you may be considering adding a Goldendoodle to your family pack.
The list below is what I’ve learned from my own experiences as a Goldendoodle mom, researched on Goldendoodles, and gleaned from other Goldendoodle parents.
By end of this article, you’ll have a better picture of what life with a Goldendoodle filling your home (and heart) is like. And you can decide whether a Goldendoodle is just the right fit for you.
So let’s get started…
Are Goldendoodles high maintenance?
Yes, Goldendoodle dogs (a hybrid between the Poodle and the Golden Retriever) are a high maintenance breed that require professional grooming every six to eight weeks to prevent their coats from matting. As an alternative to professional grooming, some parents choose at-home, do-it-yourself grooming.
In fact, many parents even invest in grooming equipment including quality dog brushes, dog grooming tables, and clippers to keep mats at bay and keep the coat healthy. (My personal favorite brush is the Chris Christensen Big G coral slicker brush, which is pictured above)
While the Goldendoodle’s coat is probably the first thing most Goldendoodle parents will mention when they think about “high maintenance,” Goldendoodles also require high levels of social interaction, a fair amount of physical exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation.
Let’s look at each of these topics in more detail so you can make an informed decision on where you think Goldendoodles fall on the maintenance scale.
BTW…when I use the term “high maintenance,” I do not mean “fussy,” “prissy,” or “proper.” As you can see in the picture below, Goldendoodles are not that.
💈Grooming a Goldendoodle: A high maintenance task? 💈
I mentioned above that Goldendoodles are a hybrid cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. This is an important point because it’s what makes the Goldendoodle coat such a conundrum to care for.
Since the Poodle has a coat that is low shedding and curly and a Golden Retriever has a coat that is high shedding and flat, Goldendoodles can have a variety of coat types. Some coats are more “Retriever-ish,” some coats are more “Poodle-ish,” and some coats fall somewhere in between.
And here’s where the rub comes in: The Poodle’s low shedding trait does not equate to a low maintenance coat. In fact, just the opposite. Because Goldendoodles tend to not shed as much as other dogs due to the Poodle side of the family, their coats need frequent brushing to rid it of loose hairs and keep it mat-free.
The way I think of it, dog hair has to go somewhere—either onto the floor (for a high shedding dog) or into a brush (for a low shedding dog). So, if a low shedding dog isn’t brushed frequently, then the loose hairs tangle and turn into mats (a messy tangle of hair).
And mats can pop up so quickly. So please be kind to yourself—give yourself some grace. And if you need help, check out my hack using cornstarch for matted dog hair .
So what does coat upkeep look like when caring for your Goldendoodle dog? Here’s what you can expect and why “maintenance free” isn’t a label I’d give to a Doodle dog’s coat:
Professional grooming expenses
To care for an adult Goldendoodle’s coat properly, plan on setting aside around $100 to $150 every six to eight weeks to cover professional grooming expenses. (The cost varies based on where you live, of course.)
A professional groomer will bathe, blow dry, and clip your dog’s coat to keep it clean and mat-free. Plus, many groomers will trim your dog’s toenails, too.
As an alternative, if you have time to devote to grooming, you can also maintain a Goldendoodle’s coat yourself.
DIY Goldendoodle grooming
Maintaining a Goldendoodle’s coat yourself requires both an investment of time and money.
The financial investment is for purchasing some dog grooming equipment.
Just as importantly, your time investment will likely be significant. If you’re completely grooming your dog yourself, you can plan to enjoy several hours with your dog.
Typically, you’ll want to brush your dog until mat-free, bathe your Goldendoodle, blow dry the coat, brush again, trim the hair, and trim the toenails! But the reward of bonding with your dog is so worth it. (And your dog may pay you with lots of love and licks throughout the process. ❤️)
No matter whether you choose to groom your Goldendoodle yourself or go to a dog grooming professional, you will still need to care for your Goldendoodle’s coat daily by brushing and combing. This means setting aside about 15 minutes a day to comb and brush.
Also, it’s important to pay close attention to problem areas—under the ears, under the armpits, and high friction areas where rubbing can cause matting.
Before we move on, let’s talk Muppet paws! They’re adorable and part of what makes a Goldendoodle cute.
But those fluffy, bouncy paws are a magnet for attracting and collecting mud, debris, and dirt. If you live in a climate that’s rainy, snowy or wet, check out my 15 hacks for muddy dog paws and managing paw prints on your floors, too.
Now that you have a picture of caring for a Goldendoodle’s coat, I hope you don’t feel overwhelmed!
Brushing, grooming, and caring for a Goldendoodle’s coat is a great way to bond with your furry family member. Yes, it takes time. It’s intense maintenance.
But that time and dedication is well spent with the cutest, fluffiest, friendliest bestie you can imagine.
As an aside, many Goldendoodle parents (me included) say that DIY dog grooming is not only fun, but it’s kind of therapeutic, too.
Helpful hints and hacks for caring for a high maintenance Goldendoodle coat
If you’re apprehensive about caring for a high-ish maintenance Goldendoodle coat, here are some tips:
- Plan to spend about 15 minutes daily brushing your Goldendoodle’s coat to keep it mat free and clean
- Set aside one day a month to groom your Goldendoodle (if you choose DIY grooming). Break the tasks up into short sessions throughout the day. Or break the grooming up into two or three mini sessions over a weekend.
- If you groom at home, plan for expenses to cover grooming supplies including a dog grooming table, grooming scissors, and buying the best brush for Goldendoodle grooming that you can afford. (The grooming table pictured above is the one I have used for years. It’s the large Flying Pig Heavy Duty Grooming Table that measures 44X24, and is great for our medium Goldendoodle.)
- If you choose a professional groomer, block off time on your calendar to take your pupper to the groomer. Also, make appointments well in advance. Groomers book so quickly, and getting a last-minute appointment is tough.
- Start setting aside a little money every month to cover grooming expenses.
- Goldendoodle puppies will need to start getting acclimated to having paws and feet touched so that the grooming experience is positive, positive, positive. Help your puppy become acclimated to the sights, sounds, and smells of the grooming location by simply going for a visit first (no groom).
- If you have a Goldendoodle puppy, your puppy’s coat is easy to maintain at first. But don’t be fooled. The Goldendoodle puppy coat transition is a real thing. Be watchful.
- For more ideas, please check out my seven secrets to happy at-home Goldendoodle grooming.
Why “Social + Smart” can mean higher maintenance
Now that we’ve covered grooming, let’s discover a little about why Goldendoodles are “high-maintenance-in-a-good-way” when it comes to their social intelligence.
First, Goldendoodles tend to be social dogs. They tend to be eager to please their family members and they want to be with you.
You are their pack. They love you. They love you so much they want to follow you to the bathroom.
Why do Goldendoodles tend to be social and so happy to make you happy? When you look at the characteristics of the parent breeds—the Poodle and the Golden Retriever—you can see where Goldendoodles may get their good nature.
According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers are “affectionate” and “friendly.” The AKC also describes the Poodle as “known for superior intelligence and exceptional learning.”
Goldendoodles may inherit these positive traits, and thrive on your companionship. They want to learn to fit in with your family.
On the flip side, if a Goldendoodle doesn’t get enough social interaction or mental stimulation, he or she may become bored and come up with their own ways to alleviate boredom—chewing on socks or digging in the yard, for example.
Of course, their own methods of entertainment are what come naturally to them as dogs!
As a Goldendoodle parent, you can keep your Goldendoodle happy by providing plenty of mental enrichment such as:
- Going on a sniffari
- Enjoying together time activities like games you can play with your dog
- Upping your dog’s mental game by teaching dog trick training or even just signing up for basic behavior training
All in all, Goldendoodles need your love, affection, time, attention, and positive parenting skills. Here are some helpful hits to harness your dog’s social smarts:
Helpful hints for social enrichment
- Plan to take your Goldendoodle along with you on adventures and outings. (We love going on pet-friendly getaways and to places like Dauphin Island, a dog-friendly beach in Alabama.)
- If you have to be away for long periods of time, look into doggy daycare or puppy sitters, so your Goldendoodle gets the interaction he or she enjoys so much.
- Teach your Goldendoodle basic commands. This will help him or her be comfortable (and a good citizen, too) in new situations such as going to pet-friendly restaurants and hotels. (Remember, Goldendoodles are typically smart and easy to train!)
Physical enrichment and activity 🎾
Next, let’s discover the importance of physical enrichment when it comes to maintaining a Goldendoodle’s good health and outlook on life.
For Goldendoodles, physical activity is an essential part of each day. Like all dogs, Goldendoodles are wired to move, walk, and play. Most of the time, Goldendoodles need plenty of exercise to burn off excess Goldendoodle energy levels.
A lack of adequate physical activity can result in destructive behaviors, which may be perceived by some people as a high maintenance dog.
However, with a daily walk or two, some games of fetch, or a even a playdate with another Goldendoodle, many Doodle dogs are physically satisfied and ready to happily snuggle by your feet.
Here’s one more important note that I’ve learned about physical enrichment and a Goldendoodle’s activity level.
As a puppy, your Goldendoodle may have two speeds—Energizer Bunny and zonked out. And, at least from my experience, Energizer Bunny was banking-off-the-wall-and-using-the-couch-as-a-launching-ramp kind of energy.
If you’re the proud parent of a Goldendoodle puppy with insurmountable energy, fear not. It gets easier! As your Goldendoodle matures, becomes an adult, and eventually a senior Goldendoodle, that new puppy energy subsides.
Brushing + Care + You = Endless ❤️ from your Goldendoodle
While some aspects of caring for a Goldendoodle may feel high maintenance, you’ll reap the rewards of a Goldendoodle who is happy, well-cared for, and eager to please you. And he or she will be hopelessly devoted to you and your pack.
I hope you have a clearer picture of what you can expect when you bring a Goldendoodle into your home (and heart) and whether a Goldendoodle is just the right fit for your life situation.
Yes, there will probably be days when you have to clean mud from puppy paws or the hair will be flying as you trim your Goldendoodle’s fluffy face.
But if that’s high maintenance, my Goldendoodle says “H*ck yes!” And I say “Bring it on!”
What do you say?
Do you think Goldendoodles are high maintenance?
Please comment below. We’d love to hear your perspective!
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
Oliver came into our lives like a whirlwind, and right away captured our hearts. Our 9 yr. old grandson, (on the autism spectrum), fell instantly in love and calls every day to FaceTime with him. Oliver is worth every bit of the time and expense it takes to care for him. With every lick, nuzzle and request to play, we all fall deeper and deeper into the magic that is Oliver. And he is only 5 months old!
Dave and ,liz
Monday 16th of January 2023
We are now the proud owners of "Jake from state farm." Yep that's his name. Your article is right on. We would never think of giving up. He loves us unconditionally. He is very smart. But at times he loves to be the boss. He knows sit, shake paws, down, play dead and dance on his hind legs. He taught me that one, thank you for the article. 😀
Monday 16th of January 2023
Congrats on welcoming "Jake from state farm" into your pack! Jake sounds like a good neighbor 😉 and a super smart family member! Doodles really are the best dogs.❤️ We're happy you enjoyed the article! Doodle hugs & wags!
Thursday 8th of September 2022
We just got a Goldendoodle puppy. Been reading tons of info regarding everything that will be involved. Thanks for this article I just read about “High Maintenance”. Lol. Our family is super excited about Mamba our dog
Thursday 8th of September 2022
Congrats on the new addition to your pack! Hope you and your family enjoy every Golden moment with Mamba!