How to Groom a Cockapoo

If you own a cockapoo you may be starting to notice that your little furry friend requires some amount of grooming. All cockapoos require a comb out every week at a minimum. I like using a simple metal-toothed comb and while I’ve used every other fancy comb and brush in existence the metal toothed comb is the one for me (and you).

Your ‘poo will require bathing and ear cleaning and nail trimming and he may require a hair cut every 4-6 weeks. You can do all of this yourself at home or you can pay someone else to mess with all of that for you. Options, options!

Many people choose to have their ‘poo groomed by a professional groomer. The problem with this (apart from the staggering cost) is that most professional groomers don’t know how to groom a cockapoo coat. This results in many horrible cockapoo haircuts, weeks hiding in shame from the dog park and lots of frustrated owners and dollars lost.

You’ll see poor, ashamed ‘poos in poodle cuts, schnauzer cuts, and just plain weird cuts. And why do they always shave off those long lovely eyelashes? Who ever wants those long, luscious Maybelline-ready lashes to wind up in the garbage? But it will happen unless you ask the groomer to spare them!


Don’t Pay the Groomer, Be the Groomer!

Perhaps you’re tired of forking over hefty fees to have your ‘poo look like… well… poo. Save some cash and some face (some cute Cockapoo face) and learn to groom your dog yourself.

You know the old adage “if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself”? Well it’s so very true and applies here. Don’t want to pay the $50-90 for your ‘poo to get a haircut and bath?

NoteCockapoo ownership tends to lead to the acquisition of more than one cockapoo… trust me, it just does. And if you have more than one dog the savings from home-grooming are astronomical.

Maybe you don’t want to have to speak up and get a groomer to do the job the way you really like? Or maybe you just want to learn how to do the work yourself? I actually really enjoy grooming. I look forward to it. If you have a creative side you’ll find yourself absolutely loving the chance to work on your dogs. With the right tools and a well trained pup grooming doesn’t have to be a miserable chore at all. (And a well-trained pup is easier than you think, too.)

If you decide to give grooming a try you won’t be sorry so long as you keep a couple things in mind:

  • There is a learning curve! Give it some time. You’ll get better as you go but expect the first couple cuts to look unprofessional.
  • Your dog will be safer and happier at home with you, but is more likely to act naughty at home than with a stranger so expect to do some training.
  • You will have to pay money upfront on equipment. But you’ll be recouping that investment in the long run so don’t stress paying for the essentials.
  • Get a great cut once and the next cut becomes much easier as you will be able to follow your old lines
  • You’ll learn your individual dog and your individual tastes will develop as you go, so be patient.
  • Your first session might take you a long time but, as with all things, you will get much faster as you get better.
  • You will ALWAYS be harder on your own groom jobs than anyone else. Trust me on this. Remember to give yourself a break!

Bottom line? Give it time. Be patient. Do not decide you hate grooming after your first session. You need to groom your ‘poo at least 5-6 times before you can make any determination as to whether or not you feel that it is “worth it” to continue doing the work at home. So before you go making any purchases you should make a commitment to yourself to stick with at least 5-6 grooming sessions before giving up. 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 off your supplies 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!

What Shape, Length and Cut-Style is Correct?

All of them are “correct”. Unless you plan on showing your pooch the only “right” cut is the cut you personally love. So if you want your ‘poo clipped naked and dyed blue then that is “right” and if you want a super long Old English sheepdog shag cut then that is what is “right” for your dog. Easy, isn’t it? All that matters is what you personally prefer.

There are a few things to consider when thinking about how to clip your cockapoo. Each cockapoo is as unique as you know she is (really). Bones structure, coat texture and thickness, curl intensity and body size are all important factors to consider when making your decision on style. You have to think about what is practical for your lifestyle, local weather and so forth when making these decisions as well.

So how do you decide? The lovely part about this is that it will happen as you go. No need to study aesthetics, bone structure and coat texture just yet. While learning to cut each body part you’ll get a good feel for what looks great on who and what coats types need what equipment and so forth. Grooming is one of those great things you can totally jump right into and learn as you go.

For face shape I will note that most Americans seem to prefer a round or “teddy bear” face shape on their cockapoos. This lends a very youthful, puppy-like look to the face and does, indeed, make them look quite a bit like a teddy bear. I personally prefer this cut over all others for most cockapoos. It makes use of the American cockapoo’s shorter muzzle length and large eyes and finer bone structure.

English cockapoos are quite often in a long-bearded cut. This shape is much more like a very long and narrow oval in a vertical position. I’m not a huge fan of this cut and find it impractical as well as it tends to hold food and odors more easily than a neater, clipped and round beard. But you must admit that many a long-muzzled and blocky-headed English cockapoo looks like an adorable old-man in this face-shape cut. There definitely is charm to it.

Most cockapoo face-shapes will fall somewhere in between these two styles. It will depend on the thickness of the coat and the texture of the hair and the intensity of the curl on the individual dog as to how round a face can be made. Some silkier hair will fall more flat and super curly pups may be too textured to keep long enough for a rounded head and face. Again, you’ll learn your individual dog and preferences as you go.

Eventually you’ll wind up with the perfect cut for your tastes and your pooch.

How to Groom a Cockapoo in 10 Simple Steps

  1. Gather your equipment and your cockapoo
  2. Clean eyes and ears and bathe your ‘poo
  3. Dry your pup and clip nails
  4. Comb out your poof ball
  5. Cut and shape the coat on the body (chest, back, sides and tummy)
  6. Cut and shape the coat on the forelegs
  7. Cut and shape the coat on the hind legs
  8. Cut and shape the coat on the tail and potty parts to keep things hygienic
  9. Cut and shape the coat on the neck, head and face (with part 2 in the tutorial found here)
  10. Finish with a fluff and comb through and take an “after” photo (more important than you think) and clean up

That’s it. You’re done. Give your patient ‘poo a treat and put your feet up.

Wait a Minute

Oh, you need a little more direction and how-to than this list? Ok, I’m just kidding. I will write a post for each step with pictures and directions and I will post the link for each post above when completed. Bookmark this post and check back for links as I will be making a concerted effort to get all the posts up asap for you.

Check back soon  🙂

Before and After

And for your amusement we have some before and after grooming photos of some of my pups. Each dog has a cut that is designed around that dog’s individual coat type and bone structure and so forth. Take a gander at what my preferences are.


Here is my Bluebell before her very first ever groom. She was quite the shaggy girl! Here she is bathed, dried and all combed out.

Here is my Bluebell after her very first ever groom. She has a fine, soft coat and a delicate bone structure. I’m still learning about her coat and her face and body shape.

Keep in mind that as a new groom-trainee there are some imperfections in Bluebell’s cut. Notice them? Probably not unless you actually look for them. Like I said you’ll be your hardest critic! I also fuss less with new trainees so that their time on the table is shorter and more pleasant. Does she look perfect? No. Is she perfect? To me, she is! 🙂


Here is my Jake before his very first ever groom. His coat actually looks so fuzzy and a bit dried out so long! He has spent a lot of time out in the sun, too, which bleached out the ends of his coat, giving him a more dried out look, despite the hair looking and feeling moist up close. It was very interesting!

Here is my Jake after his first ever haircut. This was summertime so we went short to help him stay cool since he has a very dense, thick coat. His coat is not coarse, so lacks stiffness and structure as it is very soft and satiny. He has medium curl. He has a long, strong muzzle and a sturdy bone structure. His face is less “round” and more horizontally-oval at finish to compliment his bone structure and use his natural texture and curl as easily and most practically as possible.

Again, this was his first ever haircut so we didn’t spend as much time “finishing” the clip so as to keep the session as short as possible for him. As it was Jakey was falling asleep while standing up on the table! It was too cute!!


Here is my Penny before her second ever haircut. She has been bathed, dried and all combed out.

Here is my Penny after her second ever haircut. Penny has a lovely coat texture. She has some coarseness to her hair which gives her a ton of volume. She is still soft and not overly-dry as can be the case with coarse hair. She is white so I keep her legs cut shorter than I prefer (I like a longer cut like on Bluebell) but white hair loves to get dirty and miss Penny is no priss when it comes to romping in the woods and mud! She has a tight curl but not a dense coat which is a great combination. Her head shape and face structure is interesting and I’m still learning how to get the shape just right for her.

9 thoughts on “How to Groom a Cockapoo

  1. Wow…you did a great job with all of them. 🙂 We have a cockapoo, and are thinking of grooming him ourselves eventually, but as he’s a puppy with very high energy, I keep putting it off until “he grows up” a bit. Thanks for the inspiration. Lisa

  2. I am going to look for some videos on grooming. Would you ever be interested in making a couple to help us see the actual process??? I love your site.

  3. We have a seven month old sweet little cockapoo named Lucy, She actually looks just like your Jake. Beautiful apricot colour. She is so energetic, i’m not sure i could groom her myself, although i would love to try. I dont want her to look like a poodle because i love her fur a bit on the long side. She has never had a full groom, but i have trimmed around her eyes and she has been pretty good and still if shes sleepy. I find she gets knots under her ears which are very hard to trim. How do you trim those little knots? A video of you grooming would be awesome. Your pups look adorable.

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