Do Labradoodles need a winter coat when it gets cold outside? Or will their fur be enough to keep them warm? There are a lot of factors that can influence your Doodle’s ability to stay warm in cold weather. This includes their fur type, their age, health, and more. And, there are some important pros and cons to winter coats for dogs that owners should be aware of before buying one.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the different types of Labradoodle fur, and whether each one needs a winter coat. Plus, we will take a closer look at what else might impact your decision to get a Labradoodle winter coat, and which type is best. Let’s get started!
Do Labradoodles Need a Winter Coat?
The Labradoodle dog breed hails from two traditional working dogs – the purebred Labrador Retriever and the purebred Standard Poodle. Both of these parent breeds originated as retrieving dogs, often working in water and cold weather conditions alongside their humans. So, both have coat types designed to keep them warm in these situations. But, despite the similarity of their working conditions, the Labradoodle and Poodle coat types couldn’t be more different! Meaning there’s a lot of potential variation when it comes to coat type for a Labradoodle.
As well as the type of Labradoodle coat your dog has, their age, overall health, and surrounding environment can impact whether or not they need a winter coat. Some Labradoodles will benefit from an extra layer in the winter months, to protect them from the cold and the weather. That added layer can also shield their coats from mud and snow. But, coats can be unnecessary for healthy Labradoodles. And, in some cases, they can cause more problems, by getting caught on things, or leading to more knots in fur!
Let’s take a closer look at the factors that can impact your decision to get your Labradoodle a winter coat.
Labradoodle Coat Types
There are three main coat types that a Labradoodle can inherit. They are:
- Hair coat – Most like the Labrador parent. Double layered, straight fur, high to moderate shedding.
- Fleece coat – Feels like angora wool. Wavy fur, usually single layer, moderate to low shedding.
- Wool coat – Most like the Poodle parent. Single layered, tightly curled or corded fur, low shedding.
In later generations, most breeders favor Poodle-like coats, or the ever popular fleece coat. But, hair coats are also common in first generation Labradoodles. Your Labradoodle will use their coat to keep themselves warm, no matter which fur type they have. But, owners are more likely to shave or cut their Labradoodle’s hair when they have fleece or wool coat types.
Bear in mind that a shaved Labradoodle may have more trouble keeping themselves warm than one with a longer coat. It might make your life easier when it comes to Labradoodle grooming sessions, but that shorter fur can lead to a cold Doodle. So, if you tend to keep your Labradoodle’s fur quite short, you may want to consider a winter coat for your Labradoodle.
How Old is Your Labradoodle?
Another factor that can impact your Labradoodle’s need for a winter coat is their age. In adulthood, Labradoodles will be capable of keeping themselves warm. But, as very young puppies, this won’t be possible. Labradoodle puppies have a different coat type to all adult Labradoodles. And, in the first few weeks of their lives, they won’t be able to maintain their body heat without help.
Puppies who are only one or two weeks old will rely on the body heat of their mom and siblings to keep them warm. But, when they are this young, they won’t be leaving the house anyway! When they go home with their new owners, they will be around 8 weeks old. So, although they will still have a single-layered puppy coat, and may benefit from a coat in very cold months, they will be capable of maintaining their own body temperature.
At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes senior Labradoodles and dogs can benefit from a winter coat. As your dog gets older, they may feel the cold a little more when out in the winter months. Cold weather can be problematic for dogs suffering with joint issues like arthritis. So, if this sounds like your elderly Labradoodle, a winter coat can be a great investment.
How Cold is it?
Another factor that can impact whether or not your Labradoodle needs a coat is the temperature and climate that you live in. For instance, the winter months in Australia are still going to be a lot warmer than the winters in Canada!
And, it’s not just the temperature that a winter coat can protect your dog from. On top of this, they can help to shield your dog from wind, snow, rain, and even mud on your walks. Labradoodles will still need exercise in winter months, so weigh up all of these factors. If you live in quite a mild climate, and only exercise your dog in quite sheltered areas, a winter coat probably won’t be necessary. But, living in a colder climate and exercising your Doodle in muddy, wet areas can mean a winter coat would be a good investment.
Your Labradoodle’s Health
And finally, your Labradoodle’s general health can impact whether or not a winter coat might help them. Labradoodles with serious health problems can benefit from a Doodle snow suit or winter coat.
This is something you may wish to decide with the help of your veterinarian. They will likely know the type of conditions that a winter coat and extra warmth can help. But, as an example, dogs with painful joint conditions like hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis may benefit from the protection from the cold that a winter coat can offer.
How to Exercise a Labradoodle in Winter
Labradoodles are energetic dogs that come from working breeds. On top of this, they are very intelligent and hard-working, so they need to receive enough mental and physical stimulation every day. This includes in the colder winter months. If possible, it’s a great idea to exercise your Labradoodle somewhere a little milder, or somewhere where the weather and amount of mud is less extreme. But, this isn’t possible in all parts of the world.
If you don’t live near somewhere like this, a winter coat can be a great tool for keeping your Labradoodle comfortable. Not only does it provide an extra layer of warmth, but it also protects them from wind, rain, snow, and even mud on the ground. You might also choose to invest in some Labradoodle shoes or dog winter shoes, to protect your Doodle’s paw pads from the cold ground.
Benefits of a Labradoodle Winter Coat
There are a number of different dog coats you can choose from. Each of these comes with its own pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which is right for your Labradoodle. Other than that, there are a few general pros and cons that will help you decide whether you need to use one at all.
Firstly, and perhaps the most obvious, is that coats will add a layer of warmth for your Labradoodle. If you have an older Doodle, or one with a health problem that gets worse in the cold, this can be a great solution. On top of this, coats can protect your dog from the weather and from any mud or snow on the ground. Not only does this keep them warm, but it also prevents their coat from getting too dirty and knotted.
Winter coats can also be a great way to identify and keep track of your dog when out and about. Plus – they look pretty cute!
Drawbacks of a Labradoodle Winter Coat
Of course, not all dogs will enjoy wearing a coat. So, it might take a few days of slow introductions paired with positive rewards whilst you let your dog adjust to this new piece of clothing. And, it might take a while to find a coat that you’re happy with. Plenty of them look very nice, but not all of them will allow for the same amount of unrestricted movement. So, you may need to test a few out before you find one that you, and your Doodle, are happy with.
On top of this, coats can get caught on things. So, it’s important you consider this safety risk before letting your Labradoodle out with a winter coat on. If you walk in places where the coat could easily get snagged – such as through dense forests – a coat may not be the best choice. If your Labradoodle gets caught or stuck on something due to their coat, you must make sure you will be able to get to them so you can un-hook them! Coats with minimal decorative elements are often best for avoiding this. Unnecessary zips and bits of material are less likely to be practical when out on hikes.
This risk can also increase if you choose the wrong size of coat. It’s important that your Labradoodle’s winter coat fits them properly. If it is too tight, it will be uncomfortable for your dog and will restrict their movement. If it is too big, it is unlikely to keep them as warm as you hoped, and can get caught on things more easily. Some owners may also find that coats cause friction that increases the amount of knots in their dog’s fur.
Do Labradoodles Need a Winter Coat? A Summary
Most Labradoodles will be fine without a winter coat. But, if you live somewhere extremely cold, have an older Doodle, or have one with health problems, a winter coat might be right for you and your dog.
Have you found the best Labradoodle winter coat brand out there? Does your Doodle love getting into their coat for winter walks? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
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References and Resources
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- Cadieu, E. (et al), ‘Coat Variation in the Domestic Dog is Governed by Variants in Three Genes’, Science (2009)
- Ali, M. (et al), ‘Genetic Analysis of the Modern Australian Labradoodle Dog Breed Reveals an Excess of the Poodle Genome’, Plos Genetics (2020)
- Hercock, C. (et al), ‘Validation of a Client-Based Clinical Metrology Instrument for the Evaluation of Canine Elbow Osteoarthritis’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2009)