We recently had a fun and informative conversation LIVE on instagram with Sherri Smeraglia and Danielle Smeraglia of Teddybear Goldenoodles located in Robertsdale, Alabama. They are also the wonderful owners of Fletch & Lo, purveyors of fine quality canine goods.
First let’s talk about the story of the Smeraglia family, and how Sherri Smeraglia introduced one of the world’s most popular dogs.
The Smeraglia Family
“The English Golden Retriever was my passion for many years. I spent most of the ’90s raising my two oldest children and my amazing English Golden Retrievers. They are one of the most beautiful canines in the world. They have incredible laid-back personalities, which make them excellent companions. The only problem, they shed buckets!
When my third child was born he developed allergies to dogs. Obviously, this presented a significant problem for our family. My son could not breathe around my English Goldens. I had known many, many people over the years that desperately wanted an English Golden but had the same problem–dog allergies.
Around this time I was introduced to the American Goldendoodle, a less allergenic American Golden Retriever and Poodle breed; but my passion for years was the English Golden Retriever, I actually bred and showed them. English Golden Retrievers look different from American Goldens. They have a large blocky head, soft plush face, broader shoulders and a softer coat. Surprisingly, no one had ever bred an English Golden with a Poodle.
I may have never entertained the idea before my son was born, but once we found out about his allergies, we knew we had to find a solution for our problem. I began contemplating breeding my amazing English Golden Retrievers with the Clownish Intelligent Poodle to create the English Goldendoodle.
It was a scary time, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this new breed. What’s more, I had lots of friends in the breeding world that were strict pure breed advocates. Would they turn their backs on me, once I’d “crossed over?” In the end, after much discussion with my husband and friends and lots of prayer, we decided to go in the direction our heart was leading, and I bred the world’s First English Goldendoodles.
We are dedicated to the research, development, and training of our pooches. We are 100% committed to producing healthy, sound, well-tempered, and well-trained puppies that will become beloved, Service, Therapy & Companion Dogs, and family members for years to come.
Since this became my full-time profession, it’s been a lot of work– but it is truly a labor of love for me. I love taking care of these precious little ones. I know that it’s important for you to be able to see where your puppy was raised, so we’ve included lots of pictures and videos for you to learn more about us.”
Fletch & Lo
The Smeraglia family also owns the luxury pet shop Fletch & Lo in Robertsdale, Alabama. They believe their products help create moments of joy with your furry companion. They wanted to leverage their 35 years of success as a world renown breeder and share their expertise with the larger pet community by offering the finest canine goods on the market. The Smeraglia family have built a reputation of quality, authenticity, innovation and trust in everything they do. At their core, they breed a bond of love between pets and their owners. Fletch & Lo, serves as an opportunity to maintain and extend that relationship.
'Fletch & Lo,’ short for Fletcher & Lola, derives its name from two important pups to the Smeraglia family. ‘Fletcher’ was the first ever English Teddy Bear Goldendoodle, and ‘Lola’ was one of the first ‘Schnoodles’ - an adorable breed of schnauzer and poodle. The brand identity system pays homage to Fletcher & Lola as well as the Smeraglia’s distinguished pedigree of English Goldendoodles, Schnoodles and Twoodles.
Their beautiful store has been carrying our line of PRIDE+GROOM products since we launched, and they bathe all of their wonderful puppies and families of dogs with PRIDE+GROOM, keeping them looking and feeling their absolute best from the time they are born to the time they go home with their new families, and even beyond that, as they provide and recommend our products to prospective doodle owners as well!
During our instagram live together, we got into some great conversations on “all things doodle”. If you have a poodle mix of any kind, you’re going to want to read this:
Are All Doodle Coats The Same?
All doodles are not the same! There are currently over 40 different types of Poodle mixes—or doodles, as they're lovingly called. These dogs are born from Poodles with other purebreds like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, or Cocker Spaniels. Even within the same litter, Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Bernedoodles (and all other Doodles) can have various coat types.
All of the PRIDE+GROOM products have at least 6 essential oils in them. They are meant to moisturize the skin and the coat naturally. THE NON SHEDDER has marshmallow root, which creates a “sleek effect” and helps with tangles on those curly coats. This product allows a brush to easily get through the coat. THE NON SHEDDER is meant for dogs who have hair.
Typically, hair is longer, thicker and smoother than fur. It grows less densely. Hair can be curly, wavy, or straight. The curly hair is the type that usually ends up trapping dander that can trigger an allergy. The dog breeds that have hair feature only one single layer. According to the American Kennel Club, thirty-six dog breeds have hair instead of fur.
THE SHEDDER is great for dogs who have fur, who sheds a little bit, or who has an undercoat. Fur is usually much shorter than hair and a lot denser. Its growth cycle is much faster, and it sheds significantly more than hair. That contributes to larger concentrations of dander. The dog breeds that have fur feature two layers – an undercoat and a topcoat.
THE SENSITIVE ONE is our most sensitive formula, meant for puppies and dogs with sensitive skin. This special soothing formula was created just for friends with sensitive skin. It works to regulate hair follicles and improve the coat's sheen.
Doodles have 4 main coat types: flat, straight, wavy, or curly. Some doodles may in fact benefit from using THE SHEDDER shampoo instead of THE NON SHEDDER, as they could shed or even have double coats. Many assume that a doodle will not shed at all! But that's the beauty of PRIDE+GROOM, we cover all coat types!
How Early Should You Start Grooming Maintenance on a Doodle?
Immediately! The earlier the better. Getting a dog used to bathing and/or grooming, and being handled, is also helping with their training when they are young. Every experience in the life of a puppy is setting them up for success. The earlier you start a bathing and grooming routine, the less anxiety and resistance that dog will have when they get older.
Doodles need to be brushed and bathed very often, and it’s so important to get them used to that as early on as possible. They are usually much more relaxed when they are young, and you can make grooming and bathing a calming experience that they will remember.
Around the 16 week mark, professional dog groomers will usually recommend starting a new puppy client out with two or three “puppy visits”. This is when they are “mini groomed”, or groomed in just the essential areas.
Brushing and Goldendoodle Grooming
One great thing about Doodles is that they typically don’t shed (much). However, their continually growing coats need lots of brushing and regular haircuts to avoid severe matting that can hurt your dog.
Goldendoodle puppy and other doodle puppy hair is pretty forgiving for the first few months of their life. You could technically get away with not brushing your puppy for a little while. However, your adult Doodle will need daily brushing. The best thing you can do is introduce your puppy to daily brushing as soon as you bring them home.
So many dog owners just take a brush and go over the top of the doodle’s coat. That is the wrong way. Doodles have an undercoat believe it or not, and it needs to be combed out. A slicker brush and comb are vital. Depending on your dog's coat, a full body brush out can take 10 to 30 minutes.
The number one piece of advice from groomers is to BRUSH BRUSH BRUSH! Brushing will help avoid pain to the dog later on, as well as unnecessary shaving. Good brushes, as well as good brushing techniques, are important.
PRO TIP: Do not stop brushing if your puppy tries to bite you or the brush! If you do, your puppy learns that biting makes things they don’t like stop. That’s NOT a lesson you want your puppy to learn! So keep brushing, even as they nom away on the brush. Eventually, your puppy will learn that biting is pointless.
"Even when a dog has a hair-type coat that can be cut and shaved without permanent damage, shaving does not keep them cooler, it can actually cause sunburn in the summer, overheating, and injury. A dog's coat is natural to them. And it's a vital (and cuddly!) part of the pets we love."
What Are The Products Every Doodle Owner Should Have?
There are several grooming and maintenance essentials that we suggest having on hand when you have a doodle, no matter what age! From regular brushing, to caring for their ears, the best doodle breeders and owners know what it takes to take the best care of your doodles at home and during goldendoodle grooming.
The right shampoo for your doodle's coat. All dogs' coats are not the same.
A conditioner for all coats: THE FINAL COAT - A great product for removing mats and keeping the dog's hair sleek and shiny.
The right brush and comb: THE ONLY BRUSH (and a good comb/slicker)
Grooming scissors and dog clippers
THE BATH BRUSH - when we massage a dog's skin, the natural oils are then released. It protects the coat, releases the undercoat, and makes their skin look and feel much healthier. Soft flexible silicone bristles provide your pet an effective and gentle massage they will love, while loose hair is collected and easily removed.
THE SWIPE - perfect for keeping a doodle’s ears clean, as dog's ears tend to get ear infections when they are more floppy. Ear infections can be caused by moisture, allergies, bacteria, hormonal imbalances, yeast, inner-ear hair growth, ear mites, shape of the ears, swimming, and injury or foreign bodies. Moreover, hair growth inside the ear canal can block the airflow even further.
THE BALM - ruff spots be gone! Use THE BALM on paws, noses, and any other spots that could use some TLC and moisture.
THE LEAVE IN - keep your doodle free of mats and tangles using this along with the right brush and comb.
THE MANE TAME - a straight, wavy or curly coat gets dirty from many different activities. It may not always be convenient to do a regular grooming with a professional groomer. Having the right grooming tools, like THE MANE TAME, which is a waterless, foaming dog shampoo, helps to keep your doodle clean.
THE TOWEL - always towel dry your dog after a bath or use a blow dryer (on cool). Never brush your doodle's hair when it's wet.
Optional: A grooming table
Haircuts for Doodles
Short coat – this is the easiest option. Doodles generally need to be professionally groomed about every 4 – 8 weeks, depending on the length. A short coat also means that the coat is short enough that you might not have to do any daily brushing at home. Depending on the length and the type of hair your pup has, you may be able to brush every few days or once a week. Pay special attention to the areas behind the ears, around the groin, under the chin, and behind the elbow. Make sure those areas are brushed regularly!
Medium coat – this is more work but still an easier option than a longer coat. Some groomers will hand cut doodles to give them a medium-length coat. Doodles with medium coats need more frequent brushing at home but maybe not daily – it will depend on the type of coat, how often your pup mats, the types of activities your pups do (swimming will require more combing and brushing).
Long coat – this is the most labor-intensive option. Most people do this as a way of saving money. If taken care of improperly, you could end up paying for more haircutting anyway, as the hair will be matted. The coat needs intensive daily grooming. Always choose the cut that is most comfortable for the dog, and your lifestyle/home grooming abilities.
Note: Even if your Doodle doesn’t require daily brushing at home, initially you should brush your pup at a minimum every couple of days to get them accustomed to being handled.
Are Doodles Hypoallergenic?
Our team touched on that topic recently in a previous blog. Find out the answer in our blog Are Dogs Really Hypoallergenic?
Doodles are now one of America’s favorite family canines. Their affectionate personalities, high intelligence and all around charm are just a few of the qualities we all love about these mixed breeds. But what isn’t talked about enough is how much time and effort is required to keep their gorgeous coats from tangling and matting.
Keeping your furry friends brushed and properly maintained is a lot harder than just running a quick brush over them. Anyone with wavy, curly, or kinky hair knows how hard it is to keep that mess from tangling! In the end, if your dood's mats get out of control and your groomer tells you it is in the best interest of the dog to be shaved and have a fresh start, it would be much better to do that than to force your pup to sit and have hair ripped out and pulled. Rather than have them go through a painful grooming experience where they will likely be traumatized, maintain and prevent mats from happening. Doodles are amazing dogs, but the longer styled hair does require a lot of time and upkeep so you need to be honest with yourself if that look is worth your time and effort.
Keeping your doodle regularly groomed and maintained will be a happy experience for all.