MEAL times with Francesca could be a lively affair when she was younger: ‘Eugh! A hair,’ she’d exclaim. ‘I’m not eating that!’
Somehow, it was always her who found the hair.
It’s hard to avoid when you’ve got animals. One of the common questions people ask me is how do I stop my dog moulting, and my stock answer is that if I knew that, I’d be a millionaire!
It’s one of the reasons, of course, that dogs crossed with poodles have become so popular, with their fanciful names such as Labradoodle and Cockerpoo, and although they are not officially recognised by the Kennel Club, they can command prices as high as many pure-bred dogs.
Depending on the genetic composition of the poodle cross, it may shed little or no hair, which not only saves on the housework, but can also be a massive benefit for people who are allergic to pet dander, the tiny flakes of skin that are shed when a dog moults.
But don’t be misled into thinking this means less grooming: because the hair continues to grow, and any hairs that are shed tend to become matted with the rest.
These dogs’ coats require regular attention to keep them in peak condition.
Labradoodles, in particular, are said to have an excellent temperament and to be easy to train, but, of course, it does depend on the lines from which they’ve come.
As always, when thinking of buying a puppy, you must see it with its mother, both to get an idea of its temperament and to make sure it has not come for a puppy farm.
If you’re not sure about which type of dog is best for you, don’t forget you can always ask for advice at your local vets.
I’m pleased to say that Francesca’s learned to handle her phobia of hairs now, but don’t ask me about the spiders!