Dog Grooming for Different Coats

Short-coated dogs may need less attention than other types and usually require no professional care at all. The downside to owning a short-coated dog is that they molt all the time, sometimes more than others. Dedicated owners of the short-coated breeds, especially breeds with white coats like Bull Terriers, will tell you that there is no color or type of clothing that you can wear that does not get covered in dog hairs.
Daily grooming helps. A brush with stiff but not harsh bristles is all that is required, and it takes about ten minutes. Be careful to avoid the eyes, but otherwise brush the entire body.


Rough-coated dogs may need more attention. Some rough coats do not molt in the way that short coats do, but they "cast", which is a more substantial molt, every six months or so. When they cast, hair is lost in mats, especially if the dog has not been regularly groomed throughout the rest of the year.


Regular, daily brushing and combing will prevent the coat matting. Again, a stiff brush is the main piece of equipment, but a comb is also useful. It is essential to brush or comb right through the thickness of the coat. Just skimming over the top is of very little use.


Some rough-coated breeds need occasional attention from a professional groomer, particularly if you are intending to try your hand in the show-ring. All those artfully disheveled creatures you see at major shows are the result of hours of attention by their dedicated owners.


The silky coated breeds - such as Cocker Spaniels and Irish Setters - need exactly the same attention as rough-coated dogs. Some tend to grow rather heavy coats and need to be trimmed regularly.


The breeds that demand really skilled attention are, of course, the long-coated ones - Poodles of all sizes, Old English Sheepdogs, the trimmed terriers.


Question one, therefore, is, "do you want the expense and the trouble of professional grooming for your dog every four weeks?" This is the question that many prospective dog owners fail to ask themselves. Sadly, the typical result is the Old English Sheepdog that has its coat trimmed to the skin to keep it socially acceptable. A beautifully groomed dog is seen on television advertisements and the family all cry, "That is the dog we want." But none of them has the time or the inclination to spend a long time every day, brushing and combing and cleaning up their new dog; and still less when the novelty has worn off.


So if you must have a dog that needs a lot of daily work, be sure you are going to be happy to spend the time on it. Before you make up your mind, go and see the breeder to find out just what is involved.


Expert owners and breeders will usually trim their own dogs, but if you are getting one of the trimmed breeds as a family pet, it is sensible to contact your local grooming parlor with your puppy as soon as it is allowed out. The groomer will give you advice on daily care of the puppy's coat, and discuss with you when to start trimming, and what you can best do to keep the dog's coat in good shape between professional visits.

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