It’s time to become your dogs own personal beautician with this useful guide on keeping your dog’s coat in tip top condition.
Certain hair types will need more attention than others. Long haired breeds will need brushing every day, whereas smooth haired breeds will only need brushing every other week, but will need stripping every three to four months. Make sure that you have the right tools for your dog’s coat to make the experience less painful and stressful.
A Borzoi with a clean and well groomed long coat
- How To Groom A Dog With A Short, Smooth Coat
- How To Groom A Dog With A Medium Length Coat
- How To Groom A Dog With Long Hair
- How To Groom A Dog With A Double Coat
- How To Groom A Dog With A Silky Coat
- How To Groom A Dog With A Corded Coat
- How To Groom A Dog With A Curly Coat
- How To Groom A Wirehaired Dog
- How To Groom a Hairless Dog
- How To Groom A Dog With Matted Hair
It is really important that you get your dog used to being brushed from an early age, and that you make grooming an enjoyable experience by offering treats and lots of praise. It is better for both yourself and your dog to spend a short amount of time grooming each day so that you don’t make the experience a negative one by having to deal with tangles and mats.
It's a good idea to stick to a routine when grooming your dog. Make sure you are consistent in how you brush your dog so there are no surprises that may cause stress. It can be a good idea to groom your dog after exercise as they will be a little more tired and hopefully more relaxed.
A Yorkshire Terrier puppy being groomed with a brush
How To Groom A Dog With A Short, Smooth Coat
Dog’s with a short coat are really easy to groom and look fantastic. When you see the muscular physique of a Greyhound or Vizla through their short coats you really get a sense of how powerful and athletic these dogs are.
A Greyhound with a beautiful short smooth coat
You should be able to maintain your dog's coat with one brushing session a week. All that needs doing is to brush the coat in the opposite direction the hair grows to remove any excess hair from underneath. Then brush in the direction the coat lies to remove any loose hair on the surface. This routine will also massage your dog and stimulate their skin helping them maintain a healthy, shiny coat. You can use either a bristle brush or a grooming mitt for this job.
A Vizsla with a beautiful red short coat
How To Groom A Dog With A Medium Length Coat
Just like short haired dogs - dogs with medium coats are really easy to groom. Dogs like the Siberian Husky and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have beautiful coats that rival even the most preened long coated breeds.
A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with a medium length coat
Dogs with a medium length coat need brushing only once a week. Generally they don’t get too dirty or matt very often. Start by using a pin headed or slicker brush to remove any dirt, debris and tangles. You can then follow up with a bristle brush to remove any dead hair and bring out the shine on their coat.
A Border Collie with a beautiful black and white medium length coat
Popular medium coated breeds include the Border Collie, the Brittany, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the German Shepherd Dog, the Golden Retriever, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, the Saint Bernard and the Siberian Husky.
How To Groom A Dog With Long Hair
If you have ever seen a Shih Tzu or Havanese with a well maintained coat then you will know they look absolutely adorable. Here we will go through the points on how to keep your long coated dog in top condition.
An Afghan Hound with a incredible long coat
Dogs with a long coat need brushing daily to avoid getting knots or tangles. Those that go outside are more likely to have tangles because of the dirt and debris that gets trapped in the hair. Breeds such as the Afghan Hound have very thin, silky, long hair which tangles extremely easily, so you cannot rely on trips to a professional dog groomer if you want your dog to look in tip top condition.
A lovely little Shih Tzu with a wonderful Long Coat
If your dog has mats in their coat they will need to be removed first. Use your fingers to tease out any remaining knots that you find before you start using a pinhead or slicker brush. If you cannot tease out the knots then move onto using a pinhead or slicker brush. Use the pinhead or slicker brush with the lay of the hair to untangle any knots and remove any dirt. When brushing out knots hold the hair close to the skin to avoid pulling and tugging which may be uncomfortable for your dog. As you brush down the back of your dog, make sure to lift up the top layer of their coat to brush through the hair underneath working from the roots to the tips. Work systematically from the head to tail down one side and then back up the other side. The feathers on your dog's legs will need careful attention. Make sure you brush through to remove the knots and debris and trim any stray hairs. Finish off by using a comb to gently brush through the hair around your dog's face, being very careful to not poke your dog in the eye. When brushing the ears support your dog's ear with your free hand whilst brushing the hair.
A beautiful little Havanese puppy with a well maintained coat
How To Groom A Dog With A Double Coat
We think it is amazing how some dogs have developed a weather resistant coat that keeps them warm in winter and cool in Summer. These rugged dogs thrive in all conditions from the Siberian Husky in the arctic to the Australian Shepherd Dog who works the hot, dry fields of Australia.
A Chocolate Labrador with a thick double coat
Double coated dogs are constantly shedding, but they shed more in the spring, ready for summer, and again in autumn, ready for the winter. It is important to remove the loose, moulted hair otherwise it can form mats and clumps. Dogs with a double coats need brushing twice a week, but when they are in shedding season they should be brushed several times a week.
An Australian Shepherd Dog with a thick double coat
First use a slicker brush to remove any tangles, dirt or debris from the coat. Then use a de-shedding tool to get right down to the roots and brush outward from the skin so that you can remove any loose hair from the thick undercoat. Next, move on to using a wide-toothed comb. Make sure that you get right down to the roots again, and move with the lay of the coat. You should be able to comb through their coat without meeting any resistance.
An Alaskan Malamute with a wonderful thick double coat
How To Groom A Dog With A Silky Coat
Whether it's the Paris Hilton look of the Afghan Hound or the flowing auburn hair of the Irish Setter, silky coated dogs certainly have a glamourous side. Maintaining your dog's silky coat will give it a shine and feather soft texture that will make your dog the talk of the town.
A Silky Terrier with a beautifully groomed Silky Coat
Dogs with a silky coat do not have a protective undercoat, so their top coat needs a lot of attention. Silky coats can easily become tangled if they are long so it is important to keep on top of your daily grooming. Using a pinhead or a slicker brush gently remove all of the tangles. Then use a bristle brush to position the hair. This will also enhance the natural shine of the coat. Finish off with running a comb through their coat and trimming any untidy ends. Getting your dog’s silky coat professionally clipped might make it easier to maintain.
A beautiful Red Irish Setter with a long silky coat
Popular silky coated breeds include the Afghan Hound, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel, the English Springer Spaniel, the Irish Setter, the Silky Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.
How To Groom A Dog With A Corded Coat
A Hungarian Puli with a long black corded coat
Dogs with a corded coat require a lot of attention, but it is not a difficult job. Before the cords develop, brush the coat so that the dog becomes comfortable with being groomed. As soon as the cords begin to form you must stop the brushing. With your hands, separate and remove any knots or tangles, and gently massage the skin. Any cords that are starting to clump together must be carefully teased apart, it may be necessary to use scissors to part cords. You will need to remove anything that gets caught in the coat like dirt, sticks and leaves etc. To minimise this problem you can tie up the chords or cover them using clothes when taking your dog on muddy and adventurous walks. The ears, legs and tail require the most attention, as these areas risk growing into one big mat. When groomed correctly corded coats can be very attractive for showing.
A Hungarian Puli with an amazing long corded coat
How To Groom A Dog With A Curly Coat
Curly coated dogs come in all shapes and sizes but they all share that magnificent looking coat. From the Toy Poodle to the Curly Coated Retriever you can be sure that your curly coated dog will be an eye catcher and a crowd pleaser.
A black Curly Coated Retriever showing off its wonderful thick curly coat
Dogs with curly coats have hair rather than fur which grows rapidly and can get long and unruly quickly! Monthly clipping helps you to keep on top of a curly coat as well as regular washing, brushing and trimming with scissors. To make grooming considerably easier you may want to clip the coat quite short, however it is advised that with such a complicated coat you invest in a professional dog groomer, otherwise you might end up with a particularly odd looking dog. Brushing your curly coated dog twice a week should be enough to avoid any matts and tangles forming.
Use a pinhead brush to brush through any tangles working from the head, down the chest and front legs, then the body, and finish off with the hindquarters and back legs.
A Water Spaniel with a beautiful curly coat
How To Groom A Wirehaired Dog
Wirehaired dogs have fantastic looking and feeling coats. Looking at the Miniature Schnauzer or Wire Fox Terrier you wonder if these dogs see themselves as the wise old men of the dog world with their moustaches and beards. This rough, toothbrush like coat is formed differently which means that your wiry haired dog will need some special grooming.
A Border Terrier with a beautiful wiry coat
Dogs with a wiry coat have wiry guard hairs that grow up through a soft undercoat. Professional trimming and stripping as well as regular grooming is recommended as the coat can mat and tangle quite easily. When you notice that the wiry guard hairs are becoming overgrown it is advisable to take your dog to a professional groomer for them to be stripped as stripping can be complicated and is breed specific.
A wonderful Miniature Schnauzer with a wiry coat
Wiry haired dogs need professional stripping every three to four months. They should be brushed twice weekly. Using a slicker brush, brush with the lay of the coat to brush through any tangles. Next brush against the lay of the coat to remove any loose hair from the undercoat. Finish off with a comb brushing with the lay of the coat.
Popular wiry coated breeds include the Airedale Terrier, the Border Terrier, the Brussels Griffon, the Cairn Terrier, the German Wirehaired Pointer, the Irish Terrier, the Jack Russell Terrier, the Miniature Schnauzer, the Norfolk Terrier, the Welsh Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier.
How To Groom a Hairless Dog
Hairless dogs still love a good grooming session. Think less of brushing and clipping and more of bathing and massaging. You will soon be an expert in pampering your bald pooch whose skin needs extra care because of its high exposure.
A Mexican Hairless Dog with a beautiful bald coat
Grooming a hairless dog focuses on care of the skin rather than the coat. All hairless dogs need suncream applying as they are very prone to sun damage, especially in the warmer months. For breeds with hair on their head and legs like the Chinese Crested, use a bristle brush once a week. For completely hairless breeds like the Mexican Hairless, you will need to bath your dog every other week to prevent acne from developing. You will also need to moisturise a hairless dog after each bath using specially designed dog moisturiser. Hairless dog’s ears will need checking and possibly cleaning once a week, as they are prone to gathering debris. To know how to clean your dog’s ears read here.
A Chinese Crested with a mostly hairless coat
How To Groom A Dog With Matted Hair
Keeping your dog's coat free of knots or matting is a great way to bond with them. As well as being unsightly, matted hair can cause discomfort and itchy skin.
A lovely little white Maltese being groomed by its owner
Matted hair often forms around the ears, under the neck, under the belly and around the legs. Removing knots or matted hair might be easier than you think, but prevention is always best. Regular grooming should prevent your dog from having any mats. If however your playful dog has managed to get itself in a mess on a muddy walk, you can follow the steps below to carefully remove mats.
- It can help to spray a detangling solution onto the mat before you try to remove it, as this will help loosen up the hair.
- Next try separating the matted hair by gently untangling and teasing it apart with your fingers.
- If this does not work, use a metal comb, but make sure that you hold the hair close your dog’s skin so that you don’t cause any discomfort. Try to pick at the hair to separate it rather than combing it through (as the comb will probably just get stuck!)
- If the matt is still untameable, you will need to use a de-matting comb. Pass the de-matting tool through the section of matted hair, and hold the hair close to the skin so that you don’t cause any discomfort. A de-matting tool has sharp teeth that can cut through the mat. Try to use a teasing motion working from the tip of the matt to the root.
If your dog has a section of matted hair that seems impossible to untangle, you might have to resort to removing it with clippers. It’s a little more risky to use scissors because it is very easy to cut your dog’s skin if he should move suddenly.