As the saying goes, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. But does anybody really understand what that means? Everybody knows that you have to walk them every day, feed them, give them attention and - of course - love them. But their grooming regime is sometimes all too often forgotten about, and that can be no small feat.But this is no reason to shy away. Although your handsome, energetic dog will probably need many trips to a professional groomer on top of regular care from you, the resulting smartness of your pup will reward you everyday.
The following is a brief guide to grooming the most popular dogs.
Despite their luxe appearance, Poodles are highly intelligent, skilled dogs. They were originally bred as water dogs, so their coats are designed to take constant washes. It’s also rumored that Poodles don’t shed, but this isn’t exactly true. They shed minimally, but where some dogs’ fur will scatter all over the house, a poodle’s fur will get caught up in its coat. Constant brushes then, particularly during adolescence, will prevent its coat from getting matted. If you’re not aiming for the best in show award, then a visit to a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks will suffice.
Cocker Spaniels were bred specifically as companions, so if they feel they’re not getting the required amount of attention from you they won’t hesitate to let you know. In line with their role as outstanding companions, the Cocker Spaniel’s coat is one of the most elegant and handsome. As such, they are one of the most demanding dogs in terms of grooming. Daily brushing is necessary to prevent tangling and mats, and a good bathe and trim every 6 to 8 weeks will keep their coat shiny and silky. It’s a good idea to use deep, narrow bowls to feed your Cocker Spaniel, as this will prevent their glossy ears from getting soiled.
Collies originally come from Scotland, so they are blessed with a thick undercoat that can shed moderately. There are two types of Collies, the rough-haired and the smooth-haired. If you have a rough-haired Collie then you should brush thoroughly at least twice a week. Once a week will be fine for a smoother haired Collie. These dogs are herders, constantly looking for work, so they’ll try and herd anything that comes their way - cats, birds, babies, cars, even an apple dropped from a tree. You can imagine just how messy that fur can get...
German Shorthaired Pointers are boisterous, bold and intelligent hunting dogs. They are strong dogs, with lots of energy and daring that can take them into very messy places. As such, their coats are designed to protect them against the cold and wet: they have a dense undercoat which itself is shielded by a stiff outer layer, forming a water-resistant barrier. Whilst the German Pointer only needs bathing when necessary, such as after a good dirty hunt, they shed almost constantly, so a good brush often will keep their fur looking its best.
Labradors are infamously the most friendly and loyal of dogs. As a retriever, they have a great desire to please and obey, and so typically aren’t as boisterous or as daring as the German Shorthaired Pointer. Subsequently, their fur is not quite as resistant, so a touch more attention to brushing and bathing is needed to maintain their glossy exteriors.
This short guide should give you an idea of what grooming methods your particular dog needs. Look for tell-tale signs such as high shedding - requiring lots of brushing - and thickness of undercoat - which governs how cold and dirty your dog will get. Remember that long-haired dogs, such as Old English Sheepdogs, Bearded Collies, Pulis and Shih Tzus, will obviously take up more of your time with brushing.
Whatever the breed, it’s important to introduce grooming at an early stage. This allows the dog to get used to the process, making it easier for you, the groomer and the vet and ensuring happy relationships all round!