- Discovering short-coated breeds
- Exploring the characteristics of medium-coated breeds
- Grooming short- and medium-coated dogs
- Getting a wash-and-wear dog ready to show
Dogs with short or medium coats are the wash-and-wear dogs of the canine world. They’re the least grooming intensive, needing almost no clipping and minimal brushing when compared to long-coated breeds (see Chapter Poodles: A Breed Apart).
Now, I said these dogs have shorter coats, but I never said they were low shedding or low maintenance. When pondering a short coat, you may think your troubles are over when it comes to shedding. After all, less fur on the dog means less hair on your pants and couch, right? Wrong. If you’ve ever owned a short-coated dog for any length of time, you know that hair is simply another condiment and that these dogs can shed profusely. Only hairless dogs won’t shed; nevertheless, they do lose hair in some ways. If you’re looking for a low-shedding dog, try a Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, or any one of the single-coated breeds. Be forewarned, however, that low-shedding dogs still need a considerable amount of grooming to keep their coats looking good.
In this chapter, you find out everything you need for grooming your dog’s short or medium coat so that it looks its very best.
Introducing the Wash-and-Wear Breeds
When I talk about the wash-and-wear dog, I’m often referring to short-coated breeds. These dogs typically have hair that doesn’t require much brushing and almost never mats. In this section, I actually cover these breeds in three categories — dogs with no hair, dogs with short hair, and dogs with medium-length hair.
Arguably these dogs can appear in other groupings by coat types. For example, a good number of medium-coated dogs actually have double coats and fall into the double-coat breeds; however, their coats require less maintenance than their longer-haired double-coated counterparts who cannot be lumped together with short-coated breeds.
The bald breeds
Make no mistake, hairless breeds have their own set of grooming requirements. These dogs are characterized by having little or no hair at all (see Figure 8-1), but an occasional powder puff coat shows up in their litters. Powder puffs are bald-breed dogs that actually have hair. The bald breeds include the:
- American Hairless Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Hairless Khala
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
But I thought they were hairless
When you look at so-called hairless breeds, you may be surprised to see dogs with tufts of hair. In the case of the Powder Puff Chinese Crested, you may even see a dog completely covered with hair.
Hairless dogs are the result of a genetic variation, so hairy dogs naturally show up from time
to time in these breeds. Indeed, many of the hairless breeds have peach fuzz, if you will, on
their bodies, making them a little less hairless than you may have imagined. When compared
to other dogs, however, these dogs are certainly bald and beautiful, but because of that, they require special care, which I discuss throughout this chapter.
Figure 8-1: The Chinese Crested is a popular hairless breed.
The short coats
Dogs with short coats have the typical wash-and-wear fur that you imagine when you think of short-haired breeds (see Figure 8-2). But make no mistake about it, short-coated dogs still require maintenance. The short coats include:
- American Foxhound
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Australian Kelpie
- Basset Hound
- Belgian Malinois
- Black and Tan Coonhound
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Boston Terrier
- Bracco Italiano
- Bull Terrier
- Chinese Shar-Pei
- Chihuahua (smooth coat)
- Dachshund (smooth coat)
- Doberman Pinscher
- English Foxhound
- French Bulldog
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Great Dane
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
- Ibizan Hound
- Italian Greyhound
- Labrador Retriever
- Manchester Terrier
- Miniature Pincher
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Pharaoh Hound
- Redboned Treehound (a type of Coonhound)
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Figure 8-2: The Beagle has a short coat that makes grooming a snap.
The medium coats
Dogs with medium coats don’t quite have short coats, but they aren’t longhaired dogs either (see Figure 8-3). For lack of a better term, they have medium coats that make them easier to groom than the double-coated and long-haired breeds, yet they still need some attention. The medium-coated dogs include:
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Canaan Dog
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Collie (Smooth)
- Flat-Coated Retriever
- German Shepherd Dog
- Glen of Imaal Terrier
- Golden Retriever
- Irish Wolfhound
- New Guinea Singing Dog
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
- Scottish Deerhound
Figure 8-3: The Golden Retriever has a medium coat that requires more grooming attention than short-coated breeds to avoid mats.
Just because your dog has short- or medium-length hair doesn’t mean you can avoid using a brush altogether. Many short- and medium-coated dogs have undercoats, and that means they’ll shed them out once a year or in some cases year-round.
You may look at your short-coated dog and wonder how in the heck did a dog with such a short coat produce so much hair? But then you’ll realize that it takes less time for you to brush your dog, because short coats (for the most part) aren’t as susceptible to mats and tangles except in the worst conditions.
With medium-coated dogs, you can expect a bit more brushing and combing than you do with short coats. And you’ll need to watch more closely for mats and tangles with a medium coat.
The sections that follow look at some of the details about brushing bald to medium-length coats.
You’re probably wondering how on earth you brush a hairless-breed dog — let alone why. The truth is the hairless dog isn’t going to have much hair beyond a crest (along the top of the head) or perhaps some peach fuzz. But powder puffs — no not what you find in your compact, but rather hairier versions of hairless dogs — are out there, so I address them here, too.
Owners of hairless dogs don’t do a lot of brushing, but they often shave their dogs with human razors; however, this practice is dangerous and can cut your dog’s skin. You can get a smooth cut by using clippers with a No. 40 (surgical cut) blade (see Chapter Spiffing Up Short- and Medium-Coated Breeds).
Be very gentle because the pins on those pin brushes can hurt!
Powder puffs are hairless breed dogs that are born with hair all over their bodies. Unlike their hairless counterparts, you’ll have a bunch of brushing ahead of you with a powder puff. (Think long-haired dogs.) You can probably get by brushing your powder puff three times a week when he’s mature, but you may have to brush every day when he’s young, when the fur tends to tangle more.
The hair of the powder puff usually is long, so it should be treated the way you’d treat a long-haired, single-coat dog (see Chapter Poodles: A Breed Apart
To brush out a powder puff:
1. Look for and gently remove mats and tangles on your powder puff by combing and brushing him and by using a detangler solution first with a medium-toothed comb and then eventually with a fine-toothed comb.
If this method doesn’t work, try using a mat splitter or mat rake (see Chapter Caring for Your Canine’s Teeth, Toes, Ears, Face, and Ahem, Other Areas).
2. Working from one end of the dog to the other, separate the hair in layers and brush out with either a soft (fine) slicker brush or a pin brush.
Brush out the coat by backbrushing and then brushing along the lay (Chapter Caring for Your Canine’s Teeth, Toes, Ears, Face, and Ahem, Other Areas explains how).
When using a pin brush, be careful not to scrape our dog’s skin with the pins.
3. These coats are prone to matting, so you may need to take a second pass through the coat using a medium-toothed comb to find any other tangles.
Use detangler solution and the comb to remove the tangles.
4. Go over the dog’s coat with a flea comb to be sure no fleas are evident.
5. Feel your dog’s paw pads for tangles in the hair between the pads.
If you find any tangles or hair that grows beyond the paw pad, trim it with electric clippers and a No. 10 blade (see Chapter Spiffing Up Short- and Medium-Coated Breeds).
Short-coated dogs are relatively easy to care for. In most circumstances, these dogs can get away with a quick brushing once a week. The only time you really need to brush them more often is when they’re shedding. If your dog sheds year-round, well I’m sorry, you’re probably going to have to brush him more frequently, unless you really don’t mind dog hair everywhere.
Avoiding the tough-to-groom big, hairy coats
If you enjoy the easy-grooming lifestyle, you may want to avoid owning breeds that are tough to groom in the future, because they can require clipping, stripping, or the necessity of (almost) daily brushing. Some tough-to-groom breeds to avoid include
– Afghan Hound
– Bichon Frise
– Cocker Spaniel
– Old English Sheepdog
– Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Here’s how to brush your short-haired dog:
1. Give your dog a good rubdown using a hound glove.
2. Using either a curry brush or Zoom Groom, brush your dog’s coat with the grain of the hair (the way it grows).
You generally don’t backbrush short-haired breeds because there isn’t enough hair.
3. Go over your dog’s coat with a flea comb to look for fleas.
4. Use a hound glove to finish the brushing.
Dogs with medium-length hair are a bit harder to care for than dogs with short coats; however, they aren’t as much work as the longer-haired and double-coated breeds. Medium-coated dogs usually need a brushing twice a week and more when shedding or when they’re adolescents — changing from their puppy to adult coats.
Here’s how to brush your medium-haired dog (single or double coated):
1. Look for any tangles or mats and first try removing them using detangler solution and a medium-toothed comb.
You may find more mats on a medium coat than a short coat. If this method doesn’t work, try using a mat splitter or mat rake (see Chapter Caring for Your Canine’s Teeth, Toes, Ears, Face, and Ahem, Other Areas for specific mat removing instructions).
2. Backbrush (or brush against the lay of the hair) first using a slicker brush and then again using a fine- or medium-toothed comb.
Using a slicker brush removes the loose hairs, and using a comb helps you make sure no tangles are present and removes more hair.
3. Brush your dog’s coat with the lay of the hair using a slicker brush.
4. Go over your dog’s coat with a flea comb to look for fleas and to make sure there are no tangles forming — unusual in a short coat but a necessity with a medium coat.
5. Assuming you don’t plan to show your dog (or your dog is shown in an untrimmed coat), use electric clippers with a No. 10 blade to trim hair that grows between paw pads and any other excessive hair for a finished look.
Bathing your dog regularly with a pH-balanced dog shampoo is one of the necessities of life. A number of the short- and medium-coated dogs tend to have oilier skin and hair and can become dirty quickly. Short- and medium-coated sporting breeds are examples. For that reason, regular bathing is essential.
How often and when, really?
How often do you really have to bathe your hairless, short-coated, or medium-coated dog? Well, like most other things, it depends. But keep these points in mind:
– Hairless dogs require weekly bathing followed by moisturizers and sunscreen. Remember, they’re as unprotected from the elements as you are, so put them in T-shirts or sweaters to keep them warm after a bath and at night.
– Short-coated dogs usually need more baths than medium-coated dogs. Bathe your short-haired dog when his coat gets dirty or feels oily.
– Medium-coated dogs need to be bathed when dirty, but they also need to be brushed more, depending on the dog’s skin type and how often the coat gets oily.
If you use pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner made for dogs, you can bathe your dog as much as you want. And you can make bath time less stressful by protecting your dog’s ear canals. Simply place a cotton ball in each ear prior to bathing him to keep water out of his sensitive inner ear. Also, if you have a short-coated dog and you think his coat is getting dry, you can finish up with an oil-based coat conditioner. Be aware that this attracts serious amounts of dirt, and you’ll need to bathe your dog again much sooner.
After performing the pre-bath brush (see the “Brushing” section earlier in this chapter), follow these step-by-step instructions for bathing your short-or medium-coated pooch:
1. Wet down your dog thoroughly with tepid water in a tub that’s an appropriate size for your breed of dog.
Although you wouldn’t think it, one of the toughest parts of bathing a short- or medium-coated dog is getting the dog completely wet. I know that sounds really odd, but if you want a dog with a natural weather-resistant coat, soaking him down to the skin can be harder than you think. Medium coats can be especially dense.
Buy a hand-held shower head or tub faucet attachment for bathing your dog; it’s made to soak a dog to the skin, provided you have enough water pressure.
2. Soap up your dog with a good pH-balanced dog shampoo except around the face and eyes — which you must do separately with a wet cloth.
3. Rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly.
Leaving soap in a medium coat will cause it to collect dirt, so be sure to rinse carefully.
4. Apply a good conditioner for dogs.
5. Rinse really well.
Feel for any soapy, slimy spots next to the skin, and continue rinsing until they are gone. Rub your hands through your dog’s coat to help rinse the soap away. A thorough rinse is important for all dogs, but it’s especially important for dogs with wrinkles such as Shar-Pei and Pugs (see the nearby “Dealing with those wrinkles” sidebar). You need to be extra careful to ensure dirt and soap residue aren’t trapped in their wrinkles.
6. Dry your dog thoroughly. (See the “Drying” section later in this chapter.)
7. Brush out your dog’s coat thoroughly to prevent tangles.
Of course, washing a bald dog isn’t as hard because there isn’t much of a coat to worry about. But you do have to apply moisturizers to prevent the skin from drying out.
Dealing with those wrinkles
If you own a dog that has wrinkles on the face and forehead (Pugs, Boxers) or maybe all over
the body (Shar-Pei), you’ve probably heard (or experienced) that those wrinkles can be a nightmare. Well that’s true only if you allow sore-causing bacteria to form within them. When bathing your dog, you need to make sure that you clean inside the wrinkles and then dry them thoroughly so moisture doesn’t have a chance to foster the bacteria. With small wrinkles, you can use a cotton swab to make sure they’re completely cleaned and then wiped dry with a clean, dry swab. Larger wrinkles require sterile cotton balls for cleaning and drying.
If you find sores on your dog, be sure to have your veterinarian treat them. Your vet can also provide you with an ointment or topical steroids to prevent sores from flaring up.
When you dry your short- to medium-coated dog, always start by pulling as much water off him as possible with thick cotton terry cloth towels. After you towel-dry your dog, it’s a good idea to blow-dry him, too. (If your dog is hairless, you won’t need a blow-dryer, unless you want to fluff his crests.) Just make sure that you use either a blow-dryer specifically intended for use with dogs or a human-style dryer equipped with a “no-heat” setting. Even though he looks only a little damp, that dampness can attract dirt and can cause your dog to become chilled quickly. Short- to medium-coated dogs normally don’t take long to dry, but you need to check the ones with dense short hair to make sure that their hair is dry to the skin.
A chilled dog can become hypothermic in cool or cold weather. Always dry your dog thoroughly.
Preparing for Show
Earlier sections of this chapter explain the basics of getting your short- and medium-coated dog cleaned up and groomed. But what if you’re planning to show your dog? Well, here are some tricks of the trade for getting your dog ready for the show.
When showing your dog, understanding the breed standard and the correct coat type your dog should be wearing, if you will, are essential. A good place to look for breed standards is on the Internet at www.akc.org.
Getting short- and medium-coated dogs ready for a show is pretty easy. The basic things you have to do are:
– Trimming toenails
– Brushing out your dog’s coat
– Bathing and drying your dog
– Brushing out your clean, dry dog
– Clipping stray hairs and keeping a clean line as allowed by the breed standard
– Dressing the coat with coat conditioners that are available from pet-supply catalogs and stores. These conditioners help give your dog’s coat the right feel and can help the coat puff out, if the breed standard so requires. For example, some show folks use mink oil, lanolin, mineral oil, and other oil-based coat conditioners for their short-coated dogs.
Is that all? Well, yes, in a nutshell it is. The best thing to do is to ask people who show your breed what they recommend and then experiment.
by Margaret H.Bonham