Different coat types need different types of care. If you are not sure which grooming service is best for your dog, defining their coat type is a good place to start. Read the descriptions below to find out what they have and what they need.
A double coat has two types of hairs; a soft undercoat and a longer, firmer top coat. The overall length can vary from short like a Labrador, right through to 5 or 6 inches long like a Chow Chow. The hairs of a double coat grow to their naturel length then fall out (shed). The dog might grow a thicker coat for winter, but the length stays about the same. Double coats should not be cut; it disturbs the hair growth cycle and causes the fur to grow back softer which will make matting more likely, their fur colour will fade, and in some cases the fur will not grow back at all. The proper care for double coats is to regularly brush, wash and remove excess undercoat. Frequency of grooms depends on how much fur you can tolerate in your home and ghow dense your dogs coat is. A groom every 4 weeks id recommened for longer, thicker coats e.g. Rough Collie, but an Akita may last 8 weeks if you don’t mind some shedding at home.
Wire coats are common among terriers and hounds. There may be an undercoat, and the top coat may vary in length and thickness, but the key characteristic is that the dead hairs do not shed naturally; they must be pulled out. The process of removing a layer of old wire coat is called ‘Handstripping’.
A layer can be handstripped roughly once every 8 weeks but it reallt depends on when the coat is ready. Trying to handstrip too soon can be painful to the dog, but if timed correctly it does not hurt. If the hair can be pulled with almost no effort and comes away with the root intact then the coat id ready.
Leaving a wire coat long is not particularly unhealthy for the dog, (although they can feel a little itchy) and some people love the scruffy, bed-head look it creates. But the benefit of maintaining several tight layers of hair, through regular handstripping, is a weatherproof, quick-clean coat.
Cutting wire coats causes the hair to grow back softer, making matting more likely. The fur becomes pale in colour, and the easy-care quality is lost.
Some dogs have a mixture of coat types that require different grooming techniques in different areas. Schnauzers, Spaniels, Golden Retrievers and Setters are a few breeds that fall into this category. These coat types generally should not be clipped, but, long hair can be scissored from tails, legs and paws. Coats of this type should be groomed every 8 weeks but can be done more frequently if you like your dog to look its best at all times.
Some dog breeds have very little hair at all but can still benefit from baths. Moisturizing treatments are good for the skin and what little hair they do have can be trimmed and tidied. A groom every six weeks will keep them fresh.
Short hairs lying close and flat to the body. There may be some undercoat or none at all. Coats like this are low maintenance and never need to be cut. A bath, dry and de-shed is all they require to keep them clean and healthy. If you don’t want any loose hair around your home, a groom every 6 weeks will keep fluff at bay. If shedding doesn’t bother you, then a groom every 12 weeks may be enough.
Fur that has no undercoat (a layer of shorter, softer hairs), and keeps growing without reaching a final length. It can be straight, wavy or curly. Fur like this needs to be brushed, washed and cut to keep it manageable and prevent mats forming. Most dogs with this coat type are groomed every 8 weeks to keep on top of things, but will also require brushing at home between grooms. Breeds in this category include Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers, Bichions, Poodles and many Poodle crosses.