Grooming Double Coated Breeds

Being in the desert, I get quite a few people asking for shave down's on their double coated breeds; sometimes all year-round. Those breeds include Huskies, Malamutes, German Shepherds, and Golden's, just to name a few. I am aware that at times, there are specific medical reasons any owner would want to shave down their furry pup. However, when it comes solely based on the "look" of the pup, I will refuse to perform this service. I am an ethical groomer and this simply means that I choose humanity over vanity. I only do what is best for the pup and their family's needs. Currently, I am working more on extended certification and training (I have had training and schooling over 10 years ago) aiming for my Master Groomer Certification through the IPG (International Professional Groomers). In doing so, I have learned what the new and updated information is on shaving and cutting into double coated fur.

First, lets go over what a double coated breed really is. Any breed that has an undercoat (soft, fuzzy hair) which sheds seasonally or all year round, is a double coated breed. This pertains to countless breeds of dog, however you will not see this in certain breeds such as Poodles, Shih Tzu's, Lhasa Apso's and Cocker Spaniels (which they DO shed dead skin and coat when brushed).

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One of the most common reasons for shaving that I get 99 times out of 100, is because the pup is "hot". As you can see from the chart above and its explanations, the only reason they would be "hot" is of they aren't brushed and groomed on a regular basis to keep up with the undercoat. As seen by this illustration as well, there are many factors which contribute to the argument that shaving does more harm than good for your double coated breed.

This leads me to another point when searching for a lovable pet to add to your home; PLEASE research before bringing a new pup into your personal lifestyle. If you cannot afford to perform the grooming requirements pertaining to that specific breed, please do not get one. Always check your budget and household needs before buying or rescuing a pup. This not only includes the double coated breeds, but also any breeds requiring haircuts and a regular grooming schedule.

Double coated pups require professional grooming at the least, every 2-3 months. Brushing should be a daily routine, not just every 2-3 months, however this can become a bonding experience between you and your fur baby every night as you watch television or whenever you can find the time in your day.

So you understand the requirements and do not want to shave, but don't know how to get all that undercoat out at home? I can hep with that! The correct brush(es) makes ALL the difference in the world! One thing I have always remembered in my years of continuing education and experience, is you can hurt any breed with a brush. One major key to brushing is to remember that the thicker the coat on a pup, the more sensitive the skin is. That said, there are brushes out there that help with retrieving the undercoat with as few strokes as possible. One website that explain a few differences in types of undercoat rakes is: Using these types of brushes while also adding a comb after brushing with these tools, will help to know much of the undercoat is out.

I must add, in my experience, Furminator's (with the flat edge) are the worst to use; especially for double coated pups. They do not get into the undercoat, but rather skim across the top and cut up the top coat while pulling hair.

Please research before finding the right brush for your particular breed of pup and ask other groomers how they feel about the correct brushes. I personally believe education is key to aiding in the happiness in each family's household and their furry family member!

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