Five of the furriest dog breeds and how to groom them
Something we get asked a lot here at Gravitis Pet Supplies is “What is the best type of grooming equipment for my breed of dog?” We’ve also had some great feedback from customers on how they are using our products to deal with breed-specific grooming issues. So, with this in mind we have decided to launch our new blog - and the first in a series of dog grooming tips and tricks - with five of the furriest dog breeds and how to groom them.
1. Alaskan Malamute / Siberian Husky
Huskies and Malamutes may look similar but they are distinctly different dogs. Both of these ancient breeds of sled dog have become popular in recent years due in part to the TV series Game of Thrones, where six of the main characters have pet ‘Direwolves’ – which look rather similar to these beautiful, thick coated dogs. Whilst it is true that Huskies and Malamutes do make excellent pets, the decision to buy one should not be taken lightly. They are very intelligent, active dogs but can become bored easily and do not like to be left home alone, so you should only consider getting one if you are able to put in the time and energy required to support them.
Malamute Photo by Daniel Tuttle, Husky Photo by Ash Goldsbrough on Unsplash
What is the difference between a Malamute and a Husky?
Malamutes are physically bigger and heavier than Huskies and have smaller ears and more rounded features. Both dogs have thick fur with dense, double coats that are designed to withstand the cold; comprising of a thick topcoat with a fluffy or woolly undercoat. They are very clean dogs and like to groom themselves so they do not require a lot of washing and do not smell like some dogs can - so bathing them is not essential – unless you are taking them to a show or they have rolled in something, like fox poo. If you are going to bathe one, make sure you brush the fur through before you get them wet as you can’t brush the undercoat when it is wet, it won’t dry properly if it is matted and may cause skin irritation.
Huskies and Malamutes both moult twice yearly - in the spring and autumn - as they prepare for the changing seasons and this is when a good set of brushes and a blaster can be extremely useful for helping de-shed these dogs. It can take up to six weeks for them to shed their coat fully and it may come out in clumps. They can fill up several bin bags with cast hair which sticks to everything, especially carpets and soft furnishings. We recommend brushing at least once a day during the shedding period and once a week the rest of the time. Some of our customers have reported great results from using use our high velocity double motor dryer to de-shed their dogs by blasting the loose fur out of a dry coat. Just make sure you are prepared for the amount of hair that will come off – one customer told us it looked like it had been snowing after using a dryer to de-shed as everything was covered in white fur.
2. Labradoodle / Cockapoo
OK we’re cheating slightly now as Labradoodles and Cockapoos are not recognised breeds, they are in fact a deliberate cross of two different pedigree breeds. A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador and a Standard Poodle. A Cockapoo is a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle. You also get other variations including Jackapoos, Golden Doodles, Sprockers, etc… We’re sure you get the idea!
The reason we are including these two crossbreeds is because they are extremely popular and extremely hairy! Although you don’t often see them looking particularly fuzzy - because Unlike Huskies and Malmutes who should never be clipped - they tend to be clipped regularly and are usually bathed more frequently too. Their tight, curly poodle coats hold the dirt and it if you are grooming one of these dogs it is advisable to let the mud dry out before brushing it out. Generally these dogs need brushing once evey couple of weeks but this depends on how active they are and how muddy your walks get.
Cockapoo Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash
If you are bathing a Cockapoo or a Labradoodle, start by rinsing any chunks of dirt from their coat and work it out with your fingers before applying any shampoo. If you find your dog needs a lot of bathing and you’re worried about them scratching your tub or making a mess we stock a couple of specialised pet grooming baths – a large aluminium one for frequent or salon use and a portable plastic tub with folding legs which is better suited for home or mobile dog grooming. Both come with an overhead grooming arm and leashes to hold dogs firmly in place during their wash. Or if you’re not keen on frequent washing then you can just give the dog a quick blast with a dryer, like Graham who uses our 2800w dryer to blast his dog clean after each walk:
“I wish I had bought it ages ago. I’ve got a labradoodle who - when he goes to the beach - takes half of it home with him in his fur. No longer. A quick blast of this before going in the house gets ALL the sand off him. It is superb.”
Labradoodle Photo by Bruce Williamson on Unsplash
Do Labradoodles and Cockapoos shed much hair?
If all this talk of clipping and washing is putting you off getting a Labradoodle or a Cockapoo as a pet, it is worth noting that they do not shed as much hair as many pure bred dogs so you won’t be continually hoovering during the moulting season.
3. Old English Sheep Dog
Also known in the UK as a ‘Dulux Dog,’ Old English Sheep Dogs are an intelligent and adaptable breed. Originally bred for herding sheep and cattle, they are often mistaken for the smaller, silkier (but also very hairy) Bearded Collie - but Old English Sheepdogs are larger and more athletic. They have long, dense coats, which require regular brushing so that they don’t trap dirt or become matted. Because of this many owners clip their Old English sheep dogs, to enable them to maintain them more easily - but if you are showing your pup it is important to keep their coat on, to match the breed standard.
These dogs do not shed their coats seasonally like other dogs do - but their fur will come out when brushed and it is important to maintain a regular grooming routine. Most Old English sheep dog owners also bathe their dogs regularly too – we recommend following ‘MicktheVIDEOGuy’ and his dog ‘Beamish’ on YouTube for some great grooming tips – including how to get the stains out of the dogs beard. In episode 72 of his Vlog, Mick gives a step-by-step guide to washing and drying his Old English Sheep Dog, with a glowing independent review of our 2800w Pet Dryer and Dryer Hose Holder, check it out here.
Are Old English Sheep Dogs rare?
Unlike Cockapoos and Labradoodles, the Old English Sheep Dog breed is declining in the UK – the Kennel Club reported earlier this year that registrations of this breed have dropped 67% over the last 20 years and they are in danger of becoming extinct. So if you want to stand out from the crowd then consider doing your bit to save this wonderful breed by adopting a puppy – or perhaps invent a new cross breed? ‘The Old English Shoodle’ has a nice ring to it.
4. Afghan Hound
Do you remember ‘What-a-Mess’ the storybooks about a loveable golden dog who was always covered in mud, brambles and all kinds of strange things tangled up in his coat? Did you ever wonder what breed he was? It was quite hard to tell at first glance, but he was an Afghan Hound. The book’s creator, Frank Muir kept Afghan Hounds as pets and he was clearly writing from experience as these beautiful, elegant, aristocratic looking dogs need a great deal of grooming!
Afghan Hound Photo by Arve Kern on Unsplash
Is it OK to clip an Afghan Hound?
Where some Old English Sheep dog owners like to clip non-show dogs for easy maintenance, it isn’t possible to clip an Afghan in this way. The long flowing golden tresses cascading over their ears, backs and legs are what makes them Afghans. It would be like shaving the mane off a lion. You might as well get yourself a greyhound. If you’re serious about keeping one of these dogs you will need to be prepared to put in the time to brush them a lot and bathe them regularly too.
Known for being aloof, Afghan Hounds recently topped a list of the ‘dumbest dog breeds’ a label that has been criticised as being unfair. Like humans, these dogs have different sets of skills that cannot be measured comparably. Afghan hounds are bred for hunting, with terrific eyesight and sense of smell and an incredible turn of speed. They may be categorised as dumb because they are not as obedient as a collie, but they prefer to do things on their own terms and can be considered stubborn. If you’re grooming an obstinate Afghan regularly then you might want to invest in some decent equipment to help you get the job done. Our pet grooming table with grooming arm and leashes will hold your dog firmly in place as you brush – and if you need to use two hands when you’re drying we also have dryer stands, dryer hose holders and a tool caddy which enable you to focus on the dog and get on with the job in hand however ‘dumb’ or stubborn they are being!
5. Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog)
Known affectionately as the ‘Sheltie’ the Shetland Sheepdog looks like a small version of ‘Lassie’ the famous Rough Collie and both breeds have long, lustrous coats that require regular grooming. As their name suggests these dogs originated in the rugged Shetland Isles of Scotland - close to the Arctic Circle - where they were bred from collies and Icelandic dogs to create a small herding dog which is alert, agile and intelligent.
Sheltie Puppy Photo by Krisztian Tabori on Unsplash
Do Shelties shed a lot of fur?
Like Huskies and Malamutes, Shelties shed their coats twice a year in Spring and Autumn and if you own one of these popular pooches, you can expect to be doing a lot of hoovering around the house during these times. They have a thick double coat and do not require trimming except around their feet Shaving a Sheltie’s coat will remove their natural protection from heat and cold and affect their ability to regulate their own body temperature. It should only be done when there is no other option (e.g. extreme matting) and under professional supervision. Some dog groomers like to use thinning scissors to manage the area around the back legs, from the hock to the tail as this helps to keep them clean - particularly if you live in or are walking your dog in a rural area where they may pick up burrs or get coated in mud.
As a smaller dog breed, many people prefer to use a grooming table when grooming their Sheltie. If you’re bathing this type of dog then both of our professional dog baths come with removable non-slip floor grates or booster boards that can be set at a higher level in order to raise your dog into a comfortable position for washing them effectively.
Is your dog furrier than our top five?
That’s it for this week. We hope you found this info useful – and that you think that these five breeds are worthy of our top five furriest. If you know a dog breed that is hairier (or needs more grooming!) Let us know in the comments section below!
(Main Pic: Samoyed and Girl Photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash)