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November 2023

9 Breeds with a Challenging Beauty Routine: is Your Dog on the List?


All breeds (and mixes!) of dogs are beautiful, but when it comes to grooming, not all breeds require the same level of maintenance. These 9 dog breeds have more strenuous grooming routines than the average dog, but with the right care and attention they can be kept in tip-top shape. Read on for our top tips on managing difficult rooming routines and discover our clever hacks to make grooming easier!

Why Do Dogs Need Regular Grooming?

Grooming is a crucial part of your dog’s care routine. Contrary to initial expectations, grooming isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s also necessary for your dog’s overall health. Regular grooming is required to keep your dog’s coat healthy, prevent matting (which, when advanced, is very painful), and lessen the risk of your dog developing skin issues.

Understanding Grooming Challenges

Grooming difficulties arise from various factors, including coat type, length, and individual breed characteristics. Understanding these challenges is the first step to providing effective grooming care. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of grooming 9 of some of the most difficult breeds and provide insights on overcoming these challenges.

9 Dog Breeds With High-Maintenance Grooming Routines

1. Siberian Husky

Because huskies grooming routine is (fairly!) uncomplicated, they’re sometimes stated as being a fuss-free breed when it comes to grooming. Don’t be fooled – these shedding superstars require frequent brushing to maintain their dense double coat.

Regular brushing (at least 2-3 times a week) is a must to de-shed their coat. More care is required in shedding season (spring and autumn) to keep their coats in good condition. Be aware that, because of their double coat, huskies’ fur can never be shaved as this will destroy their protective undercoat which shields them from harmful UV rays.

As huskies are bred for cool climates, it’s a good idea to provide cooling mats and paddle pools in warm-weather conditions as their double coat acts as extra insulation.

2. Shih Tzu

Unsurprisingly, the little lions (the meaning of shih tzu in Mandarin) with their mane-like fur require a lot of upkeep! Shih tzu’s have a long, dense outer coat and a soft, woolly undercoat. Owners who keep their dog’s hair long will need to commit themselves to daily brushing to keep the coat neat and prevent matting and tangles. Even shih tzus with their hair cut shorter will still require regular brushing, but owners can reduce frequency to every two or three days depending on the length of fur and environment the dog is in.

Shih tzu’s long hair often obscures their eyes – so regular trims are needed (or some owners opt for a top knot hairstyle!) so their dog can see. Professional grooming is recommended every 4-6 weeks for this breed as well.

3. Afghan Hound

It’s probably a surprise to no one that these beautiful dogs come with additional grooming requirements. Known for their thick, silky hair and regal appearance – these hounds require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. It’s also recommended to bathe them regularly (at least fortnightly, but many groomers will suggest weekly is best).

Adding in monthly trims with a professional groomer, and you’ve got a dog with an extensively beauty routine. They sure are magnificent for it though!

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4. Poodle (and curly-coated crosses!)

Any dog with that good of a strut probably has some high-maintenance tendencies. That show-dog look isn’t for nothing – poodles require frequent and extensive grooming. Their fur has a woollen-like texture which requires daily brushing to avoid knots and tangles forming.

This is also true of popular poodle crosses (like Groodles, Labradoodles, Cavoodles, Spoodles and other ‘oodle variants) that inherited the curly poodle coat. Also, as poodles only shed minimally (if at all), they require more frequent clips to remove dead fur as a build-up of this fur can lead to skin irritation.

Poodles are recommended to get professional grooming every 4-6 weeks.

5. Old English Sheepdog

These shaggy goofballs have a double coat comprised of a thick, harsh outer layer and a dense, fine undercoat. They require daily brushing, and monthly professional grooming is recommended to prevent tangling and matting - their paws also need to be kept neat and trimmed to prevent dirt from building up and causing irritation.

Their insulated coat is designed for cool English climates and thus they may need some help to regulate their temperature in warmer months. Clipping sheepdogs short in summer can be problematic (and even make them hotter) as their coats provide them with shade. Cooling products are a good idea to keep these shaggy dogs cool in the summer months.

6. Komondor and Puli

Both Komondors and Pulis have a highly distinctive coat – their thick, corded fur naturally forms into a dreadlock-like style. While their coat doesn’t need brushing, the dogs are prone to collecting dirt and grime and they need to be cleaned regularly. Their cords must be carefully navigated when they’re being washed. Every cord must be separated while cleaning and individually shampooed. The cords also need to be kept separate (and not clumped together) while they dry.

With all that corded fur, getting completely dry is also a challenge as it can take 12-24 hours!

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7. Bichon Frise

Bichon frise dogs look like fluffy cotton balls – but this look is far from effortless. These little cotton clouds have a double coat consisting of a silky undercoat and a curly, textured overcoat. Because they’re minimal shedders, loose dead hair accumulates and is prone to matting and causing skin issues if left to its own devices.

To maintain their lovely coat, bichon frise dogs require frequent brushing – at least 2-3 times per week (though a frequently as daily may be required for dogs with longer coats who are outdoors often). Their coats should be misted with a hydrating spray prior to brushing. They’re also recommended to have professional grooms monthly, and baths fortnightly to weekly.

8. Samoyed

Samoyeds, known for their seemingly permanent fixed smiles, require stringent upkeep. They have thick fur which needs to be brushed frequently to kept under control: Samoyeds are prone to what’s known as ‘cobweb’ or ‘spiderweb’ matting – a painful type of matting that forms close to the skin and traps debris – left untreated a case of spiderweb matting can cause skin issues.

Never fear! This situation is avoidable with the right upkeep. Samoyeds require routine brushing – at least every second day. They’re seasonal shedders – so in spring and autumn expect to be brushing these magnificent dogs daily!

9. Chow Chow

Chow Chows have one of two types of coats: rough or smooth. Rough-coated Chows require the more care of the two. They have a double coat consisting of a coarse outer layer of hair which covers a softer undercoat. They require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles.

Smooth coated Chows have shorter hair that is much easier to maintain, and their brushing is only required 2-3 times a week.

Chows are a high-shedding breed, so moulting season will come with additional brushing! Owners should also check their dog’s skin folds to ensure they’re clean and dry – as they can be a trouble spot for skin infections.

Their heavy coats can mean they tend to overheat in the summer months. Cooling mats, paddle pools, plenty of shade and decent airflow are required to keep their temperatures under control in warm weather.

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Tips For Grooming High-Maintenance Dog Breeds

Patience, consistency, and selecting appropriate grooming products are crucial for a positive grooming experience for both owner and dog.

1. Use the right brushes:

Different dogs require different styles of brushes. Slicker brushes are excellent for high-shedding dogs like huskies and border collies, while low-shedding curly-haired breeds like poodles and bichon frise are better off with pin brushes. Head into your local Petstock to find the right brush for your breed.

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2. Don’t shy away from professional grooming:

While DIY grooming can be effective provided that the owner has a good understanding of their dog’s fur and how it should be clipped, professional groomers likely have more experience with different fur types and can be a big help in removing long-standing mats or tangles.

3. Brush little, brush often:

It’s far preferable to have a frequent brushing routine that keeps your dog’s fur in good condition rather than spending hours later trying to de-tangle longstanding mats and debris. Brush your dog the required amount for their breed – and potentially more if it looks like they need it. Frequent brushing will also get your dog used to the action, making it easier in the long run.

4. Be patient and praise plenty:

Building a positive grooming experience for high-maintenance breeds requires patience and care. Developing a routine, using positive reinforcement (and offering plenty of treats!), and creating a comfortable environment are key factors to overcoming grooming challenges.

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Dog Grooming FAQs

Can I groom my dog at home, or is professional grooming necessary?

While regular at-home grooming is essential, professional services can be beneficial, especially for handling shedding seasons and maintaining dogs that have tricky double coats.

What are the signs that my dog is uncomfortable during grooming?

Signs of discomfort include excessive panting, whining, attempts to escape, or aggressive behaviour. Pay attention to your dog's body language, and work in short bursts with plenty of praise if they seem uncomfortable.

How do I prevent matting in my dog's coat?

Regular brushing is crucial to prevent matting. For breeds prone to mats, daily brushing is recommended.


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