As a key component of owning a dog, its important prospective puppy buyers are aware of the grooming demands their breed may require. Grooming involves general maintenance and care to maintain a dog’s coat.
There’s many different coat types, short, medium, long, smooth, wire and even hairless coats. Some breeds require low maintenance grooming, also known as “wash and wear” type breeds, only requiring occasional bathing, and brushing. Some breeds require a moderate level of grooming while some require extensive levels of grooming.
Grooming can be enjoyable, provide a bonding opportunity and even be therapeutic for some owners. Let’s take a look at some of the grooming requirements for each of the seven dog groups recognised by Dogs Australia.
The toy group has a wide variety of coat types from smooth, to fully coated dogs that need regular grooming. Some will shed fur, others won’t. Some of the smooth-coated dogs in this group are the Italian Greyhound and Miniature Pinscher. Pugs have short coats but shed profusely. The Pomeranian has a thick double coat while the Griffon Bruxellois comes in both smooth and wire coats. The Pekingese’s coat grows long, forming a mane around its neck. The Chinese Crested Dog comes in two coat varieties known as hairless and powderpuff. The Bichon Frise has a non-shedding coat that is more like hair than fur.
The terrier group have a variety of coat types, and some have a harsh or wiry coat which means they won’t shed. They require hand stripping to keep their coats healthy. Breeds like the Bull Terrier and Fox Terrier have smooth coats, but the Fox Terrier also comes in a wire coat. The Bedlington who looks like a lamb has a soft non-shedding coat. The Skye Terrier has a long and profuse coat, while the American Hairless Terrier as the name suggests, is hairless!
Most breeds in the gundog group have smooth coats and require little grooming, but those with longer coats require regular brushing, trimming, and bathing. The Clumber Spaniel has a thick, soft weather-resistant coat, while the Curly Coated Retriever has a curly coat. The Hungarian Vizsla and the German shorthair pointer come in both wire and smooth coats. The Lagotto Romagnolo has a woolly non-shedding coat.
The hound breeds vary so greatly and so does grooming and coat maintenance. The elegant Azawakh has a smooth coat, while the Afghan Hound has a long and luscious coat, great for those wanting a more hands-on grooming experience. The Basset Fauve de Bretagne’s coat is easy to care for and needs hand stripping two to three times a year to keep it nice and neat. The Dachshund comes in smooth, long-haired, and wire-haired coats.
All working dog breeds have a double coat, but they vary from short to long, all requiring grooming. The German Shepherd Dog comes in both short and long-haired coats while the Belgian Shepherd breeds come in three coat types. Short, long-haired, and rough-haired. The Australian Kelpie has a “wash and wear” coat. If you like grooming, the Old English Sheepdog requires three to four hours of grooming each week in a full coat. The Bergamasco Shepherd Dog and Komondor have unique dense, matted, and corded coats.
Coats and their maintenance varies depending on the breed. The arctic breeds tend to have long coats requiring more work than the guardian and molosser breeds with shorter coats. The Schnauzers do require grooming. The Neapolitan Mastiff has a short coat, while the Leonberger’s thick double coat requires a weekly brush to keep it free of knots. The Portuguese water dog has a non-shedding coat that can be wavy or curly. The Rottweiler, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute all have double coats.
In the non sporting group grooming is specific to the breed. Shorter coated breeds like the Boston terrier and Bulldog are easy to maintain, needing regular bathing. Longer coated breeds like the Chow Chow and Poodle need bathing and weekly grooming to prevent tangles and matting. Being hairless, watch out for sunburn and skin irritation for hairless breeds like the Peruvian Hairless Dog and Xoloitzcuintle.
Often it is assumed no shedding means no grooming, but in fact, these breeds require regular or daily brushing, or hand stripping to avoid mats.
Here’s a list of breeds considered to be low shedding:
To see all the breeds grooming requirements in full detail, go to the Dogs Australia breeds page.