Saturday, 19 March 2011

Schnauzers: A hairy adventure

Photo of Cutter from a couple years ago in all his hairy splendour. Can you see his herding dog heritage? Part Schnauzer, maybe part Bouvier, part I need a date with the clippers :-)) Thank you to every one who expressed their likes and dislikes about schnauzer hair....clipped hair vs.NOT. I wasn't surprised being that most people that have a purebred dog are attracted to the breed visually, then (hopefully) they explore the breed traits and if they love 'em, or, can at least survive 'em they choose the breed for themselves. Occasionally over the years owners of our schnauzers have sent me similar photos to those I have shared of Hope, void of the long hair on the legs (we call those furnishings) beard and brows. The first few times an audible gasp involuntarily escaped from me. When I use to groom dogs for a living I refused to trim schnauzers in this manner, just could not bring myself to running the clippers over them to that extent. Gosh there was a time when I would never of thought to even clipper the coat of my retired dogs, I didn't clipper Hugo's jacket until he was past 12 years of age. How times change, I cannot wait to clip most of my dogs down if they do not have a show career, and immediately the clippers come out once they complete their show championship. If you have owned a Senior Schnauzer you will marvel at the 'grungy beard dreadlocks' their saliva can produce as they age, most senior schnauzers eventually sport a beard similar to what they had growing in at about 4 weeks of age, I think of it as 'beard growth reversal' as they move further into the double digit years of their lives. Many MANY of my views have turned around drastically the last several years. Perhaps it is related to years of experience with the breed, maybe it is my own age and realizing that life is indeed short and do I really want to spend a big block of that time grooming dogs?? I know as my breeding program matures I have less and less time for a poor coat, I want a harsh, wiry, fully rotating coat that takes only minutes not hours to keep in shape. For instance, I popped Fiddle on the grooming table Thursday, she was looking like some kind of schnoodle-doodle, in less then 45 minutes I had her coat raked of undercoat, long guard hairs stripped out and looking like a handsome schnauzer once more. Fiddle's coat has set the bar pretty high for me when it comes to a schnauzer coat. One more question for ya all. Would it be worth my while to put together a grooming video on the Standard Schnauzer that covers the technique of hand stripping as well as a 'proper' pet clip? Advice on how to quickly tidy up your Schnauzer in minutes to keep them looking good between trips to the grooming salon? For those that don't want to do the job themselves, maybe advice on what to ask your groomer for so that you end up with a decent trim for your dollars. God knows I have seen the horrible job that many professional groomers do to the breed. Anything else that you wish someone would show you how to do yourself? Let me know.
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