Tuesday 28 February 2012

Old Fashioned sort of guy

I love that Beamish harkens back to the 'old style' schnauzer.  Wiry and stark of all the pretty long furnishings that you see mostly in Minis (but rears it's head in Standards every few years).  With Beamish, what ya see is what ya got.

In the late 80's when we first became involved in the breed there were a couple of Standard Schnauzers in the show ring that swept around the rings with powdered legs and beards flowing.  Our boy Hugo had barely any hair on his legs, we would wash and condition those little scraggy bits in the hope of making them grow, makes me laugh now.  We were new to the breed and dog showing and would bemoan our boys sad state of short prickly hair.  The breeders of Hugo would try to explain to us about proper coat, but all we saw was the pretty boys getting the ribbons and points.  Ah to be young and naive :-)

With time, research, experience and maturity I realized that this hard coated & furnished style is what I love best.  I did venture to the dark side of luxuriant coats several years back, a pup sired by a top American dog, very stylish, presented in a manner that one associates with the Miniature in the show rings.  She was a lovely girl in many ways, but oh my gosh, that coat, it was horrendous to work, body hair was all but glued in, stripping her coat was painful for both her and I.  No sooner would I finish grooming her, she would get off the table, shake and she would have tangles in her hair.  I showed her quickly to her championship then clipped her down.

I ran into this same thing with the Black Standards when I imported a male from Europe, his coat was...OK, not great, sort of average.  We bred him a couple times to different females and in almost  every litter he would produce what I can only describe as fluff coats, hadn't ever seen that in my Pepper & Salts and was a bit taken back by them.  Below is a photo of a black pup with the fluff coat
Now, these coats are not a problem if you are having your dog clipped, but you could never keep a fluff coat in a traditional stripped out Schnauzer jacket.  And oh those legs, I would recommend shaving them down with a clipper or trimming with scissors as short as possible to avoid matting.  I have noticed that fluffs have all had the most amazingly sweet personalities, they revel in being held, while the wiry coated pups in the same litter would be a higher energy on the go sort of pups, it's weird.  I have bred one daughter sired by that black male and she too presented us with a couple of fluffs in her litter.  Gorgeous structured pups, with that same cuddly pick me up personality and sporting those glorious, wavy, snugly coats.

Are there drawbacks to the hard coat?  Yes, if you are wanting to show them, they take forever to mature as there are no furnishings to manipulate their outline, kind of like when your Schnauzer comes out of the water and his wet snout looks pointy and his legs a bit spindly.  It can be hard for your average judge to look across a line-up of schnauzers and see your rather naked looking dog and be brave enough to give him the ribbon.  I also find that in a really harsh coated dog the hair will fall off the moment it gets a bit long,  a good going over with a brush weekly will knock off that hair and keep them and your house neat. 

I call Beamish a wash and wear dog, actually, you rarely ever have to wash a dog like Beamish, another bonus, they don't hold dirt.  Their coat is almost water repellent, if for some reason you have to wash their body it is nearly impossible to get water and soap in there, they can come in the house from a downpour and with one shake are dry again.

As I 'mature' OK.....get older, I appreciate the hard coated dogs more and more.  Keeping them looking good is a breeze, 30 minutes on the grooming table (about every 6-8 weeks)  the first 15 minutes spent stripping off any long hairs, than, 15 minutes clipping his bottom, ears and throat and he comes out looking like the photo above, works for me!
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