by Joan Anselm
Reprinted from What You Should Know About The
Giant Schnauzer, 5th Edition ©1988
A well groomed dog feels and looks healthy:
nutrition, conditioning and training are all an integral part of the
the total dog. Grooming the Giant Schnauzer is both a technical and
individual problem and certainly difficult to generalize about. On
the end of the spectrum there are dogs with hard bristle‑like hair
and no undercoat ranging to dogs with only a soft wooly undercoat. I
will concentrate on the correct coat as described in the Standard.
"Hard, wiry, very dense; composed of a soft undercoat
and a harsh outer coat which, when seen against the grain, stands
slightly up off the back, lying neither smooth nor flat. Coarse hair
on top of head; harsh beard and eyebrows, the Schnauzer hallmark."
A young puppy should be accustomed to standing on a
sturdy table while being restrained: a collar and leash connected to
an arm. Make the sessions short and sweet. Once serious grooming
begins, the dog will be emotionally prepared.
THE STAGES OF GROOMING
- Strip the
body about 12 weeks before the date of the dog show. The coat must
grow to a length of 2 inches. All hair grows at various rates.
Keep a record of your stripping dates, particularly if you are
working on more than one dog.
- Strip the
neck about 10 days after the body.
procedures ‑ Work with just a few strands of hair at a time,
pulling them out by the roots. This can be done with thumb and
fore‑finger, or a dull blunt toothed (no cutting edges) stripping
comb and thumb working with a stiff wrist and jerk of the lower
arm. Baby powder sprinkled on the area will minimize the
slipperiness of the hair. A warm hot bath to the hair will also
make it easier to pull out. Bandaids are helpful on the blistered
fingers! The reason for stripping is to speed up the process of
removing the dead hairs, thus giving room for the new growth. If
the outer coat (guard coat) is slow in coming in then either rake
with a Stripping knife or clip away the undercoat.
- At the same
time, 12 weeks, groom the head. Strip the top, clip areas
designated, blend sharply cut areas with thinning shears. If an
error is made, there is time to cover it up in the next 12 weeks.
The head must be worked on regularly. Study pictures of any
Schnauzer and try to form a clean, natural appearance. The head
viewed from the front should form a rectangle. The hair will not
usually fall exactly where it should: use the 12 weeks to train
its direction. Mustache wax is helpful.
- Use a #15
blade on the head when clipping. Use a #10 blade on the neck below
the collar and on the rear.
- Keep teeth
clean. They will need scraping about every 3 months depending upon
the type of diet. Ask your dentist for his old dull scrapers.
- Trim the
nails every week. Long nails can shift the weight of the dog to
the back of the foot which in turn puts an added strain on the
pasterns. It would be a shame if your dog was structurally sound,
beautifully groomed but a poor mover...
- Stand back
and take an objective view of your dog. Set the dog in a
show position and take a polaroid picture. Mistakes will show up.
Most likely the furnishings need to be taken down.
clipping the rear, use the cowlick as your boundaries.
Blend the stripped hair with the clippered hair by using thinning
shears. All steps must blend with one another on the final stage.
underline of the body must be trimmed so that it forms a straight
line slanting somewhat towards the front legs. This Is one of the
trickiest spots to get correctly. Place the dog in a show
stance on the table and comb the hair forward. Gradually repeat,
using thinning shears and comb to work from back to front until
you have a straight line. The amount of slant will depend upon the
shape of the dog and the amount of hair available. If properly
executed, it will be an important part of the balance of the dog.
- About 10
days before show time, clip the front and rear with a #10 blade.
Use a #15 on the cheeks and throat about 4 days before and do the
ears, inside and out, 1 day before. Keep area under the tail
close, trim hair from between pads, pull hair from inside the ears
where the clippers can't reach. Using scissors, cut hair from
around the feet but don't be tempted to make the feet smaller
looking than the columned leg. Watch at the shows for the Terriers
and observe how they are presented. The approach in many instances
can be applied to the Giant Schnauzer.
-leave your scissors at home and enjoy the show. First of all, the
lighting is usually not adequate, nor is your hand steady. Spend
your time washing the furnishings, towel drying and gently
combing, allowing about an hour for the preparations. Wipe off the
body with a towel, clean the crusts from the eyes, clean area
around the genitals, relax and enjoy yourself!
- None of
this information will be useful to you unless the dog has
furnishings to trim, comb and shape. These precious hairs must be
pampered with oil (Alpha-Keri) to keep them from breaking
off: They must be kept clean and should be combed daily. Remove
foreign objects immediately.
- The coat
can be rotated for many months on many dogs by raking out some of
the undercoat, enough to keep the outer coat from standing on end.
Pluck sparingly every day. Some coats will begin to look motheaten
after awhile and it this happens, withdraw your entry and begin
the stripping of the entire coat. Don't show your dog unless it
is looking its best.
A Note About Pepper & Salt Coats
by Cathy Robins
As a devotee of Pepper and Salts, I'd like to point
out that we have some different approaches. The hairs of a true
Pepper and Salt are agouti (ah-goo-tea) in pattern, i.e. banded in
black, grey, white and, occasionally tan. See illustration. In
addition, undercoat colors differ.
One dog may have a dark undercoat, another pale. If,
in stripping a Pepper and Salt, we allow too much differential in
hair length, we will not only have a textured difference, but a
color difference as well. I had this lesson brought home to me when
I tried to make the tuck up of a Pepper and Salt extra short. It
looked like she had a hole in her flanks! I usually strip body one
week, flanks, thighs and tail the next week, and neck and shoulders
the following week.
Clippering on Pepper and Salts is particularly tricky
and should be restricted to less-banded areas where a tiny variation
in length of hair will not leave a spot of different color. This
means, do not clipper any area except cheek, throat, belly,
underneath the tail and the rump. Leave the top skull alone unless
you are a genius with clippers. Strip it. It will last longer and
look better! I think blending, such as on neck line and al the rump,
may be a little more tricky and important in pepper and salts.
Giants have moderately to very hard coats. It is seldom necessary to
strip them bald if the groomer or owner has been diligent in
brushing and raking. Many have extremely hard, easy care coats (as
do quite a few blacks) which can simply be rolled. ..loose hairs
plucked out as they appear. With dark undercoats (and in some black
Giants with pale undercoats) one must be careful in plucking the
outer coat or too much of the undercoat will show as a contrasting
patch. This may also happen in a black Giant with deficient
undercoat...the pale blue grey skin will show through!