Thank you Sue Moen with Klondike Spinone who wrote the information below on grooming the Spinone.
GROOMING IS defined here as basic cleaning &
upkeep of your Spinone. The correct hard textured coat will need only a
minimal stripping, combing and occasional bath. The incorrect coat will
require more. Whether you have a hunting dog, show dog, or family companion,
your Spinone should be groomed regularly to the look of the breed. The
following information is a guide for all Spinone owners, as to how the dog
should be maintained.
The following information is a guide for all Spinone owners, as to how the dog
should be maintained A clean dog is a healthy dog.
1. Comb out all the dead hair you can before bathing. Use only a
Harsh Coat Shampoo and rinse at the skin level. Ordinary shampoo contains
conditioners which are oils. Any oil will soften the coat and so will not
rinsing well. Towel off the dog and allow to air dry. [use waterless shampoo
between baths to spot clean. Use one part water to one part Listerine for the
same purpose and to treat skin abrasions.] See
2. Clean the ears: Apply ear powder in the canal and
‘pluck’ a very few hairs at a time out until they are all out. The powder
makes it easier for you to remove the hair and more comfortable for the
animal. Forceps can be used, but be careful. Once all the hair is out, use a
cotton ball with ear cleaner to clean out all the wax. Apply an ‘ear drying
cream’ to help keep the ear canal dry and prevent yeast infections. (You can
also use a #10 or #5/8 blade clipper to shave around the ear opening and inner
flap—so there will be more air flow to the canal.
3. Cut the toe nails and file the edges. Use a blunt end scissor to trim
the hair under and around the pads (be careful) You can also use #10 blade and
shave the pad area of hair—then apply ‘Bag Balm’ to the area. Use Quick Stop
if you cut the nail too short and it bleeds.
4. Comb the dog starting with the wide tooth comb, and again with the
closer tooth comb, and finally with a fine flea comb. Use thinning scissors to
remove any ‘mats’ & trim around the eyes so they are visible, the ‘tuft’ of
hair in front of the eyes and eyebrows. Trim the end of the tail and any hair
that hangs down under the tail. Trim around the ‘privates’ . Comb the ear
leather hair straight out from the edge and trim it evenly around the outer
edge to the length of the coat or 1 to 1 &1/2 inches.
5. The correct harsh coat needs only slight shaping with a stripping
knife and you are done. Do not be afraid to remove hair—it will grow back.
GROOMING PRODUCTS NEEDED: See
Shampoo - Harsh Coat (also called Terrier or Protein),
Waterless/Self-rinse Shampoo, Ear Cleaning Solution, Ear Powder, Ear Drying
Cream, Quick Stop - for nail trimming, Listerine Mouthwash, Cornstarch Baby
Powder, Buy Harsh Coat Shampoo over the Internet or by catalogue and save. Buy
it in the gallon size if you are going to do your own dog baths. Even if they
do not say so, these shampoos can and should be diluted 3 parts water to 1 of
shampoo (some are 5 to 1). Mix only what you will use right now. Wet the dog,
work the shampoo into the coat starting at the head and working toward the
tail. Rinse at the skin level. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Buy and keep some
Waterless or Self Rinse Shampoo in a spray bottle for between bath clean ups.
(This shampoo is not dilatable) You should spray the area to clean, lather up
the shampoo and towel off the excess. In place of Waterless Shampoo, you can
use Listerine Mouth Wash straight or diluted 1 part water to 1 part mouthwash.
This is also an excellent disinfectant for cuts and abrasions as well as a
healing agent for hot spots and insect bits.
GREAT THINGS TO KNOW: See
1. To remove oil in the coat - use 1 part vinegar to 1
part water as a final rinse after the bath. This will remove residue from the
2. To reduce beard stain - mix the juice of one lemon with a little
dishwashing detergent and work into the beard. Let stay in for 15 minutes and
3. If you ever use Flea Shampoo - be sure to put mineral oil in the
dog's eyes and try to keep the shampoo out of them. Flea Shampoo has to sit in
the coat for 5 - 15 minutes and can harm eyes.
SOME GROOMING EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED BASIC GROOMING
EQUIPMENT: See Figure 3
Nail Clipper & Nail File, Pin Brush, Curry Brush, Fine &
Coarse Combs, Very Fine Flea Comb, Basic Stripping Knife, Thinning Scissors,
Regular (blunt end), Scissors.
ADVANCED GROOMING EQUIPMENT:
Electric Clipper with #4F, #5F, #7F, #10 and 5/8 Blades, #2
Clip on Comb (2 Guard), Rubber Fingers (office supply), Forceps, Pumice Stone,
STRIPPING: See Figure
Weather you call it stripping, plucking or carding, you
are removing dead hair and shaping the coat. Regular stripping will improve
the coat and is the only method you should use with a show dog. It is however,
also a wonderful way to maintain the hunting dog coat so that it shedds field
HOW STRIPPING A DOG WORKS:
The coat has two kinds of hair. The outer or guard coat usually
consists of coarser fewer hairs while the inner coat is made up of many more,
shorter hairs. The hairs on a dog’s coat stop growing at a pre-determined
length at which point they ‘die’ and are pushed out by new hair growth. The
dead hair is ‘shed’ as the new growth comes in on ‘drop coat breeds’ (that is
the term for a dog that naturally looses or sheds coat) Some breeds shed twice
per year (usually spring and fall), some breeds shed slightly throughout the
year and some breeds do not shed their coats at all. The Spinone can fit all
these conditions – some do not appear to shed, some shed a little all the time
and some appear to shed a lot once or twice a year. (It is believed this
difference is because of the other breeds used to bring back the Spinone after
WWII – many old writings on the breed will say they do not shed). The vast
majority of Spinoni shed. Some of it has to do with the environment, some the
dog’s health and some the genetic programming of the coat. Why Strip The Coat?
Why not shave it down? Stripping maintains a Spinone’s natural harsh coat
texture and color. Leaving the dead hair on the dog promotes matting and
lessons the dog’s ability to keep body heat regulated and perform his
function. A stripped coat is harder, is dirt and water repellent, and does not
mat as easily as an un-stripped coat or electric clippered coat. (Another way
to groom a dog’s coat) A properly stripped coat will lie flatter and stay
flatter even when longer, than a clippered coat, which will get softer and
thinner over time, as new growth comes in. A Spinone coat that is not ever
stripped will appear thinner and softer as well. So stripping makes the dog
look better but more important helps him function well as a hunter companion.
You can strip a dog successfully using just your fingers but it is much easier
on you and the animal if you invest in some basic stripping tools.
STRIPPING KNIFE: See
This is not really a knife as the 'blade' is not usually
sharp. It is a piece of metal with grooves in the blade to catch and pull
hair; it is the number of grooves and thickness of the 'blade' that can make
the knife appear sharp. A stripping knife acts as an extension of the fingers
to improve your grip on the hairs you are pulling out. You should start out
with an inexpensive stripping knife that fits comfortably in you hand and does
not feel sharp. Expensive is not always better. The knives I use the most cost
about $8 each and fit the contour of my thumb. Blue is Coarse and Red is Fine.
Coarse is used for the majority of body stripping Fine is used for the small
areas like head and ears and shaping.
GROOMING POWDER: See
You can use ear powder, white chalk powder but the most
cost affective is Cornstarch Baby Powder. The powder makes the hair come out
easier and is more comfortable for you and your dog.
Two rubber fingers from the office supply can be used with
the powder in place of the stripping knife. All you really need is powder, the
rubber fingers, and strong arms to hand strip a dog.
THE TWO TECHNIQUES OF STRIPPING:
1. See Figures 6, 7, & 8
Stripping out dead hair: Apply and work a small amount of powder into
the hair in the area you wish to strip. Stretch the skin taut with one hand
and place a few hairs between your thumb and the stripping knife. Lock your
wrist immobile in a straight line from you arm (do not move your wrist – it
must be stiff and motionless) To properly strip move your arm only from the
elbow or shoulder. Pull in a rapid and straight motion in the direction the
hair grows and close to contour of the dog. MOST IMPORTANT
thing to remember is to keep the wrist rigid and not use a twisting motion.
Dead hair will come out easily while live coat will not. The dead hair being
removed does not usually bother dogs. If the hair is hard to pull out – it is
alive. You may still remove it and this is where the powder will help the most
and also help ease the discomfort, if any, the dog may have. Pull rapidly in
the direction the coat grows.Grip only a few hairs and keep your wrist immoble.
2. See Figure 9 Shaping the
coat. Shaping a coat is nothing more than breaking the hair to the length you
want. Place a few hairs between your thumb and the stripping knife and rotate
your wrist and pull at a 90-degree angle to the coat. This breaks off the hair
but leaves it attached to the animal. Shaping is done to give the dog the look
of the breed. Spinone should have eyebrows but the forehead should be flat;
they should have a beard but it should appear to be balanced with the square
look of the muzzle. The trademark ‘fan’ in front of the eyes should be visible
but shortened to see the human like eyes the breed is known for. MOST
IMPORTANT - take only a few hairs at a time and remember to rotate
with a twisting motion of the wrist. Rotate your wrist to 90degrees and pull
to shape the coat. The dog should have no problems from the stripping. Keep in
mind the dog should be clean before stripping. However, it is not a bad idea
to spray after stripping with the Listerine mixture in order to cut down the
risk of skin irritations or a staph infection.
GOOD THINGS TO KNOW: See
1.The Mars Stripping Rake design works best for me. If
you order a Stripping Knife from a catalogue and it is 'sharp' to the touch
when you get it, rub sand paper across the tips to 'dull' it up. You do not
want it sharp, especially if you are a beginner.
2. Only use Cornstarch Baby Powder - the other kind is not good for the
lungs if breathed in.
3. An inexpensive 'pumice stone' used for cleaning a BBQ grill or
removing dead skin on your heal will also pull out hair very well - use the
same as a stripping knife or just pull it over the coat.
4. See Figure 11 Tools called
Furmanators are nothing more than a stripping knife on its side and they work
well to pull dead hair. Shedding blades also do this work. You can also use
your stripping knife like a comb to pull loose hair to cut down on shedding.
GROOMING FOR THE SHOW RING:
In grooming a Spinone for the show ring, nothing should be done that
detracts from the breeds unique characteristics or rustic look. Always hand
strip. Spinone with a wiry tight coat will take only minimal stripping and
shaping. The ‘crimped’, or medium harsh coat, will need more hair removed.
There are two choices:
1. To ‘roll the coat’ - that is remove a small amount of hair on the dog
every day so the dog always appears ring ready.
2. Letting the coat grow for several months and doing major stripping
when it gets too shaggy looking. The head requires the most work. The top of
the head from back of the eyebrows to the base of the skull should be
completely stripped close. Blend into the neck coat. Strip out the throat area
down to the breast bone and take down the ridge of hair under the ears on the
neck. Strip the downy hair on the insides of the ear, outside should be
shortened too. Blend the eyebrows back away from the eyes and clean down the
cheek area. Shorten the ‘fan’ in front of the eyes. (eyebrows and fan can be
hand shaped or you can use thinning scissors) Thin the beard as well, to
balance the head. It should appear square. Trim the hair around the ear
leather but make it look natural. Trim the end of the tail hair off. Take off
any long hair at the elbows and under the belly and under the tail. There
should be no ’feathering’ . Two area where the dog may have more coat than
needed are at the shoulders and hips. Use your judgment to take out the excess
hair but balance those areas with the rest of the dog. The bottom pads of the
feet should be trimmed of hair but around the foot should be left natural When
you finish grooming, your Spinone should look natural.
See Figure 12
>Yellow:Strip close (shave if a pet) >Blue: remove excess
hair & blend in >Orange: neaten up longer hair by hand or with scissors, [Use
thinning scissors to thin out & blend in long hairs].
FOR PET GROOMING ONLY:
You can not fix a bad coat, but you can make it look better.
A longer, softer coat will mat easily and will need to be shortened to look
good and be more easily managed. You can spend a lot of time hand stripping
but the easiest method for you and the animal is to use an electric clipper.
Shave the top of the head from back of the eyebrows to the back of the skull
and down to the ear attachment with a #10 blade. Shave the inside and outside
of the ear leather Use a thinning scissors to blend in and shorten the
eyebrows, cheek area and neck. Trim evenly around the ear leather leaving 1
inch of hair. You should shorten the beard as well. Use a #10 or #15 blade
with a 2 guard to go over the rest of the dog. This will take the coat down to
about one and half inches. If you want shorter—use a #4F or #5F blade without
the guard. This will need to be done about every 4 months. If you have a
correct harsh coat but it is too long - Follow the same steps to keep it in
order. Use this method is for pets only.
1st off, this information will help you no matter what kind of dog you settle
The Spinone do not have the double coat like the many breeds you are
used to. Their insulation comes from their thicker skin rather like a seal's
blubber. However they do carry a dead undercoat that needs stripped or combed
out. This will happen more in the Spring and Fall. Their grooming does not
require the constant care that many of the double coated breeds but you still
must strip them out. I will pull out the dead when I am outside from just
habit. I have had people come up to me saying they have heard of the Spinone
and that they do not shed. All dogs (except the hairless) shed.
There are breeds that they call "non shedding" like the Poodle and Air Dale.
The fact is that they do shed but the hair will mat and not drop. So in
comparisons to some of the other double coated breeds, the Spinone do not shed
in the same great amounts.
As for your furniture, I would make a rule that your dog may only lay on
a certain chair or couch and have that chair couch with a easy to wash cover
or blanket. You will find your house work and dog smell will decrees by 3/4.
The odor from most dogs not just Spinone (excluding butt smell LOL) will
come from their ears, lip folds and under their collar. The collar smell comes
from it not drying underneath and souring. This can be avoided by pulling off
the collar once a week or so and throwing it into the dish washer. Believe it
or not the ear smell is the most common dog smell. It comes again from lack of
cleaning or infections. A moist wipe or warm soapy wash cloth every few days
or even once a week can clean that odor. The infections usually come from
moisture not drying (yeast), heavy swimmers, humid areas and sometimes ear
mites. You can purchase a bottle of blue ear cleaner that helps dry out the
moisture after swimming or even just a dry rag. If this is an infection then
you would need to have your Vet give you the proper medication. I am in an
area where I do not have this problem.
Lastly the lip folds. Certain breeds have these big hanging lips. Some
drool some do not depending on the shape of the lip fold. The Spinone and many
other hairy dogs have the lip fold and a beard. When they eat and grub in the
mud they can have clump in their beards. It is a very simple solution to this.
I use a rag with warm water and Listerine (1/4 cup Listerine 3/4 cup warm
water) then wipe them out. At the same time I will clean the ears. This should
be done with any dog to keep down the odors in the house hold.
As you know dogs just love to bath themselves on your carpets smearing that
dog odor. Just a note, most my guys do not drool unless begging for food or
I hope this helps Becky
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