Freshly groomed and bathed brown haired puppy waiting to be dried

Dog grooming styles & tips

Team Walmart Pets

June 25, 2021


min read

For many dogs, grooming is as simple as a bath, blow-dry and nail trim, but some breeds need a bit more than “wash, rinse, repeat” to maintain their coats. 

Without the help of a professional dog groomer, mobile dog grooming service or well-trained friend, fur can mat, hair can tangle and skin infections can fester. The following “outside the box” grooming techniques not only give some breeds their distinctive looks, they also help maintain a healthy coat and body.

Coat clipping

When you think of a “clipped” coat, you might picture a stunningly coiffed Poodle sporting puffy cuffs and pompoms on the head and hips (known as the Continental clip). But many other different styles of clip may suit your dog’s fur.

Most clipped styles — which can be done with electric dog grooming clippers or dog grooming scissors — need to be trimmed every four to six weeks to maintain shape.

Trim away tangled hair

Breeds with hair coats (as opposed to fur), such as Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers, are best served by hand trimming with scissors and frequent combing to prevent tangles and mats.

Cat grooming tips

Long- or medium-haired cats prone to matting can benefit from a “lion cut,” in which the body is shaved and fur left on the face, feet and tail tip.

Dogs with corded coats

The signature look of some breeds, like the Komondor, Puli and Bergamasco, involves long dreadlocks or cords. Curly, wool-like coats begin growing when puppies are 6 to 9 months old; then pet parents or groomers help shape these tendrils into cords.

Cords act like mops, gathering stray leaves, dust bunnies and mud — and these dogs can’t simply be brushed! Cords need to be separated by hand to avoid painful matted fur and stray burrs.

How often you bathe your dog largely depends on how dirty he gets. A corded dog may need a bath every one to four weeks. Leave plenty of time to air-dry, to avoid mold forming in the cords.

Hypoallergenic dogs

There are lots of dog breeds that are hypoallergenic. That means that they do not require grooming because they are non-shedding dogs that have hair, rather than fur like most other dogs.

  • Bichon Frise
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Poodle and Doodle breeds
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Maltese
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Havanese
  • Afghan Hound

Stripping your dog’s coat

Hand stripping dog grooming is a technique that removes a dead outer coat, rather than clipping it. It helps the dog stay cool, while allowing a new rough coat to grow in, maintaining the wiry look prized by some breeds. You can easily perform this at home with some grooming gloves.

Breeds that commonly need stripping include Wirehaired Dachshunds, German Wirehaired Pointers, Schnauzers and terrier breeds like Airedales and Scotties.

Whether plucked by hand or done with a special tool, stripping may sound painful, but most dogs don’t mind it when done properly.

If stripping sounds like too much work, that’s ok — there are no health risks from not doing so. Clipping will cut off the hair’s wiry tips, though, resulting in a softer coat.

More tips for grooming at home

If you’re feeling confident about grooming your pet at home you can consider building your own pet grooming kit. There are lots of grooming supplies you can choose from, and of course to safely take part in the grooming process it all starts with a grooming table.

Pet Grooming

Pet Care

Photo by David Kemptner on Unsplash