My lovely husband describes grooming his schnauzer as ranging from as simple as him getting ready for work, or as stressful as him getting ready for our wedding! Grooming can be a bonding experience between you and your pet, or as hands-free as ‘Please groom my schnauzer and call me when you’ve finished’.
We provide ‘learn-to-groom’ support and a grooming service for the pups we breed, and this is an overview of the tools we use ourselves and the techniques we have learnt over the years.
The Schnauzer Coat
The schnauzer has a double-coat; a harsh wiry top coat and a soft undercoat. More about the science of the coat and hand stripping can be found on the page Hand stripping. Clipped schnauzers (using clippers over the whole body) will feel soft and look more grey instead of salt and pepper. This is because the top coat grows more slowly after clipping and may even not grow back at all.
The advantage of leaving the top coat, apart from the look, is that it naturally repels water and dirt. Clipped dogs smell more ‘doggy’ than schnauzers with their top coat to protect them.
These are my essential tools (from left to right):
- ‘Detangler’ rolling comb
- ‘Furminator’ – which effortlessly removes undercoat
- Heros (chiropody sponge available from pharmacies) to take out loose hairs easily & keeps the dog looking schmick
- good quality hairdressing scissors
- short wire ‘slicker’ brush for furnishings (hair on legs & belly)
- ‘Coat King’ stripping tool that makes it a relatively simple matter to maintain the natural top coat (easier than hand stripping; not technically correct for showing but perfect for a pet).
You will need someone who knows how to groom a Schnauzer to do the ‘top & tail’ every six to eight weeks which, to give you an idea, in my experience involves:
- an all over wash
- combing the coat out
- clipping/ grinding the nails
- trimming the hair from under the paws, between the toes and around the paws so they look like ‘cat feet’
- clipping the ears, sides of the face, chest, and rear end
- neatening up the furnishings
- trimming the beard
- trimming the eyebrows (these particularly need an expert as they need to be done on the right angle, not too short but not left so long as to interfere with their vision until the next groom)
- trimming around the ears and plucking the hair from inside them
- thinning the hair between the eyes
- trimming the fringe on the undercarriage (Schnauzers shouldn’t have a skirt like say a cocker spaniel would have – normally a Schnauzer’s undercarriage fringe is about 1 inch or less in length, tapering up towards the groin area)
- trimming the hair down the centre of the chest
- thinning the tail & blunt cutting the very tip
- blending in the top coat into the clipped sections.
Some groomers will include emptying the anal glands as well.
You’ll find more information on grooming on the page Schnauzer ‘Look’ Grooming Guide so you can learn to recognise what a ‘proper’ Schnauzer groom should look like.
Make sure you run a comb through their beard and furnishings at least weekly. Keeping on top of the undercoat with the ‘Furminator’ is also helpful as this keeps the dog more comfortable.
If you’re up for maintaining the topcoat (relatively easy with a stripping tool like the Coat King) it will protect your dog from getting as wet and dirty as they do with a clipped coat; the waxy topcoat provides natural protection against the elements and with most Schnauzers this can be ‘rolled’ ie dead old hair comes out and new hair grows through in an ongoing process. Generally this is quite an easy process that can be managed with just 30 – 40 mins of combing through with the tools once a week and is easy for people to learn to do themselves. It’s a process that is not painful for the dog, most actually find it very relaxing and may even fall asleep. Another benefit is that it is a practical, easy way to assert your dominance over your Schnauzer and strengthen your bond. Of course it also saves you money at the groomers!
Schnauzers are not a dog to wash all over frequently if they’re kept with their double coat. Just wash the beard and furnishings and leave the all-over wash to your 8-weekly groom 🙂
Be mindful that there are very, very few groomers who know how to deal with a Schnauzer’s natural double coat. It is absolutely in the dog’s best interest to maintain this coat so it’s worth doing your research and learning what you can about this.
For those who have bought a pup from us in the Precious Pup Program: we routinely groom on a Sunday afternoon and are happy for you to organise with us to bring your pup over for us to support you in learning what to do and work alongside you. We also offer subsidised grooming services for Precious Pup parents who don’t want to or don’t have the time to groom themselves.
Hopefully the information collated on this website will be of support to you. Note there’s a difference between ‘stripping’ and ‘rolling’. The topcoat can be fully stripped out ie removed every six months or so. There can be a great deal of variation between Schnauzers and their coats however many of them are able to be ‘rolled’ in an ongoing way, rather than this major twice-yearly stripping enterprise. Rolling requires weekly attention. For some coats however stripping the topcoat out will be what is necessary and, again, it is easier than it sounds and not unpleasant for the dog, just time-consuming to do but ultimately a better outcome in terms of a coat that is more comfortable for the dog and easier to live with as an owner!