Giant Schnauzers - Clip or Strip?
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Giant Schnauzers - Clip or Strip?

Dogs
Grooming & Hygiene

If you're thinking about adopting or buying a Giant Schnauzer, you may want to find out just how to go about keeping their coats looking good and in great condition. They are considered as being a “trimmed breed” which means they shed a minimal amount of coat compared to other breeds, namely Dobermans or Boxers to name but two. As such Giant Schnauzers need a lot more grooming either by hand-stripping or clipping their coats to keep them looking good because it ensures any dead coat is removed.

Keeping Your Dog Looking Like a Schnauzer

To keep your dog looking at its best and like a Giant Schnauzer should, you would need to take them along to a dog groomer around every six to eight weeks or so. However, you may want to learn how to keep your new four legged friend looking brilliant yourself. This is a great step to take if you want to create a really strong bond with a new dog.

The majority of dogs love being groomed, they adore all the attention their owners give them when they are being brushed, so this reinforces a wonderful bond between owner and their pet. The other brilliant thing about grooming your dog is you reinforce the fact “you” are the leader of the pack. Both dogs and owners find thirty or so minutes of grooming a rewarding and at times very relaxing experience.

Like everything new, at first it may seem like a pretty daunting task to groom you new dog, but the more you practice the more you understand the basic techniques used to keep your giant Schnauzer looking like the magnificent creatures they are. Below are a few tips and instructions on how to go about grooming, clipping or hand-stripping your new friend.

The Big Decision

The main thing you need to decide is whether you are going to clip or hand-strip your dog. Giant Schnauzers have what's called a double coat with the top coat being course and waterproof. The undercoat is softer much like down. If left alone, the coast will become “blown” at least once or maybe twice a year. The thing to remember, is the longer a dead top coat is left to its own devices, the more it becomes loose and puffs out due. This is due to the new coat growing as well as the undercoat pushing out from underneath – hence the “blown” effect.

This is when stripping the coat may be the best way forward. Although the process is extremely time consuming, the results of hand-stripping re superb. If you're thinking about showing your Giant Schnauzer at any point in time this will have to be done as it's a stipulation of the show ring.

The Process of Hand-stripping

Dead hair is removed by simply plucking it out with your hand or by using what is called a stripping knife. When the coat has been stripped, it allows the faster growing undercoat to be more easily maintained. This can be done by simply combing the coat with a stripping knife on a regular basis. Making it part of a weekly routine means far less work in the end, the other advantage being the more you do it the softer your dog's coat will be.

If you don't think you can hand-strip your dog yourself, then you should take them to a grooming parlour and initially have this done by experts, and then try to keep on top of things yourself after that.

Clipping Your Schnauzer: The Pros & Cons

Clipping is a far easier option and its a lot faster too. However, the downside of clipping is your dog's “body coat” may lose that lovely coarse texture that's typical of Schnauzers. The coat normally becomes a lot softer when regularly clipped and the reason this happens is because each individual hair grows thinner from its root and is thicker at the tip.

When the hair is cut it stops hairs from tapering and thickening which causes the courser texture synonymous with the breed to be lost. The other thing to remember, is that clipping does not in fact remove any undercoat. The result is the overall coat will appear the same colours as the undercoat which is often a lot more grey although sometimes it can have a red tinge to it.

Regular & Thorough Brushing is Essential

If you want your Giant Schnauzer to look the “bees knees”, then you have to keep up a routine of regularlt and thoroughly brushing your pet. Before you trim, clip or hand-strip your dog, you also have to brush their body coats thoroughly to make life a lot easier for yourself all round. The bonus being your dog will love all the attention you give them – and this as previously mentioned really does reinforce a strong bond between you and your new dog.

What About the Ears?

When it comes to the ears, you can clip these being very careful when you do. If you don't feel confident about doing this, then it's best to take your pooch to a grooming parlour and have the professionals take care of what is a tender and delicate area. However, if you are confident and your dog is not a fidget, then you can clip the ears using a number 10 blade being very careful the whole time. To finish off the edges, you need to trim them with scissors and again, you need to be very careful but the results are nice tidy edges as they should be.

What About My Dog's Feet?

You can trim any hair found between the pads, or your could use scissors to do this. Trimming the hair prevents clogs of dirt forming between your dog's pads which can be the cause of sore feet, especially in muddy, wet or icy weather.

Giant Schnauzers are gorgeous looking creatures and when they are clipped or hand-stripped, they are magnificent dogs to look at. If you don't feel comfortable about hand-stripping or clipping your dog, you should take them to a dog groomer and ask if you can watch while your dog is being beautified – like this you get to learn how to do it. You also get to see how much your dog likes or hates the whole process – this can be especially true when it comes to clippers.

The thing to remember is that if you do make a mistake when you clip your pooch it is not the end of the world because the hair grows back pretty quickly. Practice does make perfect and the bonus is you create a wonderful bond with your dog when you take the time to do it yourself – and that's a really great bonus!

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