Grooming The Welsh Springer
The Front Leg Feathering and Elbows. The long feathering on the back of the front legs remains full and long, however it should not be so long as to drag on the ground. I normally remove the excess fur from the back of the foot and up the back of the leg for about one/half inch then cut and trim the feathering on the back of the leg so that it will not drag the ground. The feathering on the back of the leg will typically vary in length from one inch at the bottom to approximately three to four inches at the elbow. Sometimes, if your dog has excessive feathering, the dog can appear to have bowed front legs when the dog is moving directly toward you. Assuming the dog's front is straight this illusion is caused by excess feathering on the front legs forcing the feathering to flare out more than normal at the elbow. This illusion is corrected by using the thinning scissors and removing the flyaway fur from the surface of the fur at the elbows and if necessary from the inside of the elbows. As you continue with this process, use the comb to remove the thinned fur and to verify the action. Be careful not to remove too much of the feathering during this process. (See Fig. 8)
The Back Legs. On the back legs, using the thinning scissors and straight edge scissors, cut and thin the long fur on the back of the leg from the foot to the top of the hocks. Be careful not to remove too much fur. The hocks should look smooth without feathering but not too close. The feathering on the back of the legs above the hocks should be tapered to present a neat appearance. The longer fur between the legs will generally not extend much beyond the top of the hocks. (See Fig. 9)
The Tail. Using the thinning scissors and straight edge scissors, cut and thin the long fur hanging from the tail to a length of about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Be careful not to trim the end of the tail too short, making it appear bald. Do not cut the feathering if your dog's tail is not docked, simply trim the feathering to present a neat tapered appearance. Carefully cut the excess fur from around the anus. Make certain the dog is steady before attempting this as it is a sensitive area. (See Fig 10)
The Teeth. While it can be considered a part of normal good health maintenance, maintaining your dog's teeth is also considered a part of overall good grooming. On a regular basis (at least once a week) you should brush your dog's teeth to minimize the buildup of tarter and plaque, tooth discoloration, bad breath, and maintain healthy gums. This should be started when the dog is a puppy. (See Fig 11)
If a dog's teeth need to have heavy deposits of tarter and plaque removed you can use dental cleaning/scraping tools to accomplish this, however: if you are not experienced in doing this, do not try this on your own. Have a friend who is experienced or a vet show you how to accomplish this.
Completion. Completely comb and brush the dog again, carefully trimming any area that is not as smooth as it should be. Now is the time to look at the longer feathering on the chest, stomach and front legs. The feathering should be "tidied-up" but should not be manicured to the extent of other breeds by trimming the very long strands of fur to balance the feathering. (See Fig. 12)
This completes the grooming of the Welsh Springer; however it really is not as difficult as it may sound. Keep the grooming sessions short and enjoyable and your dog will look forward to all the extra attention it is getting.