Show Grooming

Familiarize yourself with the breed standard.  Know your dog’s strengths and weaknesses.  When you groom, accentuate the positive and show off your dog’s good features.  Remember that the coat should not be so excessive as to hinder his work as a flushing spaniel.  Part of grooming should also include conditioning with weight being in proportion to height and preserving the rectangular shape of the dog.  The Welsh Springer Spaniel should not be displayed with any excessiveness.  It is the one flushing spaniel with no exaggeration or extreme in styled body type or customized grooming fads.

GROOMING  BETWEEN SHOWS

Between shows the dog’s coat should have a conditioner applied to help prevent mats, split ends and to keep the feathering oiled.  Two to three weeks before the show, the dog should be combed out, remembering to dampen the coat before combing.  Gently remove all mats using the Suave detangling spray.  Using a stripping blade or fine toothed comb, work on the body coat, starting at the neck and working toward the rear of the dog.  This will get some of the soft undercoat removed to make the topcoat lie smoother to the body.  Work in the direction of the way the hair grows.  Work all the way down each front leg and the side of the rear legs removing the fuzzy hair at the top of the front leg and the side of the hock.  Some of this fuzzy hair is easily removed with thumb and finger stripping and a little chalky ear powder.  I like to work on the dead hair of the body coat before bathing because you can get a better grip on dirty hair.  More dead hair will come out after bathing, as well, due to the massaging of the body hair during the bath.

Bathe the dog with a good cleaning shampoo.  If you have stubborn stains or grease you can use some diluted detergent (Dawn or Palmolive) for ease in getting out the stains.  Detergent should not be used on a regular basis because it is very harsh to the hair.  Products that are made especially for dogs should be used as much as possible.  Apply a light conditioner to keep the dog’s coat moisturized and texturized.  The body coat should be brushed in the direction it grows and can be toweled to make the hair lie flat.  Feathering can be dried with a hair dryer on cool setting or can dry naturally.

SHOW TRIM

Now that the dog is dematted, has some dead hair removed, and is bathed, you are ready to start the initial trim for the show.  Set your dog up in front of a mirror and see what the judge is going to see.  Look at the outline you want to present to the judge and determine how best to groom your dog for that polished presentation to the judge.  I like to begin my initial show trim of the dog at least two weeks before the show because the hair grows back just slightly enough to give a more natural appearance.

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