How to Brush a Wavy Coat

10 - 30 Minutes
1 Day


Laura and her poodle cross are visiting her cousin's farm, a great chance for him to enjoy a romp in the country. Most wavy haired dogs are water-sporting dogs by nature, and really enjoy the great outdoors--lakes, ponds, swamps, whatever. By the time Laura’s dog is back at the house he is a real mess. Dried mud, burrs, and something else unidentified clings to his wavy coat, not sure what, but it really smells bad! 

Brushing your wavy coated dog's hair can be a bit of a challenge, as the great outdoors really likes to cling and become embedded in this type of hair. Also, if you don't keep up with daily grooming, wavy hair tends to curl around itself, creating mats, especially around ears, at the neck, in armpits, hind end and between toes. These mats trap moisture and can result in sores and hot spots. Most wavy coated dogs are low shedding dogs, which means your house will not have as much hair distributed all over it, and most wavy haired dogs do not trigger allergies. However, lots of daily brushing is required so their wavy coats don't become tangled and matted, and accumulate everything they come into contact with. So when your wavy haired dog comes in looking a lot like the field he just ran through, it’s time to pull out the burrs and get to work!

Dog's Perspective

Because your wavy haired dog’s hair tends to wind around itself, even when he is not accumulating dirt and debris outside, regular daily brushing to prevent mats and skin infections is required. However, if you pull on tangles, and snarls your dog will not be too happy with the grooming process, which will make brushing a real daily chore for both of you! Start when your dog is a puppy so that he gets used to brushing, and pair the task with rewards like food treats or play. Use the right tools, and be gentle. Work in small time increments, especially with young dogs, so they don’t get tired. If you make brushing pleasant for your wavy haired dog, he will enjoy it and make it pleasant for you by cooperating!

Caution & Considerations

  • Do not use a comb to pull out knots, work them loose with fingers or brush.
  • Check behind ears, in the groin, and under legs for knotted hair. These are areas where knots and mats are common.
  • You will need to get down to the skin of a wavy-coated dog to ensure the hair is adequately brushed, debris removed, and tangles removed.
  • Watch for signs of skin infections where knots and mats have occurred, especially at the neck and around ears, and address with a veterinarian if necessary.
  • When fluffing with a blow dryer, make sure heat setting is low and your dog’s skin does not become overheated.


Wavy haired dogs can be a lot of work to brush, as their hair tends to knot and snarl easily. However, for those who want a low shed dog that won't leave hair all over the house, or those that suffer from allergies, a wavy-coated dog may be the best option, and well worth the extra grooming work. You will need to brush your dog's hair from root to tip, gently, so as not to pull hair when removing knots. Slicker brushes or pin brushes can be used to remove dead hair and debris from wavy coats. Keep an eye out for skin problems while brushing down to the skin, and make sure you get your dog's underarms, behind the ears, and other problem areas where knots are apt to form.  

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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