How to Groom a Curly Haired Dog

5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day


Dogs with curly coats tend to be low-shed dogs. This is great news if you don't want hair all over your house, or if you are allergic, as many dog allergic people can tolerate curly coated pets. However, low shed, curly coated dogs, do shed a little, and loose hair gets caught in their curly coats. If not regularly groomed, this trapped hair forms knots and eventually mats in your curly coated dog. Besides being unsightly, bacteria can get trapped under mats and cause skin irritation and sores. Also, curly coated dogs, if not regularly groomed, can get pretty scruffy looking. There is a tendency for hair on their face, in the ears, between toes, around the mouth, and near the eyes to become covered in debris or discharge, which is unsightly, smelly, and can cause health problems in the way of infections from trapped bacteria. Curly coated dogs can also have feces get caught and built up on their backends. Addressing these areas is especially important when grooming your curly coated dog.

Dog's Perspective

If you have a curly coated dog, you will notice that his or her coat is prone to little knots from debris or loose hair getting caught in the curly coat and the hair twisting around this debris. If you are not careful and do not use the correct method when you groom your dog, you will be pulling on these little knots. Ouch, that hurts! Your dog will eventually get frustrated from having his coat pulled during grooming and start avoiding grooming. This is not what you want, you want your dog to love being groomed and for it to be a pleasant time for both of you. Understanding correct techniques for grooming your curly coated dog will make grooming pain-free and fun for your curly coated pup.

Caution & Considerations

  • Always use caution working with scissors so as not to injure the dog. Hold scissors parallel to the dog's body, never with the tip pointed toward the dog.  

  • Do not use a comb to pull out knots, work them free manually or with a brush or deshedder to avoid pulling hair and hurting your dog.

  • Do not over bathe your dog and strip his coat of necessary oils.

  • Check behind the 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 curly-coated dog to ensure the hair is adequately brushed. If you run a brush over the dog's top coat the undercoat will not have debris removed and mats can develop.

  • 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.


Your curly haired dog will learn to love grooming time if you take the time to make sure it is comfortable for your dog, by working slowly and with the right tools. Although grooming a curly haired dog to remove tangles in the undercoat can be time-consuming at first, once the initial work has been accomplished, keeping it up with daily brushings is not difficult, and will keep your pup looking pretty perfect!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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