How to Groom a Dog with Curly Hair

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

If you have a dog whose body is covered with a mass of curly hair, grooming him can seem like your worst nightmare incarnate. Unlike many other types of dogs, those with this type of coat do not shed. While this might be great for those who don't want to deal with dog hair all over the house, it does mean you have to stay on top of grooming or you could end up with a terrible mess of mats that have to be constantly cut out. Although grooming your curly-haired dog might seem a bit intimidating, once you learn how to do it, both you and your pup will be a lot happier. 

Dog's Perspective

You might think your dog doesn't care about the condition of his coat. But, the reality is that even in the wild, dogs (think wolves, coyotes) will work at keeping their coats clean and free of tangles and mats. So, when your pup's coat gets all dirty and matted, he is not going to be a happy camper. At the same time, he might not like the brushes, combs, shears, and clippers used for grooming, so a little prep work may be in order to get him comfortable.

The Clean and Prep Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Clipper
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Bath time
Start by giving your pup a nice bath to remove dirt, debris, and fleas from his coat and body. Allow his coat to air dry or use a blow dryer if your dog will let you.
Step
2
Slicker brush
Using a slicker brush, work your way through his coat from nose to tail, remove any mats in his coat and leave your pup with a nice smooth coat. Work through the mats very slowly to avoid causing your pup any pain. You may have to use shears to remove them if they won't brush out.
Step
3
Clear out his ears
Using one hand, gently pull back on one ear and using your other hand gently grasp on any long hairs inside the ear. Pull gently on these hairs to remove them. While this might sound very painful, it's not as bad as you might think and removing the hair will help maintain your pup's hearing and ear health.
Step
4
Facetime
Starting with your pup's face, hold the skin tight and then use a set of clippers or shears to trim from the side of his face up to around his eyes and ears. Finally, trim around his muzzle and work your way down his neck and shoulders.
Step
5
Paws and tail
Using the clippers, gently buzz the hair between his toes by cutting against the direction in which his hair naturally grows. Be very careful here as it is very easy to cut into your pup's paws and cause serious injury. Next, lift up his tail and buzz from base to tip to remove all that excess hair.
Step
6
The body
Buzz your pup's legs and abdomen buy pushing the clippers against the direction the hair is growing in. Do one leg at a time and then buzz from his belly up to his rib cage. You can give your pup a "lamb-clip" and leave the outside of his legs uncut or you can simply buzz it all off. Moving from neck to tail, trim his coat using the clippers and then finish up by working your way down the sides, following his body's natural shape until you reach the underbelly that has already been groomed. Your dog should now look his best.
Recommend grooming method?

The Brush and Comb Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
Pin brush first
Using a pin or slicker brush, brush your pup's entire coat. This will remove any dead hair, dirt, and debris. If you encounter any mats, use a de-matting tool to remove them. If you don't have one of these, you can use a pair of very sharp shears to gently cut them out.
Step
2
Comb it out
Time to go back over his coat using a comb to make sure you have gotten all of the tangles out of it. Take your time doing this so that you don't end up snagging any tangles and ripping them painfully out of your pup's skin.
Step
3
Legs and paws
Using a pair of straight shears, trim the hair between his toes and pads leaving a nice powder puff shape. Then work your way up each leg, removing any excess hair using the same shears.
Step
4
Bodywork
Using shears or clippers, cut the hair on his torso down to where it is only two inches long, following the natural contours of his body. Repeat this on his sides and rump. Take your time and trim his coat back a little at a time to achieve the desired look. If you are not sure what your pup should look like, use a picture of a well-groomed dog of the same breed as a guideline.
Step
5
Bath time
Give your pup a nice warm bath or shower using a veterinarian-approved shampoo. Be sure to wash all residue out of his coat and allow your pup to air dry. This will keep his curls intact; blow-drying will leave you with an odd mixture of straight and curly hair.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Give your pup time to the get used to the clippers, shears, and other tools. This will make the job much easier.

  • When trimming the hair on your dog's body, cut in the direction the hair is growing for best results. On the legs, however, going against the direction of hair growth is usually most effective. 

  • Use clippers or shears with very sharp blades to avoid snagging his hair and ripping it out of his skin.

  • Never let your pup's coat ungroomed as this will lead to masses of tangles and mats that may require shaving your pup to remove.

  • If your pup won't stand still, you may need to use a groomer's harness to hold him in place for his safety and yours.

  • Use a photograph of a well-groomed dog in your pup's breed as a guideline until you are sure you can groom your pup's coat to match without it.

  • Never use shampoos meant for humans, they can burn his skin and cause other medical conditions that may require veterinary treatment. 

Conclusion

Your curly-haired pup likes to look his best. Not only does regular grooming help with this, it also helps remove any excess hair and gives you a chance to look over his body. You can use this time to bond with your pup and to check him over for fleas, ticks, mats, and injuries. Once you get used to grooming your curly-haired pup, it should take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Gambino
Schnoodle
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Gambino
Schnoodle
2 Years

Hi there! My little rescue has a very long haired curly tail. Hes pom, schnoodle and cocker spaniel mix. In between groomings id like to trim it as it gets so long (see photo). How can I trim his tail without completely butchering it? I trimmed and it looks so choppy and might have gone too short. Thank you so much :)

Paige Thompson
Paige Thompson
Dog Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hi Leny! If you want to trim Gambino's tail in between grooms I recommend you get some professional grooming shears to start. You want to extend his stail straight out and brush all hair straight towards the ground. Trim the desired amount off in a straight line or you can make a half circle shape to keep it shorter near the hind end. Be mindful of where the tips of your shears are so you dont clip her legs. You can also have your groomer show you. Good Luck! Paige

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