How to Groom a Dog's Beard

Medium
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Lots of dogs have beards, that is, long hair under their mouth and chin. It looks cute, right? Unless it is tangled or soiled, then not so cute! 

Beards are especially common on wavy haired, hypoallergenic dogs, who are often clipped with their beards left long because it looks nice. However, your dog is not aware that he looks dapper with his beard all clean and fluffed up. Your dog is quite likely to bury his face in a hole he just dug, drool on his beard while eating or chewing a bone, or to drag it through whatever disgusting thing he is investigating under that bush on your walk. It does not take long for beards to become soiled with debris, saliva and food particles. No one wants a slobbery dog kiss from their dog with chunks of dirt or food hanging from the hair under his mouth. You will need to clean, brush, and sometimes trim your dog's beard to keep it looking spick and span and your bearded buddy looking handsome.  

Dog's Perspective

Having his beard groomed may not be high on your dog’s list of fun things to do today. Beards become tangled and dirty, especially on wavy haired, low shedding dogs, where they are common. Pulling on a matted, knotted, dirty, beard to comb it out and clean it is uncomfortable for your dog. His chin and lips are a sensitive area, and he may be resistant. Working gently and using the appropriate tools to work out tangles and remove debris in this area will make it easier for your dog to tolerate growing his beard.

The Clean It Up Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Comb
Step
1
Position dog
Hold your dog with his face elevated and out. A neck restraint on a grooming table is ideal. You can also have an assistant hold your dog on a leash with a loop under his head to help position it.
Step
2
Bristle brush
Brush your dog's beard out with a bristle brush to remove debris and surface tangles. A bristle brush is gentler than a comb as it distributes pressure and works on the surface first.
Step
3
Comb
Gently insert a metal comb into your dog's beard and gently work the comb through the beard. If you come upon tangles that won't comb out easily, work them out with your fingers.
Step
4
Wipe
Wipe the beard with disposable pet cleaning cloths or soak a microfiber cloth in white vinegar, wring out the cloth and rub the beard to clean soiled areas. If using vinegar, wipe with a cloth damp with warm water afterwards to rinse.
Step
5
Use baking soda
Sprinkle baking soda onto your dog's beard and then brush it out Baking soda will absorb dirt and freshen up your dog's beard.
Recommend grooming method?

The Knotty Beards Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Split mats
For especially knotted, matted beards, insert a mat splitter blade into the beard, carefully between the skin and the mat. The mat splitter should have a guard facing your dog's skin, with the sharp side pointed away from your dog. The blade should be sharp and move easily through the mats, if not the blade may need changing. Pull the mat splitter through mats carefully to break the mat or tangle into smaller mats.
Step
2
Detangle
Once mats are broken up, spray detangler onto a soft cloth and wipe onto your dog's beard, or sprinkle cornstarch on to his beard to make hair slide easier.
Step
3
Brush
Use a pin or bristle brush to brush the beard and work at smaller mats and knots.
Step
4
Comb
Insert a metal comb and use the comb and your fingers to loosen any remaining tangles.
Step
5
Trim
If any tangles or mats remain that cannot be removed this way you may need to carefully trim them out by holding a pair of scissors parallel to your dog's skin with points away from your dog.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always use cutting tools with sharp blades as they are less likely to pull and cause discomfort. Make sure scissors are held parallel to your dog with sharp tips pointed away.
  • Change blades on mat splitters; they should glide easily thru mats to be effective.
  • Because you are working around your dog’s mouth, be sure to brush or rinse off cleaning agents so your dog does not ingest them. Use non-toxic substances.
  • Be gentle, do not pull on your dog's beard as it can be painful.

Conclusion

A fluffy, well-groomed beard can make your dog look very cute. A messy, tangled dirty one, not so much. Since your dog is not very picky about where he puts his face, and it is frequently contaminated with whatever he has been eating, drinking, smelling or rooting around in, you will want to clean it up and remove tangles as necessary. Brushing and combing regularly and cleaning with a damp cloth usually takes care of day to day needs. If you have a dog whose beard has become very dirty, tangled or matted you may need to use tools like dematters or scissors to break up mats, and detanglers, to get all the knots out. It will be worth it when your pup looks pretty again with a clean soft beard that you don't mind cuddling up to.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Brody
Snorkie
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Brody
Snorkie
9 Months

Is there a product available that I could put on my dogs facial hair across his nose that would make the hairs lay down until they grow out enough to lay down. Previous groomer shaved the area and I want the hair to grow back out.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think that time is the only remedy for little Brody's facial hair. No doubt, these short hairs have a mind of their own! With Brody being so young, I'm sure the look is pretty cute. But I do understand that you'd prefer the fur to lie down. Once the fur is a bit longer, you could try a leave-in conditioner. I like anything from Burt's Bees; just be careful if you see any irritation at all, stop the product. Being close to the eyes, you will need to be extra careful to not get the product near enough that it can be rubbed into the eyes with a paw or while playing. Good luck and enjoy your little pup!

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Question
not yet
Bernedoodle
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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not yet
Bernedoodle
1 Year

We are getting a bernedoodle and trying to prepare...how often do their beards need to be cleaned if they get discoloration? The breeder we are getting our puppy from tends to have black and white with a lot of white on the face.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hello, congrats on your soon-to-be Bernedoodle! I recommend that you have vet-approved dog wipes on hand at all times for quick cleanups after meals, playing outside in the grass and dirt, and in the event of the occasional drool! You'll want to get your puppy used to the grooming process when young (that includes bathing and toothbrushing). When you take your new addition to the vet the first time, ask about grooming and get their opinion on what you can do when, based on your pup's age, etc. I've given a link to a great guide I found on beard cleaning. It's very detailed and should give good pointers. Still, check with the vet before using any products on your pup. The article is about Schnauzers but should still apply. https://theschnauzercollective.com/how-to-clean-detangle-and-whiten-your-schnauzers-beard/. Good luck!

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