Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer Grooming for Cavaliers

When it comes to coat, the breed standard for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in Canada reads the following:

 Long, silky and free from curl, though a slight wave is permissible.  Feathering on ears, legs and tail should be long, and the feathering on the feet is a feature of the breed.  It is common and permissible for bitches to carry less coat than dogs.  No trimming, scissoring, clipping or artificial colouring is allowed and this should be severely penalized. 

We know this, and yet we also know that some Cavaliers just tend to grow a ton of coat!  I've often been asked how I maintain the coats on my dogs, and my common response is always; do what works for your home and situation.

I'd never recommend clipping a Cavalier as short as possible, however I do feel strongly about neatening, thinning, light clipping, and scissoring on Cavaliers who are not in the show ring.  It just makes day to day living and grooming so much easier. 

Spayed and neutered Cavaliers especially tend to grow more coat of a different texture than their intact counterparts.  For us around here I try and keep them as neat as possible, but still have them looking like a cavalier.

Zoey is my heavier coated girl.  She can grow her skirt to the floor, and has earned her nick name of "furball" honestly.  Since being spayed several years ago this has only gotten worse.  She now receives at least two thinning out sessions starting when the weather becomes nice.  I usually let her be during the winter as I figure she can actually use it then. ;)

I took this series of photos for a friend who was struggling with the decision on if she should trim her cavalier or leave him au naturel.  She was concerned that she would ruin his coat or do a terrible job.  The good thing about learning how to do it yourself is that it costs way less money and if you make a mistake it always grows back for you to try again! 

Zoey in her furball glory, coat down to the floor with very heavy and thick leg feathering
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Going in every direction with a very hairy tummy
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My frisbee crazy girl seemed to be getting very hot very fast
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Definitely time for her first post winter hair cleanup on the deck.

For Zoey we use a combination of thinning shears, clippers, and a mars coat king, but find that thinning shears do most of the work around here.

We cut her skirt at least two inches, took over half of the feathering off her back end, and thinned out a ton of her leg feathering.  I always leave her ears and tail, but you can shorten them if you wish. 

This is her after it's all done.  Can't tell right? 
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It doesn't look like I did much, but that is the point.   My not doing much actually consisted of a shopping bag full of fur.  With less hair overall, she takes less than half the time to bath, and doesn't have to be brushed out nearly as much. 
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A bare tummy - clipped short
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Mostly don't be afraid to try.  Your cavalier may look a bit funny for a few days, but it quickly grows out and becomes less noticeable over time.  I know Zoey feels better with less grooming, and she seems to cool down faster with a bare tummy.  What I love the most is that she still looks like she has a natural coat with that cavalier look that we all love.

Mylee of course demanded to be put on the table and have her picture taken, even though she didn't need a trim.
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All pictures should feature me!  I'm so cute and adorable!
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Pretty Zo Zo after her trim, you'll notice her top coat is now fairly short and all going in the right direction
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Loki seemed to think that he was going to get shaved bald.  In his defense I do warn him of this quite often!
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Noooo don't do it!
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Phew.. no trimming for me, I have to look my best for our June specialty show.
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Happy summer trimming and neatening!