Silky coated dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers and Afghans have long, silky coats that give them a great look, but require frequent grooming to avoid serious matting. Most silky coated dogs have a single coat, which allows the hair to lie flat like human hair. These breeds can be groomed in two different styles: a short, puppy-style cut (great for house pets) and the AKC breed standard longer cuts (typically just for show dogs).
Before you begin a grooming regime for a silky coated dog, you should inquire with the owner as to what their expectations are. Inform them that keeping their pet’s fur longer will require a more rigid grooming schedule. Most customers will choose the shorter cut to avoid constant grooming, but setting expectations up front is always the best choice.
Once expectations are set, start with bathing the dog. You can use a cream rinse to help tame the fineness of the hair. Work the shampoo and the conditioner through your fingers and into the dog’s hair. Do not rub the shampoo or conditioner into the fur; this can cause tangles.
After bathing, tease out the dog’s tangles using a pinhead brush or comb. Follow up with a bristle brush to bring out the dog’s natural shine. Brush a long coat in sections, working from the roots (close to the skin) out. These breeds tend to look their best with center parting, so make sure you brush downwards on either side. Do not brush dry fur (especially dirty dry hair – this can cause coat loss and breakage).
Follow brushing with drying the coat completely. Once the coat is dry, trim wayward hairs and clip under the hind legs and under the tail. If the silky coated dog is a show dog, he/she will require a more difficult cut that will typically be finished by putting the front hair up into a topknot. Otherwise trim hair around the eyes down to keep the dog from getting eye infections.
Finish with an anti-static spray like our Top Performance® GloCoat. Sending a static filled dog home will just increase the chances of mats occurring immediately.
If the dog you’re grooming is a show dog, you’ll want to wrap the coat (wind the ends around folded papers and secure them with a band). This allows the coat to grow and keeps it clean.
The important thing to remember when grooming these dogs is that their fur is very fine and can get greasy quickly. Make sure you encourage the customer to set up a grooming schedule right from the first time you see the dog. This will help you take control of the groom and avoid having to shave the dog down due to extreme mats.