Miniature schnauzers are one of three varieties of the schnauzer breed. Originally bred in Germany in the late 1800s, the miniature schnauzer is popular as a companion dog due to its intelligence and docile nature. Miniature schnauzers are generally easy to care for, although they do have a wiry coat that needs to be stripped to maintain a proper appearance. Stripping is an intricate process and should not be attempted without the guidance of an experienced schnauzer groomer.
Things You'll Need
- Grooming table
- Grooming noose
- Dog ear powder
- Stripping comb
- Dog comb
- Thinning shears
Place your dog on the table and fit the grooming noose around his neck, clipping the noose to the arm on the table. Stripping can be a lengthy process and elevating the dog on the table will help reduce strain on your back.
Check your dog's hair to determine if the coat has "blown." Schnauzer coats reach a length of two to four inches and then the hair dies. The hair is not shed and does not break off. Generally, this cycle of hair growth occurs once in the spring and once again in late fall. The coat will be loose and easier to strip after it has blown. Pinch a few hairs between your thumb and finger and firmly pull on them. If the coat has blown, the hair will easily come loose.
Apply a small amount of ear powder to the coat at the base of the skull and massage it with your hands to work it into the hair. The ear powder helps to absorb extra oils from the coat and makes the hair easier to grip.
Hold the stripping comb in your hand and grasp an approximately ½-inch wide strip of hair at the base of the ear, pressing it between your thumb and the comb. Pull the comb straight back in the direction of the hair growth, keeping the skin taut with your free hand. The hair should come free of the body with ease, leaving a small patch of very short hair underneath.
Strip another section of hair just below the first, working your way down the neck to the shoulder. Proceed in the same fashion along the back and working down both sides of your dog and and then stripping from under the chin and down through the chest. (See Resources for a diagram.)
Work your way slowly though the coat, always stripping the hair in the direction of the hair growth. The dog's coat will appear very patchy and sparse during the stripping process but will be short and smooth once the stripping is complete.
Using a regular dog comb, comb the hair on the front of the legs straight out away from the body and cut downwards with the thinning shears, trimming the hair to approximately ½ inch in length. The hair on the back of the legs should be combed away from the body as well but trimmed very close to the leg with the scissors.
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim it in a "V"-shaped pattern with your scissors. The hair should be trimmed in a straight line with the nose of the dog, with the outside of the left nostril as a guide for the right eyebrow and the right nostril a guide for the left eyebrow.
Trim the beard and mustache of your miniature schnauzer even with the end of the muzzle. Comb the hair forward towards the muzzle, trimming the hair at the point where the hair meets the end of the nose. This helps maintain the traditional facial hair of your miniature schnauzer without the mustache being long enough to interfere with eating.
Tips & Warnings
- Spread the stripping process out over two or three weeks if you become tired or the dog gets agitated. Stripping is a labor-intensive process and can be uncomfortable for a dog that has never been stripped before.
- Never clip your dog's hair with clippers if you wish to maintain a natural coat. Clipping the hair makes it grow back in softer and lighter, disrupting the natural appearance of a stripped coat.
- Photo Credit miniature schnauzer image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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