Maintaining and Creating Show Coat

by Lisa Correia, Certified Master Groomer

With all our forced downtime, there are things that we can do now, in anticipation of dog shows resuming, to make our dogs’ coats ring ready.  This blog will be the first in a series of getting and keeping your dogs ring ready.

Coat maintenance starts with a good weekly bath.  Now is the perfect time to get the coat healthy and growing.  Even terriers that require harsh coats benefit from moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioning to restore the hair after all of the harsh chalking done to it. The key lies in choosing the right shampoo and conditioner for your coat-growing goals.  To determine the correct combination, assess your dog’s coat.  Is it fly-away and dull?  Is it frizzy with breakage? Is it shiny but lacking in length and fullness? Does it have length but no brilliance?  Here is how to solve these issues.

Coats that are fly-away and dull need some light moisturizing.  Generally, this is due to an open cuticle.  Moisturizing shampoos with their corresponding conditioners should do the trick.  These products work by adding moisture and sealing the cuticle, locking it in and adding brilliance. 

Coats that appear frizzy and have breakage need to be handled with care.  These coats will benefit the greatest from deep moisture shampoos, conditioners, and masks.  Look for products that mention the words “deep,” “intensive,” and “rich.”  These products add moisture under and around the cuticle, protecting it from daily stresses and enriching the coat for a more extended period than their simple moisturizing cousins.  Following the instructions on the label is imperative to reap the most benefits from these products.

Coats that are shiny but lack length and volume can benefit significantly from leave-in conditioners.  Conditioners with keratin, proteins, and argan oil can add resilience to the coat and prevent breakage. Dehydrated coats snap easily when stressed. Hydrated coats bend with stress, making them resistant to damage.  Conditioners with keratin will add moisture to all coat types.  Argan oil productsadd weight to drop coats.  If you are looking to add volume to a soft coat, look for leave-in products with proteins.

Moisture is excellent for building and growing all coat types. Know that one product does not have to be the only one that you ever use on your dog.  Your goal is to get your coat to optimal condition.  Once that is achieved, back off of heavily moisturizing products and maintain with an excellent ph-balanced shampoo and conditioner combination created for your dog’s particular coat type.  A good shampoo and conditioner combination will not dry out or damage the coat. The right combination adds brilliance and life. Weekly bathing will get your dog’s coat ring ready and growing beautifully.