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A Show Dog's Life


Grooming Longhaired Breeds


Breeds such as Maltese, Bichon Frise, Havanese, Coton de Tulear, Lhasa Apso, Shih-Tzu etc.

Los Gabatos, Havanese


Brush your dog with a pin brush or a rotating tooth comb. Depending on your breed, coat length and thickness, do this biweekly, weekly or every other day. Brush and then comb the entire coat in layers from the skin out. You need a metal comb, not plastic. It is important to get right to the roots. It is wise to comb out the dog to make sure there are no mats after brushing.


Pin Brush

This is usually easiest if the dog is lying on your lap, on its back and side. With one hand, the hair is parted to the skin and held down while the other hand gently combs through the hair below the part. Once this section is smooth and tangle free, another section of hair is pulled down along the part and groomed in the same way. You should moisten each layer with a light mist of conditioner or coat dressing before brushing/combing to avoid breakage, especially if you are trying to keep the coat in show condition. Fabulous grooming spray serum is just one example of products that can be used.

Comb the face, corner of the eyes and beard, using the teeth on the fine end of the comb or use an extra-fine facial or flea comb. This comb is also good for removing debris from the eyes.

Extra Fine Flea Comb
Extra-Fine Flea Comb

After the hair has been completely brushed take the medium/coarse end of the comb and comb through the coat to make sure that all mats and tangles have been removed. If your dog has a curly coat you may find it easier to use a wide tooth poodle comb.

Metal Comb

For a finished look or while blow-drying, a slicker may be used. A slicker can break the coat, and scratch the skin if NOT used correctly. Be sure to have someone show you the proper way to use a slicker.



For shedding breeds, a slicker is great to remove excessive hair.


Applying her top knot

You can use special elastics or clips to make a top knot (ponytail). Leaving these in too long can cause breakage. Trying to get them out can also cause breakage; they make a tool (shown below) to remove the top knot elastic.




Trim slipper feet with blunt scissors or clippers.
Be sure NOT to have the clippers set on closest cut, or you can cut the skin between the toes.


Sometimes if mats are so bad, it is just too much pain for the dog, and you will need to clip down to the roots (brush cut) puppy cut, and start over. For mild mats and a show coat they are easy to undo. Using your fingers and a comb, separate the mats. This means if you have a 1" matt separate it into 8 small mats by pulling it apart. Spray with a detangler oil, or sprinkle with baby powder. Slowly work on one mat at a time. For a non-show coat, mats can be cut out or worked out. More on Matting

Leave in moisturizer
Leave in moisturizer



Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese


Grooming Main




Showing, Genetics and Breeding

The Structure of a Dog's Body

Checking Structure in Longhaired Breeds

Teeth: The Bite

Getting Down and Dirty

Getting Cleaned Up and Pretty

Grooming Tips and General Grooming Care

Playing, Cuddles and Favorite Spots 1

Playing, Cuddles and Favorite Spots 2

Social Life

Showing and Jr. Handling







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