We love our dogs for their personalities ― their loyalty, their affection, their intelligence, and the way they simply make our lives better. That said, some breeds are simply more aesthetic than others, often entirely on purpose; we humans do like pretty things, after all. This is often the case for lapdog breeds; gentle, kind, and importantly, beautiful. There are also breeds who simply have a more high-maintenance coat, regardless of their original purpose. Some have tight curls, some have long, flowy locks, and others have hair so thin and fine that it tangles very easily. It’s also a matter of health; a matted coat can lead to trapped moisture, fungus, dry skin, and infections. In other words, a well-groomed dog isn’t just a beautiful dog, but a healthy one. And regardless of the reasons, some dogs will need a little more attention to their coat, than others.
At the top of the list of grooming breeds is probably the Poodle, regardless of size or variety (Standard, Miniature, or Toy). We’ve all seen that typical Poodle cut ― officially known as the lion cut ― with the pom-poms of fluffed fur on the head, the ears, the ankles, and chest. Sometimes even dyed baby blue or bubblegum pink. Though the Poodle is far from the pampered and ditzy dog the stereotypes would suggest, and these are exaggerations, their coat does need a lot of attention. They’re considered hypoallergenic dogs, and since they barely shed at all, they need some extra help dealing with dead hair, tangles, and knots. The curly fluff that is a Poodle coat will easily get matted without regular brushing. Regardless of if you go for the lion cut or the natural look of a sheep, the Poodle requires a little extra effort.
The Bichon Frisé is another curly breed, which is often mistaken for a white cloud with legs. The fluff is achieved with a hairdryer and comb-teasing, but even without that, their fine hairs need help not getting matted. The Portuguese Water Dog also needs a little extra help, their curly coat prone to matting. Like the Bichon Frisé, they have hair, rather than fur, which means that it continuously grows, and needs regular trimming and maintenance. The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier barely sheds, and ― as the name suggests ― their coat is soft and silky. You don’t want those fine, curly hairs getting tangled and matted, so regular brushing is a must. The Miniature Schnauzer is coarse-haired, low-shedding, and needs a good groom every few weeks.
Knots and cords
A curly breed that’s rarely seen in its natural state is the Puli. Known for their corded coat, you’d think that these cords occur naturally, but that’s not the case. This dog has soft, curly hairs, which are then divided by hand into cords, and maintained as the dog grows up. A important part of the Puli identity, enthusiasts say. Either way, remember to keep these cords clean and separated, as it’s easy for moisture and dirt to get trapped inside. This coat is not for beginners, and even professional groomers have trouble with it, due to lack of experience with the particular type. The Komondor is a breed with a similarly styled coat, and therefore has the same maintenance needs.
Soft, flowy locks
Not all grooming breeds have curls that need untangling. Some are just the Fabios of the dog world, and need their long, impressive hairstyles tended to on a regular basis. The most well-known in this category is probably the Afghan Hound, an ancient breed prized for its hunting skills and intelligence, as well as its beauty. Its long coat requires regular brushing and bathing to keep its lustrous and impressive appearance, but it’s worth it. Who isn’t stunned by the sight of a well-groomed Afghan Hound?
A pup famous for its coat is the Yorkshire Terrier. Its long, flowy hair is sometimes cut short into what is known as a puppy cut, but the long-haired version still prevails in people’s minds. Due to the fine hairs, the Yorkie’s single coat is prone to tangling and matting, and therefore requires near-daily brushing to keep it in shape. The Shih Tzu is another breed that’s both small and long-haired, a lapdog breed that’s pretty as well as trainable. Like the Yorkie, the Shih Tzu is often seen with a bow or a nice hair tie keeping their bangs out of their face. The Lhasa Apso, an ancient Tibetan breed with a lot of character, also needs regular brushing to keep their long, soft fur tangle-free. Another breed with a single coat that needs lots of attention is the Maltese, whose pure white, hypoallergenic coat is prone to tangling.
The fluffiest of fluffs
Curly, corded, smooth, long ― don’t forget fluffy. Spitz breeds especially, such as the Pomeranian, have thick double coats that require brushing and untangling regularly. Like with most thicker coats, moisture and dirt can easily get trapped underneath or within. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation, bacteria, and infections. The Chow Chow ― perhaps most famous for its blue tongue ― is another fluffy breed, with a thick double coat that needs a lot of attention. When you brush, make sure to use a wide-toothed comb to gently get to the lower layers of the coat, as it’s easy to simply smooth over growing mats without realizing they’re there.
Things to consider
There are many things to keep in mind when choosing the right dog for you, such as exercise needs, size, temperament, and lifestyle. Grooming is a factor that’s just as important, but often overlooked. Most people with dogs that need proper and regular grooming simply take them to a professional groomer, as it’s often challenging to do yourself. If you do choose to groom your own dog ― a social bonding experience when done right ― just keep a few things in mind. When bathing, use the right shampoo, as there are different ones for different colors and hair types, as well as skin issues. Rinse thoroughly, as shampoo residue can cause hotspots and fungus on the dog’s skin. Use a blowdryer if possible, especially for thick-coated dogs, but the most important thing is brushing. If you feel that you have the time and commitment to provide the grooming these breeds need, you might just have the right kind of dog for you.