GROOMING YOUR MINIATURE SCHNAUZER
The Miniature Schnauzer is a double-coated breed that has a wiry topcoat and a soft undercoat. If you are planning on showing your dog you will want to hand strip to maintain the top coat. For the average pet owner you can maintain the same outline using electric clippers. Keep in mind that the wiry coat dissapears the more you clip, however this is the easiest way to maintain a clean, neat looking miniature schnauzer for the average pet owner. First rule of thumb is never clip against the grain of the hair this can cause ingrown hairs, as well you can cause severe razor burn, which can lead to infections that can be difficult to clear up. Always oil your clipper blades often while you groom, and remove hair that builds up on the blades with a brush to keep them in good working order other wise blades tend to get dull. If you have clippers with adjustable blades you can use the shorter length to clip the head and ears I reccomend a number #10, which can also be used on the body, or for a longer look a #15 blade can be used for the body. I myself prefer to use a number 10 on the head and body. I also like to use the porcelein blades rather then steel as they tend to stay cooler longer, however this is my personal preference and I am by no means a professional dog groomer. Always keep a can of blade coolant handy to cool off your blades as they get hot quickly .
TRIMMING OF THE FACE AND EYEBROWS
- Beginning above the eyebrows and going to the back of the skull between the ears, clip all hair above the eyebrows.
-Holding the ear pulled back, clip sideways/downward aproximatly your blade width between the ear and the eyebrow.
-Holding the ear safely out of the way, clip from the corner of the eye, along the cheek to the base of the ear
-Using your hand to pull all beard hair forward, clip the cheek from the beard hair to the side of the neck under the ear.
-Then clip from the under side of the beard down the throat. Make sure when the dog's head is in a raised position that the beard edge is even all the way around the muzzle.
-A "triangle" is trimmed using safety scissors or clipped with mini clippers between the eyes about a half inch wide, coming down to the inside corner of each eye. Any odd hairs or eye lashes under the eyebrow should be trimmed up. This should be done with short blunt nosed scissors, or safety scissors..
-The hair on the top of the muzzle can be parted and combed downwards. The muzzle hairs are not usually cut but can be trimmed up if you so desire if they become too long for cleanliness reasons, or to trim back any unruly hairs. The eyebrows are combed down towards the nose and cut at a sharp angle towards the outside corner of each eye, the inner eye side hair being the longest.
-To judge the length of the longest part of the eyebrow triangle it should be cut to about half the length of the muzzle hairs. Any loose hairs around the outer eye can be trimmed with scissors.
CLIPPING THE BODY
-Using the #10 blade (or #15 if desired) or the longer length if your blade is adjustable, clip with the hair growth, starting where the back of the skull meets the top of the neck, and clip the entire back all the way back to the tail. The neck and chest is clipped downwards from the chin under the beard to a point approximately level with the elbows. Be careful to clip in the direction of hair growth where there may be cowlicks on the chest. You can use thinning shears to make the longer hair blend more smoothly with the shorter hair so as not to leave an obvious line if you wish. You can leave a little longer fringe on the chest between the elbows if desired but you should not leave too much length, just as there should not be a very long skirt around the body, but a slightly longer belly fringe around the body right back to the hind legs does add a very nice finished look. Going from elbow to rear leg, clip from the top to the bottom of the rib cage until you are about level with the elbows. While holding the leg furnishings safely away from the clippers, clip the remaining hair on the outer thigh downwards, following the outline of the leg down to the stifle and then curving rearward well above the hock.
CLIPPING THE EARS
- First of special note the miniature schnauzer is quite prone to yiest infections in the ear. So carefully dry the ears after bathing. If you notice your pet excessively scratching his or her ears or notice a brown discoloration on their hind paws this would be a good sign that they could have a yiest infection in their ears. When cleaning a yiest infected ear it will look like a brown pasty substance. A good cleaning product to use to flush out the ears is Epi-Otic. However if your dog does have an infection an antibiotic drop will be required such as Otomax from your veterinarian to clear it up. If your dogs have very hairy ear canals they may require regular plucking which can be done with a good pair of tweezers this too will help in prevention of this. Trimming of the ear should be done from the center of the ear towards the outside edges. When doing the edges use a pair of safety scissors with a blunt end, always turn the ear over so you can see where the skin of the ear ends and the hair starts. Pay extra attention not to nick the double fold of skin at the bottom of the ear when working with the ear. For those less experienced you may find the small clippers made by Wahl handy to do the ears both for the inside and outside of the ear. Personally I actually prefer to use these as I think it gives a cleaner cut to the ear and is much safer to do the edges.
CLIPPING THE BELLY AND REAR END
-Facing the dog's rear, start at the outer edges and clip inwards towards the center line under the tail, doing both sides the same way. Under belly hair can be clipped from the genitals up to aproximatly the belly button as well as part of the hair on the inner thighs to keep things neat and clean. Personally I like to trim my males more so in these areas for obvious reasons then my females. Keeping in mind this is done simply to keep the dog neat, cleaner and free of mats, while keeping the general outline appearance of a minature schnauzer. Remember too that clipping the coat will lead to a softer coat in the miniature schnauzer and will take away a lot of the wiry coat that the miniature schnauzer is known for, verses stripping of the coat which will leave the wiry coat in place. Clipping the salt and pepper miniature schnauzer will make it turn a more silver coat in color as well as does clipping the black coat, which gives the black coat a more grey appearance. Perfection is not necessary as this is just a guidline for the pet groomer and not for the show groomer. Remember for show the schnauzer is stripped.
Practice with each session will help you to perfect the look "you" wish to achieve in your pet schnauzer, and each of us may prefer just a slightly different individual look. Such as I myself do not groom the legs of my schnauzers as set out in these examples down to the hocks, nor do I trim the leggings short, as I personally like to leave my leggings long and flowing. I especially like to do this with the supercoats to show off their beautiful coats, this is not possible if the dog does not have a supercoat however. Over time I have several dogs that I do cut breed specific as well though they are not photographed with this cut.
Over time as you and your dog get comfortable with grooming you may develop a style of your own or may choose to cut your dog breed specific as well, the choice is certainly up to you. There is no law to say you have to cut your dog a certain way, ha ha. Unless of course you were in a show ring, then there are rules to follow, but as I mentioned above this has been written for the pet owner only. If you do not feel confident in clipping your pet there are plenty of reliable professional groomers who will be happy to take on the job for you.