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Shaving your SWD

The SWD is to be shaved down at least once per year. Some owners choose to shave their dogs more frequently, and that is fine. If you take your dog in for a haircut at the first sign of matting, the grooming can sometimes be done with a longer blade.

The hair cut of the SWD is a utilitarian clip and should be complete and even all over. This is sometimes called a "kennel cut" at a grooming shop. If you entrust your SWD to a groomer, be sure to impress upon them that there should be no fancy scissoring, brushing or fluffing. The groomer should use the same blade on the body, legs, head, and ears. In this way, the coat grows out evenly.

Your dog should be clean and must absolutely dry to get the best and most even clip. A dirty coat will dull your blades, but a wet coat will kill them.

If you are able to get a grooming table and grooming arm, you will find that the job goes faster. An elevated and secured dog is easier to work on, and he will be less squirmy than if he was on the ground.

If you are a novice, give yourself a good three hours to get this done. You'll get faster with practice.

  1. Start out with the #10 blade on your clippers and clip the hair out from between the big pad and other pads on each foot. This will help keep dirt out of your house and foreign objects from getting stuck between the pads.
  2. Shave the inside of the rear legs and the tummy to the second nipples. This hair is usually fine and mats easily. You can't see it, and the dog doesn't need it.
  3. Trim your dog's toenails with toe nail clippers or a grinder. If you quick your dog, above all else, do not panic! The sting only lasts a moment. Press on some styptic powder such as QwikStop, baking powder or soap scum off a bar of soap to help stop the bleeding. Remember, even pro's occasionally quick a dog's nails!
  4. Now, switch the blade on your clippers to the #5 blade. This is the longest blade in your arsenal, unless you have splurged and also gotten a #3. Start clipping the body with the longest blade you have. If the blade can't get through the coat, switch to the next size down.
  5. Part the hair on the body so that your clipper can get all the way to the skin. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you hold the clippers so the blade lies flat against the skin and does not scrap the skin. If you are unfamiliar with using clippers, practice on your own arm first.
  6. Gently press the clipper blade flat against the skin and work your way under the coat. The coat may fall away in a fleece if it is matted. The idea is to get an even and complete clip. If you are tentative and don't press the clippers flat against the skin, you will get a choppy clip. Be brave!
  7. Work your way in sections over the entire body, legs, neck, head and face. If you or the dog needs a break, or if the clippers get too warm, take a break. You can also cool the clipper blades down using your Cool Lube spray.
  8. Unless you are very sure of where the dog's skin ends and the mat begins, never use scissors to cut a mat away. It is very easy to cut a hole in your dog's skin.
  9. Do use your scissors to cut off any tags (loose locks and hairs) that the clipper missed.
  10. To trim the ears, hold the ear leather in your hand. Play the hair both on top and underneath the ear flap outwards so that you can trim it off with the scissors, using the ear leather between your fingers as a guide.
  11. Pick up the feet and trim around the toes to neaten.
  12. After clipping, the coat is full of little itchy hairs. Give him a bath with a gentle shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

If you choose to clip your own dog, you will need the following equipment:

  • Oster or Andis professional clipper (don't skimp on these

  • #10, #7, #5 clipper blades

  • Cool Lube spray

  • Sharp pair of long-bladed scissors, to be dedicated to cutting hair

  • Toe nail clippers or grinder

  • Grooming table with grooming arm


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