Golden Retriever

Grooming Advice

The popularity of the Golden Retriever in the show ring is in proportion to the number of queries I get regarding coat care and presentation for this outstanding breed.

I am never sure whether the variety of questions is a result of the rather large number of differences in the Australian/FCI standard and the American Kennel Club standard - the AKC standard being rather more descriptive and specific in it’s requirements.

Whatever the differences, the common ground is the need to maintain a dense water resisting texture to the coat as stated for a good water retrieving dog.

So many products alter texture that it is a quest to find something that will maintain the status quo. Many diehards just don’t bath their dogs or resist doing it more than they feel they have to. Shampoos tend to make hair fluffier and softer and when the coat is required to lie close and be fairly firm and water resilient, so one needs to understand the mechanics of selecting the proper cleanser.

Shampoos are vastly different believe it or not, from brand to brand. A general rule of thumb is that they are fairly high foaming and the larger the individual size of the bubble, the more static and fly away the coat will become. Quality non detergent based shampoos will still be high foaming but have a smaller diameter bubble lessening the static and flyaway problems.

The real quest therefore is for a low foaming product to cleanse and remove dirt and grime but not alter the texture or make the coat fluffy. For pure, straight maintenance on a correctly textured coat, I recommend the Plush Puppy AZIZ which is extremely low foaming to the point of almost no bubbles. Use at the ratio of 1 Tbspn to 1 gallon of water either in a bucket, bath or hydrobath or surge bath and the coat will still be cleansed without the high visibility of froth and bubbles.

Should deeper cleansing be required then use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo at a ratio of 10:1 or 10 parts water to one part shampoo to minimise the foaming action. This will give a good shine finish to the coat. Shampoo for a desired requirement is permissible then on the featherings and furnishings for either fuller appearance or more conditioning action. Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner at a ratio of 5:1 is good for disentangling and preventing matting under armpits etc.

A final rinse for that good, water resistant texture is to add 1 Tbspn of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to a gallon of water and applied throughout the coat and left in - I prefer surging this through the coat in a hydrobath. This is truly the most wonderful product for good shine, coat maintenance and longevity to the strength of the coat. It is based on an old Ayervedic recipe and is light, water soluble and won’t build up on the coat. Made from Calendula Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and other goodies, you can use this in greater or lesser concentrations on most coats for maintaining good appearance of health, durability and elasticity.

The Golden coat traditionally allows for the coat to be wavy or straight, without the outline or natural appearance being altered by trimming or clipping. Gee whiz! I do see some brutal attempts at removing stray hairs then! Heavens above! Purchase a good set of thinning shears and if you must play hairdresser, then do it judiciously. That way you only get to make half a mistake at a time!

Featherings and furnishings do look good if they behave and don’t clump or tangle. A good thorough application of Plush Puppy Swishy Coat at a dilution of 1 tspn to 3 -4 cups of warm water and thoroughly worked in to the furnishings and then blow dried gives a nice finish to the coat without compromising the texture. Use a half bristle half plastic, oval Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush for a straighter finish.

Colour - well! I can hear the arguments for the pros and cons of the various shades and hues of gold and will steer clear of stepping into the fray except to say that for those who want to achieve a more golden highlighted effect to the coat, then you might like to add a naturally derived highlighter such as the boiled water of a good handful of dried Marigold flowers at the required concentration and pour over the coat, comb through and leave in. This will bring more gold reflects to the coat. Use wisely. An artificially coloured coat is not allowed!

Last but not least, finish with a light application of Plush Puppy Coat Balm on show day to furnishings and featherings for easier brushing and to hold the coat in place in dry, hot or windy weather and a light spritz of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb to the main body of the coat. I do like a light sprinkle of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the brush and judiciously brushed throughout for subtle shimmer. Subtle being the operative word.

The Golden is an easily maintained and relatively quick to groom breed for the show ring compared to a host of others. If you view and analyse carefully what it is your dog’s coat requires, then it is the choice of your decision making that determines just how well it is done. I have endeavoured to make some of this decision making for you and hope you get this stand out breed to look a real standout in the ring.

- Cheryl Le Court