Keeshond

Grooming Advice

Originally a barge dog from Holland, this medium sized, handsome dog is quite a lively and smart participant at the shows. Having owned one myself in my earlier days of marriage, I am always drawn to their all important silhouette when I espy them moving boldly round the rings.

Now I am one to harp on the importance of that “silhouette” of every breed - that figure the dog cuts out in the lineup on both the stack and the move.

Your quest is to make your dog fit that ideal silhouette of the breed and not the other way around. My job is to help you get there! Do be objective and evaluate your dog to see what needs to be done to present him/her at their best, understanding if they are not compact enough or the tail is not sitting well etc. You can maximise and minimise areas by your coat presentation. Good presentation starts many months ahead with a coat not made in one bathing session, though a better general outline can be achieved quickly.

Hair takes many weeks to grow, approx 89 - 91 days from starting in the root area to seeing light of day so good coat hair is a long process. What you use will manifest itself in all it’s glory or shortcomings some time down the track. Do not be fooled by what happens in one week or seduced by the fragrance or other peripherals. Thus I never even bother with sample sizes - what’s the point?

Now to achieve this ideal outline you will need for that outer coat to be harsh and stand well out from his undercoat. This correct texture and then technique in grooming for the show will give you a lot to work with. I never and I certainly mean ever, condition this type of coat with a regular acid rinse conditioner as conditioners usually are. I do not want to soften nor flatten this coat and conditioners will indeed do just that. I oil this coat. Having said that, you need one that is water soluble and never greasy Use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 litres warm water and apply liberally to saturate the coat using a large sponge or add same amount to a hydrobath tank and squish well through the coat to the skin. Leave in and DO NOT RINSE. For maintenance or to promote coat growth use a stronger dilution (I.e) 1 tbspn to 2 lites/1/2 gal warm water. I cannot stress the magic of this product enough. If there was just one product I could have only, it would have to be this. This is the secret to all our great coats. It is never greasy, nor hard to remove. It is just wonderful. Use this as your final rinse for all maintenance and show baths. This will hydrate, protect AND keep the texture you so desire and need.

Your coat colour is varying shades of gray, black & cream with the ruff and trousers lighter than the rest. Ideally one should use a toning shampoo that is purple in colour such as Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo which is in fact not a lightening shampoo but tones and reduces unwanted warm tones in the coat thus minimising rusty tones from sunbleaching etc and will therefore deepen the colour lost in a dehydrated coat. Always use diluted 5:1 (I.e) 5 parts water to one part shampoo. You can leave this on an area that needs extra toning for 10 minutes if you wish to add that extra tone before rinsing. Great for pearlising the colour on the lighter areas too.

However for extra oomph and lift to the coat and especially when the dog has been shedding and not quite back to norm, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 3:1 (I.e) 3 parts water to one part shampoo. This is packed with high grade wheatgerm extract to give lots of texture and body and keep the shine. It does not build up or become brittle so is just perfect for show coats. If you do like the toning of the Whitening Shampoo AND want the body attributes of the Body Building Shampoo, mix 1/2 and 1/2 and dilute 3:1 Simple and then of course, follow through with your final rinse of the Seabreeze Oil. Now that is the heart and soul of your bathing routine.

Stick with that and you won’t go wrong. Your texture will be bang on the money and you will maximise the condition without sacrificing the lift. You can for extra hydration and moisture when needed, especially when the coat is beginning to look like it is heading towards shedding, use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue diluted in a large jug 1/4 cup to a watery slurry with one cup warm water and work well through the coat after the shampoo and BEFORE the final rinse of Seabreeze Oil. Leave the Coat Rescue in for 5 minutes and then rinse off. There is everything known to man in this formula.

Now for the tweaking to get that perfect silhouette. I just happen to like lots of lift and to maximise the sturdiness of this breed by lots of body in the coat so like to add Plush Puppy Volumising Cream for a show grooming bath. This is a non sticky, no residue, can’t feel or find it type of product that just makes each hair look much thicker and bigger - kind of like 3 hairs looking like 3,000 as I always say. No point just plonking it on the top layers as it is under the top layers that gives the support to the coat and that’s where you want to put it PLUS evenly throughout the coat. Even dispersion is the reason I always advocate diluting the products and applying them in quantity by sloshing well throughout the whole of the coat OR the area I need to have doing what it is I am doing to it. So for the Volumising Cream add 1 tbspn to the Seabreeze Oil Mix (i.e) into the 1 tbspn to 4 litre/1 gal warm water SB Oil mix and saturate the coat during the final rinse and leave in - do not rinse. This is perfect also for those coats that haven’t fully grown back after shedding or just coats that need more or where you want to build a more sturdy more square looking dog. You can finesse this by mixing the Volumising Cream 1 tbspn to 1 litre warm water and add only to those areas you want to build up and not to the areas you want to minimise thus creating a shorter length dog or more ruff etc. For a too long dog I would not add too much bodifying to the rear pants area or to the chest. I would add more bodifying to the mid section and puff that up instead. I would try to keep the pants a little flatter too. You aren’t allowed to trim the body but you can sculpt the body by styling and drying.

You will need to blow dry. I know it takes time and for those not inclined to enjoy this process, too bad! The coat does need to be blow dried. I use a force dryer which is like a vaccum cleaner that blasts the water from the coat - it is high velocity and dries in no time. It is a barely warm dryer - just off the cool side so as not to dehydrate the coat but works by blasting the water from the coat. It will part the coat with the blast of air thus drying from the skin/root area upwards rather than just skimming over the coat and only drying the top layers. True lift and body comes from 100% drying of the underneath coat. I work starting from rear to head pushing the coat with my left hand forwards from the root area as the nozzle jet of air opens the coat and parts it. I am paranoid about drying the coat totally and not just 90%. Leave a double coated breed damp underneath and you are inviting hot spots plus defeating all the requirements for a full abundant coat. I will walk away from a coat I have just dried and then come back to it as your hands get warm from the dryer and you can be fooled into thinking the coat is fully dry when it isn’t.

A double coat should be so good that a wide toothed metal comb ought to be able to be run through it without a hitch. No matting or felting anywhere on the dog! I use when brushing up, the Plush Puppy Pin Brush which is an oval cushioned brush that works. I am too impatient and too long in doing hair that I should need to waste time. I want a brush that does it and does it now. This does. It is light in the hand and works well for flexing of the wrist. I am a long time hairdresser/groomer and do not have RSI so that says something.

For final show day presentation you can now go to the show with little to do. The main basics and outline is there for you and you for the past few months have done your homework regularly and that means weekly, to perfect this little Olympian champion. Your eye has retrained to divorce yourself of the beloved perfection of your dog to know what needs to be tweaked to really make it perfect. You have bathed, oiled and blow dried your heart out each week and now the final touches need to be added.

For a hint of extra texture you can use Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier. You MUST use this lightly. It is brilliant if used as lightly as if you were salting your salad. Pop the tiniest amount onto your brush such as our Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush which is a 1/2 bristle 1/2 nylon cushioned brush and brush through the ruff from root to mid length. Add a little and decide whether to add a little more. Instant texture and will actually giv eyou more lift especially around that ruff area.

The tail area is important too. This is an intrinsic part of the hallmark silhouette of your breed. It must not look like an added appendage but be part of the whole. I use an old trick for this. Using the Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray mist the tail are aand brush with the Porcupine brush forwards towards the head. Now take a tail comb the edge of a large metal comb and part the tail making the part either centre or to one side if the tail has a tendency to swing towards one side. By parting further across the other side you can use this to give it more centre by bringing the weight of the hair further over. So once the part has been done, spray again with OMG into the air and allow the mist to fall. Then allow a couple of minutes to dry. The tail will then fall flatter and onto the back just perfectly.

Brush up with OMG for the whole of the coat on show - I like a 40:1 dilution of the OMG Concentrate. This is just right for the Keeshond. Add a mist of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that absolute 100 of the little things it takes to make a winner most of the time, remembering that most people want to do just one thing! If only it were that easy! There are so many other things such as a hint of Pixie Dust, a light mist of Shine & Comb and maybe some Puffy Dog to bodify the legs. You now know how it is done and it is up to you to make it happen.

Your distinctive breed with his characteristic spectacles is going to look a million bucks out there in that show ring. He is really a very beautiful dog and given all things that he is a good specimen of his breed, you can make this dog something really special. His typical spitz personality is a bubbly happy and energetic one and it is always delightful to see this personality combined with great presentation.

- Cheryl Le Court