Lhasa Apso

Grooming Advice

This beautiful breed lives up to his nickname, The Bark Lion or Sentinel Dog. His stand offishness for strangers serves him well for his real position in life, as the guard for your inner sanctum. Set the big guys and the Mastiffs at the front gate, for this dog is an indoor fellow ensuring your hearth and home is not to be tampered with.

The Lhasa always stops the traffic with his stunning good looks and magnificent outline that takes more than its fair share of care for the perpetual showring circuit. Once people understand that good coats need a good routine then it becomes easy - just do the hard yard and it will make show day a breeze.

An easy enough standard and a good brief one, it does nonetheless require your Lhasa coat to specifically be heavy, straight and hard and not woolly or silky. Must have good length and be very dense. Now that is fairly straightforward except that most long lengthed coats are soft in texture and a conditioner is usually used to keep matts and tangles away. Here, with this coat, one doesn’t particularly want to go overboard with the conditioner as conditioner softens.

Use a conditioner that is not super slippery nor one that makes the coat look small. Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner is specifically formulated for dogs and will give you the assistance you want in disentangling without overly altering the texture if used in a really diluted form. So, we recommend after the show bath to dilute in 2 lt/½ gal water, 3 tablespoons Silk Protein Conditioner, 1 teaspoon Swishy Coat (for anti stat and smooth, straight finish) plus 3 teaspoons Blow Dry Cream to flatten the coat so it doesn’t billow out too wide. Now this diluted mix should be liberally applied to saturation throughout the coat ensuring evenness of application and to get right through the coat. No point applying to the outer layers only!

Dilute the shampoo also. This is a big coat you are dealing with and you don’t need suds and froth all the over the place. Use Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo at 5:1 and up to 10:1 - to maintain more texture use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo or if out of coat then use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at the same dilution ratio as the Conditioning Shampoo. If needing a whitening/toning effect to offset unwanted warm tones in a light colored coat, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo also diluted at same ratio. If using a hydrobath, add 3 squirts to the tank and rinse through using the measured dosage as outlined in the first part of the paragraph in a squirty bottle for more intensive cleaning on areas such as feet, nether regions etc. A new product to the market is Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo for black dogs only. Use Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo first and then for second shampoo use the Black Opal. Dilute 50/50 and apply liberally for 10 - 15 minutes and then rinse off. This stuff works!

Between shows is the important part of the routine. Oil the coat. Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil is a true Godsend. This plant oil, formulated from Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil etc, is water soluble so is not going to cause aggravation in trying to rinse it off when getting ready for a show. Add 1 - 2 tbspns of Seabreeze Oil to 1/2gal/2lt warm water and saturate through the coat.

For ear edges and hem of the coat you can apply direct/undiluted from the spray bottle if this area is of particular concern.

For damaged coats, a good occasional treatment with Plush Puppy Coat Rescue diluted to a watery slurry - enough to be able to work easily through the coat with the fingers once the mix has been applied liberally - will add some substance back into depleted hair that is ready to snap. Leave on for 10 - 15 mins and rinse. Then follow with a watery solution of the Silk Protein Conditioner to seal the hair shaft tightly and rinse again. Then regularly maintain the hydration and elasticity with the Seabreeze Oil as mixed above and a daily dosage of Plush Puppy Revivacoat, an aerosol leave in moisturizing mousse applied directly to the hands and then wiped through the coat. If you do wrap or braid at all, then use the Revivacoat for this too. This is a wonderful moisturiser and won’t make the coats greasy to live with!

So Show day and you have followed all the weekly duties of attention to coat protection and you have done the show bath routine finishing with the Silk Protein Conditioner/Swishy/Blow Dry Cream mix, make sure you use the Plush Puppy Pin Brush for drying till ¾ dry and then switch to the Plush Puppy Metro/AntiStat Brush for final smoothing and finishing. I advocate using the Pin Brush till ¾ dry so as not to stretch the coat when wet. Overly stretching when wet causes the coat to tear along the shaft and makes tangling worse. You never attack long hair/coat with a bristle brush when the hair is really wet. Once almost dry, then finish off with the smoother finish brush as the Pin will not give the finish you seek. Try not to brush and flick when drying as I see a lot of people do. Section each area to be dried and use the brush down the top of the section to flatten any short hairs on the top layers of the section and then lift the coat section and dry over the face of the brush turning the edge of the brush under slightly to bend the end of the coat ever so gently and slightly. It will sit straight once the coat has been slept on. I do like smooth finish to drying being an old hairdresser. It is worth the time it takes to do it right. If you have spent the time in drying properly then show day work will be minimal.

For show day brushing and in between show brushing use the new Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray. This is not named lightly. Everyone involved in the testing of this product referred to the testers as “Oh My Gosh, that product works.” The name stuck. This is amazing! Available in 500 ml OMG Ready To Use Spray or in a 500ml OMG Concentrate which is recommended to be diluted 20:1 for average use. You can tweak the dilution to suit your dog but this is a good overall dilution ratio. The matts are so much quicker to get through and it is great for disentangling and general brushing. A real “must have” for any tack box.

Finish with Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm on the ends/hem of the coat just a few minutes prior to entering the show ring to weigh down the edges of the coat to prevent them flying around unnecessarily, especially on windy, wild days - a little on your hands through the mid lengths is good too as this is not a heavy, greasy product and can be used repeatedly throughout the day.

Keep handy the Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Regular Coats as a quick clean for dirty feet and rear end or nether regions. This handy fling on and brush or blow dry off powder will instantly clean and deodorise which is essential for those emergency situations ringside. You can use the Plush Puppy Wonder Wash, a liquid self rinse which actually foams when rubbed through the coat however for ringside speed I like the Powder Puff as it doesn’t wet the coat and having spent all that time blowdrying smooth and straight, I don’t want anything wet near the coat.

A couple of quick things to remember - for a more cottony coat use more Blow Dry Cream, for a skimpy coat use less Blow Dry Cream and for a really out of coat situation use a little Plush Puppy Volumising Cream diluted 1 tbspn to 1 cup water and applied through root area to mid lengths before drying. This will add a slight coating to the hair to beef it up a bit.

So the Lhasa is quite the picture isn’t he? His gay and assertive nature and his free and jaunty gait give him a cheerful and cheeky appearance as he peers through the heavy furnishings of the hair falling over his eyes. Appearing in many colours we never get tired of this beautiful, flashy campaigner in the ring.

- Cheryl Le Court