Siberian Husky

Grooming Advice

This is the breed closest to my own yard and one I have had a long association with. Times have progressed in presentation with most people kicking it up a notch hauling along the blow dryer to shows wherever possible and doing the last minute fluff ups that are often needed with a breed that sheds regularly.

It is ever a challenge with the seasonal shedding of their coats. The coats always appear to be either coming or going and that brief period of the perfect coat is a blessing. So, the coat has to be looked at in each of it’s stages and handled in a different manner.

Easiest stage of all is the “just right coat”. At this point we look for good health and vigour to the coat with a degree of shine plus I like to bath once a week and blow dry thoroughly. This keeps the coat rolling and rids the coat of any dead hair. I also get to part the coat to the skin with a strong cattle/turbo dryer (an Oldfield) and check for any skin conditions or fleas/ticks - heaven forbid!

I personally use a hydrobath - this is a surge hose bath that recirculates the water from a tank/reservoir, getting right into the double coat with quite a good deal of force. This appears to be an uniquely Australian machine and does come in double tank variations. I bypass the tank with dual taps for hot and cold water directly into the input hose and simply empty and refill the one tank. I just prefer it - the single tank variety has a larger tank which I find I need for a larger breed.

Of course any system that works for you is a good one. This just happens to be a good one for me and the fibreglass unit has high walls with a removable door for access. I stay drier and the dog stays in! It’s also better on my back. However any bath unit will work too.

For a quick spritz clean up start with a squirt of Plush Puppy AZ IZ into the wash water to negate any static on the coat and lightly spritz clean the main body of the coat. The AZ IZ is a light bathing alternative but the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo can be used instead for extra shine - again just a light squirt to the water. Roughly ½ tspn to a gallon just to get the cleansing action happening. This is great easy maintenance bath.

However, for the show ring I could use up to 5 different shampoos to sculpture that perfect silhouette. Depends on which dog I am doing and at what stage the coat is at. Also what parts do I wish to lift and which parts to lie down?

For instance, for the white areas, use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at around 3:1 for that pearly, white finish. This will not lighten or bleach but instead tones with optical brighteners. Should a more creamy white be desired, then use the Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo which does have a mild clarifying action. You can also use the Deep Cleansing prior to using the Whitening Shampoo for extra cleaning if needed. Use at 5:1 ratio.

Use All Purpose for the topline for shine and perhaps Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo for a course tail that can sometimes tend to mat. Use at 5:1.

I don’t use a conditioner. Conditioners flatten and soften and I like to see a fuller look to the coat especially for those that are not in full coat. Plus the coat requires texture and not a softened texture. You need to hydrate the coat, maintain that texture and shine so use instead Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil at 1 tbspn to one gal/4 litres water. After shampooing and squeezing the excess moisture from the coat, thoroughly saturate with the oil mixture and leave in - do not rinse out. This is absolutely wonderful on the coat and skin, giving fabulous shine and texture to the coat without being greasy. We show the dogs with this in their coats. Who can live without this product? I use it all the time even when just doing maintenance baths to protect the coats mid week.

For out of coat situations use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at 5:1 for extra body or on those areas needing more fullness and lift and for a dry, old coat, use Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose at the same ratio. If the coat is burnt, faded or has rusty tones, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at 3:1 to tone and kill the unwanted warm tones. Rinse and follow with Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil as instructed above.

Next step is to blow dry. Mix 1 tbpsn Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to 1 cup/250 mls approx of water and apply thoroughly to the coat, saturating it. This gives the illusion of 3 hairs looking like 3,000. It doesn’t feel foreign in the coat and will give that oomph and extra fullness without feeling sticky. You can add this in with the Seabreeze Oil/water mix to save time, putting in the 1 tbspn into the 4 litres water. I like this way of application to not only save time but having enough mix to saturate the coat to ensure even dispersion all the way through.

You can add Plush Puppy Puffy Dog - a strong hold mousse that does have a strong lift effect if you want that extra outline to the dog, especially around the ruff area or legs. Use this on top of the Volumising Cream for more volume and more lift. However you will feel this slightly in the coat and out of consideration for the purist judges, I would be sparing with this.

If the coat is overly dry and looking too puffy sometimes just before shedding, use Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream 1 tbspn to 1 cup water and apply thoroughly. This will instantly flatten and soften those dry, brittle areas, especially on the toplines that tend to frazzle with flipped ends. For extra attention to dry frazzled hair, use Plush Puppy Hair Rescue. We apply this mid week diluted with water to a runny mix and slathered all over the dehydrated areas and leave for as long as you can. Leave the dog if you wish in this for a couple of days or 10 minutes – whatever, and then rinse off. Won’t soften the coat and will add lots of protein and moisture.

Use the Plush Puppy Blue Pin Brush to blow dry. I avoid using a slicker on a wet coat as I find they rip the coats to bits when wet and I like the effect of getting right to the skin with the pin brush when the coat is dry. I then get into the coat and line comb with a metal Poodle comb. No point using anything that just fluffs over the top layers of the coat. Blow dry with the brush and hands pushing the coat forwards towards the head for maximum lift. It will settle down over night and follow the outline of the dog as required. You can finish the drying for a smoother effect with the Plush Puppy Blue Anti Static Brush. Keep the Plush Puppy Blue Slicker Brush Regular for the coat when perfectly dry and for fluffing up on show day.

Show day - use Plush Puppy Coverup Cream - a small amount dabbed lightly onto the legs, face, inside ears, elbows etc with a barely damp sponge. Dab lightly and allow to dry and then reapply in layers hitting it with a bit of loose chalk if the weather is damp. This will dry it quicker - just brush or blow out the chalk afterwards.

Brush up the main body of the coat either with an extra mix of Plush Puppy Volumising Cream (1 tbspn to 250 mls warm water) for more coat, or Plush Puppy Revivacoat mixed at 1 golfball amount to 1 cup water for more moisture to the coat. This is an excellent non greasy moisturiser and can be applied either direct or diluted. I just prefer diluting it for more even distribution to the coat.

Plush Puppy OMG is one of the best overall grooming sprays available. Use at anywhere from 30:1 to 40 : 1. This will separate each hair and give you a wonderful finish. We tend to use this mostly when brushing the coat now but Volumising Cream and also Revivacoat have their uses for the coats at particular times when needed to lift or moisturise. For a good, regular well maintained coat, stick to the OMG on show day.

Snip off the shaggy hair around the underneath of the feet and trim whiskers if you wish - I don’t. A good spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that extra attack on the judge’s senses and a dash of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust sprinkled judiciously onto the pants and topline for that hint of a shimmer and finish with a light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for a final bit of shine and glamour.

There is one little other hint I will share for those coats that are too soft. Add a light dusting, and I mean light, of Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Terriers and Harsh Coats. This will give instant harshness and texture to any coat. Just a light sprinkle or a quick flick with a small amount on the brush through the softer areas of the coat.

Now it’s up to the handler and judge on the day. Your dog looks good, he hopefully knows what is expected of him and you have attended to all the 100 little things that make a winning dog. It’s hard work to groom a dog to this level each and every week. You can’t shortcut it and have the dog look his best - ask the Standard Poodle people or the Afghan exhibitors! A Siberian Husky can and should look beautiful. I don’t recollect reading anywhere that I am to show an ugly dog. I know he is not a hairdo dog but he is a regal and noble breed who can look as good as any of them. His grace and elegance and hard working attitude with a glamorous presentation make him a breed that gets a lot of notice - for all the right reasons.

- Cheryl Le Court