This little Mr Smarty Pants of the show ring always reminds me of a gentleman of old with his top hat, tails and spats, just because he is always so bandbox smart. Well, at least he sometimes does and frankly ought to be.
Again this is a breed where the purists tend not to want to do anything with shaping of the coat and others go gung-ho. If you follow the English standard, it doesn’t say a word about whether you can or can’t shape the coat, whereas the AKC standard specifically mentions stripping and trimming. I am of the belief that if the rules don’t mention it and don’t say you can’t, then it is fair enough to do it.
It does take talent to shape a good Mini Schnauzer. However, it can be learned and once you have the picture in your head of what is to be done, then all else follows readily. Basic trimming and stripping skills can be mastered and all it then takes is patience and a will to put the effort in.
Whatever you set out to do with his shaping, remember that your standard calls for correct conformation being of more importance than colour and beauty. So be mindful that your shaping should enhance his conformation and don’t just follow what someone else does to their Schnauzer whose shape is likely different.
I like to bath this dog. I am aware that the body of the coat ought to be harsh and wiry so the trick is not to soften the coat but simply clean it and keep the coat from exhibiting buff or reddish tones. Use the Plush Puppy AZ IZ Wash which is very low foaming and ideal for Terrier type coats. I like to only spritz clean this coat so use at the ratio of about 6 squirts to the gallon/4litres. You will hardly see any foam and thus keep any static or fluffiness to a minimum. For the legs and furnishings use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at just 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. No conditioner please as we don’t want to soften. Use instead for shine and good health and vigour to the coat, the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil at 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 litres of water straight after bathing and soak well through the whole coat and leave in.
Dry the head with Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream - 1 tbspn to 1 cup water all through the beard and eyebrows too to keep the coat straight and flat. Once dried you can even use straightening irons on the eyebrows if necessary and apply Plush Puppy Sit N Stay warmed through the hands and smeared onto the brows. This will help hold them in place.
Dry the legs upwards and full using a cushion pin brush till almost dry and apply Plush Puppy Cover Up Cream with a damp piece of kitchen sponge and then pack full of loose chalk and blow dry out again. This gives nice white, full legs. Spray with hairspray to hold.
For the body when blow drying, apply Plush Puppy Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray to keep the harshness to the coat and keep reapplying as you dry till required texture is achieved.
Now for the shaping -for those who are dedicated enough to do it and for those whose standard says you should. Hand strip all over the main body including tail, shaping to a V at the neck. This V extends up the ridge on the side of the neck to just immediately behind the ears. This area is clipped with a #10 Oster blade. Head and ears are hand stripped.
The head shape is achieved by leaving length on the eyebrows and scissoring to shape from the outer corner of the eyes to a point reaching the tip of the nose so one has created a triangle.
This gives the correct shape to the head. One then follows with the facial hair being left long from the outer corner of the eye in a line extending down to just the corner of the mouth and then to the couple of dark whiskers under the chin. Length of the beard to suit the length of the individual dog’s head.
Clip around his butt from inner leg to just inside the swirls on the butt and down to the turn of stifle and then scissor blend into leg lengths. You now have to create a flared column of the legs. Don’t trim the legs evenly all the way down as you are shaping for the perfect straight front view and you have an opportunity to get this dog perfect with the trim. A flared column means less off the bottom of the leg than the top which will often be trimmed a bit closer. Just view your dog and what he needs. Trim his furnishings and his underneath to suit shape.
Clip under his feet and around the edges of the front to create that nice cat like tight foot as stipulated.
Don’t forget to whiten his face with the Plush Puppy Cover Up Cream and finish it off with a dusting of loose chalk or chalk block which is easier to apply to the face than the loose stuff.
I do dislike seeing reddening around the beards. A tspn of Apple Cider Vinegar in his food each day seems to help prevent this and you can also use Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo if already stained. Use undiluted and work into the stained area and leave in for 10 minutes and rinse. Repeat as often as needed.
Keep your salt & pepper, black & silver or your solid black from sun fade with the Plush Puppy Sunshade. I use this 2 or 3 times during the week on coats.
So you now have a perfectly turned out Mini Schnauzer. All you need to do now is spray him with the Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that wonderful fresh smell and a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto your Plush Puppy Metro Anti-Static Brush and worked lightly through his rear area, topline and front.
Finish with a light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for that finished look. The Pixie Dust will give you a fabulous, light shimmer and the Shine & Comb a healthy lustre.
Your Mini Schnauzer is a smart and stylish little person. His free, balanced little gait striding out with good reach and drive combined with your input for snappy grooming for him makes him a formidable opponent in any ring. He is one good looking little dog.
- Cheryl Le Court