Old English Sheepdog
This wonderful west country of England drover’s dog is a great example of how a seemingly no-nonsense breed can be a lesson in how to present in the show ring. For those that figure this breed is easy on the grooming as there isn’t any trimming except for the feet and rear, you could be mistaken! Oh, there is so much you can do! You can sculpt this dog with a blow dryer, your hands and backcombing. Your quest is to retain the silhouette and yet present all the grand lines and features of a balanced dog and you do have the profuseness of coat to do it. Who needs a pair of scissors? Best to start at the beginning.
This is a breed where texture is everything. For this use Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo – another product formulated using the latest technology to retain and improve coat texture. Recommended to thoroughly yet gently cleanse and deodorize the coat of harsh or coarse coated breeds without softening or compromising texture. It’s ideal for boosting body and coarseness in coats of all colors and coat types. Formulated to be pH controlled, creates/ maintains texture, easy to rinse out and low irritant with a subtle apple fragrance. Incorporates Gentian Root Extract, Juniper Fruit Extract, St John’s Wort Leaf Extract, Norway Spruce Leaf Extract, Hayflower Extract, Lemon Balm Leaf Extract, Arnica Flower Extract. Use at 1:10 or apply undiluted directly to areas requiring cleansing. Rinse thoroughly. This can be used in conjunction with another shampoo.
For faces and heads use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It – an amazing product for faces using the very latest technology combined with natural holistic properties. Its tearless formula with anti-inflammatory benefits is hypoallergenic. Key ingredients are Blue Cypress extracts, panthenol and Pro Vit B. Apply a golf ball-sized amount directly to the face and eyes, massage in without causing any irritation. In addition, can be used on ears for the same benefits.
Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo is also excellent for heads and rumps. Its special formula gives bulk and volume to the coat. Use at 1 part shampoo to 3 parts water.
Use the Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo diluted 3:1 (i.e. 3 parts water to one part shampoo) for the white areas. This has a great tonal effect for reducing unwanted warm tones and helps reduce those reddish/brown coat tones in transitioning coats from puppy to adult coats. For difficult stubborn stained white areas also use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok this product is one of our proudest achievements in helping to maintain a white stain free coat. It is not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but with the use of modern technology and high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerin This product is designed to remove gently unwanted warm/red tones to the coat. Best used on a damp/wet coat. Gently rub into the areas required allowing time (5-10 minutes) and rinse. For maximum effects repeat or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.
Never use conditioner as they are acid rinses which will flatten and soften, the very thing you do not want on an Old English. However, you do need to hydrate the coat and keep the elasticity in the hair shaft. Use instead 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to one gal/4lt water and saturate well through the coat a large sponge. Leave in/do not rinse out. This is a wonderful addition to your coat grooming routine. It does the most amazing things for the coat and skin. Perfect for mid-week coat protection.
For added texture use Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier on the butt and headpiece for extra texture. Just sprinkle through and lightly work in with hands and brush or blow dry to remove excess. Great fragrance too – mandarin and ginger! This really allows you to enhance texture but it’s ostensibly for cleansing and deodorizing. The side effect is texture, texture, texture! I like this next part – it is where you get to shape and sculpt your dog without violating your rules of standard. I adore Plush Puppy Puffy Dog+ mousse.
This gives you hold and texture and is totally water-soluble, so you don’t get build-up on the coat causing brittleness. Brittle coat is the greatest enemy you have when grooming. People tend to rip out the undercoat when grooming and even worse, do not bath for fear of softening and then the coat gets dry and brittle and breaks anyway. If you bath and oil the coat as outlined above you will have fabulous coats on your dogs.
Now plan where you want to put the Puffy Dog+. You cannot possibly blow-dry the whole of the dog in one hit and by the time you get to the other end, the mousse will have dried too before you have shaped the hair. For ease of usage as you have a large dog, mix 3 golf ball amounts of Puffy Dog to 2 cups/500 ml water and allow to dissolve by lightly rocking (not shaking) in a spray bottle.
Spray the hocks well and blow-dry to shape. Use this same mix for the head blow-drying forwards with the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush. You now need to keep that drop over the withers, so have a mix of 1 teaspoon Plush Puppy Swishy Coat & 1 teaspoon Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream to 1 cup/250mls water in a spray bottle and liberally apply to the withers and base of neck so as to show that drop of the withers and the neck to maximum effect. I see too many people using wet towels to create this same effect only to have added humidity to the coat making the situation even worse.
The same mix can also be used under throat and chest area to keep the hair down and not lose the outline. Remember, there is no trimming in these areas! If you work on each area at a time rather than a blanket all-over approach, you will get the symmetry and balance you are seeking. It is a big dog and there are a lot of parts you can single out to tweak the overall appearance. You have enough hair also to do it with. The Poodle is sculpted with scissors and clippers; yours is shaped with hands and dryer. You can use Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular which is an amazing innovation to cleanse and deodorize and best of all give light texture to the feet, legs and hocks. Just dust through, rub in lightly and then brush out or blow dry out to remove excess.
Now the head piece – this is such an important part of the overall picture and one people tend to mess up or make a tangle of. Stand in front of your dog’s head and brush back, away from the front, section by section starting at the back. Next, still standing in front of the head and using Plush Puppy Sit N Stay with a small amount applied to the hands and worked between the hands till warmed and passing over from wet sticky to a drier sticky feel, section horizontally from the front first and work through with the hands, wiping on section by section from root to almost the ends.
For those requiring extra shape for heads and rumps use Plush Puppy Hold is a strong sculpting spray scientifically formulated for shaping all types of coats on Show Dogs. The quick-drying formulation won’t become sticky and will not build-up. HOLD can be removed with ease by simply shampooing the coat. Contains Pro-Vitamin B5 to improve elasticity, moisture retention, and flexibility in their coat hair. We recommend using and storing at normal room temperature for a perfect mist spray. Optimum spray distance is approximately 30cm (12 inches).
Allow to dry for two or three minutes. Then, still standing in front of the dog’s head, with the head down and starting from the front area of the head, section horizontally and lightly backcomb methodically and slowly, section by section from the roots to the ends, joining each section to the section before it. You want to create that forwards fullness that follows the arch of the neck. This headpiece sculpture should not move – what hairspray? Done correctly, you don’t need hairspray and hairspray has alcohol in it causing brittleness and breakage. You can do final fluff around things such as a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the brush or sifted on with your hands. This is applied with a gentle touch and should be subtle with just enough to catch the light for enhancement.
If you have done this grooming routine properly and taken the time to focus on the various sections of the dog, you will have achieved an overall picture of balance and grace. Your breed the Old English may be an outdoors person and he may have come from country stock that was very no-nonsense but, he is a masterful competitor when presented with intelligent presentation and attention to detail. His shuffling bear gait and his loveable eyes peering from beneath and through the fringes of his beautifully coiffed headpiece make him a stunning dog in a working man’s group.
Article courtesy of Plush Puppy Australia