Schnauzer Grooming Information
The Giant Schnauzer needs to have its coat regularly maintained. And lets face it, finding a groomer that is familiar with a Giant Schnauzer cut can be pretty hard to come by. Some of them will tell you they have cut a Giant before and they may have never even seen one in person and just assume its cut like a miniature. If you are going to use a groomer have them show you photos of a giant they have cut before. Beware of the “unknown groomer”. If you intend to show your Giant, you will need to learn how to hand strip, clip and groom your Giant specifically for the show ring. If your Giant is going to be simply a loved family pet, it will be easier to keep their coat clipped. This needs to be done every 8 -10 weeks to keep the dog in shape,depending on type of coat. A Giant with an American coat or the “soft coat” will need to be clipped every 6-8 weeks. German coats or the “hard coats” can go a little longer, up to 10 weeks. To keep the Giant Schnauzer looking in excellent condition, you need to regularly groom its coat. Regular brushing with a Slicker brush helps to remove any loose dead hair, it also helps to keep the longer leg and beard hair from matting. This is the only type of brush that will actually get through the Giants longer hair. After brushing the dog with a slicker brush, a thorough comb through is necessary to remove any smaller tangles that maybe left. Although the Giant is customarily a “stripped Breed” it still sheds its coat.
The coat needs to be regularly dragged out with a fine-toothed comb. Even those of you that intend to have your giants clipped, should do this, as the old dead coat gets trapped and all of a sudden the giants coat goes thick and dusty and who knows what is crawling around in there.
Bathing the Giant regularly, will not affect the dogs coat, on the contrary, because the skin is clean it will promote healthy hair production. There are many good shampoos on the market specifically formulated for harsh coats, but the secret is in the rinsing. Rinse well and there will be no scurf. Also you could mix your shampoo in a separate bottle and dilute it with water so its easier to rinse. Same goes with conditioning, mix it in a separate bottle, this makes it so much easier to rinse.
For those of you that find drying your giant a pain, we recommend a “blaster” or forced air dryer. You can find one on Petedge.com. This machine can be expensive but what it will save you in time and towels its worth every penny. This is a MUST have for any giant schnauzer owner.
What do you do about those matted beards? If you can keep your dogs beard washed and combed regularly it shouldn’t get messy, but if you find it hard to cope with there is such a thing as a matt-breaker. These you can get for 10.00 at petco. These have 5 teeth on them that are sharp as razors. It also has a thumb guard on there to protect your fingers. You just comb the beard with this and if you have a really mat then you can saw it back and forth and this will help break it up. Just use caution not to cut the giants lip or your fingers.
As for clippers, there isn’t one particular model that is the best. I use the Oster Turbo A5, once again purchased at Petedge. You can always find deals there. It is also the most versatile and easy to use model. The twin speed is better than the single speed. It does not get hot as long as you use it on the lower speed. You should use the higher speed to cut through matted hair only. Also always remember to use your clipper cool and always oil your blades. Their blades are cheap enough and easy to buy, and the machine is reasonably priced too. Andis are great for puppies and nervous dogs as it is quieter but it doesn’t tolerate a thick coat. Also most Andis blades are cheaper and they will fit your A5 clippers.
As for stripping knives, the choice is vast, and it is a matter of personal taste. The most popular knives used by Schnauzer people are the Miki knives; blue for course, red for fine. These are not too expensive and can be bought almost everywhere.(Petedge) Some use Mars 99M326, some use a yellow McCellan (course). If you have large hands, a Classic course or fine is comfortable to use. If you are thinking of “hand stripping” by finger and thumb, we would suggest using finger cotts. These are made of rubber and they help to grip the hair. Also ring 5 grooming powder for harsh coats helps to make a better grip.
To help remove excess undercoat, a stripping stone is great. You just scrap over the coat and remove the dead hair. We find that the best stones are the white ones sold by DezynaDog. They don’t crumble or break as easily as the black ones.
Another gadget that some find a necessity is a nail grinder. We’re sure you could count on one hand, the amount of Giants that DON”T object to having their nails cut. But with one of these grinders, it’s quick and painless and there is no sharp edges left on the nail. The grinder is also great if you are afraid of making the black nail bleed by cutting, as you would grind little and often, to keep the nails short.
Also for plucking the hair from inside the Giants ears, which is a must, we suggest that a pair of non-locking forceps is the easiest to use. They have rounded ends and grooves for a better grip. If your Giant has waxy ears, Biogroom ear powder helps to grip the hair, whilst keeping the ear dry and fresh. Great to use for dusting, once you’ve cleaned the ear with ear cleaner. Just be sure not to pinch the ear when using the forceps, I personally use the gripper powder and my fingers. They actually dont mind this.
Hopefully you have learned something about how to make grooming the Giant easier. Everyone grooms their dogs differently, so it would not be fair for us to say what is right or wrong, as no two dogs are the same. It is simply a case of what suits your dog and your lifestyle. It can get really expensive either way you look at it, weather you are doing it yourself or taking your pup to a groomer. You can always try it, there are many videos to show you step by step on how to cut a Giant Schnauzers. Its Hair it will grow back, so go ahead and give it a try.