wolfhound grooming

Start your puppy off almost as soon as you get it by brushing with a soft brush, looking in its mouth and ears, lifting its tail and feet, feeling gently all over its body, and getting it used to being examined, both while standing and lying down on its side, and having its toes moved and its toenails trimmed. It is so important to do this and do it frequently so that the puppy accepts it as part of life. It can be extremely difficult to deal with an older hound that will not allow grooming or nail trimming and cannot be examined by the veterinarian when necessary. It is not very sensible to end up having to have your hound anaesthetized in order to have its nails cut, or requiring sedation before the vet can check him over.

The wolfhound does not need a vast amount of grooming but does require brushing regularly and a thorough going over once a week. Some hounds do have rather long, soft coats and these will obviously take much more work. For the show ring the hound should just be tidied up, not stripped out, except when removing old, dead coat.

However, tidying up can involve quite a lot of work - especially with those hounds with a heavy coat, which are inclined to grow soft and long hair on their ears, and enough hair round their feet to resemble carpet slippers. The hair from the ears must be removed with finger and thumb a little at a time, but most people use thinning scissors or a stripping knife to remove the hair from the feet, and also to tidy up the hair which can grow in ridges down the sides of the neck. Tidy the head so that the shape of the skull can be seen, with no tufts of fur to spoil the line. The neck should have a mane, so, although it is a good idea to tidy up the sides of the neck, it should not be completely stripped out.

Tidy the hair under the belly, especially under the tuck-up, so that there is not a long fringe hanging down and spoiling the underline. Strip any over-thick hair from the base of the tail so that the curve of the topline flows smoothly down into the tail, and do the same to any area where the hair is sticking out in tufts or not lying smooth. The outline of the hound should flow in a series of curves, not go straight and then up and over a hump! Get a good look from a few feet away every now and then as you work, because your view close to can give you a different picture to what the judge and ringsiders will see and you can lose sight of the whole hound while concentrating on some particular aspect of it.

Don't wait until the day before the show to start preparation; bathe your hound, if you are going to do that, about three to two weeks prior to the show so that the coat has time to settle, and do a little bit of stripping each day. Do prepare your hound before a show - it is most unpleasant for the judge (and does not show you or your hound in a good light) if it is dirty and unkempt.

Feeding your hounds the most suitable diet for each individual will help to keep his mouth pristine and his teeth white, but do start off at the early puppy stage and continue throughout his life examining his mouth thoroughly on a regular basis. Bad teeth can cause major problems with the dog's health and dogs can get mouth cancers, which are so often not noticed until they are extremely invasive simply because no-one looked in the mouth.

When you do bathe your hound, do use a proper dog shampoo because those have been formulated to fit in with the pH balance of the skin. Do not use human shampoos, nor baby shampoos, because the pH levels of the human and dog skin are different. Particularly do not use anti-dandruff shampoos sold for people as these can be extremely harmful. If your hound has scurfy skin, then take a look at his diet and particularly his intake of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and B complex vitamins.