This is the ungroomed dog. Her beauty and breed silhouette are lost in too much coat.
So the first thing to do is imagine the breed silhouette. That is what needs to be groomed into her. So here is the shape you should have in your mind’s eye.
Lets brush her all out and see if that helps a bit. Not quiet so scruffy but there is about two hours of grooming ahead of us to get back her shape.
Here is the head, combed out. There is considerably too much hair here and it needs some “tidying.” We are going to frame the face by pulling out the longest hairs that do not lend to a pretty shape.
Most of the hair that falls outside of the line here is old growth and needs to be pulled. Remember take a little at a time.
Just before we start let's look at the side of the head too. Can you see the longer hairs under the ear...the whisps of hair... and under the eye and on the bridge of the nose as well? All this needs tidying.Here is the head, combed out. There is considerably too much hair here and it needs some “tidying.” We are going to frame the face by pulling out the longest hairs that do not lend to a pretty shape.
We also need to look at the back of the head. It should all lie flat. Keep in mind that everything flows to the next part.
I actually started on the top and back of the head to reclaim a little shape. Once everything lies flat I move around to the front of the head.
Everything that lies over my thumb is going to be pulled out to get the shape of the head back. Also where the collar fits around head I actually groom a place for the collar to lie neatly.
I will start by doing the right side by itself. Normally, I’ll work both sides in balance but I thought it would be easier to see the differences with the left side left untouched. So here a great deal of hair has been pulled and the head shape is coming along.
Here is the head half done from the front. If she had more layers I would have not had to pull the hairs on the crown of her head as far as I did...it will grow back fast! You can also see how “tidying” is in fact shaping.
Here the head shape is coming closer to what I think it should look like.
Let's look back. There was no shape.
Now we have the correct shape. There are still some touch ups that I’ll continue to do on the bridge of the nose and around the eyes. Most important is that you should see is that there was a Norwich under all that face hair!
In some natural light you can see some things a bit better.
Here is the dog again before she was groomed. I mentioned that everything flows into the next part. So from the head we flow in to the shoulders and down the leg.
The ungroomed neck, shoulder and leg.
The final product of the legs is nice columns ending in cat like paws for feet. The leg column is all about shaping again. The longer whisps of hair on the back of the leg needs to be stripped. Equally too much hair on the front of the paw makes it takes away from the cat paw look. The mass of the column is actually built (or grown) on the front of the leg.
In no time at all you can accomplish quite a difference. There is still more work to do on the whips behind the leg and on the paw as well. Note also that from the head, down the shoulder, down the leg it all flows into one another. So there is work to be done there as well by stripping the longer hairs always keeping in mind the shape that needs to be created. Now you can see that having removed the last whips and the hair on the toes finally have a column. Four more feet to do!
I groom from the front to the rear. There is a good eight months or more of coat here so most of it is dead and needs to come out.
As I work along the back I keep in mind the level topline. If not done incorrectly it can ruin the whole silhouette.
Here is the breed shape groomed in to the dog.
Here is the “rear view.” Lots of hair and no real shape. Since there is really only one layer I will take it down very short to get the correct shape back .
The rear finished. Time to grow some top coat back here.
For our dogs, the hair grows at a rate of about 1/4 inch / 1 cm per month.