Your Australian Shepherd has a beautiful, unique coat. If you want to keep your pooch looking as healthy and as handsome as possible, you need to groom them properly.
Below, you will find all the guidelines, tips, and tricks to keep your dog looking good.
Understanding Your Australian Shepherd’s Coat
Before you move onto Australian Shepherd grooming, you first need to understand your aussies’ coat.
Australian Shepherds are double-coated, which means that they have two layers of fur. The undercoat is the bottommost layer – the one closest to the skin. It is thick and dense. This layer is meant to make it easier for your dog to regulate his or her temperature.
The top coat is made up of stiffer and coarser fur. The purpose of this layer is to help protect your pup from the elements. Combined, the layers work as insulation.
Despite this thick, double coat Australian Shepherds are only moderate shedders. However, you do have to groom them on a regular basis to prevent their shedding from getting out of control.
Although Australian Shepherds shed all year long, they have two shedding seasons – one in the summer and one in the winter. During this time, they will lose more and require greater upkeep until it passes.
How Do You Groom an Australian Shepherd at Home?
Here is what you need to do to keep your Australian Shepherd well-groomed:
Brushing on a Daily or Weekly Basis
It is important to brush your Australian Shepherd at least once a week. However, brushing them every day or every couple of days may be more suitable if your dog appears to be a heavier shedder.
Remember, brushing your dog regularly doesn’t just keep the shedding under control, it also helps to keep your dog’s coat healthy. This is because brushing stimulates the skin underneath. If you live in colder climes, a well-brushed coat will make it easier for them to moderate their body temperature.
Bathing Only Every Three to Four Months
You might imagine that with that thick coat, Australian Shepherds need to be bathed frequently – well, this isn’t the case at all.
This breed only needs to be bathed every three to four months. This is because their skin and coat produce natural oils that keep their fur lush and healthy. The oils are also great for moisturizing their skin.
If you bathe your dog more than the recommended amount, you are at risk of stripping them of these oils. This can result in a lank coat and dry and flaky skin.
Of course, since Australian Shepherds are an active breed who spend a great deal of time outdoors, they are bound to get dirty. Still, it is a good idea to stick to the recommended schedule. Only bathe your dog in between if they are very dirty.
Trimming Only as Needed
Trimming isn’t a necessity for Australian Shepherds. Most owners only take this step to keep their pooch looking well-groomed.
You can trim around your pup’s ears, legs, around the stomach, and tail. It is important to not go too short or your pooch may end up looking odd.
The one area that you may want to trim frequently is your dog’s paw pads. If the fur is overgrown here, they may end up slipping and sliding when they run, especially on smooth surfaces.
A Note About Shaving
When it comes to shaving an Australian Shepherd, there are two ways of going about it. One is that you should never shave the breed, even if you live in a warmer climate as it disrupts your dog’s natural way of controlling their body temperature.
The other holds that shaving Australian Shepherds makes it easier to keep them well-groomed. These people also point out that it can make it easier for their dogs to adapt to other climates.
So, which of these groups are correct?
Well, this decision is entirely up to you. You can choose to shave your Australian Shepherd during the summer to help them stay cool, for instance.
Whatever you do, never shave your dog to the skin! A dog’s fur doesn’t just protect them from the winter, it also keeps their skin safe from the harmful UV rays. As a result, you should always leave a layer of fur to keep your dog protected.
It is a good idea to avoid going overboard with the shaving in general. Clipping your dog’s coat too short can make it grow back in an unsightly way.
What You Need to Groom Your Australian Shepherd
Here is a breakdown of the grooming tools and products you will need for your Australian Shepherd:
- Slicker brush
- Long tooth undercoat rake
- Mat spray/coat conditioner (optional)
Read up on our guide here on The Best Brushes, Undercoat Rakes And Deshedders For Australian Shepherds.
Bathing and Drying Products
- Gentle dog shampoo
- Rubber mat
- Blow Dryer (optional)
- Thinning/Blending scissors
How to Brush Your Australian Shepherd
Remember, always be gentle when brushing your Australian Shepherd. This is not a process that should be rushed. Always use slow, deliberate strokes when brushing your dog. If you are too harsh, you may end up scratching the skin underneath. You can also make brushing an unpleasant experience, making them less cooperative.
First, begin with the slicker brush. Brush your dog starting from the head and then moving downwards. Brush them in sections so that you are sure to get every inch of them. Be particularly careful with where the fur is thinner.
Around the neck and under your pooch is where the fur is the thickest. Due to this, you will have to take more time to make sure that you dislodge all the loose fur, dirt, and debris. If you are not careful when doing this, the fur can become matted in these areas.
You don’t always have to use the undercoat rake. You can do this every other week. However, using this brush during shedding season can help to keep the fluff from getting everywhere.
This brush can penetrate quite deeply so you should be careful with how you use it. Pay special attention to where the fur is thickest and longest.
If you notice that certain areas are matted, don’t try to break them up with your brush just yet. Instead, spray on some mat or conditioning product. This will help to loosen the knot and make it easier – and less painful – for you to brush it out.
How to Bathe Your Australian Shepherd
What should you know about bathing your Australian Shepherd?
If your dog gets excitable during bath time, it is a good idea to put down a non-slip rug in the bathtub. You may want to do this outside the shower area as well if they have a tendency to run out of the bath. This can prevent them from hurting themselves.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your dog’s coat is thoroughly saturated with water. Since they have a double coat, this won’t be easy. Make sure that there is a gentle but steady stream of water directed at your pooch. Always run your hands through the undercoat to make sure that it is wet enough.
The next step involves lathering up the shampoo. When washing out the shampoo, check that it doesn’t stick to the fluffiest and thickest parts of your pooch.
Drying Your Australian Shepherd
This is the most challenging aspect of bathing your dog. Once again, this is because of how thick your Australian Shepherd’s fur is.
Start by using towels to dry your dog off. You will probably need several – always get the towel as close to the skin but don’t rub too hard.
Since this process can take a while, you may want to use a blow dryer. If so, have the heat on a lower setting. Test it on your own skin to ensure that it isn’t too hot.
Keep the nozzle of the blow dryer at least six inches away from your dog’s fur. Don’t focus on one spot but instead sweep the nozzle from side to side.
It is a good idea to use your hand to break up the fur so that you can reach the lower layers. This will also make it easier to control the temperature.
This is what you need to do to keep your Australian Shepherd well-groomed. Follow these guidelines and timetable and you can guarantee that your pooch will be looking and feeling good.