Monday, January 18, 2021

How to groom a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

Many people owning a King Cavalier do not know if they should be groomed. With Jodie, it took me almost two years to try.

I have absolutely no regrets. I am taking advantage of this website to offer you a complete guide to grooming the Cavalier King Charles.

Why grooming your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?

In itself, it is quite possible to never groom this breed. The hairs of the Cavalier King Charles are very long, but they do not interfere in any way with his buttocks (for example, a Chow Chow has to have his hindquarters trimmed, which tend to go all the way to his anus and his droppings get stuck in them) and they do not grow until they are lying on the ground.

However, I did so for three reasons:

  • Jodie’s comfort: with her long hair, the knots multiply and she tries to pull them out as best she can. In addition, many weeds, small branches cling to them and she gets angry at them when she comes home.
  • The cleanliness of the house: as she brings back less stuff in her hair, I don’t find any more branches on the ground and there aren’t as many tufts ending up on the ground.
  • The beauty of the animal: with well trimmed legs and a coat that perfectly fits her shape, she is magnificent.

a king cavalier is playing
As you can see on this picture of Jodie, the paw hairs of my dogs can quickly look like those of Chewbacca.

How do you get your Cavalier King Charles groomed?

To do the grooming, you have several options:

  • Go to a grooming salon
  • Using a home groomer
  • Do it yourself

I have an annual appointment with a home groomer and several DIY groomings throughout the year.

The steps of a complete grooming of the Cavalier

A complete grooming consists of several steps:

  • A good bath, then a drying with a blower.
  • Brushing to remove knots.
  • A scissor cut of the hairs.
  • The filing of the claws and, if necessary, the cleaning of the eyes and ears.
  • A last small brushstroke is optional at the end, but it allows the recalcitrant hairs to fall out.

For this work, you must have the right equipment and, above all, be careful not to denature the breed.

A Cavalier King Charles is so elegant that it would be a shame to ruin everything with random grooming. Don’t forget that this is the King’s breed!

What are the necessary materials?

If you decide to groom the dog yourself, you will need a minimum of dog’s equipments. In the long term, the investment is worth it because it will be profitable. To buy your dogs accessories, you can go to a pet store or order online.

  • A shampoo specially designed for dogs (a shampoo for humans have a too high Ph for them).
  • A brush to remove knots from your Cavalier.
  • A scissor to cut the hairs.
  • A nail clipper.
  • A dog hair dry, if he is not afraid of it (optional, but recommended).
  • A grooming table for better stability (optional, but very practical)

If you buy good quality dogs accessories, a budget of $200 is more than enough to groom your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cheaper than you thought, am I right?

The specificities of grooming for this breed

Be very careful when grooming because a bad grooming can have repercussions on the dog’s whole life. The best example is the accessory used to cut his hair.

The lazy method is to take a clipper, put on the right hoof and cut it all off.

Unfortunately, by doing so, you traumatize the hair of your Cavalier. As it grows back after shaving, the hair hardens and tends to curl.

That’s why we sometimes come across King Charles Cavaliers with a not very elegant coat, with curly hair in all directions.

Pay attention to the beauty criteria of the breed. Drooping ears should not be cut off too low or else they will spoil those beautiful big ears that we love so much.

During my first grooming session, the professional I had hired even cut the hairs on top of the ears when I had simply asked to remove the hairs inside the ear… It was really a bad decision.

These tips also apply to the dog’s tail. Also try not to cut too short at the back. My cuts are mainly on Jodie’s chest and paws, where it ends up looking ugly when there are big tufts.

The right reflex to maximize the beauty of you Cavalier is to see what is done in dog show events.

How much does it cost to groom with a professional?

If you don’t want to groom yourself, the price varies a little depending on the salon and the home groomer.

I tried three independent professionals and the price for bath + drying + cutting was $50 and $60 (twice).

In a professional salon, it can be a little more expensive, especially if you live in big cities.

When to groom your Cavalier King Charles?

It is generally recommended to groom your dog twice a year. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing it in May and December.

In May, it allows me to take Jodie for a walk in the forest without her coming back too dirty. It is important to know that a dog evacuates perspiration and heat differently than through his body, so grooming is only useful to “cool” the dog.

In December, grooming limits the snow that clings in his hair. Living in Savoie (French Alps), she finds herself chilled by bringing ice cubes in her paws and I have to wash her in hot water so that they leave quickly. This happens in spite of the fact that she is wearing boots and a small coat …

The Cavalier is really a beautiful breed. You must already feel it when people look at your dog in the street. A good grooming highlights its strong points while keeping its natural characteristics.

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