Bernese Mountain Dogs – they’re big, hairy beasts. Add extra emphasis on the word “hairy.”
Walk into a pet store and you’ll find a myriad of grooming tools, but little information about which ones are best for your dog.
So, how do you take better care of your Berner’s coat between visits to a professional groomer? Which tools should you have in your basic grooming kit?
I asked owner/handler Anna Boesch of Thunder Bay, Ontario what she considers her five “must-have” basic grooming tools.
Anna knows a bit about grooming a show dog. Anna and Scott Martin own the very handsome and accomplished BISS BIS Can GCH Am Ch Avatar’s Bringing Sexy Back, aka Justice.
Anna’s ‘I can’t do without these’ tools
So, here in Anna’s own words, are her “I can’t do without these” grooming tools.
1. Scissors and thinning shears
“First and foremost are my scissors – a pair of regular scissors and a pair of thinning shears. I have grouped these together as one item, because as far as I am concerned, one without the other is useless.
“The scissors are mainly used for trimming the hair from the underside of the feet. The thinning shears are used to give the tops of the feet that “cat/bear paw-like” appearance, as well as for trimming the edge of the ears and removing that “fro” look from the outer ear.”
2. Long-toothed steel comb
“Secondly is my comb. I use a fairly longer toothed steel comb (I probably have 5 of these… at least! lol) These are wonderful for getting out undercoat or even using the ends to break up any small mats you may come across.
“For the record, Justice has never had a mat since we have owned him! Now my golden bitch, that’s a whole other story! That girl’s pants mat if you so much as look at them the wrong way! *ugh*”
3. The rake
“Third is my rake. If I haven’t groomed “da boy” in a while, I will go over him with the rake before commencing combing his coat. This rake is fantastic for removing undercoat on ANY dog – even shorthaired dogs! It will also separate those near-mats that you may not feel comfortable dragging a comb through!”
4. Steel pin brush without heads on pins
“Next is my normal brush. I use this for normal day-to-day brushing as well as while I am blow drying coat. I prefer a stiffer steel pin brush without heads on the pins. I find the brushes with the heads on the ends of the pins tend to split Berner hair.”
5. A slicker brush
“Lastly, and certainly not least important, a good slicker brush! I find this useful while blow drying legs and while trimming feet.
It is also handy to smooth the coat. I do not prefer the slickers with the “self cleaners”… I find them relatively useless the second one tooth of the brush is no longer perfectly straight. Besides, they are VERY easy to clean the hair out of them with your steel comb!”
Wanna know more about Justice and Anna?
Here’s the rundown:
- In 2012, Justice finished his show year as the #3 BMD in Canada, behind his father and his brother
- In 2013 in the U.S., Justice completed his AKC Championship in one weekend going BOW all three days for three five point majors!
- Also in 2013 in Canada, Justice won the BMD Club of Ontario Specialty and he finished the year as the country’s #1 BMD. Anna took over handling him on a full time basis in August of that year.
- In 2014, Justice finished off the year as the #2 BMD in Canada after being in the #1 spot almost all year. His little sister, Britney, beat him out in December.
Eileen’s safety announcement
Thanks Anna for this great advice.
Now for a safety announcement.
If you have never used straight edge scissors or thinning shears, I highly advise you first get your breeder or regular groomer to show you how to use them. They can be tricky and you don’t want any accidents happening.
Carol Ronca says
Love how Anna’s rack has the same 2 end teeth bent like mine.The sign of a well used rack!LOL
I am relatively new to the art of show ring Berner grooming. Is there a good place or website for a novice to learn what should be done to groom a Berner properly for the show ring? I trim my boys’ feet and brush them regularly, but I sure would like to learn a few tips from the pros.
Eileen Blass says
I do plan some show grooming posts going forward, but for now, the best place for you to learn is a combination of talking to your breeder, asking a great groomer and hanging out at the shows and talking to the exhibitors/handlers. Around the ring, look at paws. I look at paws all the time. Many handlers will be very busy getting their dogs ready for the ring at a show, of course, but observing them and then asking some questions after they are out of the ring is a great thing to do.
OO THANKS FOR THE TIPS AND I REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO MORE POSTS ON PROPER SHOW GROOMING 🙂
Eileen Blass says
Show grooming posts are on my list to do Stacee. It’s a great subject…Thank you!
Wendy Eiss says
Anna, lets go down the water slide. Great article. Since I now hopefully have a conformation prospective, I have been wondering what brushes etc were best. I do groom D and have all that stuff, but just making sure I have the best to keep Player’s coat from being damaged.
Eileen Blass says
Wendy! I’ll water slide with you any day! lol. For under coat I use a two rowed, round steel toothed rake (sorry, had it so long I don’t remember the manufacturer!). I then comb with a long toothed MADAN comb! (I LOVE my MADAN’s). Normal everyday brushing, I just use pin brush – but the ones with no heads on the pins! I find the ones with heads spit the hair! As for a slicker, I have used many over the years, but am currently ga-ga over my Pure Paws slicker I picked up at the US National!!! Love how soft it is & the job it does!
I just got a beautiful Bernese puppy and she needs trimming around her legs, this guide was so useful I got all the stuff and now my little Miylah (my Bernese) looks even more beautiful.
DIY dog grooming in Arlington TX says
Thanks for finally talking about >5 must-have grooming
tools every Berner owner needs <Loved it!