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.