By Kathy Rose
The Old English Sheepdog, as the name suggests, originated from England in the early 1800’s. This herding breed earned the nickname “Bobtail” because of the closely docked tail. Interestingly enough, early on, his docked tail signified that the dog was working and actually provided a tax exemption for their owners.
The Bobtail’s profuse coat, in its natural state, requires considerable maintenance in order to keep him in good condition and free of matting. Unfortunately, the typical pet owner has some trouble with this, as is attested to by the number of abundantly coated dogs that we groomers must humanely shave on a regular basis.
If unable to keep up regular grooming, brushing, and bathing, the pet may require a shorter, comfort trim that will prevent to the skin shearing. Sad to say, we have all had to do those “peels”.
As preventative maintenance, a “puppy cut” is just what the groomer orders.
The length can be adapted relevant to the owner’s ability to brush and the frequency of salon visits. A “one length all over” trim is easy to execute and a breeze to maintain for the client. For this lovely girl, I used a “C” snap-on comb.
Fig.1) Begin clipping just behind the withers, following the coat growth direction.
Fig.2) Continue down the back and flanks, and over the rump. Then clip down the back of the rear leg to a few inches above the hock. Clip down the upper portion of the thighs, falling off at the Knee.
Fig.3) Reverse direction and then, starting about mid lower thigh, clip upward over the rump. Only clip the back portion of the leg in reverse. This method will shorten the coat on the back of the rear legs, accentuating angulation.
Fig.4) Clip the undercarriage in reverse, against coat growth direction.
Fig.5) Lift the head and beard, and then clip the throat, neck, and fore chest. Begin clipping just under the jaw and ear base. Follow the contour of the chest and clip down between the front legs into the undercarriage.
Fig.6) Lift the front leg and clip down the front and sides of the front legs. Do not clip the back of the front legs. Use a skimming technique as you get closer to the bottom of the leg. The idea is to create a cylinder leg and avoid a peg leg appearance.
Fig.7) Use blenders to shorten and blend the coat on the back portion of the rear legs and to blend the rump and croup onto the back. Next, blend the longer coat on the sides and bottom of the rear legs.
Trim the stray hairs on the undercarriage, following the natural underline of the dog.
Fig. 8) Use curved shears to round the feet.
Fig. 9) Tidy the front of the rear legs to show a slight bend in stifle and blend into the foot.
Blend the sides of the front legs into the back portion of the front legs.
Fig. 10) Tighten up the coat on the upper arm where the arm meets the shoulder. This will help to place the front legs under the dog.
Fig. 11) Tidy the throat and chest.
Fig. 12) Shorten the coat on the sides of the neck and blend the back of the neck onto the withers and back.
Use thinning shears to trim the eye corners.
Lift the coat on the top skull between your index and middle finger, and then trim the excess with blenders or thinning shears.
Comb the cheek coat outward and then trim with blenders. This method will help give fullness to the cheeks and keep the head in proportion to the body.
Secure the dog’s muzzle with your thumb and fingers. Lessen the risk of cutting the tongue by placing your fingers on the front of the lips.
Working from the side, lift the ear and trim the visor with thinning shears.
Hold the muzzle closed, trim the beard across the bottom and then round upward toward the ear. Finish up by slightly tidying the visor with thinning shears.
It is always unfortunate to be forced to shave a pet all the way to the skin because of severe matting. Of course, we try to recommend frequent salon visits, home brushing, and finally, shorter pet trims to accommodate the coated breeds living with parents unskilled in the fine art of brushing. My mantra to my clients: visit the grooming salon regularly, learn to brush your pet, or learn to like him in a short trim!