The Shetland Sheepdog, usually referred to as a “Sheltie”, sports a double coat with a very dense undercoat which actually helps the straight outer coat to stand off from the body. This is a very important trait for the conformation ring. Not so much for the average pet owner who requests a tidy look and has some difficulty maintaining the abundant coat.
This shorter version of a profile trim is an all over “tidy-up” that shortens some of the longer furnishing, underline, and profuse mane noted in the breed standard, without trimming the body coat or cutting into the undercoat.
A double coated breed such as the Sheltie requires meticulous preparation. The dense undercoat matts easily and even if not matted, can compact, making it difficult to wash and dry. We use a high velocity dryer prior to bathing to help separate the undercoat. A conditioning shampoo made for double coats followed by a conditioner will help.
All prep work is completed prior to styling, including pads, sanitary, nail clipping/filing and ear cleaning.
Use thinning shears or chunkers to trim the excess coat from the hock to the foot and the excess coat between the toes on top of the foot. Use short curved scissors to tidy the oval shaped foot.
Comb the coat on the back of the upper rear outward and trim the excess using thinning shears or chunkers. Use a top thinning method (lightly skimming only the top coat).
Trim between the rear legs to form parallel lines.
Trim the undercarriage, following the natural underline of the dog. Begin on the front of the upper thigh toward the tuck-up.
Follow the natural underline and trim toward the front legs, angling slightly downward with the longest part of the undercarriage between the front legs.
Lift the front leg, trimming between the front legs and then angling upward toward the chest.
Trim the stringy coat at the front of the shoulder, blending onto the chest.
Lift the ear and tidy the stray hairs behind the ear and blend onto the neck and fore chest.
Lift the front leg and tidy the furnishings on the back of the front leg.
Blend the coat on the upper arm into the furnishings.
Tidy the fore chest and between the front legs, making sure both sides are symmetrical.
Lift the muzzle slightly and tidy the whispy coat at the throat and base of ears.
Use thinning shears to tidy the ear tips. Correct ears would not be prick as shown. They would break forward 2/3rds of the way up. The same method can be used to tidy this type of ear.
Unless owner requests otherwise, I generally leave the tail as is or just tidy slightly.
As professional groomers, we should always be familiar with breed standards and have a reference on hand such as the AKC All Breed Book. There is even a downloadable app that can be purchased for a nominal fee. ✂