By Amanda Aaron
As the summer months wind down and fall is just beginning, I thought I would highlight one of my personal favorite family pets. Shetland Sheepdogs were a staple in my home growing up—my best friend from the age of 10 through age 26 was a sheltie named Sugar. Their gentle nature and forgiving temperament make them wonderful family companions and equally as popular in our grooming salons.
As a double–coated breed that should be trimmed to maintain a natural look, there is often a contradiction in trying to preserve their natural state while achieving maintainability for the modern pet owner. This tutorial will walk you through a scissored outline trim on a sheltie. This is a great option for sheltie pet owners that want to maintain the look and hallmarks of a sheltie, but want a tighter, sportier trim.
Because this is a double–coated breed, the most important parts of this groom will happen in the bathing room. Undercoat removal is essential for pet dogs and that can be done during the bath, as well as with a high velocity dryer after the bath.
After being bathed and force–dried, the coat is run through with a stand dryer and a soft slicker brush. This helps to remove the undercoat loosened up by the bathing process. Following this, a comb is run through the entire coat to ensure it is free of undercoat.
Fig 1) An undercoat rake is the final step in removing undercoat from pet dogs. To make it more comfortable for the dog, hold their skin on the opposite side from where you are raking. This supports the skin and does not allow it to roll as much.
Figs 2) To trim the feet in a cat foot shape, first make a box by scissoring across the front of the paw close to the toenails, then scissor each of the sides of the paw in the same manner.
Fig 3) After the foot shape has been set with shears, the rest is done with thinning shears by starting close to the bottom and moving upward toward the center of the foot. This helps create a tight, arched foot.
Fig 4) This shows an unfinished foot next to a finished foot.
Fig 5) Back feet can be trimmed in the same manner.
Fig 6) When trimming the pasterns of a sheltie, create a crescent shape from hock to foot—this area should not be trimmed straight up and down and it shouldn’t be super tight. Just trim enough off to even it up and create a nice shape.
Fig 7) The front leg furnishings should be trimmed at an angle so as to not drag on the ground.
Fig 8) Occasionally there will be areas that are still too thick or voluminous on double coats, so you can bulk–thin to get those areas to lay down and be less “puffy.” In this case, I did some bulk–thinning on the rump. The key is to only open the tips of your thinning shears and create one cut then comb the loose coat out and see what it looks like before you continue on.
Fig 9) Trimming the pants on this breed can also be tricky. They should not be rounded and bubble out, but flatter to the rear. You can achieve this look by trimming from the top of the pants straight down toward the hock.
Fig 10) To make this trim sportier, we want to take some of the longer side coat off. This can be achieved by using the scissor–over–comb method. You will comb backwards and scissor over top of your comb with thinning shears to create a more natural scissored appearance. You can work from the rear of the dog toward the front, making sure to taper from the spring of rib down into the underline.
Fig 11) When setting the underline, start at the stifle and lightly trim toward where the tuck–up will be placed (about the last rib). Once you set where the tuck–up will be, scissor from that point at a slight downward angle and end between the front legs.
Fig 12) Scissor just the peaks of the ears.
Fig 13) Next, comb the rough coat out to the sides and lightly trim from the widest point of the rough up behind the ears.
Fig 14) This shows one side of the rough unfinished and one side trimmed.
Fig 15) Tidy up the tail by trimming it in a fan shape.
Hopefully these tips help you style up your shop shelties. Following this tutorial will allow you to offer your clients a great alternative for their pets, while maintaining some of the hallmark characteristics of the breed! ✂️