Grooming Is Important
This morning Fritz, age nine, and Gus, age two, are at the groomers. Both are "rescue" miniature Schnauzers with the requisite flowing beards, bushy eyebrows, and leg / belly fringe. Fritzy is gray in color and Gus is silver but after four weeks of playing in the park and romping through the mud and rolling in stinking grass they are both dingy and matted.
The traditional wisdom is that Schnauzer’s don’t shed if they are properly maintained. Frankly the beard and the belly fringe do require a bit of work. However, with the proper snipping and brushing, Schnauzers look quite dashing and they don’t shed much.
All of which leads me to a small rant about Schnauzer owners who do not understand the glory of the Schnauzer cut. Why would a Schnauzer owner allow his / her pet to turn into a wooly bear, which is exactly what a Schnauzer looks like without grooming? It must be uncomfortable to have all that hair curling around and in the summer it has to be hot. On the other hand, why own a Schnauzer if you plan on shaving the poor thing bald? Own a rat terrier or a Jack Russell but don’t invest in a Schnauzer whose most distinguishing feature is a lovely flowing beard (which drags through water, goop, mud and grime with equal abandon).
When we got our first Schnauzer, Milly, from the pound she was five and had obviously been ignored for some time. She was a ball of curly locks all over her stout little body. The first time I picked her up from the groomer I wouldn’t have known she was my girl, except for the warm greeting I received when retrieving her. Suddenly, our little abandoned pound girl was a stunning pure bred lady.
Admittedly, we had to shop around for a really good groomer who also understood Schnauzer cuts and was gentle with the dogs. We eventually settled on a slightly higher priced gent who also bred champion Schnauzers and Milly loved him unabashedly from the first appointment.
When Wolf, the puppy mill stray, came into our lives he had been shaved bald because he was so damaged, both in spirit, flesh, and hair. The only way to untangle his fur was to cut if all off. Even our vet was not completely sure Wolf was pure Schnauzer when he first saw him, but when we took Milly for her regular grooming appointment, I dragged Wolf in to have Jack, our groomer, look him over. Jack put Wolf on the grooming table and minutely examined him, prying open his mouth, looking under his belling, prodding his nether regions. Wolf stood hangdog allowing the exam. When Jack finally turned to me and announced that Wolf was "a very fine specimen of a Schnauzer," Wolf perked up and stood proudly in "show" stance. Jack suggested we leave Wolf to be bathed and pampered with Milly so he could learn to get used to grooming. From that moment, Wolf, like Milly, absolutely loved to go to the groomer. When we’d pull the car into the groomer’s parking area, Wolf was the first one to leap from the car into the shop for his appointment.
My hair and nails get done infrequently. My Schnauzers’ get groomed every four weeks, no matter. This morning hubby dropped them off for their summer cut, which does not mean they are being shaved down to the skin. They will come home with shorter fringe and less flowing beards, but they will look like the Schnauzers they were bred to be.