Grooming for the Show Ring

Austin in the Show RingA hard coated terrier such as the Lakeland is one of the most difficult to groom since so much of the work is done by hand. One need be artful in wielding the clippers or scissors, but hand stripping is more exacting. The eventual presentation of a <em>well groomed</em> Lakeland affords the groomer a great deal of satisfaction for it is an achievement not easily attained.

While the emphasis herein is on show grooming, it should be noted that all coated dogs, those never to be shown as well as those retired, benefit from regular grooming. For those dogs, maintenance using clippers and scissors is better than allowing them to revert to a state of scraggly untidiness.

The need for a hard, dense coat

The Lakeland requires a wiry, hard coat which serves as protection to the dog, better enabling him to do the job for which he is bred. Regular stripping and trimming improves the texture and quality of the coat and therefore is necessary to enhance the dog’s utilitarian purposes, as well as enhancing him for the show ring. Some may feel that grooming is over-emphasized and more attention is paid to the better groomed, though not necessarily better quality, entry at the shows. If such is the case, it is unfortunate. However, it should be considered that there are times when grooming and condition are almost synonymous and as far as terriers are concerned, “Condition is the name of the game!” A feature of the hard coated terrier is that the emphasis is placed on taking OFF the hair rather than encouraging over-abundance.

First things first

Groom for the Show RingTrimming the Lakeland for the show ring requires much practice. It is an ability that is not acquired overnight and one which comes after much trial and error. In order to successfully groom the Lakeland (or any breed of dog) it is necessary for the groomer to understand the end product. A picture of perfection must be visualized so that the desired outline can be obtained. This involves not only having an eye for a dog, but also knowing the breed and especially knowing the individual dog being groomed; know his good points so they can be shown off to advantage and knowing his weaknesses so they can be minimized by artful grooming. Leaving more coat in certain areas and removing it in others is one way to accentuate good points and disguise weaker ones. These are time honored general rules of grooming that are utilized by and apply to all breeds that are trimmed, regardless of the method (clipping, scissoring, stripping, etc.) used.

Understanding the whys of grooming

The Lakeland has a double coat; a thick, relatively soft undercoat and a hard wiry outer coat. The undercoat provides warmth and the outer coat serves the dog in a protective capacity. These outer hairs must be hand stripped (pulled out by the roots) and the undercoat systematically raked to achieve the desired results with respect to texture, color and the length of time the coat can be maintained in show condition. For this reason, clipping and cutting (which damage the texture of the coat and does not remove the dead hairs or allow the true color to come through) will not serve the purpose except in the few allowable areas such as on the underbelly, in the genital area and on the inside of the ears.

— Patricia Peters