No Muss, No Fuss?

Believe it or not, hairless breeds require regular grooming, too.

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Hairless dogs and grooming don’t seem to belong in the same sentence. These breeds don’t present the same challenges as a Poodle, but every dog requires specialized care to stay in tip-top form. From protecting the skin to ensuring that the home is free of irritating toxins, hairless dogs need unique care.

Xolo schedule
Like all conscientious dog owners, those who have taken hairless breeds under their wing keep to a strict grooming schedule. Professional groomer and Xoloitzcuintli owner Shannon Larson of Brooks, Alberta, Canada, has shown Xolos, an ancient, hairless breed that originated in Mexico, for 13 years. To groom a dog for show, her weekly routine begins with nail trimming.

“The nails must be kept quite short,” Larson says. “Long nails look like daggers on a hare foot [an elongated foot with the two center toes longer than the side toes], and they really damage the foot and leg structure.”

Next Larson shaves any head and tail hair with a size 7F blade against the grain to make it short and dense. She uses a small finishing trimmer to remove all hair from the feet, shaving up to the pastern if necessary. “I use a regular razor and shaving cream to take off facial hair, whiskers and any stray hairs on the body,” Larson says.

Larson then bathes the dog with a hypoallergenic wash. “The ears and tail, especially on the really naked ones, can be prone to dryness and may need moisturizer,” Larson says. “I prefer products without color or perfumes that may irritate the skin.”

When grooming non-show dogs, Larson follows a similar routine every two weeks, but uses a No. 40 blade against the grain to remove stray hairs and whiskers.

Acne issues
In any hairless breed, puppies can experience hormonally triggered acne between 4 and 9 months of age. Increased hormone production causes the sebaceous glands to secrete too much of an oily substance called sebum, leading to inflammation and bacterial overgrowth. (Neutering invariably cures the problem in dogs.)

Want to read the full story? Pick up the October 2008 issue of DOG WORLD today, or subscribe to receive the best dog articles, dog news, and dog information every month!

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