Your Afghan Hound
Initially when you think of grooming your afghan it may be a little intimidating at first but believe me with a few simple techniques keeping your hound in a beautiful show coat is very easy.
Lucky for you if you are reading this you probably secured your afghan from me and my hounds have very silky coats. Meaning the upkeep is fairly easy.
When I first started out in Afghans I ran across some great info on keeping your hounds coat in tiptop shape. It will benefit you also to read this information for yourself in addition to this webpage. Here are those web addresses for you to view at your convenience:
AKC grooming site address: http://clubs.akc.org/ahca/Grooming.htm
Grandeur grooming site address: http://www.afghansofgrandeur.com/pubs/coatcare.html
In order to keep your afghans coat in it’s best shape you will need the following tools:
1. A pin brush with rounded bristles on the ends to prevent scratching the skin, Chris Christensen Systems makes a great brush that will achieve the desired effect; http://www.chrissystems.com/
You will also find an array of wonderful shampoo's , conditioners and styling products that will keep your hounds coat in optimum condition. Take some time to review his hair care systems. I know my coats are very soft and silky. The silk proteins used in his conditioners will keep the dogs coat shiny and silky.
In between baths I use Christensen's Ice on Ice grooming spray. An Afghans coat should never be brushed completely dry. This spray can be used to touch up your dogs coat when you're going out or anytime between baths. The spray helps to reduce the coat from matting and it also repels dirt. It's really a gem to have around. It should be a staple in your grooming repertoire.
2. Metal Styling comb with large end and small end, this comb is very important when you need to shape an area when showing. I also use this comb after a full grooming session to make sure that there are no mats or tangles left in the coat;
3. Rat tail comb – you can find this at your nearest Sally Beauty Supply. You want the one with the stainless steel tail. I use this whenever I am breaking apart matts. It allows me to pull hairs out of a mat just a few at a time. This works great because you aren’t really breaking the hair when taking the matt apart. You are pretty much unraveling it. Works out much better in my experience.
4. A slicker brush, which should only be used on a puppy coat---NEVER use a slicker brush on an adult afghans coat unless you want to pull out all the luxurious silky coat that you took the time to grow. The puppy coat is denser than the adult coat and can withstand the bristles on a slicker. However, be advised that all puppy coats aren’t able to handle a slicker brush either. You need to identify your hounds coat type before using this brush.
5. Hair Clips, you will need several of these clips in order to groom your afghan to perfection. The purpose of the clip is so you can dry and brush the hair out in sections. You should always work from the bottom up on an Afghan. The grandeur website explains this in detail. When working in this manner the clips help keep the hair that’s higher up out of your way until you complete the section you are working on.
6. Pumous Stone, You will have to find this at a store that specialized in equestrian supplies. It is used to keep the mature afghans saddle clean. I also use this tool when I start working on the saddle when the afghan is going through its coat change from puppyhood to adulthood. For the inexperienced this is your best bet so you don’t ruin the look of your afghan. However, once you get use to utilizing this tool you will be able to advance to the next tool I’m going to tell you about;
7. Stripping Knife – Not to be used by the inexperienced. Technically an Afghans coat should not require this at all. However, some bloodlines have a high concentration of English blood. Many English hounds don’t have a saddle. You will notice when looking at pictures that these hounds have a part down the center of their back. There isn’t a noticeable saddle. Here in the states a saddle is required in a mature hound and sometimes you have to help it along. The bloodline that I am working with dogs have pretty natural saddles but from time to time you will find stray hairs poking through and a stripping knife will help you clean those out. Be sure to consult with a professional groomer before taking on the challenge of using a stripping knife. You can do more harm than good if you don’t.
8. Chris Christensen Silk Spirits, this is an awesome product to use on your hound while between shows. It’s primary purpose is to keep out mats and repel dirt. The repelling dirt part is the primary reason I like to use it. I apply it on the dog after it’s completed a bath and conditioning treatment. I put it on the coat prior to blow-drying to make sure that it’s brushed all the way through the coat. I also use it in-between baths around the third day. I apply it to the coat prior to brushing the dog out. It really helps to keep the dirt from actually getting onto the hair. Let me explain a little further. Silk Spirits covers the coat strand. When dirt gets on the coat it is actually on the product and not the coat itself so when washing the dirt literally just goes down the drain without much work on your part. It’s sort of like a clear silicone coating. However, after a couple of applications you will need to wash the coat out with a clarifying shampoo before shows. Usually what I do before taking a dog to a show is I wash the dog 3 days before the show with the clarifying shampoo to get a head start. I don’t reapply the silk spirits in the coat except on their saddle, faces and tail I’m trying to get it out of the coat at this point. The day before the show I rewash with a clarifying shampoo again and then I use my show products to give the coat the look that I want. If I add anymore Silk Spirits’ to the dog it is usually on the saddle and the face to give the dog a nice shine, but not heavy because you don’t want the judge to go over your dog and pull back an oily hand. Once applied you can go over the dog to make sure it isn’t too heavy and if it is just take a warm cloth over the saddle to lighten the load. Works like a charm.
9. Chris Christensen Shampoos and Conditioners: My dogs are bathed on a weekly basis. My motto is a clean coat grows J. To achieve this I utilize the Chris Christensen line of Shampoos and conditioners. When I am not going to a dog show I use this shampoo for everyday use.
The Day to Day moisturizing shampoo is very gentle on the coat and adds moisturizers to the skin and coat. It works great. In conjunction with the conditioner it’s a pair made in heaven.
If you want a sleeker look instead of the Day to Day Shampoo and Conditioner you could use Chris’s Spectrum 10 Shampoo and Conditioner. I use this product frequently because I use a flat iron at the shows. These two products are designed to work as a deep conditioner. When using heat on the hair it weakens the coat and this shampoo and conditioner just wakes it back up. This dynamic duo is a must if you live in a hot climate i.e. Texas, Arizona, Nevada, CA etc..
White on White Shampoo – this is a good shampoo for your light colored afghan hounds. It also helps remove stains from grass, urine and dirt. Put it in the coat straight out of the bottle and let sit for 15 minutes. This shampoo will add a nice sparkle to your light coated dogs.
Black on Black Shampoo – This shampoo works great for those of you that have a hot blazing sun which will bleach out your dogs coat. This shampoo deposits color onto the coat to keep those black coats black as night. This shampoo is used in place of your normal shampoo. Don’t use your normal shampoo after using one of these color treatments because they will lift the product off of the coat and all of your efforts would have been for nothing. I use my color shampoos twice a month in lieu of the others.
The next product you need will lock in all of the good stuff you have been using on your dogs coat so far. This conditioning serum turns your dogs coat into silk right before your eyes. It is wonderful. It’s called after you bathe. What this product does is neutralize and residue left behind from the shampoo and it closes the cuticle on the hair shaft. Being able to close the cuticle faster is key to the hair becoming healthier. You are basically locking in all of the nutrients you have been giving the coat with the shampoo and conditioner. It also helps to use cool water when rinsing out the conditioner and the After You Bathe product. The cooler water also helps close the cuticle and lock in the products intended nutrition.
10. Making the coat big and poufy J
This is my favorite part of the magic making. Chris has multiple products that you can use to achieve this. I utilize these products in my dogs top knots, feet and legs.
Thick N Thicker Texturizing and Bodifier Spray – This is what I use after I am done styling the dogs coat to perfection. This product allows you to shape the hair and it also provides a little hold.
Thick N Thicker Volumizing Gel – I put this product in the coat while it’s still wet. This product works best on thicker coats. You just apply it, comb it through with a rat tail comb and then blow dry.
Thick N Thicker Whipped Crème Mousse – I primarily use this on my dogs top knots and feet. It provides a ton of body and helps achieve volume in the coat. It’s the perfect styling aid for getting those topknots big and full. I also apply this to a wet coat. I don’t use in conjunction with the Volumizing Gel. Together they make the hair heavier. You have to decide which product gives you the best result based on your dogs coat type.
Coat Link Coat Dressing – This stuff is just amazing. I don’t use it all the time on my dogs but it provides you with a much sleeker look when you are finished. I apply this to the coat while it is still wet before I blow dry. At the dog shows I apply a fine mist of this on a dry coat. Brush it through and then blow dry and style. This coat dressing makes the coat as slick as butter. It’s great for the dog shows and picture day.
Thick N Thicker Volumizing Response foaming Protein - this product is used while you are still in the bath phase of grooming your pampered pooch. I use this product after I am done shampooing the dogs coat. I put the foaming protein in my dogs topknots, foot and leg coat. This product expands the hair shaft making it thicker than it actually is. It’s the fist stage of achieving big hair like America’s Sweetheart Dolly Parton J I saturate the hair with the product and I rub it in making it foam up. It should look like a thick lather on the coat once it distributed through. Then I let it sit on the coat for 10 to 15 minutes and then I rinse with cool water.
Ice on Ice Detangler – This spray is your best friend. When you purchase it you may as well buy the concentrate because you will always need this when grooming your afghan hound. You can apply it right before the blow dry and during your grooming session. There are so many advantages to using this product but the main advantage is that when your dog does get a matt it just pulls apart. It is amazing at keeping the coat from tangling and taming static electricity. The coat dressing is also good for static electricity as well. The Ice on Ice detangler is a great finishing spray and in-between baths when you want to brush out your dog the ice on ice is sprayed on first allowing you to work the coat easily. This is a must have in your grooming arsenal.
Whatever your need Chris Christensen can fulfill it for you. There are more products on his website that you can check out and use. If you discover something cool please send me an email and let me know about your experience and which product you used.
11. Blow Dryer – if you can afford one of the fancy stand dryers then by all means go for it. However, if you are on a budget like me the cheaper one’s will look very attractive. Take it from me. I have used many cheap dryers and they stink at lasting. I ran across this dryer a few years ago and it is very flexible and stands the test of time by not breaking. The dryer is sold at www.petedge.com
It’s a Master Equipment Flash Dry Stand Dryer. This dryer will be your best friend. It has high enough speeds to blast apart the puppy coat and dry it quickly. Along with a nozzle that will intensify the air even more for hard to dry areas like feet and the back of their legs. There is also an arm attachment that you can use and operate the dryer hands free. This will come in handy when the coat is longer and you are working in small sections. I personally love mine. I dream of a fancy smancy dryer but for now this one will do.
There are many tricks to grooming your dog and ultimately you will find out what works best for you. Ask 100 different people what they use and you will get 100 different answers. Hopefully this information will provide you with a good line and you can make educated decisions about what works best for your dog.
Always your Coastwind Connection