Grooming a double coated dog, like a Great Pyrenees, can be quite the task. But, fear not! It’s not as difficult as it may seem.
I can’t even keep track of how many times I have heard someone ask me, “why don’t you just shave them?”. Shaving a dog with a double coat is rarely ever a good idea. The only time shaving should be done is when it’s absolutely necessary. I can think of two such times:
1. A dog has been neglected and his coat is severely matted. Brushing/trimming out the mats isn’t even an option.
Few people realize that a dog’s double coat actually helps them in the winter and summer. Have you ever heard someone say, “my dog is blowing his coat”? For most double coated breeds, this happens twice a year. Once to go from summer to winter and again to go from winter to summer. Currently, Mauja is blowing her winter coat and getting in her summer coat. This means extra shedding! Atka still has mostly puppy coat, so he is slowly shedding that for his beautiful adult fur.
The best decision I ever made when it comes to grooming my pyrs was buying a grooming table. Seriously. Do it. You will thank yourself. I had a hard time justifying spending $100 on a simple table with an arm. I kept trying to think of ways my husband and I could build one, but I worried it wouldn’t be sturdy enough. So, after reading MANY reviews, I finally purchased a table.
Doesn’t Mauja look just “pyrfect” standing on the table? 😉
The table came with a lead that attaches to the arm and goes around the neck. I wasn’t convinced Mauja and Atka would stand on the table, so I bought a double lead. The lead that is wrapped around the arm can be put around the dog’s waist so she can’t sit down. I only needed this once until they understood the routine.
Today, I was only doing a simple brush and nail trim. They weren’t in need of a full bath, blow dry, brush, nails, ears, and teeth, so I will just explain what I did.
My absolutely favorite tool for brushing out the undercoat is the Oster Undercoat Grooming Rake. I’ve used so many different undercoat rakes, including the FURminator, over the past several years and this is by far my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love the FURminator, just not for my pyrs.
To make it easy, I’ll go step by step as to how I groom my double coated dogs. Before beginning, you must figure out how you are going to get your dog on the grooming table. Mine will not jump up and I certainly can’t pick them up
Eventually, I’ll invest in some doggie stairs. For now, this will do.
1. Start with a quality grooming rake
Raking out the undercoat is by far the longest step. I aim to brush my Great Pyrenees two to three times per week, so this only takes me about 15 minutes. If they’re blowing their coat or if I skip a week, it will take a lot longer.
The Oster grooming rake works like a charm. Have you ever felt a double coated dog and thought their fur felt lumpy? That’s the undercoat getting matted together under their top coat. Brush until your pup feels nice and smooth.
2. Try a slicker brush
Hertzko’s Self Cleaning Slicker Brush is one of my favorites for removing any dead or loose outer coat, and work out their pantaloons. The fur is thicker and longer back there so the slicker brush will really help. I’m also a huge fan of the Groom Genie for keeping the pantaloons mat free.
3. Use a comb
I like to use the Andis Pet Steel Comb to work through the fur on the backs of their legs. This that can get matted easily if not worked the entire way through—and frequently. I also use the comb over the body to get out any loose fur that my grooming rake missed.
4. Spray The Stuff on mats and tangles
The Stuff is magic—not even exaggerating. When we moved, I slacked a bit on
5. Try a de-matting comb
Once The Stuff has had a little time to sit, I go in with this de-matting comb. I have never had to cut out a mat since using these two products. They easily break the mat down so it can be brushed out.
6. Sleek it out with a pin brush
I like to use a pin brush around the face since the fur is thinner there, but I also use it to create a nice finish. I’ll first use the pin brush side to glide through any tangles I may have missed. Then I use the bristle side to make them look sleek and shiny.
7. Last step, nails!
I like to use clippers with a safety guard on the back, so I don’t slip or cut too far (always keep styptic powder on hand in case you accidentally nick the quick). A dremel is also a great option, but it’s important to desensitize your dog to it, if he’s used to clippers.
And with any grooming session, there will be a bit of clean up!
Hahaha that looks very familiar. We don’t have a table but I’m pretty good at letting daddy groom me, I’ve even started letting him trim my nails which I hate. We have a few brushes similar to yours, we use one that looks like a torture device, it extends into what looks like a long saw, but it works pretty well.
At least you’re good for your grooming! Mauja and Atka are squirmy monsters. They just roll across the floor until I finally give up!
Lisa Hair says
Dollie try’s to lunge at the fur I pull out of the rake, trying to eat it. Any rationale on this?
A lot of dogs actually get protective of their fur and have an innate instinct to get it back per say.. I learned this with my mothers huskies, the best way around his is to brush the fur out and let them smell the fur. When they ignore the brush you’re good to move on and take the hair out and toss it. It’s a tedious process, but it will eventually go away after your dog learns better.
Singing Dogs says
Beautiful dogs! Hope doing their nails isn’t too bad as a Great Pyrnese could probably easily muscle away.
Thankfully, we have worked a ton on handling their feet. They keep pretty still 🙂
It is hard to imagine that this table can hold the weight of your big dog!
It says it can hold up to 200 pounds! So far, so good!
What kind was this table? I have 3 pyrfect dcoated post winter:)
Barbara Rivers says
Very nice article! Our two pups don’t have an undercoat, so they’re pretty much wash-‘n-go K9s 😉 I used to take care of 2 Akitas though, and those guys were double-coated. Beautiful pups, with lots of fur everywhere during blowing season!
Jonathan Lewis says
Should I be using an undercoat rake in the middle of a cold winter? She is shedding throughout the house, not surprisingly. I fear that this will be taking the undercoat my Pyrenees needs to stay warm during cold weather. Thoughts?
Lots of good info here! Glad to see you recommend not using the furminator on this type of coat since I see so many people doing just that. We use the Paws Pamper Undercoat Rake, it works so well at getting out the undercoat while leaving the top coat undisturbed. Our clients love the results and dogs basically fall asleep while we work on them!
You mentioned the Furminator. Can you tell me more details as to why you don’t prefer it? A pet store just persuaded me to buy one, but would like to know all the pros & cons.
The furminator is a great tool just not of the outer coat of a pyr, it tends to tear it. And get under that coat is what you want to do. I had a lab mix that the furminator was great on. I keep mine and use it on other animals.
This is so helpful, thank you! My husband and I just got a great pyrenees puppy, and are already trying to find ways to cut down on the shedding!
Dog Groom Arena says
Yes I now know how to groom my coated dog thanks for this piece of information
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tom alex says
This article was so extremely helpful as I have just adopted a 6 year old great pyrenees. I do have a question tho…. what product is best at getting rid of year stains on the Great Pyrenees? I’ve looked at so many things with so many mixed reviews. Thank you so much for your help!
I use a horse shampoo fir white horse. It’s purple in color, but the horse come out nice and white, gets rid of any manure or pee they may lay in!
Thank you, I love your posts and your gorgeous dogs.
I was reading about how you invested in a grooming table for your pyrs. You mentioned how you taught them to put their paws up but how eventually you would get stairs. Ok, so first of all we have a rescue. We thought she was 2 when we got her. They think she may be close to end of life based upon the crown on her head. She has arthritis in one hip due to we think a car striking her. But her vet says she also has it in the uninjured one. Also every time we went to the vet, we did the “paws up” thing into the back of our minivan. It was a real struggle. Then it hit me, I had my Dad’s handicapped travel ramp from before he passed. It unfolded and went right to the edge of the minivan. It is not too steep and has traction. Now we use it often for her self pet wash down the street! And it is not a struggle to get in and out.
So look for a used foldout handicapped ramp. Check estate sales just call and ask. Just a thought. This can be used for lots of uses. Handbuilt stairs, it is a lot harder to make them mobile. Good luck with your pyrs! I will keep watching. So will KD!
Brittany Smith says
We just bought two Pyr puppies and I am curious what kind of shampoo or conditioner we should use if we bathe them
Gregory Chapel says
I’m so glad I stumbled upon this article in my research. I just got two pups one long hair one short. I made the mistake of attempting to shave my long hair. Big battle with little reward.
Now I know why this is and that it’s a good thing that I failed.
He may require more grooming than his sister but, he’s so lovable that it’s worth it.
Thank you for the important information.
Kim Adams-Johnson says
Great advice! Any recommendations on waterless shampoo? The thought of getting our Pyrs wet when it’s 10 degrees out isn’t appealing to any of us!
l use a homme made mix
1 cup baking soda
1cup Corn stach
5 drops lavander oil
5 drops thea tree oil rub it in a good brushing and voilà here It gets really cold in Québec …
Thanks for the Oster recommendation! Works awesome!!
Holly P says
Any suggestions on what type of scissors to use on trimming the fur on paws?
Sara Buchanan says
Your article is very informative. you have a great content posted on your web site. thank you for sharing with us.
Lori kochan says
What are the names of the brushes and combs you use? Also where can I buy them and the spray that you use?
Linda Tierney says
Where can I get the tools you speak of.
Gloria Sargent says
We have two Pyrs, a nearly 4 year old and a 10 month old – the older is 112 lbs and the 10 month old is 120 working his way up to 160 lbs like his Dad. Lots of fur. The 4 year old gets yeast that makes her scratch (we’re doing Apple Cider Vinegar and LID food, no oats or peas or chicken or beef, the Salmon and Sweet Potato is working well. So she needs weekly baths according to the vet, we use Barn Dog from Equiderma, has Neem Oil to help with things she might be allergic to, and the conditioner leaves a soft coat. The brush she adores is a plastic rubber circular curry style brush from the feed store – work it in a circle to trap hair in the brush and limit what goes in the air and my mouth. Then we have a rake similar to the one you recommend. Weekly baths really help with hair control! We have a large dog bath, it’s raised up so we have it by our shed’s deck, there’s a ramp they can walk up to get in, she leaps out when done 🙂 They love it and so do I, no bending! On cold days I run up to a local Tractor Supply and use their dog baths. Weekly baths are a pain, but it really gets the hair off! The pup thought he should chew everything in the bath, combs and sprayer and me, but has learned to love that brushing since it involves neck rubs. I think the puppy has blown his puppy coat and is getting that beautiful long hair. Nothing like two clean Pyrs that will roll in something as soon as they’re outside…:)
Frances Friedman says
We just adopted 2 dogs, 1/2 Gr. Pyre – 1/2 St. Bernard. They are around 2 years old. I believe they were shaved. Their coats are very matte. Every night I sit with them and comb their fur with my fingers and wads of hair comes out. I am hoping that their overcoat will return but experience with our last GP makes me think that it won’t. I believe the rescue shaved them which does not reflect well on the rescue. I do understand that they may not have had a choice or that they may have been shaved by a municipal rescue. We have most of the tools you mentioned. I appreciate your comments and recommendations. Thank you.