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Belgian Shepherd

Belgian Shepherd

March 2020

These striking herding & guard dogs are long well established, dating back as far as the 1890s for their first written standard. A good working medium-sized dog that proportionately should fit within a square, he must carry a coat that suits his open-air life and able to resist a variable climate such as his native Belgium.

Both coats of the Groenendael & Tervuren are much alike, colour being the noticeable variation. Both coats must be dense and of good texture with the undercoat providing protective covering. The Malinois with its short coat and the Laekenois the rough-coated variety with its distinctive roughness and dryness to its longer coat.

The way to keep a coat hydrated without softening or changing texture is to oil the coat. However, one mustn’t make the coat greasy either. I recommend Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil, blended from essential plant oils for hydration plus calming and healing qualities. An innovative organic formula where old meets new with wheat germ oil, calendula oil, and evening primrose oil, etc. Adds hydration to the coat and skin plus added protection. Add 1 teaspoon to 4 litres/1 gallons of warm water and sponge liberally onto the coat. LEAVE IN. DO NOT RINSE. Adjust dilution rate according to coat needs. Apply this after you have shampooed the coat, using for the Groenendael, Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo diluted 5 parts water to one part shampoo again for easier dispersion and to minimise rinsing time on this rather thick coat or the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo for the Tervuren, at the same dilution. The Whitening Shampoo is a toning shampoo and will not lighten but instead deepen the tone and give a pearly sheen to the black coat. This will also assist in offsetting any unwanted reddish tones too. Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo is the shine shampoo and will give good lustre and vibrancy to the Tervuren and Malinois coat. So, having shampooed and rinsed, apply the oil as specified above and leave in – do not rinse out. The Laekenois requires texture. The best shampoo is Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo is another product formulated using the latest technology to retain and improve coat texture. Recommended to thoroughly yet gently cleanse and deodorise the coat of Terriers and other wire, harsh or coarse coated breeds without softening or compromising texture. It’s ideal for boosting body and coarseness in coats of all colours and coat types. Formulated to be pH controlled, creates/ maintains texture, easy to rinse out and low irritant with a subtle apple fragrance. Incorporates Gentian Root Extract, Juniper Fruit Extract, St John’s Wort Leaf Extract, Norway Spruce Leaf Extract, Hayflower Extract, Lemon Balm Leaf Extract, Arnica Flower Extract. Use at 1:10 or apply undiluted directly to areas requiring cleansing. Rinse thoroughly. This can be used on other varieties to increase texture also.

For the head use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It – what the dog showing world has needed for way too long. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products with the latest technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro-Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean soothes, adds moisture, aids healing, and anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. Its low foaming design allows easy of rinsing yet complete cleaning.

Your standards also require the ornamentation around the neck to be long and abundant described as like a collarette. Thus, you are seeking to build and make much ado with this area as also the tail, the back of the forearm and the breeches. The procedure is that after applying the Seabreeze Oil mix, apply Plush Puppy Puffy Dog+ which is a strong holding product to the areas described for maximum lift and volume. If a less strength of hold effect is desired, then use Plush Puppy Volumising by using 1 tablespoon to 250 ml (8oz) and applying generously. This is also available in the “ready to use” formula. This adds an overall volumising effect the whole coat, especially good when out of coat. The Volumising Cream will give a more coated effect whereas the Puffy Dog+ will give more lift to the coat – you can use the Volumising Cream after using Puffy Dog+ – They just do different things and sometimes you need to them all.

For texture to the coat, you can add extra harshness by using Plush Puppy Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray. I go through bucket loads of this when Belgian Sheepdog people are around.

They just love this. Spray lightly to the coat and wait a couple of seconds to allow it dry and then keep reapplying as before, until the level of harshness is achieved. This is not a sticky obvious product and one that is very popular for this purpose. Coats tend to go through various stages, very frustrating when that all-important show is looming. Thus, the need to be versatile and adjust your grooming techniques to suit the situation. For an extra boost to a less than an abundant coat or when out of coat is to switch to Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 3 parts water to one part shampoo for maximum body and a 5 to one dilution for a less needy situation. You can use the Puffy Dog, Ruffy Tuffy, and Volumising Cream also on show day for that extra bit of texture and lift too.

Sometimes when it’s borderline to going or staying home as the coat is not quite grown back enough, you need to lift the coat back up after the dog has slept on it all night and flattened out what looked like a spectacular blow dry the night before, use Plush Puppy Volumising Spray is Perfect used to ‘fluff’ up the coat at the show. A light even spray, brush in until dry or use a dryer. Produced for easy use and scientifically balanced for all coat types. This is a hair thickener to add volume – not a hair stiffener and not detectable as it leaves the coat with a naturally thicker look and feel, add a touch more Puffy Dog to the ruff and blow-dry quickly to fluff the hair back up. Finish with the light spray of Ruffy Tuffy and a light last-minute spray of Plush Puppy Shine and Comb to the topline area, the pants and the front of the dog. The Shine & Comb gives just that extra bit of good natural-looking sheen to the coat without weighing down the hair. Hold at least 12 inches/30cms away from the coat when applying. I don’t mind a pleasant-smelling dog either without being too artificial or smelling like a room deodorant. Plush Puppy Odour Muncher is a clean smelling deodoriser with a light fragrance. It minimises odours and gets rid of that slept in a crate all night smell. I do believe judges use not just sense when judging but a lot of their senses including their olfactory senses and love a clean nice smelling dog.

Dry using Plush Puppy Fast Blow Dry Spray that combines the latest active ingredients together to dramatically reduce drying time adds moisture and conditions while protecting the coat. It contains a recently discovered ingredient from the Australian Native Flame Tree that makes dry or old coat feel and look perfect. It also protects the coat from damage from sun and heat. It contains a slight hold ingredient for better coat management and a special active ingredient that eliminates static electricity and stops the flyaways. FAST is probably the most technically advanced formula in the Plush Puppy Range to date.

The other thing to keep in mind with a double-coated breed is to blow dry using a pin brush such as the Plush Puppy Pin Ultimate Pin Brush which has secure pins, without knobs that tend to rip the coat to bits, and is one of the best I have used. Blow-dry everything up and forwards towards the head till 7/8ths dry and then use just the air of the dryer to finish off with the coat coming back into its natural fall. This method also assists in reducing unwanted wave. A good wide-toothed Poodle comb is beneficial also to be able to work the coat through from root to end to avoid any chance of matting or felting as the coat ages. I often see coats that have only been half dried and/or not worked through from the skin to ends. Maximise everything you have with these coats. These wonderfully confident natured dogs have a lot of grace and power. They have the ability to work with great skill in a pretty full-on job yet remain calm. Your dog not only watches out for the flock but also is protective of and devoted to his master.

These are dogs ready to go and work at an instant including the show ring. With a beautifully presented coat, you are a winner every time.

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