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Belgian Shepherd

The Belgian Shepherd are striking herding and 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.

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The Belgian Shepherd

Both coats of the Groenendael and 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 Belgian Shepherd 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. Dilute 1 teaspoon into 1 gal/4 lt. water then either sponge on or sluice well through the coat and LEAVE IN. DO NOT RINSE OUT. At this dilution, you will not get a greasy coat but a well hydrated coat with healthy vigour to the hair. Adjust dilution rate according to coat needs. Apply this after you have shampooed the coat. It really is quite special, and the results are instantaneous, and with continued use, the difference is outstanding. This is quite a unique product in that it is not greasy and totally water-soluble. It just adds all the goodness of Evening Primrose and Calendula Oils for an outstanding healthy vigour to the skin and coat.

For shampooing the Groenendael use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo diluted 1:5 (1 part shampoo to 5 parts water). This is for easy application and dispersion, but also to minimise rinsing time on this rather thick coat. Herbal 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.

You can use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna for the Tervuren, at the same dilution 1:5. This is the shine shampoo and will give good lustre and vibrancy to the Tervuren and Malinois coat.

So, having shampooed and rinsed, apply the Seabreeze Oil as specified above and leave in – do not rinse out.

The Laekenois requires texture. The best shampoo is Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo. Texture+ shampoo is formulated to retain and improve coat texture. This shampoo thoroughly yet gently cleanses and deodorises 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, it can create or maintain texture, is low irritant with a subtle apple fragrance and is easy to rinse out. It is full of beneficial and powerful extracts from the Gentian Root, Juniper Fruit, St John’s Wart Leaf, Hay Flower, Lemon Balm Leaf and Arnica Flower that combine to nourish and vitalise the skin. Use diluted up to 1:10 or apply undiluted directly to areas requiring intensive cleansing. Rinse thoroughly.

For the head use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It. This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed just for faces. It’s a nil fragrance, no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, sooth, add moisture, aid healing and have 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 rinsing yet complete cleaning. Best used first and left on whilst using all other shampoos and rinsing off with the final shampoo rinse.

When drying use the innovative Plush Puppy FAST Blow Dry Spray that combines clever ingredients to dramatically reduce drying time. It adds moisture and conditions while protecting the coat. It contains Australian Native Flame Tree extracts known for their hydrating properties that help make a 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 fly-away’s. A brilliant blow drying spray that halves the drying time.

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. This brush 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 Plush Puppy Professional Grooming 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.

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.

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 Cream. Dilute by mixing 1 tablespoon into 250ml (8oz) of water and apply generously. This is also available in a quick “ready to use” formula Plush Puppy Volumising Spray. 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 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 1:3 for maximum body and a 1:5 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 to ‘fluff’ up the coat. It is a ‘Ready to Use’ volumiser for quicker, easier and fuller coat results. Apply a light even spray and brush in until dry, or use a dryer. This is a hair thickener to add volume, not a hair stiffener and not easily detectable. It leaves the coat with a natural fuller look and feel. Then 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 and 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.

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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