Bernese Mountain Dog
Expert Grooming Article
Expert Grooming Article
An old and proud breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog were originally brought to Switzerland by the Romans and worked the farms of midland Switzerland as draft and droving dogs.
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The standard mentions a lot of words portraying a dog of substance with a full body. The quest for the groomer/exhibitor is to maintain that silhouette and image of strength.
The coat is required to be thick, moderately long with either slight wave or straight, but never too curly. It should also have a bright, natural sheen, never-ever dull, and must be black.
The key to an excellent Bernese coat is to use the very best products that are formulated to achieve the results and the correct breed silhouette. A good coat is made several weeks/months before the show and it’s best to put the work in long beforehand, rather than chase the sheen and try to cover a rusty black!
Shampooing any dog should start with the head. For this 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.
To build the bulk in the coat, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo on the body. If your dog has a fuller look to the coat over the croup, then simply don’t apply Body Building Shampoo on that part. This shampoo does have enormous lift and a bodifying effect to the coat without an artificial feel plus it is wonderful for the coat as it is primarily naturally derived and infused with beneficial plant extracts.
Use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo on the topline for shine. All Purpose is ‘the’ shampoo for ultimate shine. It features natural henna stalk extracts that impart a beautiful gloss and shine to the coat. Creating the silhouette you want is key, by using the right shampoo in the right areas. The days of when we believed that one shampoo could do anything are over. Dilute both shampoos 1:5 (1 part shampoo to 5 parts water).
Use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo on the whites also at 1:5. This Shampoo works brilliantly in reducing yellowing or warm tones in white coats or white area of the coat. It makes white coats gleam and sparkle with a pearly sheen without bleaching or lightening.
Herbal Whiteneing Shampoo is also brilliant on any rusty, brownish areas of the black part of the coat. This shampoo will intensify these colours and give a sparkling clear sheen. It adds back the lost cool tones to the coat.
All coat colours are made of the full spectrum of the colours of the rainbow and first tones to fade are always the blues and purples leaving a reddish, orange overtone to the coat. This is a quick and effective way to give depth back to your blacks and reds without damaging the coat or using any artificial coat colourings.
For white areas needing extra whitening try Plush Puppy Wonder Blok. Brilliant in helping to maintain a white stain free coat. It’s not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerin. This product is designed to gently remove unwanted warm or red tones to the coat. Using on a wet coat, gently rub into the areas requiring whitening or brightening. Allow approximately 5-10 minutes, then rinse. For maximum effects repeat, or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.
When your black areas need intensive rejuvenation, use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo as a second shampoo after cleansing firstly with the All Purpose Shampoo. This is a black coloured shampoo for toning black coats and giving depth to faded coats and enhancing natural colour. It is not a dye that colours the coat but a strong stain. Contains organic sources with herbal extracts and intense black tone.
Apply Black Opal Shampoo and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse and be careful not to get it on the white areas. The easiest way to remove Black Opal without getting it everywhere is to use a dry old towel and wipe the bulk of it off, then a damp towel and finally rinse the remainder off. This shampoo is best used whilst the whitening shampoo is still on any white areas. Black Opal should not be your regular shampoo as the All Purpose will give you that beautiful sheen that is required. That is paramount. The coat should not get to the stage of needing a neutralising shampoo to get rid of brownish hues!
Next step is to moisturise and add healthy vigour to the coat without flattening the bulk of the coat. Use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. It is all plant sourced from Evening Primrose and Calendula Oils. It is non greasy and totally water soluble making it easy to apply and remove each time without build-up. Dilute 1 teaspoon in 4 Litres (1 Gal) of water and work well through the coat with a large sponge. Leave in and don’t rinse off. It gives incredible sheen and finish to the hair. We cannot stress enough the wonderful attributes of this product.
Now if you desire MORE bulk to the coat, add 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Volumising Cream in with the Seabreeze Oil mix and of course, it is left in and not rinsed off. This will give that extra hair look without stickiness or feeling of foreign substances. Great for out of coat situations or where you just want more bulk and who doesn’t? Alternatively use Plush Puppy Volumising Spray is a quick ‘Ready to Use’ formula for fuller coat results. Perfect either before blow-drying or used to ‘fluff’ up the coat at the show. Apply a light even spray, then 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.
Drying the coat quickly saves time and effort. 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. A light even spray over the dog before drying.
Now blow dry using a strong cool turbo dryer to blast the water from the coat using the nozzle to lift at the root against the growth of the coat. If the coat is a touch too wavy, then use the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush and brush on the diagonal against the growth till about 75% dry, working from rear to front of the dog. If needing to really relax that movement, then finish the dry with the Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti-Static Porcupine Brush. This will add more pull on the coat to smooth it. Always use the Pin brush till mostly dry so as not to overstretch the hair as it is in a weakened state when wet. Otherwise, finish drying with the air of the dryer till 100% dry.
To further bulk legs, add Plush Puppy Puffy Dog+, a stronghold mousse that never goes sticky in humidity. Dry the legs up and as full as possible.
Once a month give the coat a full treatment with Plush Puppy Coat Rescue worked to a watery slurry by adding one cup warm water to approx 1/4 cup Coat Rescue. Leave on for as long as possible. You can, if they are outdoors dogs, leave this on the topline area for a few days and then wash off. At a minimum, leave on for at least 10 minutes and wash off. Follow with the Seabreeze Oil mix.
Maintain coat hydration by application of Plush Puppy Reviva Coat throughout the coat. Leave in all week, topping up the applications of Reviva coat at least every second day. This is a fabulous leave-in moisturiser and gives amazing elasticity and hydration to the hair. Just the best – who can live without this?
For show preparation, follow the shampoo/oil/blow dry routine and Volumising Cream if required, and Puffy Dog on the legs. Next day, show day, give the feet a quick touch up clean with Plush Puppy Wonder Wash and wipe/towel dry, followed by a light application of Plush Puppy Cover Up Cream applied with a barely damp sponge to the white feet. Dust liberally with your favourite white powder working well into the hair and leave till dry and then brush to remove excess powder/chalk.
Brush up the main body of the coat with Plush Puppy O.M.G. Concentrate Grooming Spray diluted 1:30. Use in the Plush Puppy 250 ml Spray Bottle. This amazing product is also available in the “Ready to Use” formula. With both apply a fine mist to the hair – don’t wet it. Just spritz it and brush again using the Pin Brush against the growth of the coat fluffing the coat with the dryer if available, for a few seconds. The OMG will reduce any static in the coat and allow the brush to glide through without undue stress to the hair. Finish the legs, feet, and topline with the Plush Puppy Soft Ultimate Slicker Brush.
Apply a good spritz of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher to eliminate any dog trailer odours acquired overnight or in transit.
A final light spray of Plush Puppy Shine and Comb to the topline and head will finish this off to perfection.
You have effectively sculptured your dog without having to carve a shape with scissors. As undue trimming is discouraged, your ability to shape this dog without noticeable product and still get the silhouette is something to behold. You have achieved the correct shape to his outline and the desired sheen and vigour to the hair.
Your intelligent and loving Bernese can now look his best and show off his working gait, exhibiting good reach and drive. His wondrous strength and sturdy body gives confidence and trust to those that depend on his power and devotion to his duty and your quest is to show his full magnificence to all. Always a breed to watch in the group!