Lhasa Apso is a jaunty and proud little dog, is an impressive sight when in full show coat, set off with a beautifully plumed tail. The coat is long, heavy, straight and hard, neither woolly nor silky. Grooming is required on a regular basis to keep the coat free from tangles and mats. The hair on the head falls down the sides of the face, but is usually tied up when not being shown.
The Grooming Procedure
Equipment needed: Pin brush, bristle brush and a wide-toothed comb.
Breed tip: Pets are frequently clipped short all over with a No. 4 or No. 5 Oster blade.
- Brush through the coat with a pin brush.
- Then comb with a wide-toothed comb, using a groom spray if necessary to remove tangles.
- Bathe the dog in a protein or suitable shampoo.
- Rinse thoroughly, and apply a quality conditioner to enhance the coat.
- Blow-dry the coat in sections with a pin brush.
- Check the dog’s nails, ears and teeth.
- Lightly spray with a coat conditioner and brush with a bristle brush.
- Create a straight, precise parting down the back and brush the coat down either side.
Getting the Lhasa in peak condition involves day to day care, both mentally and physically. The coat, although an obvious part of the finished show dog, is just the icing on the cake, albeit an important one.
Start by table-training the puppy from day one of its coming into your care, and you will find that, by the time it needs daily care, the pup will be well behaved and accustomed to the methods you adopt. Remember, you can only obtain the best from the coat it was born with – for even the best coat care cannot make a poor coat into a good one.
To achieve a good headfall, start with banding a single topknot when the coat starts to flop over the eyes (at about 3 to 4 months), making sure that it does not pull. The band should always be cut out carefully to prevent damage and loss of hair. Once the hair gets too full or heavy, two bunches can be used (one each side), and eventually four (two each side). Face bands are also a good idea once the whiskers start getting long enough to get tangled up in the mouth.
Trimming out the hair between the pads (using a fairly blunt, small pair of scissors) is undertaken from an early age; and if you want your Lhasa to lie down quietly while you groom, this should be attempted slowly and when the puppy is feeling confident on the table, at around 3 to 5 months, depending on its temperament.
A pair of sharp, slightly curved scissors will achieve the best results on the feet and for the desired coat length; do this about a week before a show to give a neat but natural appearance.
Bathing and blow-drying once a week often produces better results than daily brushing -however, brushing out any obvious mats using a detangling spray may be necessary between bathing, saving time and coat in the long run. Pulling knots apart by thumb and finger will help to separate the hair, but this should only be done if absolutely necessary.
Knots often come out more easily on a wet coat during blow-drying. Brushing a dry coat can break the length or cause split ends.
Thorough rinsing after shampooing is essential, and using an absorbent towel or synthetic chamois to squeeze the excess water will cut down on drying time.
A brush should only be used initially, brushing the coat in layers from the skin to the end of the hair until the coat is tangle-free and dry. Use a pin brush and a bristle brush, choosing one of the many on the market to suit you, and depending on the coat texture. The wide-toothed steel comb is used for the whiskers and finishing off.
The key to achieving the best results is to work out a regime to suit the coat, and to stick to it, no matter how tired or busy you might be. Beautiful coats presented to perfection are not achieved the night before a show – they take hours of dedication throughout the year.