Afghan hounds require considerable amount of time dedicated to coat care. Dogs in full show coats are usually bathed and groomed weekly or fortnightly, those in pet clips will need less frequent baths but should still be brushed regularly.

Grooming consists not only of brushing and bathing, but checking eyes, teeth, ears, feet, and nails. The process can take several hours from start to finish.

You will need the following grooming equipment: a grooming table, hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner, good quality pin brush and a comb. 

In addition, you might need a few extras. 

Wet weather coats and boots to keep dog dry in bad weather. 

Towelling suits keep dogs warm after the bath and speed up drying time.

Snoods (fabric, crochet or knitted) protect their long ears from getting into food at dinner times.

Tips for Show Grooming

written by Mary Fisher

1) If you find your postman has discarded rubber bands they can be reused for doing ear hair. Similarly, packs of fresh herbs from supermarkets are often bunched up with even better small rubber bands so keep them too. The bands placed round plastic bags keep the ear hair off the ground, out of food and water bowls and (eventually) out of the attention of playmates!

This is how I do it but different folk have their own methods. It means you can also use recycling tactics by saving small food bags for the job. The ones with holes can come in handy as they are useless as ‘pooh’ bags! The length of the bag is just about the same as an adult dog’s ear fringes. Remember, it is important not to have the ear leather tied, so check with your fingers before and after fixing the bands that the hair only is encased.

Brush the head and ear hair thoroughly, then hold the ear away from the neck, which I find easier to do from the back of the head forming a parting between the left and right sides of the hair below the occiput. If your dog has well defined neck patches this is a very easy task; but don’t worry if, like mine, the neck is hairy, because the neck hair will not get in the way once t he binders are in place. Now take hold of the bag with the open end facing the bottom of the ear fringe. Start to encase the hair in a sausage shape lengthwise onto the flat bag but slightly to one side. The closed end of the bag will be just above the end of the ear leather. You are now going to begin wrapping the bag around the sausage starting from the side closest to the edge of the bag. Bring the bag edge over the top of the hair and keep rolling as if wrapping up a cigarette! You want to hide the length of hair but not to use up all the width of the bag yet. Next you start to fold the bag upwards in stages, usually about three folds will bring the package up to the bottom of the ear leather. The final wrapping is done by straightening the loose side of the bag so all the folds are neat and are the same size all round the ear hair. Bind that bag around the bundle as tightly as possible and put on the first of two rubber bands. Try to distribute the bands so most of the plastic bag is covered. Now feel if the ear is free of the rubber bands. Repeat on the second ear. I take the bags off the ears when the dogs go to bed. Sometimes the hair looks as though it is bunched together when first unwrapped, but a gentle brush and hand motion to pull the hair apart does the trick. I know the hair may look kinky after wrapping so I would advise leaving the hair without bags immediately before a show. Possibly apply soft hair ‘bunchies’, one to each ear or just put the dog in a snood after brushing and blow drying the ear fringes.

2) Do you have tube socks or airline flight socks? Keep these to use inside dog boots. I found it easier to put boots over socks than over hair. Also if your boots have Velcro fixings these can sometimes get entangled with the dog’s hair. If the socks are these nice long ones they can be folded over the top of the boots thus covering the Velcro fixing points.

3) I get very cross with dog groomers leaving their dogs’ hair around the show venues when it takes just a moment’s imagination to tie a pooh bag to the grooming table or dog cage and put the hair in this as the brush is emptied. If needs be this bag can be emptied at the end of the day and reused at the next show if kept in your grooming bag, or put straight in your pocket in case your dog needs it on the way back to the car park. 

4) While on the subject of pooh bags, try and remember to always have one with you in the ring. They fold up so small, I tuck one into the top of my sock so I still have my pockets empty for a tissue and some treats.

5) To get a nice tidy neck, when drying your dog use a fine tooth comb on all the hair around the neck down to the shoulder. It is also good to use gently on the inside of the ear leathers where the hair can get crusty where it grows on the edges of the leathers.

6) I have never been a beauty spa freak, but I do appreciate a shampooed who massages my scalp thoroughly. With this in mind, I suddenly realised how pleasurable it must be for a dog to have its scalp treated similarly. I think its too easy to rush into the dog bathing situation without thinking what do you and the dog get out of this regular, hopefully frequent event. I think it is a mixture of learning curve for the groomer and can be a therapy for our animals. For a start I know I have found debris amongst the hairy undergrowth which would not have been found without a good grope. Dogs will often be more amenable about having feet touched when in a bath of warm water than when on dry land, so take advantage of any situation that helps you and the dog. Stray tangles can come to light at this time plus the bits of dog walking rubbish. Learn what feels right about your dog. Is there a lump you have not felt before, a rash or sore place? Are the claws a sensible length and not split? There are so many grooves between the bones in the legs, get your fingers in there and gently massage them. Let the dog lie down for a while and swirl the water around the coat and massage the dog’s back and head. Rub his ears and note if there is any tenderness there too. When the coat is rinsed and the conditioner is in this is a perfect time for a massage and then brush the conditioner through the coat as much as you can using a ‘Denman’ type nylon brush as the bristles will not be damaged by getting wet.

7) Think ‘Girl Guide’ and always go into the bathroom or grooming room prepared! It seems to take me as long to get everything set up and cleared up as to do the deed, but dogs should not be left unattended especially if there are stairs, electrical equipment or possible open doors around. If you have a walkabout phone, have it with you in case of an important call. Get all your shampoo and conditioner ready to use and the shower water ready to run through warm. Always check it is not going to run out hot straight onto the dog.

8) Remember to make sure your dog does not shake so hard as to hit his tail against a wall or door when getting out of the bath. I have had a dog split her tail doing this!

9) Try not to let your dog get cold after a bath. I often put mine into a toweling dog coat just to get some water out while tidying up the bathroom.

10) So finally remember to praise your dog and maybe give a titbit after it is all over and he can go and rest on a nice clean blanket.