Oftentimes when thinking of Australian Shepherds people have one specific look stuck in their head. A lot of dog owners are unaware that there are multiple grooming styles that an Australian shepherd can rock!
Multiple important aspects are involved in deciding what style and grooming methods are right for your Aussie in particular. If you are interested in learning the different grooming styles and what is best for different types of Australian shepherds and their unique fur, then keep reading!
Do Australian Shepherds Need Grooming?
Like most other dogs, Aussies require grooming although not as extensively as some other breeds. As long as they are groomed correctly and consistently, they are a pretty easy breed to groom!
It is recommended to fully groom Australian Shepherds every 2–3 months; although, this could vary depending on if your dog is a working dog, is outside a lot, or gets dirty easily. Australian shepherds that are indoors most of the time may only need a bath every 3–4 months!
Although bathing your Aussie is important, bathing your pup too often can result in dry skin!
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Tip: Try blow drying your Aussie after their bath, their double coat is known for holding a lot of water!
A lot of Aussies can get by with simple grooming techniques (brushing, bathing, trimming, ear, teeth, and nail care, etc.) For the most part, as long as these are maintained then you will rarely need to go overboard with the amount of grooming done to your pup!
Tip: For all Aussie grooming needs check out our comprehensive grooming guide. Australian Shepherd Hair Care (Complete Grooming Guide!)
A lot of times Aussie owners will only take their pups to a professional groomer once a month or even less often. As long as you are maintaining your dog’s basic grooming needs, there is no reason for a professional to groom them very often!
Australian Shepherd Grooming Requirements
Some owners are unsure of when it is time to groom their Aussie. As stated above, it normally depends on how much time your dog spends outside or if they get dirty quickly; a lot of times where you live can also influence how often your pup needs to be groomed.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside, they will become way dirtier than an inside dog, this may result in them needing to be bathed more often.
It is typically easy to see if your dog needs a bath or overall grooming, some ways to tell if it is time to bathe/groom your Aussie is if:
Tip: If you notice your Aussie still has an odor after their bath and grooming service, this could be a sign that their paws were not cleaned well enough and there is dirt and debris left between the toes; on a more serious occasion a leftover odor after a bath could be a sign of health problems.
If you notice there is an odor lingering even after confirming that there is no debris between your dogs’ toes, it is best to get them to a vet as soon as possible.
How Should an Aussie be Groomed?
If you are grooming your Aussie at home, there are different grooming approaches that you can take whether you are doing a full groom (including bath), or just brushing your Aussie, some grooming methods include:
2. Trimming the fur
Tip: If you are bathing your Aussie at home, it is important to use a good shampoo and conditioner – never use human shampoo or conditioner because certain fragrances and dyes can irritate, dry out, and damage your dog’s skin.
Brushing is a key step in grooming an Aussie, if they are not brushed properly, especially before a bath, their fur can become matted. Daily brushing is recommended to ensure that no tangles begin to build up in your pup’s fur. Daily brushing also eliminates the amount of time it takes to brush your Aussie each time – the longer you wait to brush, the longer it takes to get through all of that fur!
Along with brushing, maintaining your Aussie’s paws and ears is very important in the grooming process. As long as these areas are maintained, there should be no issues with keeping your Aussie groomed properly!
Tip: For a deep dive in the best practices for brushing your Aussie check out this article Australian Shepherd Brushing Guide (How to & How Often)
Australian Shepherd Grooming Styles
Australian shepherds are known for their incredible fur; although, some owners are not sure what grooming style is best for their pup in particular. There are many different grooming styles available for Aussies that are all unique in their own way. It is up to the owner to decide which grooming style works best for their dog. Some of the most common grooming styles include:
- Puppy cut or minimal cut – natural look (breed standard), normally involves more brushing.
- Teddy bear cut – fluffy and soft look, rounded corners vs. sharp angles, the legs will have a slimmer look and the face will have a rounded style.
- Rounded cut – Easier for groomer because the harder sections of the dog are not groomed as much, the natural muzzle shape remains.
- Simba style – Fur around the head and neck resembles a lion. The body will be trimmed down and there is oftentimes hair left in tufts around the feet and tail.
All of these styles require little to no cutting of the fur. All that is required is trimming, which is low maintenance and great for people looking to groom their dog at home!
Using different brushing tools and products on your Aussie can also result in different grooming styles and looks. For example, using a product that will make the coat shiny, or lay down flat can cause different desired styles for your pup!
It is important to NEVER shave Australian shepherds. A lot of people assume that shaving their Aussie will eliminate shedding, this is not true. If an Australian shepherd is shaved, its fur may never grow back the same, resulting in insulation issues. There is normally no need to even cut the hair, trimming the fur here and there for maintenance or to achieve the grooming styles listed above is normally all that is needed to keep your Aussie looking great!
Basic Grooming Tips
Because they shed so much, it is important to brush your Aussie often, especially during high shed periods. One of the most highly recommended brush types is a stiff-bristled brush since it can reach through all of that thick fur! Other recommended brushes and tools that work best for Aussies include:
- Slicker Brush
- 2-in-1 Pin and Bristle Brush
- Steel Comb
- De-shedding Rake
It is important when brushing an Australian shepherd to start at the head and move down, this ensures that the fur does not become matted or fluffed up. Starting at the head and working down can also help eliminate any stress your dog may be feeling by being brushed; brushing in light, slow strokes can also help your dog feel more comfortable!
Australian shepherds’ fur is thicker around the neck and stomach, brushing these areas thoroughly is important in ridding any loose hair that can become uncomfortable for your pup if left there.
Your Aussie’s paws are one of the most important aspects of the grooming process. Keeping their nails, toe hair, and paw pads in good shape is critical in ensuring your pup is happy and healthy! Oftentimes trimming the fur around the paws and from in between the toes is helpful to avoid any debris being lodged in the paw or any discomfort that the fur may cause them to feel.
For tips and tricks on Shedding read:
Australian Shepherd Shedding Complete Guide (Tips and Tricks From Owners)
Show Coat vs. Working Coat
Not only are show and working Australian shepherd’s body types different, but their coats are significantly different as well. A working Aussie tends to have a leaner, longer, and taller body type whilst a show Aussie has a stockier look. A lot of times people do not understand the difference between a show coat and a working coat Australian Shepherd, several differences make each one of their coats unique!
Show Aussies tend to have various colors throughout their coat and oftentimes very distinct markings. Their fur is also very thick, and they are oftentimes larger than a working Aussie. Show Aussies tend to need more grooming compared to working Aussies. Not only because they need to look their best for shows, but because of their thicker fur, they are more likely to become matted compared to the working coat Aussie.
Working coat Aussies tend to have shorter and less thick fur. The main advantage to a working coat is that it is far easier to groom since there is not as much fur as a show coat Aussie. Oftentimes working coat Aussies will not have as many colors throughout their coat as a show Aussie will have. Working coat Aussies tend to have a more solid-colored coat that is dark.
Show Aussies fur also tends to look different from working Aussies because they typically experience a lot more grooming than working Aussies. To prepare for a show they must receive intense grooming to ensure their fur and grooming style looks the best! This sometimes includes owners using special shampoos and conditioners, different drying techniques, and brushing their dog daily weeks before a show!
Show and working Aussies are not only different because of their body and fur, but their personalities as well! Many traits vary between each dog, this is important to consider when deciding which Aussie type is best for you!
How to Find a Good Groomer
If you are not interested in grooming your Aussie at home, you must find a good groomer that will maintain all of your pup’s grooming needs!
Grooming if not done properly or on a regular basis can become a traumatic experience. Finding a patient and understanding groomer can help avoid that.
Some tips for finding a good groomer include:
- Asking people around you – Asking people you know, or even a stranger walking by with a dog that has great fur where they get their dog groomed can be a quick start in finding a groomer that works best for you and your pup!
- Calling different groomers where you live – Calling a groomer and asking any questions you have is a great way to start a relationship with a groomer that will take great care of your pup!
- Certified Groomers – Confirm with whatever groomer you have chosen that they have the necessary experience and any certification required by where you live.
- Visit a pet store – By visiting a pet store, not only are you likely to run into other dog owners who can give you suggestions on where to find a groomer, but you can also ask the pet store owners and employees any suggestions they may have!
- Search Online – An online search for a groomer near you can be a fast and effective way to find a great groomer for your pup! Referring to social media is a good option as well. You can ask your friends or followers for any recommendations that they have! This website may be helpful in searching for a groomer near you!
How Much Does It Cost to Groom an Australian Shepherd?
A lot of Aussie owners’ biggest concern when considering whether or not to groom their Aussie at home or find a reliable groomer is what the cost will be? The price will vary depending on your Aussie’s size and depending on the groomer themselves and their grooming location (whether they are a local shop, a mobile dog groomer, etc.)
Tip: For an in-depth breakdown on the cost to groom your Aussie read this article: Cost to Groom an Australian Shepherd (Owners Surveyed)
You may also consider visiting a “do it yourself” dog wash salon where you can wash your dog by yourself using the salon’s equipment (note — typically shears and clippers are not included in this, but the salon will normally provide combs, brushes, etc.) The price for these types of salons varies between $10–$30.
At a local grooming shop, it is typical to pay around $40–$75 for an Australian Shepherd full-service grooming. Here is a breakdown of standard pricing for different types of grooming at a dog grooming salon:
Nail trim / Buffing
Flea and Tick Treatment
Face, Feet, and Back