Grooming Your Borzoi

By Margery Armstrong, Rokaro Kennel


Equipment

  • Oliver Mat Splitter
  • Injectable razor blades for the above..refills are Schick Injector razor blades, come in 7 pack. If you have trouble finding them locally, try 800-654-1910 or www.schick.com. They are made in the U.S.A. by Warner-Lambert Co., P. O. Box 3159, Milford, CT 06460. In Canada they are available at Guardian Drug Stores at $6.95 Canadian including tax. If you cannot obtain them locally in Canada, if you send me $10 to cover postage and mailer, I can send you a package.
    Please Note: Ordering of blades should be made to Margery Armstrong of Rokaro Kennel.
  • Pin Brush
  • Greyhound Comb
  • Molting Comb
  • Teflon Coated Rake (source Pet Valu)
  • Small scissors with blunt ends
  • Long scissors
  • Thinning shears
  • Heavy nail clippers
  • Quik-Stop for stopping bleeding nails
  • Rotary nail grinder
  • Blow dryer suited to dogs
  • Tooth scaler
  • Electric toothbrush. As of April/03, Crest has one that retails under $10 Cdn. at Canadian Tire Store. My Borzoi who have never experienced one tolerate it perfectly. Be sure to buy dog toothpaste, not human kind as it foams.
  • Silicone Grooming spray. (We use The Stuff for Dogs)
  • Chalk...Borzoi are seldom chalked and it should be totally removed before entering the ring. You need a soft bristle brush to apply it and brush it out.
  • No-rinse shampoo (for touch-ups at the show).
  • Shampoo correct for your colour of Borzoi. Some spotted ones need two colours, white and the body spot colour. We have had good luck with No. 1 All Systems brand
  • Tearless Baby Shampoo for the face
  • Stain remover if the Borzoi gets saliva stains (red-brown) around the mouth.
  • Conditioner

To get the supplies that you need, if you can't shop at show booths, I recommend Pet Supply House, now at a new location in Guelph, ON. They do mail order, and their complete line of products may be studied at www.petsupplyhouse.com. They are not open on Sunday. Address is 999 York Road, in Guelph, and their web site has a map. Toll free number is 1-800-268-3716. You can also find out where they will be having booths at shows and arrange to have products there for pickup, saving shipping costs. They stock large containers of shampoo of the most recommended brands, at a much better price than your local pet store.

If your Borzoi are part of a business, you can shop at a wholesaler called Garadun, which has a catalogue and is located near Orangeville, for some grooming products.

For leashes suitable for your Borzoi, you can shop at www.dog-deco.com, small orders welcome, and mail order or personal shopping available.

Grooming Equipment
Left to right: molting comb, pin brush, tooth scalers, greyhound comb, thinning shears, nail clipper, Oliver Mat Splitter with Schick injectable razor refill, shears, gum stimulator, groomers' rake


Procedures

  • Start with a dry Borzoi, tethered. Apply grooming spray. Brush out as much loose hair as possible.
  • Use the Oliver Mat Splitter to split any mats. Work out any remaining loose hair with a Molting comb. While doing this, hold the fur to the body to prevent tugging. If the Borzoi protests, you are not holding the fur correctly. If necessary, get hair clips to hold sections out of the way. At all costs avoid pulling its fur, or it will become resentful of necessary grooming.
  • Trim the fur on the feet with the blunt nosed scissor.
  • Brush the coat below the hocks upward, then trim with the straight scissors.
  • Use the thinning shears to trim tufts of fur in the ears. Be conservative.
  • Trim the back skull if needed with a cocker stripping comb.you may need to go to a groomer for this job to see the best way to do it.
  • Trim the fur just above the front paws for about one inch to prevent dragging on the ground.
  • Scale the teeth, with special attention to the incisors and the back molars.
  • Work on any saliva stains with the remover product.
  • Place the Borzoi in a dry bathtub on a rubber non-slip mat. Place a hair collector in the drain. Your bathtub should have an extension on the shower head, to allow you to take it down and use it to wash the dog.
  • Put cotton in the dog's ears.
  • Wet the dog thoroughly.
  • Apply the shampoo and work in. Flea shampoo must be left on for a bit. However, it is much more effective to apply Advantage to a clean dry dog once a month for killing fleas and ticks. Use baby shampoo on the face and in the ears. Use a washcloth to clean the ears gently.
  • Rinse out very thoroughly.
  • Apply the conditioner and rinse out.
  • Remove the dog from the tub and wrap it in towels. When as much water is soaked up as possible, let it out for a shake outside. In warm weather, you are best to organize a tap in which the water can be blended to warm, and use the hose outdoors. However, use the tub in cold weather.
  • Let the dog air dry in a crate or suitable confined area.
  • Clip or grind the nails as they are softer right after a bath.
  • Work with the dryer and the pin brush and greyhound comb to finish the dry job. Borzoi are brushed backward on the back (i.e. from rear end towards the neck) and downward everywhere else. As you brush, hold the coat down near the skin to prevent painful pulling.
  • When the dog is brushed and dry, apply silicone grooming spray which will Scotch guard it and keep it much cleaner. When the dog is in this condition, finish trimming, as you will see any irregularities in your work after the bath when it is fluffed up.


Timing for Grooming

Borzoi are rated at 30 minutes a week for general brushing and mat removal. Allow at least three hours for a show preparation as described, not counting the periods of drying. At the show, if the dog drooled or threw up, the no-rinse shampoo could be tried. No visible foreign substance should be in the fur (like chalk). Avoid using human hair spray or shampoo on dogs.


Other Tips

  • In Canada show people seldom remove all the dog's whiskers, but usually trim any stray objectionable ones. If you hire a handler, be sure they understand regional trimming customs, or you may faint after you see what they did to your Borzoi. Hair over the ears should be thinned but not be completely removed as it protects from insects biting ears or getting into them.
  • If your dog is solid colour with sable, you cannot trim it on the withers. If it has excessive hair that makes it look flat when it is not, try draping it with a wet towel before ring time.
  • Borzoi can get overheated. Keep a water spray bottle and spray it frequently. Take a mat on which it can lie to keep clean while waiting for an event. A small pin brush for shows that can go in a pocket is also needed.
  • Borzoi can sometimes benefit from tapering the coat under the body to be more at an angle...shorter in the tuck up, and as long as possible under the chest. Be conservative in this, and as with all other trimming, do it at least a week before an event.
  • Start grooming your puppy long before it has an adult coat. Teach it to stand still on a lead during grooming. A grooming table is not necessary. If you would like to use one, it is possible to buy a topper for a 500 airline crate.
  • Female Borzoi can beneficially be trimmed around the rear to avoid soiling, especially when in heat. Before whelping, all feathering must be removed to prevent accidents to the puppies. Male Borzoi should have a profuse coat. However, you can lift up the outer coat and remove some of the interior to help prevent matting around the rear end.
  • How often a Borzoi should be washed cannot be specified, as it is so dependent on its living conditions and degree of attending events. It should never smell doggy or look soiled. Regular brushing plus silicone spray will reduce the necessity of full-scale baths. I would not suggest bathing it more than once a month. Washing and changing its blankets weekly at least will also be a big help. Its coat is self-cleaning, and much of any dust etc. will come off on the blankets and not stay on the dog.
  • Borzoi do shed a lot. Your best line of defense is to take the dog out of doors daily and brush it thoroughly. The more it is brushed outside, the less of its coat will be inside. If it is any consolation, the hair of short-coated dogs is just as hard to remove from surfaces. Learn to live with it, and don't buy a black carpet if you have a white Borzoi, or vice versa! However, a well-groomed Borzoi in a full show coat is a delightful sight, sure to attract favorable attention in the ring or out on a stroll.
  • You will know that you are grooming well when your dog runs to you to be brushed or jumps into the tub for a bath. A soft hand and kind words will make them love their grooming sessions, making it easy to keep them at their best.