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August 2011

Chinese Crested Grooming


Maddie, a hairy hairless Crested before grooming.


Minnie showing of her pretty face.

I know we do not see many of these dogs in our salons, but I do see a fair number, so my staff is familiar with how to groom them. Some people have no idea so I thought this would be fun to do a quick instructional blog on how "I" groom them.

There are several varieties of Cresteds, and Hairless, Hairy Hairless, VERY Hairy Hairless and POwderpuff are how we refer to them. A Very Hairy Hairless will actually grow a full covering of hair on their body and sometimes appears to be a puff to those who are not familiar with the breed. Her parents like her shorter than most people do, so we trim up her mane and boots a good bit. Because she is a "hh" she needs her body shaved and I shave it against the lay of the hair with a 40 setting on my Bravura.


Showing the hair she grows on her body

Maddie is a Very Hairy Hairless and as a result grows a fairly good amount of hair on the body where a real Hairless would not. As a result, she needs shaving every month or so to maintain her correct breed appearance.

We use a 40 setting on a Bravura against the lay of the hair to achieve a proper Crested look on her. If you are a bit more adventurous and the dog will tolerate it, you can use a regular women's shaver with shaving cream. Many show crested people use Depilatory cream on the bodies to make them as smooth as possible.

The pattern basically sets itself on most Cresteds.


Maddie all trimmed up.

Head: Their faces are generally shaved like a poodle, but some like to leave the cheeks fuzzy and only shave from the rear corner of the eye forward. Either is correct. Ears are also a personal choice and can be left fringed or shaved. I usually make that decision based on what the owner wants as well as how much hair they have. A thinner coated dog will not have enough ahir to make proper fringes and might look better shaved. I usually trim a visor on this breed, but some people prefer it natural and falling in their faces.


See how the mane falls into a natural pattern? Shave everything else, leaving the mane

Body:The mane will generally set itself, and as my apprentice pointed out to me, it is almost the same shape and positioning as a Poodle's neckline. I like to lift the hair up and shave underneath it a bit as well. This keeps it nice and neat and allows the mane to not get out of control. Generally you would not trim it up very much, except for the split ends. Maddie however had a request to cut it shorter because "she is hot", so I did it. In the photos below you can see what it looks like naturally and what I did to it to make her dad happy.

 Maddieneckcombed down

Mane left natural, untrimmed.


This is Maddie trimmed fairly tight.

Legs: I clean out pads really well and grind nails with my Dremel. That is to prevent them from scratching themselves up badly after being clippered. The boots start aproximately 2 fingers above the knee joint in the back and then in front, try to make them the same height as the rear legs for balance. Go against the lay again on the legs, using caution not to cut the dog in the flaps of skin. You will have to really watch the lay. It can be in swirls, and your shaving direction will change often. If you do not adjust your clipping it will not be smooth.


Maddie's foot trimmed natural

Maddie's foot trimmed tight

Feet: The feet can either be trimmed tight to minimize dirt and trash being brought in on the hair, or left natural.

TAIL: The tail I usually shave about half of it and leave a tuft of hair at the end. Again, it can be left long or trimmed shorter.

Skin: A bath and conditioner is important after clipping. I also go over the dogs after shaving with a lotion and spray them with Benedryl Spray to minimize itching after such a close shave. Avoid Lanolin in the products you use because for some reason this breed tends to be sensitive to it. Hairless have a tendency to have bad skin and if you see one with Acne (blackheads) rest assured it is perfectly normal. Parents should be exfoliating weekly with a Benzoyl Peroxide shampoo and a shower puff. Extreme cases will need an acne medication and SeaBreeze Astringent seems to be the choice of many breeders. An over abundance of acne may need a vet visit for antibiotics and a change in food is likely to relieve some of it. Sunscreen is also a mandatory item for hairless and hair hairless dogs to prevent sunburn or sun poisoning which results in blistering and peeling of the skin.

This is Minnie a Crested/Bichypoo mix sporting her pony trim

This breed is actually very easy to groom yet because we do not do it often, many have no idea how to do it properly. The cut is sometimes called a Pony Clip, and it can be put onto other breeds as well. Yorkies, Maltese and many mixes are prime candidates for this type of trim. Powderpuff cresteds are often put into this trim as well. It is completely possible to do this trim with any length blade you like. I do a mixed breed of my own in this style with a 7F. In the winter we go up to a 4F. WHen people see it they are more likely to let you put it on their dog, so it helps to have photos (or a dog) for people to see it on.


Scrappy is Minnie's Brother but looks like a powderpuff to most people.

Powderpuffs can be done in the Pony Trim or an even all over trim. Sometimes their legs can be trimmed longer than the body, but since their legs are so long and skinny that is harder to do than it might appear. In many cases, powderpuffs and mixes of cresteds and anything else will have a made that patterns itself in. The hair is a different texture and tends to lay flat where the mane would appear on a hairless.


You can see the way the mane is self setting the pattern on his back ven though his dad was not a crested. 

For more information on this breed you can go to Crestars, for the most comprehensive site on the breed I have seen.

Danger! Danger!

Normal, everyday grooming tools can lead to injuries requiring medical attention if you are not careful, and the dog is not always the one to be injured either!

I rarely use dematting tools. Combs and brushes YES but dematting rakes and splitters, NO. They tend to damage coat and cut it badly and if I cannot get it out with a comb and brush I just shave the mats off. I do own them however, for those rare times when they are going to be useful. I DO NOT let my staff use them. They are, IMO too damaging to coats and skin to be used safely by staff that may or may not be as careful as I am using them. If you noticed, by looking at these photos, you can see that the edges on all three types of matsplitters have been sharpened to VERY sharp to slice through mats easily. They can also slice though skin easily and remove parts o ears or tails if not used with extreme care.

I had a Bichon, Lazer, on my table Wednesday of this week and he was a mess. He had no mats on his body (we used a 4F wet to get the hair off him) and yet his tail was matted with three big mats hanging away from the skin. These are candidates for a matsplitter since they are away from the skin, the owners do not get him groomed very often, and as a result, damaged or cut hair will not matter to them (or me for that matter).

So I look for my splitter, knowing full well I bought a new one at the Atlanta Pet Fair and have not used it (mistake number one). I find it in a drawer behind my station and then set out to remove the mats. I used the one with 6 blades that are slightly ridged to accomplish this task. Now, I have to say, at the time I was sitting there, I was showing my apprentice how to demat using this and I said to her "If you are not careful you can, and WILL , cut the dog badly with this because it is really sharp." We talked about how it cuts the mats into smaller segments and that makes them easier to brush out. How starting at the bottom and working your way up is the best way to use them. How you should NEVER pull hard because it will slide fast and cut the dogs tail and how this is not a tool I would use on ears because if the dog turned just right the ear itself would be inside the blades and it could be catastrophic. I had two of the three mats split into smaller ones and brushed out. She could see how it cut the hair, and why I don't recommend using them on all matted dogs because they DO damage coat. She also understood that in this case it was OK and why it was ok.

The last mat was the smallest of them all and I ALMOST shaved it out (mistake number 2 was in not doing that). Instead, I said out loud "I would shave this one out but it's smaller than the other two, so I might as well get it out.

I put the splitter in place and went to draw back on it (you use it like a comb) and the mat fell apart, causing the matsplitter to fly into my little finger, right at the outside edge of the nail. I knew right then and there what had happened and that it was bad. Ashley, my apprentice went running for something to wrap it up in and I headed straight to the bathroom to clean it up. My son stood with the dog, but honestly the dog was not on my list of things to be concerned about at that time.

I knew looking at it that there was nothing to stitch. Luckily I know how to apply a compression bandage and did that. I got the bleeding stopped fairly easily and went back to work. I have been cleaning it daily and using Blister band-aids (they are a gel and seal the wound with cushiony material). It will be fine. It hurts like mad and using a splint over the band-aids helps keep me from banging it hard. Typing is not easy however……I never realized how much I use that finger in everyday activities! The picture above was taken two days after the incident. It is really deep, which the photo fails to show well.

MAN am I glad it didn't slip and get a dog!

Moral of this story is the tools are very helpful, but also VERY DANGEROUS. If using them use caution and only use as needed. Keep your fingers and arms out of the way. NEVER cross a dogs ear or tail with the, and avoid using them in thin areas or on flaps of skin.