We all get these requests: can we cut him short but not shaved?
Well we all know that sometimes we can and sometimes we can't, but in many cases groomers don't know how to do it.
What we do in my salon is simple. A really good bath (or two) and then a proper dry and deshed. When the dog is completely dry and thouroughly brushed out we take a Bravura and the Stainless Steel snap on combs that fit it and depending on the coat use either a zero (the yellow one) or the #1 (dark blue one) and take off excess hair.
We always follow the lay of the hair. Going across it will make it choppy and irregular. If you follow the natural lay of the hair it will look natural and even.
There is a theory that clipping down golden retrievers can cause the hair not to grow back properly but I have not found that to be the case unless there is an underlying health issue like Hypo-Thyroidism (which that breed is known for). Clipping short however should ONLY be done when the matting is excessive or you simply cannot talk the owner out of it.
If you cannot talk the owner out of it or the matting is too prevalent to avoid it, then educate the owner that there is a chance the coat may not grow back. Some people ask clients to sign a waiver making it clear that they understand the risks. I don't. It is just not an issue I have seen a problem with.
By using a snap on versus a regular blade you can minimize the chance for a coat regrowth issue.
Here is a picture of a Golden we groom with a Zero guard.
A close up of the side of the dog.
I take the same snap on over the ears and then use thinners to smooth it up afterwards.
This gives owners an easier to care for coat, with shorter hairs to shed out and a dog that will be cooler (at least in the parent's eyes) and more happy.
This is perfect for older dogs who do not tolerate brushing as well, and dogs that swim a lot. We all know dogs that swim a lot tend to mat and take a long time to dry if they are heavily coated.
So while it might not be politcally correct to shave or cut back a Golden, and it might sometimes damage the coat, in many cases it is something that will be done by someone. By learning how to groom one this way you can make it easy on your owners, yourself and the dog.
AND charge for it! Because not everyone can do this well.