GOLDEN Retriever's coatcare


Tatiana Fedoseeva (Taygret kennel) http://taygret.narod.ru

Elena Ushan (Tramin kennel) www.traminretrivers.com


Coat is the main treasure and embellishment of golden retrievers.

But to make it look really as a piece of luxury you have to treat it with attention. Labradors are easier to handle in this sense but they don’t look as imposing.

Short coat or long it doesn’t matter if taken good care and put in order then any dog would look good. Here is a photo of the same dog Robin taken at different periods of his life.

Robin before his first haircut Odessa 2002

Robin just after a seasonal shedding of hair Europe 2003

Best picture of his haircut,

France 2004, Âest in Show


How can you make you dog look his best? (here and further I would use pronoun his/her instead if impersonal IT ).

First of all your dog should keep to a well balanced diet If he gets irregular unbalanced meals it will definiotely affect the condition of dog’s golden fur coat. A healthy dog has healthy coat – it’s an axiom. From my personal experience proteins in abundance will make coat short and dull. Extra carbohidrates will make it oily and somewhat crumpled. You should choose food for each dog individually taking into account his lifestyle – because whatever is good for a working male would hardly be good for a “ couch potatoe” female.

Ready made dry foods make our life enormously easier but it’s still possible to come up with a rational menu using natural products. In any case you will have to add supplementary foods and vitamins from time to time to enhance coat. Now there is a wide specter of high quality supplements available that will improve coat and skin condition. Here I am listing only those that I used myself. First of all it’s brewer’s yeast with sulphur. I add them to meals in spring and autumn. If you want to speed up coat shedding and to boost a rapid growth of new coat, I would reccommend vitamins Brewers Yeast Plus. To reduce the loss of new coat use a wonderful selection of vitamins Fellglanz........For skin perfection for example after illness or pregnancy ( when skin and coat get dry) there is no better remedy than Nutricoat saturated oily vitamins made by “ 8 in 1” For better pigmentation you can use vitamins that contain kelp and carrots. All vitamins should be given by a strict scheme, not permanently. Usually 2 or 3 two-week courses with a 10 day break.

Healthy retrievers have no bad odour. They shake off all the dirt and mud as soon as coat gets dry. If your golden has never been to any show, if he is healthy, walks a lot and takes good food then he may never have a need to be washed or groomed.

But don't ask me then why your neighbor's dog looks better.

Don Hinaro Aurang For

....it’s definitely impossible to cut coat behind ears without owner’s help

    Retriever’s coat consists of short dense soft undercoat that prevents skin from getting wet, and long rough by touch overcoat.

Left with no proper care coat grows up especially at so called “pants” area and behind ears. It also loses in gloss and becomes very dense. Such coat starts to pick up everything that might stick to its undercoat while you walk. Any dog after grooming  looks more neatly. His coat shines an d his general appearance says that the dog is loved and well taken care of. The more you wash and comb your dog the better is the coat. When we comb it we remove dead coats, massage skin which enhance blood circulation.

You cant comb or moreover...cut a dirty dog. If you do, you will inevitably damage the ends and coat structure. It is not true that washing may be harmful for coat. This information is old-dated and comes from the times when dogs were washed by coal-tar soap against fleas.

Having modern cosmetic products for pets at hand washing can only be useful.

And what is most important - a clean dog near you produce a much better impression. It’s actually more convenient when all cosmetic products are produced by the same company. The various components will naturally add to one another. For show-class dog you’d better choose one of the professional grooming lines- All System, Bio Groom....Ring-5. Which one exactly you can only define by testing. You have to keep in mind coat structure, water hardness, individual endurance and your own preferences.

Wash your dog when necessary but not less than once a month. When you use shampoo keep to a certain technique. Don't apply concentrated shampoo. It’s hardly possible to wash away. There going to be spots on coat that would look like oily. Before use thin your shampoo with water. Always wash your dog twice. First time with slightly concentrated solution, then rinse thoroughly and wash again with more concentrated mix of water and shampoo. You can you two different shampoos. For example – one for deap cleansing and another whitening, but you can use the same as well. Rinse with a conditioner by all means. It will leave coat shiny and protect coat from extra drying. It’s very important to rinse coat thoroughly after using coat care products. Water must be lukewarm not hot. Now let your dog shake off extra water. The blot him dry with a towel. Don't rub just blot with a few towels. Then wrap your dog into a big cotton towel and leave for 15-20 min. After that dry him with a powerful electric coatdrier on medium level.

At the same time comb using massage brush along coat. No matter how long it takes you to dry your dog the final result will be see within 5-6 hours when coat lies down into its place. You wont let your dog sit or lay down or get into a car if you don't want to ruin all your work that will be impossible to correct. If you have to go to bed after let your dog sleep wrapped neatly into a big towel. Let him sleep in a place he wouldn't like to leave...on a sofa for example. Now when our golden is washed we can turn to coatcut. Coatcut should be done 8-10 days before the show. We'll demonstrate the main steps of grooming dog’s coat using pictures of Don.

Don is a homelike dog. He is 5 years old and has never been to any show. This is his first professional coatcut. His young owner cut a little extra coat on his front legs so we’ll show them on a noher dog. Don has a lovely character. While his owner stayed beside him he let us do whatever we wanted ( of course with his owner’s approval)

Don before cutting

Don after cutting


Right before the cutting comb your dog out thoroughly. That’s the “ secret secret” how to become a pretty show class dog. The better you get rid of dead undercoat the healthier will be the looks of the coat. You don't have to cut coat very often. Just comb undercoat 2-3 times a month even if you plan to take part in a show within 6 month.

The tools that you need are – 2 thinning shears ( professional name for scissors) with one and both thinning sides. Metal comb with a handle, long straight shears, medium shears with rounded ends, brush and trimming knife that is not sharp.

Mind that you have enough time to do the whole coatcut don't divide it into stages. It may take from 2 to 5 hours as a matter of fact.

Well let’s start cutting. Our dogs possess natural beauty. They don't need fashionable styling. All we need is to put everything in order to outline advantages and to hide disadvantages.



1. Put your dog on the table, comb out along the coat.

2. Leave the dog stay on the table and step back to look from the side. Now imagine a picture of your dog standing in the ring. Compare the ideal and the real images Try to feel the difference and start working.

3. Start with the most difficult part – cutting neck area and forming front Use thinning shears and comb only Never use electric cutter. It’s better to do it together with somebody who will hold your dog under the chin while you use shears. Our goal now is to show the shoulder angle and to underline the neck setting line and front. Theoretically we should remove coat from throat to breast but depending on your dog type this point can be higher or lower. Cut coat gradually, in the beginning less than you would like to.

It’s important! The main principle of work. Carefully immerse shears under coat and cut lower levels of coat first NOT upper levels. After a couple of clicks put down shears and comb this area. Step back and have a look at what came out. Don’t haste! Never cut across coat! Only cut from bottom to top against the direction of coatgrowth. Try your best to cut both sides at once – right and left.

Having cut half of the throat area when you can see the basic outline of coatcut – go up from the sides behind ears to the top of the head. Once again I remind you – don't be lazy to comb coat after every click

first comb out and draw a visual image of a coatcut

..direct shears this way not another...

shears under coat working on the bottom levels

.from central part going up to the sides and behind ears


By removing some sticking out “ furthers”, we form flat neck surface. Level it with a shoulderblade. The coat on the surface is often darker than the undercoat. So try to make the change of colour less visible. If coat on the shoulderblade area is very thick (as it always happens to be) than use the same technique that we prescribed before when we worked on neck area. You can thin it out and to make the transition from cut areas to uncut unnoticeable.

4. When the work on the neck is almost over, it’s high time “ to make ears” with usual method, using thinning shears and comb clean the outside of ears. Start with the tip and move along to the bottom, thinning coat so as to form flat surface.

ear before we worked on it

...with usual method of cutting

don’t forget about “ behind ear vegetation”

it has to be thinned

Coat on the ears should not be short and at the same time cling as if there were no shears used at all. Then the edge of the ear is cut with straight shears and the tip with rounded shears, around ears only with thinning shears. Inside ears we leave coat as it grows because when coat starts growing it will hurt and may cause inflammation.

opening ear cut the edge with straight shears not touching inside coats

now the same with outside coat

for the tip better use the rounded shears


 5. Now continue with legs.

The paws should be cat-like : compact and round. Properly cut paws give the dog perfectly groomed looks.

paws that havent been cut for a long time

 ... First the front of paw is combed out with a blunt trimming knife
Primarily you have to clean the paw from coat plicas between the fingers, if there are any. Pinch out long coats that stick out between fingers. The dog should stay on the table.  

You shouldn't see fingers separately. The paw should look as a whole and rounded ...not as on this picture.

Incorrectly cut paw – fingers look separately and coat over the nails is cut too short.

Now with straight shears cleaning the edge of the pad. Hold shears parallel to the table. If nails are too long you should cut them with nailcutter.

Correct paw


 Inner paw should also be cut but don't clean coat inside it. Just remove the sticking out coats holding shears along the paw pad.

Front legs. From pad to heel coat is cut with thinning shears.   Decorating coat on the front legs comb backwards and with straight shears cut the ends vertical to the table.
Hinder legs. Front surface is cut with blunt trimming knife   Back surface from pad to jumping joint is slightly cut with thinning shears to get a straight line as a result.

Cut the decorating coat at the back of hinder legs with thinning shears over the jumping joint. It will give them correct outline.


6. Tail is the main pride of a dog, his “ smile” and it should be NICE. Basic principle is the same – first comb out. Then grasp the tail into your hand and slide down to the tip ( on the same level with the jumping joint) . Add a couple sm for leveling cut with straight shears strictly across the tail. Now shake well and comb out. Holing the tail by the tip give it a shape of a further. Comb once again and correct what you failed to do the first time.

combed but not cut tail

grasp the tail and slide along it to the level of the jumping joint

cut with straight shears across tail

comb and holding the tip shape it like a further

comb again and correct the line if necessary


7. The bottom line should be straight as much as possible. To make it...comb your dog from top to bottom and carefully cut parallel to the table.



All the coat you comb out from your dog store for “ better times”. Comb regularly for mutual benefit – he will get attractive looks and you stockings made of dog’s wool as a prise for your work.

The main rule in cutting - not to give way to haste and to believe in yourself. Step by step will bring good result. Just don't haste... - “it’s not gods who scorch pots...”( russian proverb) which in english sounds like “cats may look at a king”...you will manage with it.

The chief specialist in everything that concerns dogs’ coatcare of golden and spaniels  is Tanya Fedoseeva. My kind angel with gold hands.


Oh, Tanya...what would I do without you....:-)

tel. +38-067-9098772