What Kind of Coat Does a Schnauzer Have?

Schnauzers have distinctive wiry coats.
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Of German heritage, the schnauzer has a distinctive two-layer coat and long facial hair that gives the dog a gentlemanly bearded look. With frequent trimming and grooming, the schnauzer's outer coat remains coarse and wiry, but the dog takes on a shaggy appearance if his undercoat isn't periodically removed.

Coat Specifics

Schnauzers come in white, gray and black color combinations, including salt-and-pepper markings, black-and-silver shades and jet black. The characteristic that sets this breed apart is its double coat. Schnauzers have a soft, dense undercoat that grows close to the skin, and a wiry outer coat. Long, soft hairs called feathers grow on the dogs' legs.

Stripping vs. Clipping

Schnauzers who strut their stuff in the show ring require regular stripping by professional groomers to pull out undercoat hairs. It’s not a painful process; the groomer plucks out only the dead hairs to keep a dog’s coat looking its wiry best. Clipping, or shearing, is a quicker and simpler way to groom your schnauzer, but it alters the coat slightly, so it’s not permissible for show dogs. Without stripping or clipping, your schnauzer’s wiry coat will eventually take on a shaggy appearance.

Schnauzers and Shedding

Hyped as a non-shedding breed, the schnauzer sheds less than most dogs as long as his undercoat is regularly stripped to remove dead hairs. His outer wiry coat is relatively sparse so shedding is less noticeable, but this breed still loses its hair.

Keeping Clean

Bathing your schnauzer more than once a month, unless he’s dirty, can wash away protective oils, leaving him dry and itchy. Saturate your mustachioed pooch with warm water and lather him up with a gentle shampoo meant for dogs. Use a no-tears dog shampoo on his head and facial hair. Thorough rinsing is essential, since even a trace of shampoo residue can irritate his skin. Apply a little leave-in conditioner to his facial hair and comb it while it's still damp. Rub him with an absorbent towel and then let him air-dry or use a dog dryer, set on "Low," finger-combing and shaping his wiry outer coat as it dries.

At-Home Coat Care

Wipe away the bits of food that have a tendency to lodge in a schnauzer’s long facial hair before they dry and become difficult to remove. If keeping your little gentleman’s beard clean gets to be a chore, employ a groomer to trim it every 6 to 8 weeks. Brush your schnauzer at least twice a week with a rounded-bristle brush to keep his hairs from tangling and to remove matter that has lodged in his wiry hair.

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