Friday, March 25, 2011

Grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

95% of the time Molly lives at the farm with my parents. She flies through the fields collecting every bit of dirt, and dust she can. She rolls on the deck, jumps through the snow, and chases birds, and squirrels. She loves living on the farm and takes her duty of being a "farm" dog very seriously.

Being a black and tan who is maturing with age, she is starting to grow an incredible coat. My Mom keeps her tangle free, and as clean as she can, but more often than not she looks exactly what she is; a spoiled princess living on a farm.

When she comes to visit I always cringe looking at her coat. In truth though, it doesn't take long to have it laying flat and looking good when the right tools are used.

Looking like a farm girl

Beautiful girl with a wild coat!

  1. The first step is to throw her in the bath! You don't stand a chance of taming that coat without it being completely wet.
  2. Wash, and condition thoroughly. My two favourites are Vellus, and Chris Christensen Spectrum 10. Make sure you dilute the products if instructed. They really do work better that way! If things are really out of control, add a clarifying shampoo into the mix. Clarifying shampoo - shampoo - conditioner.
  3. Buy yourself a Chris Christensen Wooden Pin Brush, trust me. You'll never buy another brush again.
  4. Use a dryer with a cool setting. Use the pin brush, and cool dryer to smooth and get the coat to lay in the right direction.
  5. Get yourself a drying coat, dog pajamas, or a snug fitting dog t-shirt, I've even pinned a towel in a pinch. When the coat is laying flat, but not entirely dry, use Vellus Satin Cream to keep hair going in the direction you want. Quickly dress dog before they have time to shake, and send everything flying in the wrong direction again.
  6. Clip nails, clean ears, brush teeth - after the drying coat/shirt/pajamas are on.
  7. Dry ears completely. Ears at my house always look like somewhat of a mess. If you want them looking nice for longer than 2 minutes after dry, put on a snood!
Coat tamed for now..

Under the coat and snood, you end up with this;

Everyone adapts their own ways for keeping their Cavaliers coats in control. I had a few tips when I was learning, but I mostly used trial, and error on my own. If you do this after every bath the coat should learn to stay flat, and laying in the same direction.

Zo, and Mylee could go visit the farm for a month without a bath and their coat would still be laying flat when they came home. They'd be filthy, but their coat wouldn't be insane, and all over the place. Unless Mom bathed them without a coat.

If you let them dry naturally with no intervention, you are guaranteed wild woman fur every time.

Spay/neuter coats are different than intact males, and females. For cavaliers with thick, unruly coats, start with a Mars Coat King. Even a knock off one works well from what I've heard.

To a clean doggy weekend!


  1. Thanks for the tips. Kendall has a wild coat that we keep trimmed to keep it under control. She had her bath last night in preparation for our Read to the Dogs volunteering today. A clean doggy weekend to you, too.

  2. I think Amie Soto Blossom would say that a dog needs to be a dog. :-) Even with a pedigree that goes back as far AS HER's ..... :-)
    Amie is daintily placed on a non slip surface in the bath. THEN LET THE WATER FLOW... She used to have ducks when she was a pup, but she kept taking their beaks off. The best part is when she gets out. Old she might be, but old habits of heading for the best bed in the house to dry herself haven't ! :-)xxx

  3. I always think your dogs look perfect anyways. But when you put the photos side to side you can really see the difference. I my new wood pin brush too - I should have bought it earlier!

  4. YAY for this post!! So funny cause I just added grooming to my list of Cavalier Query post that are in the plans. I always wonder about grooming and mostly use trial and error as you did. I know once you figure out what works for you it makes it a lot easier. I have a feeling Magnus is going to have a Molly like coat, he is really getting feathery and curly. Maizey has a more naturally smooth coat, but her hair gets broken by her thunder shirt so its hard to keep it healthy. The thunder shirt helps her so much though I think the breakage is a small price to pay for her peace.;)

    One question: I LOVE Mollys' natural feet, do your other girls also have natural feet or do you trim them? I think fuzzy slipper (as amie soto blossom calls them:)) are so so cute, but I worry about traction since we have all hardwood floors, also if they drag in more leaves, mud, or if your Magnus The BOY, snail shells. Oh wait- he just carries those in.LOL

    Great post! I'm going to try to figure out how to put it on my blog FB page now.:)

  5. ahaha!! she looks as if she is saying "Oh CRAP! Don't take a photo of me like THIS" in the photo of her in the snood and coat :) too cute.

  6. All natural feet around here!! I will trim them if they get a bit out of hand. Mylee's little feets are starting to be very hairy on the back. She's due for a trim.

    I don't find them more work at all. As long as you keep the pads clean underneath my two don't seem to have any problems with traction. The only time I hate furry feet is when I take them up to the farm and they find the burr bush!

    I love the natural furry feet!

  7. Love this post ... William always looks like he is is curly after I blow dry him. I ordered the Christensen gold pin brush! I need all the help I can get. I am also going to try putting on his soaker coat. How long do you leave it on? I know ... dumber than a bag of hammers!