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Grooming Short-haired Dogs

By Janice A. Jones     Updated: 02-03-2020

Grooming Short-haired Dogs is not difficult, but it does require a little knowledge about the correct tools of the trade.  A little time grooming will go a long way towards improving the bond between you and your dog. 

It will also give you a chance to do an all-over check for bumps, parasites, skin infections, or lesions, that you might miss if you never brushed, combed or bathed your dog. 

We will assume that you would never fall into that category, so here are a few tips for keeping your dog looking and feeling his best. Your tasks for grooming short-haired dogs includes:

Grooming Short-haired Dogs:  Brushing

Bristle Brushes

Use a medium bristle brush and brush all over the dog’s body using medium pressure to get down and through the coat.

Brush from head to toe in the direction the hair grows.

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Slicker Brushes

Some people prefer a slicker brush when grooming short-haired dogs because it tends to assist very well with removing dead hairs and keeping shedding to a minimum. 

Slicker brushes come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  For small breed dogs, purchase one that is small. 

If you use a slicker brush, do not press to hard, especially on sensitive skin.

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Flea Combs

A fine toothed comb such as a flea comb can be used after brushing to remove any loose hairs that were not picked up by the brush and look for fleas. 

You might not see the flea but flea debris looks like coarse black pepper and if you see that, you know you have a flea problem.

Choose one that feels good in your hands.

Rubber Curry Brush

These oils help keep the skin healthy and prevent flaking, which can be itchy to the dog.  Itchy skin naturally leads to scratching and licking and possibly the formation of hotspots.  This will give the dog a good shine and beautiful look.  It also serves as a way to massage the skin.

Most dogs love the feeling they receive when you use this type of brush.

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Furminator Tools/Rakes

During heavy shedding times, a rake or FURminator will remove much of the hair that would normally fall out and thus cuts down on the amount of shedding.

You may not need to use this every time, but during seasonal shedding, this product really cuts down on the amount of hair you see on your furniture.

Brushing once a week will stimulate natural oils in the skin and help reduce the amount of hair you will find on your sofa and carpets.  Brushing also removes any surface dust or dirt leaving your dog looking clean and shiny.  Regular brushing also reduces the number of times you will need to bathe him.  Brushing also, helps keep the skin healthy and shiny so you will not experience dry flaky skin that tends to irritate the dog.

Make a note of any abnormalities that you find while grooming:  Fleas or ticks, skin infections, bumps or small growths/tumors, lesions that need treating.  Plan to make an appointment with your vet soon if you notice anything abnormal.

Grooming Short-haired Dogs:  Bathing

Bathing the short-haired dog is a breeze.  A bath about once per month is usually enough to keep your dog clean.  Some short-haired dogs have a doggie odor and for these, you may want to bathe no more often than once per week.  Some dogs can go up to 3 months without a bath.  

Many people choose to take their short-haired dog to the groomers for a bath rather than doing at home.  Professional groomers will give the dog a thorough bath, clip their nails, check and clean the ears if needed and check/express anal glands if required. 

Do not neglect your dog’s dental health:  Brush several times a week or daily if possible.

Other people will do all the grooming tasks at home for their dog.  If the dog is brushed regularly a good bath once a month is all you will need.  You can also get into the habit of checking ears and clipping nails all at the same time. 

To bathe, use a high quality dog shampoo and cream rinse if desired.  Human shampoos should never be used on dogs because human shampoo differs from dog shampoo in two important ways.  Human hair is slightly more acidic than dog hair and we have sweat glands where dogs do not.   Dogs only have sweat glands on their paw pads. 

Gather Your Supplies

  • Towel(s)
  • Cotton Balls for Ears
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Rubber Curry Brush, Slicker or Bristle Brush
  • Sink/Bathtub Mat
  • Wash Cloth


  1. Brush dog to remove any loose hairs using a slicker, bristle brush or a rubber curry brush.

  2. Place a small cotton ball in each ear so water will not enter the ear canal.

  3. Some people prefer to add water to the sink/tub first.  This is optional, but no more than an inch or so of water is needed.

  4. Wet dog down. Lather entire body with shampoo, taking special care around the face.  If your dog hate water around their face, save this part until later.  Check anal glands and express if needed.

  5. Rinse.  Apply a small amount of conditioner that has been diluted with warm water.  Drizzle it over the body, all but the head. Rinse with warm water.

  6. Finish by washing the face and around the eyes with the washcloth.

  7. Towel Dry, using more than one towel if needed.  Keep the dog in a warm room until completely dry.  Most owners of short-haired dogs do not blow-dry the hair, but this is optional.

  8. When the dog is completely dry, brush once more.  Apply a little doggie cologne if desired.  This is also a good time to check and clean ears and clip nails.

That’s all there is to it!  You are now an Expert on Grooming Short-Haired Dogs!

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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