When it comes to owning any dog, grooming is something that an owner needs to keep on top of. While it is fair to say that grooming a Schnauzer is not necessarily easy, especially, to begin with, it is pivotal to ensure that their coat does not become unkempt, shaggy in appearance, and unhygienic.
In this owner’s guide today, we will be covering all the things you will need to take into account, some suggestions, recommendations, best practices, and how you can groom your Schnauzer from the comfort of your own home.
So, before we begin we will first take a look at the coat of this breed, and then answer some of the most commonly asked questions including how often is grooming required, what tools are needed, and if shaving is an option for you.
So, be sure to keep on reading to ensure you get all the information that you need!
The Schnauzer Coat
The Schnauzer is known for having a distinctive double-layered coat. Their undercoat is soft and dense, whereas their outer coat is wiry in appearance.
Often, Schnauzers are groomed in such a way that gives prominence to their facial features; where the facial hair, when kept longer, gives them their unique gentlemanly and bearded look.
They have arched eyebrows which support this look. At the same time, they typically have long hairs on their legs (often referred to as feathers) as opposed to their body which typically only reaches 2 inches in length.
One of the major benefits of owning a Schnauzer is that they are by nature, a low shedding breed.
They also do not carry that ‘doggy’ odor that some breeds are renowned for.
This makes them great for those who suffer from dog allergies and react to pet dander.
However, it is equally true that the undercoat does need to be regularly taken back to remove loose hairs.
Schnauzers can most often be found with white, gray, and black color combinations coat colors although you sometimes do see them with black-and-silver shades. Jet black is not uncommon.
Owners generally keep on top of trimming their Schnauzer. The head, ears, neck, stomach, chest, and around the tail are often kept short.
While some owners undertake this themselves, others visit the groomer to do this on their behalf.
How Often Do Schnauzers Need To Be Groomed?
Schnauzers do have high grooming requirements, especially if you want to achieve their signature look.
Brushing of the facial hair, especially the mustache and beard, along with the legs are typically required each day. This will prevent matting and tangles, and irritation/discomfort to this area.
Schnauzers often require their face washed after mealtimes, as their hair does tend to pick up food.
For the coat, it generally requires clipping or hand-stripping every four to six months. What is required is going to come down to preference, and how you want your Schnauzer to look.
If you are unsure of what hand-stripping is. It is a process of fur removal. It is where the fur is removed by hand; being pulled out by the root so that a new coat is able to grow.
Generally, owners will often leave hand-stripping to the professionals, although it is possible to do it yourself from home.
Clipping is considered to be an alternative, but you should consider that with clipping, the coat softens in time and your dog will be more likely to shed.
For this reason, booking your Schnauzer in to see a professional dog groomer every 6-8 weeks does come recommended.
Nevertheless, there is a lot more to grooming than just reducing the coat length.
As we’ve previously mentioned, the face and legs require daily brushing.
The coat, however, can be brushed 2-3 times per week. Using a rounded-bristle brush works best to prevent tangling and remove anything that gets caught up in the wiry coat.
Beyond the coat, it’s important to stay on top of your dog’s dental health/hygiene and keep their nails trimmed.
You can either brush your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs, or you can provide them dental sticks/chews or toys that help them to naturally remove plaque/tartar from their teeth and bacteria from their mouths.
Nails can be trimmed less regularly, once per month is generally all that is required.
Often, you will hear when your dog needs their nails trimmed as they will start to either walk uncomfortably, wince in pain, or you can hear the nails hitting the floor.
Alternatively, if you notice your Schnauzers nails are sharp or they dig into you, you can trim them down.
Just make sure you use nail trimmers designed for dogs to ensure you do not over-trim their nails, or cut any of their pads accidentally.
Better yet would be to invest in a high-quality nail grinder, like this.
The more you groom your Schnauzer when they are young and as a puppy, the easier you will find the process and the less stress they will likely be under each time you attempt to do so.
Always be careful with your dog, gentle, calming, and patient.
Make the entire experience as positive as you can, be sure to offer treats and praise to make this a pleasurable activity for both you and your dog alike.
What Tools Do You Need To Groom A Schnauzer?
The following tools are recommended for keeping on top of your Schnauzers grooming requirements:
- Slicker Brush
- Stainless Steel Grooming Comb
- Dog Nail Trimmers
- Shampoo designed for Dogs,
- Conditioner designed for Dogs,
- Clippers (and Blades)
- Grooming Curved Scissors
- Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste/Dog Chew Dental Stick/ Dog Chew Toys
- Grooming Wipes
- Ear Solution Cleaning Products
As you can see, there is quite a lot of tools you need to purchase. This is especially true if you have recently got a Schnauzer or your first dog and do not have any of them, to begin with.
Thankfully, once you invest in these tools, they should last and you will only need to replace some of the products as they run out e.g. dog shampoo, grooming wipes, and an ear solution cleaning product.
This is typically why some owners will take their dogs to professional groomers. Although, while it may be cost-effective the first time around, consider that if you do invest some money upfront, it will save you money over the long run!
Equally, it tends to work out more expensive if you purchase all of the items separately.
Thankfully, this affordable, complete kit from Amazon provides you with a lot of what you will need to groom your Schnauzer from home.
Is It Okay To Shave A Schnauzer?
Whether or not it is okay to shave a Schnauzer depends entirely on your preferences, how you want your dog to look, and whether or not they are your family pet or if you want to enter them into shows.
For example, Schnauzers who are used for show will require hand-stripping to remove their undercoat hairs. While this sounds extreme, it’s not painful for the dog – only dead hairs are removed and these come out relatively easily.
On the other hand, for pet Schnauzers, clipping or shearing is perfectly fine. It’s a much quicker, simpler, and easier way to groom them.
However, owners must consider that clipping or shaving a Schnauzer does alter their coat somewhat. Making it more likely to shed.
Either way, if you do not get your Schnauzer hand-stripped or clipped, their coats will grow out and become shaggy in appearance.
Therefore, one or the other is generally advised.
How To Groom A Schnauzer (Step By Step)
Let us now take a closer look at how you can effectively groom your Schnauzer, step by step:
Before you ever look to groom your Schnauzer, you should begin by inspecting your dog from head to toe.
Give them a full-body stroke and rub, feeling out for any potential lumps, bumps, dry patches, hair loss, or anything that does not feel quite right.
By doing this, you are also preparing the coat for brushing, which you will move on to next.
Brushing your Schnauzer’s body should happen regularly; 2-3 times per week is a good schedule to keep the coat in good condition and to prevent any matting.
It also helps to distribute the natural oils that your dog’s skin naturally produces, which helps with future hair growth.
The facial hair should be brushed daily, but you do need to be careful around the most sensitive areas, including the ears and the eyes.
Don’t forget to brush the legs, or those other hidden areas like under the arms, stomach, and around the toes.
The best brush to use on Schnauzers are called slicker brushes. These do a great job of preventing matting, are comfortable on the coat, and are easy to clean.
This Slicker Brush on Amazon is a best seller and is the one to get.
Bathing should not be done too frequently; only as and when your dog gets dirty, muddy, smelly.
Otherwise, you should look to bathe them once or twice a month.
Too frequent bathing can result in itchy, flaky, and dry skin, which will be very unpleasant in for your dog.
When you bathe your Schnauzer, ensure that you only ever use products designed for dogs (this shampoo on Amazon is ideal). It is all-natural and comforting to a dog’s extra-sensitive skin.
Dry The Coat
When your dog is wet following a bath, you should look to try your dog. Towel drying is advised, as is blow drying if your blow dryer is not too loud or likely to cause stress in your dog.
Using a towel as much as possible is best, and when using a blow dryer only do so on a low-to-moderate heat.
Be careful not to burn your dog or put heat on any sensitive areas; keep a fair distance at all times.
As you dry your dog be sure to continue brushing them to prevent the coat from matting. When brushing the legs do so in an upwards motion.
Clean The Eyes
It’s important to routinely check and clean around your dog’s eyes. Look out for any discharge, or signs of blood. Grooming wipes work well here.
If you do suspect something is wrong with your dog’s eyes or vision, be sure to contact your vet.
Clean The Ears
Cleaning the ears ensures that dirt, bacteria, and the buildup of wax does not occur or cause discomfort or inflammation.
If your Schnauzer begins scratching at their ears or tilting their head this is usually a good sign that they need their ears cleaned.
Be careful with any cotton earbuds, and do not push them in too far. Using an ear solution product is also generally advised, or using lukewarm water.
Clean The Teeth
Oral hygiene is as important to dogs as it is to us, humans. Any plaque that is not removed quickly enough can even result in heart disease; so you must ensure you reduce it before it can build.
Brushing your dog’s teeth with a dog-friendly toothbrush/paste is one strategy, but some owners find this a challenge – especially with fidgety dogs.
Others opt for dental toys or chews that they can give to their dogs as a treat, and to keep them entertained while keeping their mouths clean at the same time.
Nail clipping can be done relatively easily with the right tools. Other than this, your vet can do this procedure on your behalf during their checkups.
Just be sure that your Schnauzers nails do not grow out too long, causing pain and incorrect walking patterns.
When cutting/grinding your dog’s nails be sure not to over-cut (which the safety mechanism should prevent on all good products).
You have to be really careful not to catch the quick (a part of the nail that is living tissue and contains blood vessels and nerves).
In doing so, can result in bleeding, pain, and can result in infection.
Some owners like to apply moisturizers designed for dogs to help re-hydrate the paws.
How To Clip A Schnauzer (Step By Step)
Clipping a Schnauzer can be done from home. It typically involves a few simple steps, but they do need to be groomed in a particular way to obtain their suggested look.
Let us now take a look at the process:
Clip The Back Fur
- Attach a #8 or #10 blade to your clippers.
- Beginning at the base of your dogs head, gently place the clippers onto your dogs back and run down the fur towards the tail area.
- Go back to the top, and clip the areas all around the back.
- On your dogs side, continue to shave in a downward motion until you reach their underbelly.
- Shave around the tail, following the direction of fur growth which should be situated around your dogs rump. You should clip down to the joint in your dogs hind legs, just above the elbows and slightly above the shoulder bones on their front.
If it is a colder month or the winter season, you can consider using a longer blade on your clippers. This will ensure your dog has more fur.
Be careful as you shave and be sure to remove any fur that gets caught in the blades as you go.
Use Scissors On Sensitive Areas
You should not use the clippers on all areas of your Schnauzers body. Perhaps the most appropriate place to use scissors is around the tip of the tail. This area should always be trimmed with scissors.
When doing so, trim to the same length as you have clipped the rest of your dog’s coat. You want these areas to match.
Be sure to also cut the underbelly (at equal length), but be very careful of your dog’s genitals. This is why it is generally not recommended to clip the underbelly, although some owners do so.
Cut The Leg Fur
The typical Schnauzer look includes the legs being longer than the body.
So, in order to achieve this look, use scissors to trim the fur here. Brush as you go to ensure it is even.
When you clip your dog’s body, the legs should be one of the noticeable areas where you stopped. In some Schnauzers, the legs are a different color, so it can sometimes be easier to identify where to cut and to stop clipping.
Groom The Face
Grooming a Schnauzers face can be a bit tricky. You also need to be very careful here, especially around the eyes and ears.
You should only clip the top of the head and stop short of the eyebrows. Clipping the neck can also be done, but again you will want to stop at the chin line.
The hair around the eyes should be trimmed with scissors, then brushed downward. Cutting towards the nose and in parallel with the eyes gives the desired effect. Be sure to do this for both eyes.
When trimming the beard, take away a small amount of the growth that has developed since previous grooming.
Ultimately, your dog’s face should look extended and somewhat rectangular.
Trim The Ears
The hair in a Schnauzer’s ears can grow quite long.
To begin, trim the fur that can be found on the outside of your dog’s ears and then brush them downward. Be sure to cut back the hair that grows out of the ear too.
Just be careful not to over-cut here. Some fur is required for the Schnauzer look and to keep your dog’s ears warm.
Schnauzers are also renowned for growing long fur inside the air. Plucking this out is a good idea, but only do so using a pair of clean tweezers. Be careful here as it can cause distress and tweezers are sharp.
It’s not advised to remove all the inner ear fur, but enough to protect the ears while ensuring air can access the area.
Some owners like to use scissors instead of tweezers to do this. Either way, you must be cautious and careful.
Groom The Paws
Lastly, you will want to trim the hair on your dog’s paws.
Be sure to only use scissors, and trim all the long fur around the nails. Also, don’t forget to trim the back of the paw, where fur can grow in between the pads.
Again, be careful not to catch your dog’s paws. Do this for each paw.
Schnauzers are easily recognizable and impressive to look at when groomed regularly and properly.
Just like for most breeds, grooming is essential for the Schnauzer. Although, it is a little bit more tricky to give them an even mustache and beard that this breed is loved for.
Taking your Schnauzer to a professional groomer, especially one that specializes in this breed, is a good way to go.
However, grooming is required regularly and can soon as up in price. Plus it’s simply inconvenient to keep taking them.
Even then, there are aspects of grooming that require much more frequent attention. Brushing, the cleaning the ears, eyes, and mouth are such examples.
So, learning how to give your Schnauzer a complete grooming session from home is one of the best things to teach yourself how to do.
You’ll save a lot of money in the process and you will bond with your dog in ways you wouldn’t when visiting a groomer.
Beyond this, grooming will make your Schnauzer have a much more comfortable, hygienic, and pleasurable life. Plus, it will be better for you and your home too.
Other grooming guides you may want to check out:
- How Long Does A Dog Grooming Take?
- Do You Tip Dog Groomers? [Is It Typical & Expected?]
- Dog Groomer Tip Calculator [How Much You Should Offer]
- 13 Gifts For Dog Groomers To Show Your Appreciation
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.