The largest and tallest of the galloping hounds, the Irish Wolfhound is an old soul dating back to the Romans and has been the inspiration for romantic adventure tales of poets to authors for their great majesty and strength. This gentle giant is commanding and beautiful with all the natural aspects of days gone by, yet able to fit todays home and family.
His coat is interesting as the standard requires the hair to be rough and hard and long and wiry over the eyebrows and under the jaw. The question for harsh coated breed people, is how to present the coat nicely and cleanly yet retain that harsh texture.
The coat is not to be clipped, or scissored, but it is permissible to hand pluck just to tidy whilst retaining the natural aspects of the dog.
It is a large dog to wash and dry especially if you are doing this weekly for shows but there are quick techniques which I will outline for you and still enable you to present a perfectly harsh texture at the same time.
A full bathing routine should start with a low foaming shampoo as lots of big bubbles just excite the texture of the coat, making the coat fluffy and flyaway. Use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted well i.e. 10:1 at least (10 parts water to one part shampoo or up to 15:1). This will give nice low level sheen to all the colours and you will see small bubbles. Too many bubbles, just add more water. If you have grey, black or white Irish Wolfhounds, then use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo which won't lighten, but will brighten, with a nice tone to those colours.
Now, do not use conditioner at all. Conditioner is the bane of all harsh coated breeds as it softens and flattens. However you do need to hydrate this coat and keep it in great condition just the same. Use for a final rinse, Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. This is the singular most valuable product you will ever use on your breed. It hydrates, keeps the texture, and is great for skin and hair. The more you use it, the better the coat gets. Take a picture and evaluate that coat in 8 weeks time and you will be elated at the difference. You can see dramatic results immediately, but like all good naturally derived pure organic products, this just keeps on working to attain fabulous results. I could not do most breeds without this product. It is just magic in a bottle.
Dilute - yes I always dilute everything - especially important when doing a big dog. You need even dispersion, even results and why waste time and energy and product unnecessarily? If using a hydrobath, add 1 dspn to the tank or 1 tspn to a small tank or 1 dspn to a bucket of warm water if not using a hydrobath. Squish this well through the dog with the surge hose or using a large sponge if applying from a bucket. LEAVE IN - do not rinse out. Make sure you get the mix right through to the skin. It is calming and excellent for skin and hair growth.
Dry the dog. Yes I like to use a turbo cool dryer. Just hit the coat with the dryer to get the shape you require using your hands to lift or flatten various areas to shape the silhouette to suit best. Drying also removes dead hair allowing the new hair to regenerate faster. No amount of brushing removes dead hair as well as a cool turbo dryer.
For weekly baths, once you have this coat under control with Seabreeze Oil routine, you don't need to do an intensive bath unless the dog is a mud wrestler outside each day. Again the less bubbles the better so use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo or All Purpose Shampoo (diluted 15:1) - which will cleanse, but is really low foaming. Add a good couple of squirts to the hydrobath tank and surge hose through or use diluted a couple of squirts into a warm bucket of water and apply with large sponge. Rinse lightly. It will wash out fast. Follow with the Seabreeze Oil as outlined above.
You should use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok for feet and hard to clean areas - this is a gentle stain reducing natural soap which is mild but extremely effective and good for stain reduction around mouth or feet and if reducing stains under the eye area, be sure not to get the soap into the eye. Don't let this area get too wet and apply the soap from your finger to control it. Just do this whilst the shampoo or Az Iz is on the coat and prior to rinsing before applying Seabreeze Oil.
Now you need to apply as much texture as possible to the coat. Follow this whole routine as outlined and you will not need to bath this dog days or a week ahead. You will be able to do your Irish Wolfhound the night before the show if you wish and still have a fantastically correct coat.
To achieve that really harsh coat once the coat is washed and dried, then there is no going past Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier which is for all harsh coated breeds too. Instant harshness I tell you. Once the coat is dry, just dip the tip of the head of your brush - like the Plush Puppy Anti Stat Brush which is a 1/2 nylon and 1/2 bristle oval cushioned brush - into the powder and then tap the excess into the side of the container before taking the brush out, and then flick through each area of the coat to be harshened. You may need to do this a few times as it is a large dog, but remember, this is instantly harsh. It works! A little goes a long way so don't overdo it. You can always add more. Just work your way around the coat feeling with your hands until you are satisfied. Work well in and you won't see or feel the powder.
Take along to the shows, Plush Puppy Wonder Wash for quick, no rinse cleaning of feet etc for those dusty or muddy shows, to keep your dog pristine. This may not be a "hairdo" dog but it still has to present majestically.
I also apply a touch of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb to the topline and head - not too much - just hold the spray about 30cm (12 inches) from the dog and spray up into the air and allow the mist to fall. Tousle the coat with your hands to blend.
To finish off, and to attract all senses of the judge to your dog, apply a spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher, which is a deodoriser and a soft fragrance. This is light and pleasant without girly or sissy overtones. Kills all unpleasant smells as well. Very handy when on a circuit of shows.
Ringside just take along a spray bottle of Plush Puppy O.M.G. Concentrate diluted approx 40:1 ( 40 parts water to one part Concentrate). Yes it lasts a long time this Concentrate version but you have a large dog too! You don't need to disentangle as a rule but this is a good grooming mix to use to prevent static and for brushing. Use with the Plush Puppy Pin Brush Regular.
I must admit I am a fan of this lovely breed observing them at various shows overseas for many years where you often get the opportunity to see greater numbers. One can envision him in full stride chasing down the old gigantic Irish Elks and the wolves without a bother. Just because his quarry is no longer there to hunt, it does not diminish his relevance and your quest to maintain and preserve this wonderful breed.
Who could not be taken aback by a magnificent specimen in the ring, of great size and power, exhibiting great movement and all with beautiful symmetry? One must applaud!
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