DIY: How to groom your Scottish Terrier

by AnnB on January 31, 2008 · 17 comments

in Grooming tips

Scottish Terriers getting ready for bath

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Many readers have expressed interest in grooming their own dogs so we asked D0-It-Yourself Scottish Terrier groomer Lallee of Lallee’s Cottage for her tips. And, boy, did she deliver.

Take it away, Lallee:

I am flattered that you would ask me about how to groom a Scottie. (Do I hear breeders guffawing out there?) I still think of myself as an amateur.

I’m glad to share what info I can on the process of grooming. My learning began with a few helps. First, Oliver was my first Scottie, now 9 years old. Living in a small town, I was unsuccessful finding a groomer who knew how to groom a Scottie properly. I was a member of an ST list on AOL, with many members transferring later to Ed’s ScottyLovers on Yahoo. I learned and continue to learn a wealth of information on ScottieLovers. Also, I met a breeder in a nearby town who encouraged me to learn to groom myself. She generously offered for me to bring Oliver over for her to groom and teach me.

I would say my ‘education’ was threefold:

  1. ScottyLovers discussions from helpful breeders and groomers on tools and techniques.
  2. This online tutorial which I printed out at the time:
  3. The hands on tutorial from the breeder.

As with everything, it was an ongoing learning experience. I never looked back because even my first efforts were far better than what I had been paying for. Hair grows back, so other than maybe some brief embarrassment of owner and dog, what is to lose?

My first investment was good clippers. My Oster Golden A5 still works like the day I bought it. You would want a clipper that the blades can be interchangeable. One area of grooming I was always nervous about was using the clippers on the ear edges. I was so frightened of cutting them, and saw that one groomer already had nipped Oliver’s! I discovered (on ScottyLovers) that there was a small trimmer for this purpose that cannot cut the ears, and also works so well between the toes. It was one of the best investments I’ve ever made! Later additions in grooming tools I made were a grooming table, better scissors, and thinning shears. There may be other models of clippers that would be recommended. Mine are 9 years old.

Different size blades determine the length of trimmed hair. I like using a 5F blade on Baggins who has a beautiful thick coat. It doesn’t trim too close. I use an 8-1/2 on Oliver’s back which cuts shorter. He has a thin coat and the 5F just doesn’t trim on his coat.

I joined the Tampa Bay Scottish Terrier Club and they had a grooming seminar not long after I started doing my own grooming. While they were showing how to strip, etc., for showing, I still learned some great techniques for finer finishing.

I find breeders to be generously helpful. If there is one nearby, I would make contact and ask for help. Also, join a breed club if there is one nearby. Last but equally informative and helpful is the Internet, of course. Scottish Terrier Club of America is helpful relating to all things Scottie and a good source for finding local breeders:

Please let me know if I can offer anymore info. I hope this makes sense. Your blog is delightful and I enjoy catching up all the news and interest you gather!
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You heard it folks. Ask Lallee your grooming questions.

The Scottish Terrier and Dog News will kick things off with a query from Elizabeth of Houston, Texas, owner of 13-month-old Oliver. “I need an opinion on whether or not I should cut his hair,” she writes. “I like the teddy bear look and have tried a short Scottie cut on him during the summer months (we live in Houston) and he looked odd.”

That’s shaggy Oliver above on the left (click to enlarge) and Oliver with what we dubbed the Scottie Brazilian below. Elizabeth thinks he appears miserable and we have to agree he looks far less confident than above.


The Scottie News’ recommends that next summer you opt for a Traditional Scottie haircut and not a Brazilian. While we too love the Teddy Bear look and favour it for getting through Canadian winters, all that black fur is just too hot for the summer. And we’re in Montreal not Houston! We think young Oliver would be proud to have a classic cut even if it might take him a day or two to get used to it.
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Read more on Scottish Terrier grooming.

Buy the Oster Golden A5 clipper that Lally uses on Amazon

Buy the 5F blade on Amazon

Buy the 8-1/2 blade on Amazon

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