A Beginners Guide for Grooming the Welsh Springer

Grooming The Welsh Springer

The Throat and Neck. Use the clippers to trim the fur from under the chin and down the throat and neck to just above the breast bone. Carefully blend the fur at the breast bone and on the sides of the neck into the longer fur. On both sides of the neck and under the ear there is a section of fur that grows in the reverse direction to the normal flow of fur. Be careful not to cut the dog when the clippers trim this section. It will appear to be too close; however don't worry, no damage has been done. Trim this section then blend into the longer fur toward the side and top of the neck. (See Fig. 5)

The Neck and Shoulders. If the dog has an excess of fur on the back of its neck and shoulders the dog may appear to be "loaded" (heavy boned, buildup of muscles, etc.) with bad shoulders and/or poor extension of neck. If this occurs, it may be desirable to remove some of the fur from the back of the neck and shoulders. Using the thinning scissors, work against the normal flow of the fur (keep the thinning scissors parallel to the normal flow of the fur). First thin the fur from under the surface then work out toward the surface. During this process remove a minimum of fur to achieve the desired result. As you continue with this process, use the comb to remove the thinned fur and to verify the action. The result should be the fur flowing smoothly over and following the contours of the neck and shoulders, reducing the illusion of excessive bulk in the neck and shoulders. Do not worry about the feathering on the chest and stomach areas at this time.

Blending into the longer fur on side and back of neck
Fig. 5: Blending into the longer fur on side and back of neck.

The Toenails and Feet. In the next step you will be instructed to cut the dog's toenails. There are two types of toenail cutters available, the guillotine and the scissors type. I personally prefer the scissors type as I feel they give me better control. An alternate method which I find the dogs actually seem to prefer is to use a stone grinding wheel. As with the clippers, allow the dog to become used to the sound or the grinder before proceeding. Being careful not to get the dogs feathering in the rotating grinding wheel, grind each toenail back to the quick. Remove only a small amount at a time on each toenail to prevent excessive heat buildup while grinding the toenails.

Using the nail cutter and grinding wheel trim the dog's toenails. For course trimming use the guillotine or scissors type toenail cutters then finish up with the stone grinding wheel. The dog's nails are the correct length when you can no longer hear them "clicking" when on a hard surfaced floor. If it has been a long time since the dog's nails were trimmed you may need to shorten them in several different sessions. Trim back to the "quick" (the pink "flesh" part within the toenail), wait several weeks for the quick to draw back and then repeat the process. As the length of the toenails between the front and back feet will probably be different, do the front feet first and then repeat the process for the back feet. Start with a nail that is white where you can see the pink quick, cut the nail being careful not to cut into the sensitive quick. Note how much you take off this first nail and try to cut off the same amount from each following nail. When you get to a black toenail, you will know without seeing the quick approximately how much of the nail to remove. It sometimes helps to shine the flashlight through the toenail in determining where the "quick" starts. Start by leaving the toenails a bit long then using the grinding wheel you can complete the toenails. Trim all the toenails (front feet then back feet) at one time.

Cut the excess fur from the bottom of each foot so that it is even with the pads. If there are any mats of fur between the pads carefully cut them out at this time. Cut the fur flush to the bottom of each pad. DO NOT remove any fur from between the pads except to remove any mats, the dog needs the fur between the pads to help protect the foot. Next cut the excess fur from around the foot. Keep the scissors approximately 45 to 90 degrees to the pads while removing the outer fur from around the foot. Lift the fur from between the toes by using a brush and brushing the fur backwards on the foot. Cut it to produce a rounded, compact "cats paw" appearance. DO NOT place the scissors between the toes to cut fur from between the toes unless there is a mat. To remove a mat, carefully cut the mat out while keeping as much of the remaining fur as possible between the toes. (See Fig. 6)

With the dog standing on the foot check that it presents a smooth appearance. Trim around the edges as necessary to achieve this appearance. To make the foot look smoother and more natural; it may be necessary to use the thinning scissors to blend the hair from the top and sides of the foot. (See Fig. 7)

Trimming Fur From Bottom Of Foot.
Fig. 6: Trimming the fur from the bottom of the foot. Note: The dog is being supported by your arm.
Blending Fur Around Top and Edges Of Foot.
Fig. 7: Blending the fur around the top and edges of the foot. Note length of toenails.


The Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America, Inc. is a sanctioned and recognized member club of the AKC.



The Amrican Kennel Club