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The Whys of Grooming
by Curt Whall, SeaJay Cairn Terriers
Faced with the question of “Why should Cairns be Groomed?” many think it’s mostly to make your dog look neat and is probably really necessary only for Show Dogs. The result is that many pet Cairns are not often groomed. Actually there is a lot more to grooming.
What is grooming then? It consists of all those things that we do to promote HEALTH, HYGIENE, and APPEARANCE. Grooming for health entails doing those things necessary to ensure your dog’s continued good health and to avoid medical problems. Grooming for hygiene involves steps to prevent your dog from becoming smelly, dirty, and uncomfortable and staining your carpets and furniture. Grooming for appearance is done to give your dog that “Cairnish” look, i.e., to make your pet look like the standard for the breed rather than an undifferentiated pile of hair of uncertain ancestry. This is part of preserving type.
There is a common perception that grooming requires a great deal of time, effort, and skill. This is true for Show Grooming where the ideal is to produce a perfectly sculptured, faultless example of the breed. The amount of time, effort, and skill required to meet the basic goals of health, hygiene, and appearance, however, are far more modest.
This article will examine the things that proper grooming does to meet these goals. You will notice that many of the things done actually fulfill more than one goal. While the following is oriented toward the Cairn, almost all of it applies equally well to West Highland White Terriers and Scottish Terriers.