The Terrier people are oft viewed as being a purist lot with old values ingrained as to what constitutes the right and wrong way to go about the presentation of their Terrier breeds. There is much to be learned from them as their quest is to maintain and show a harsh textured coat whereas many breeds seek just the opposite.
The problems they do have is that much of what we all do with softer coated breeds is just so wrong for a Terrier and especially the Wire Foxie. Therein lies the quest, for to wash and blow dry a Foxie usually has disastrous effect immediately softening the coat and causing it to look fluffy. Many a Wire exhibitor either has to wash the dog days and days ahead or as some of those I know espouse, never bath their coats at all. That’s certainly one way to keep texture or to build a harsh texture. However, things are a bit more progressive in the grooming world these days and the proliferation of products and techniques available lend themselves to allowing the exhibitor much more latitude.
If one understands that the more bubbles one creates in the bathing process, the more static and fluffiness will occur in the coat. Thus the obvious quest is for small bubbles or as few bubbles as possible. Plush Puppy has created a special low foaming wash suited for maintaining texture to coats, Plush Puppy Az Iz Wash. This unique product is aimed at those who use a recycling water tank bath or those who want a low foaming/less suds in their regular bath set up. Just a few squirts into the tank or bath or bucket and if you see suds and too many bubbles you have added too much. It’s as simple as that. There are times when you just have to refresh and clean that coat and this is the bath one does when a bath will just not do!
The alternative in between baths or for those who just don’t want to bath for whatever reason, and believe me, with this breed I have no arguments with that either, is the new powder cleaner & deodoriser Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Harsh Coated Breeds. I did listen when you all told me what you wanted and I have spent much time and effort into putting this product together. It does clean and it does deodorise and it does leave the coat like barbed wire! You will have texture like no harsh texture you have ever seen before. If as your standard states that you want a wiry coat like coconut matting then this is the stuff to use. It has a faint odour of mandarin & ginger without being flowery or artificial or obvious and is applied by sprinkling onto the coat or applied with a brush or hands and worked in well. It’s that easy. Just keep brushing or better still, blow dry to remove excess and voila! a clean dog with a coat you could scrub the pots with.
You may choose to oil your coats if you want some hydration though your coats are being stripped either by hand or knife on a regular basis lessening the need to do too much. For those who do, then use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil 1 tspn to a half bucket of water, apply liberally and work through the coat and leave in. This is a water soluble oil and is not greasy – it just adds all the goodness of Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil etc that sometimes is required to bring the coat up to a healthy vigour for the discerning show person.
You may choose to opt for a whitening/toning effect for those white coats to lessen any unwanted warm tones and bring up that pearly white look. Use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo well diluted to at least 10:1 i.e. 10 parts water to one part shampoo. Again the balance for this is to give the tonal qualities without creating fluff and static. You will have to trade off on this but the answer is to then add the texture back in to the coat. Use either the Plush Puppy Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray which is applied layer upon layer – in other words, spray lightly and let a few seconds pass and then keep reapplying the same way till that level of harshness is achieved once more.
The other option for those who like to use a white powder/chalk type product, is our new Fairy Frost for Harsh Coated Breeds which is a powder that does not contain talc or chalk, is naturally sourced and leaves the coat again with that level of wiry harshness that everyone with a Wire seeks and so desperately wants in every one of their Wires. I know all the little things you do – I know all the little tricks and techniques and this product makes it easy. It really clings to the coat. Just apply as you would your regular method of chalking etc and again bingo! that stiff, crisp coat will magically appear once again.
I have had such fun working with the harsh coated breeds to finesse these products to satisfaction. It is totally opposite to what mostly I am requested to do with other breeds and was a great challenge requiring us all to think totally outside the square. The outcomes have been superb addressing all the issues the Terrier people have raised over the years to me.
I won’t attempt to go into the arts and crafts of shaping a Wire with hand/knife stripping. This is something that has to be watched and learned and I could not cover enough paper to attempt it here. I do suggest those who are keen to learn how to get the shape that is required of that sense of bone and strength in a small compass and present the perfect balance as outlined so succinctly in your standard especially the detailed standard of the AKC, beg, bribe, or whatever one has to do, to learn from a master. There are those around who are absolute whizzes at this and whatever it takes it is worth it to learn the art of presenting a good Wire. The old hairdresser within me relishes the perfection of these masters at work. Do whatever it takes to acquire this wonderful skill. Only then will you truly be able to present a good outline and achieve the lofty heights of a true Wire presenter.
I will share one further tip. Use Plush Puppy Revivacoat on the legs. This is a great moisturiser to use without overly softening the coat. Hard to find things that will do just that. It is the perfect product for after show bathing out of the fuirnishings to protect and moisturise.
I often think when it comes to dog showing, that a good Terrier is going to be the one to trip up if the rest of us want to win. They seem to be, with the Gundogs, that particular section of the dog world that is kind of true and no fuss – no messing about. These are not hairdo breeds. I have focused here on the texture of this coat which is the big issue with the Terrier fraternity rather than the shaping and sculpting of the silhouette.
Your Wire Foxie cuts a fine picture with his lively and cocksure atttiude. His keen expression and his readiness to stand on tiptoes when challenged all make for a feisty and engaging picture in the ring. His alertness, his liveliness and his friendly yet fearless temperament make for an eye catching entry and I note with the eye of the outsider not owning a Terrier anymore myself, the number of high profile handlers who just happen to have one on the end of their leash. It is a stand out breed.