Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for June, 2007

The Great Pyranees

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk


Country of Origin:  France
Group:  Working
Lifespan: 10 years
Height:  30 inches
Weight:  +/- 100 lbs
Color:  White with black eyebrows
AKC Rank 2006:  58

The Great Pyrenees
I haven’t met an aggressive Pyrenees since I started this business in ’75—truly a gentle giant.  This ancient breed (10,000 years B.C.) is thought to have migrated from Asia Minor around 3,000 B.C. to the Pyrenees mountains.  Nomadic shepherds used them to guard flocks of sheep.  They were extremely popular around the time of Louis XIV and were even declared the “Royal Dog of France.”

Today’s Pyrenees is described as “calm and well mannered when not provoked, devoted to family but wary of strangers.”  They can be bull-headed for training and would require an alpha owner and fenced yard.

Pyrenees are double-coated and will matt easily with neglect.  Because they are a giant breed with a very dense coat we are often called upon to cut them short for the summer so they won’t suffer in the heat and humidity.  My experience has been that this isn’t necessary to keep your dog cooler.  Regular serious brushing and thinning can keep your dog comfortable by removing a bulk of the undercoat while still maintaining a beautiful secondary coat.  This grooming should take place weekly at home and every 8 weeks professionally.  However, a short clip in the spring should last through the summer and make a farm dog easier to keep and more comfortable as well.

The Scottish Terrier (Scottie)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk


Country of Origin:  Scotland
Group:  Terrier
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Height:  10 inches
Weight:  18-22 lbs
Color:  Black, wheaten, brindle
AKC Rank 2006:  42

The Scottish Terrier aka “The Diehard”
If you didn’t see much of Scottish terriers as a kid, then your first introduction to one was probably Jock in “Lady and the Tramp”—accent and all.  A customer of mine owned three Scotties and felt that he had too many so he was looking for a home to place one in.  I offered to take in Margaret.  She was such a good little dog—calm, friendly, and very quiet.  Not really the description of most Scotties as they are typical terriers-“fearless, feisty, reserved but friendly, independent, and stubborn with a tendency to dig and bark.”  Margaret was just the opposite and most of the Scotties we groom are as well.  Some of the males are holding on to their terrier heritage, but the females don’t seem to be nearly as feisty as they once were.  This change is probably an example of how dogs are being bred for the temperament suited to a companion dog as opposed to the working dog of the 1800s.

It was really difficult to figure out how to do Scottie heads and ears when I first started grooming.  It wasn’t until I sent a groomer to a terrier workshop in PA that I was able to get it right.  The tuft in front of the ear wraps around the back halfway and the rest of the ear is shaved to 1/8 of an inch.  The top of the head and cheeks are about 1/4 of an inch—the eyebrows scissored long and the beard is left long and natural.  The back is taken down 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and tapered at the sides.  While the standard is that the tail is scissored tight (carrot tail) we prefer to leave a little length on the bottom (short flag tail).  Most of our customers prefer to have the beards scissored some to make it less of a mess at dinner time.  We also scissor the leg and chest feathers to please for ease of maintenance. 

Scotties have a coarse primary coat and plenty of undercoat as well.  They have a tendency to matt on their legs and chest if not brushed weekly.  Occasionally we have customers ask for a short cut all over with only the head and tail scissored in the Scottie fashion.

The Newfoundland

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk


Country of Origin:  Newfoundland Island
Group:  Working
Lifespan: 10 years
Height:  26-28 inches
Weight:  +/- 140 lbs
Color:  Black or black and white
AKC Rank 2006:  44

The Newfoundland
Newfoundlands are thought to have originated from the Tibetan Mastiff by way of the Great Pyrenees.  As their name suggests, they came from the island of Newfoundland.  Their webbed feet, oily coat and broad chest make Newfies natural swimmers.  Rather than herding sheep, they mainly pulled nets for fisherman and performed water rescue work.

The Newfies we’ve worked on have been exceptionally friendly—quick to give you a slobbery lick on the face if you get too close.  Since they don’t have an aggressive bone in their body, they make an excellent family dog for children and adults alike.  Some of the words describing the Newfoundland are “calm, patient, easy-going, gentle, and amiable—a friend to all.”

When it comes to grooming they require a LOT of brushing—and due to their size it would be wise to do half of the dog one day and the other half the next day—and this should be done on a weekly basis!  They have a dense undercoat that will matt quickly with neglect.  If you bring your Newfie to us on a 6 week basis—especially during the summer months, we can keep his coat thinned, allowing it to breathe and provide as much cooling as possible. 

Because the maintenance of their coat is time consuming, we can give them short utility clips on the body and then blend the head and scissor the tail.  Due to their stocky build, Newfies look nice in short clips and this certainly is preferable if the coat isn’t going to be brushed and maintained properly.  We can also do a summer cut—trim the feathers to the body and thoroughly brush out the undercoat.  Due to their lack of heat tolerance, grooming is a number one priority for ownership when it comes to this breed.


The Bichon Frise

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin:  Canary Islands
Group:  Non-sporting
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Height:  12 inches
Weight:  10-15 lbs
Color:  White
AKC Rank 2006:  29

The Bichon Frise
The Bichon’s height of popularity was around the time of Frances I and Henry III when the breed was a favorite of the well-to-do but it fell to near extinction around WWI.  The breed was brought to the states in the 1950s but didn’t gain serious popularity until 1971 when it received AKC recognition.  This companion dog is good with children, sensitive, responsive and affectionate.  Our experience with them in the shop has been very good—they are generally calm and friendly.  Their patience is a blessing because their haircut involves a lot of scissoring and brushing. 

Most pictures of Bichons depict the very dense, long white coat of a show dog.  If this is the case, the haircut standard calls for a full round head with thinning at the top of the nose.  The top of the head to the front of the eyes is scissored so the hair does not fall into the eyes.  The neck is scissored and blended to the head.  The body is scissored anywhere from 1-2 inches in length and the legs are scissored into full cylinders.  The tail is left full and long.

Yet we see very few Bichons that truly have the coat this haircut requires.  If the hair is silky in texture and lays flat, then the full round head appearance is impossible.

The full breed groom would require monthly visits to maintain, while scissoring the same style, but shorter, lasts longer.  Most of our Bichons have their bodies clipped from 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches in length with tighter legs and head as well.  We do have a few Bichons that get a 1/2 inch clip all over with a short, round head and scissored tail.

Our recommended grooming appointment would be 4 to 6 weeks as long as you thoroughly brush your dog at home once a week.  We can’t keep this fluffy look if we need to cut out tangles.

The Pekingese

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin:  China
Group:  Toy
Lifespan: 12 years
Height:  3 long to 5 high ratio
Weight:  less than 14 lbs
Color:  All colors and combinations
AKC Rank 2006:  49 

The Pekingese

The lion is an exalted symbol of Buddha so the dogs of China who showed some resemblance were carefully bred to accentuate that similarity.  With extensive breeding under the auspices of palace eunuchs, we have the foundation of today’s Peke.  No history of work for these lap dogs!  Their story is one of pampering—complete with personal servants!  They can be aloof, independent and not overly demonstrative.  They are better with adults than children.

Most of the Pekes we get in take a little patience at first, but get used to grooming after a time or two.  We have some that come in that are exceptionally friendly and affectionate so making generalities about the breed personality is hard to do. One of my favorite customers, Benji Wyant, is a pretty little boy—very friendly, easy to groom, and yet has lots of spunk.

This is a breed that I have yet to see come in with truly a show coat-hair down to the floor.  While the hair on the face and muzzle is fairly short, that of the neck is truly a profuse mane and can have corresponding length on the body, legs and tail.

Most owners want us to scissor the feathers on the chest and leg well off the floor-making weekly grooming an easier chore.  Pekes have a dense undercoat and will matt without weekly brushing.  As I said earlier, very few of our Pekes come in with show coats—most are much shorter and quite a bit thinner as well.  While we do give some short utility haircuts all over, a good thinning with some scissoring of the feathers seems all that’s necessary for most of our pets.

Recommended grooming by us is every 5-6 weeks depending on the coat.

The Collie (rough)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk


Country of Origin:  Scotland
Group:  Herding
Lifespan: 8-12 years
Height:  22-26 inches
Weight:  50-75 lbs
Color:  Sable and white, blue merle and tricolor
AKC Rank 2006:  37

The Collie (rough)
When I operated the Pet Motel on route 29 in the late 1970s, I boarded a beautiful Collie named Brandy who lived behind the kennel on Dominion Drive.  The owners boarded Brandy frequently and he soon learned the way to the kennel on his own.  I would be at work and then here he would come, looking for attention and happy to see me.  After months of phone calls to have him picked up, his owners offered him to me.  I jumped at the opportunity.  He was so handsome, had a great disposition, and was show quality in appearance.  I have never met a Collie that could match his good looks or disposition.  Great dogs!  Of course, I grew up with Lassie on T.V. so I’m sure I looked at him in the same light

The heavy coat of Collies was certainly desirable in the cold, rugged weather conditions of Scotland, especially when they were left outside herding sheep.  But in Charlottesville’s weather that coat is less than ideal.  This dog is a case of the double-coat to the max.  I kept Brandy’s undercoat as thin as possible and never trimmed him.  His primary coat seemed to stay clean with brushing so frequent baths were unnecessary.  He always smelled good and fresh.  If you aren’t into brushing, I recommend 6-8 week visits so we can thin out the undercoat for you because neglect will lead to matts in short order—especially at the chest, rear end and behind the ears. 

Can and should they get haircuts?  Oddly enough, yes.  As a matter of fact, short-coated collies exist naturally and are called Smooth Coated Collies.  For ease of maintenance some owners chose to clip down the coat in a utility cut.  My personal preference is to keep a Collie well brushed out, but sometimes the fur is so thick from neglect that clipping is the only recourse.

The Portuguese Water Dog

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin:  Portugal
Group:  Working (water rescue)
Lifespan:  10-14 years
Height:  20-23 inches
Weight:  42-60 lbs
Color:  Black, black with white, shades of brown
AKC Rank 2006:  69

The Portuguese Water Dog
Fishermen in the seaports of the Iberian Peninsula used these dogs as working members of their boat crews.  The PWD was responsible for retrieving fish and fishing gear as well as for acting as guards and rescuers.  They were introduced to the United States in the late 1960s and current numbers here are higher than they are in Portugal.

The adjectives describing the PWD are “fun-loving, family-loving, loyal and good with children.”  Keep in mind that they come from a working background so plenty of exercise is high on the agenda.

We currently have several PWDs coming in for grooming.  This breed can either have a medium-length curly coat or a long wavy coat—both of which should be brushed and combed several times a week.  There are two standard clips for the PWD.  The retriever clip is about an inch long all over except for the last 3-4 inches of tail.  We have also done the lion clip.  The lion clip calls for a short muzzle, full head, ears, front legs and chest.  From the loin back, including hind legs and tail except for the last 3-4 inches, we clip the hair to 1/4 an inch.  The lion clip is definitely a show stopper and will undeniably be a topic of conversation with friends and neighbors.

The Australian Shepherd

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin: United States
Group: Herding
Lifespan: 14-16 years
Height: 20-22 inches
Weight: 40-60 lbs
Color: Red, black, blue and red merle
AKC Rank 2006: 34

The Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd is not an Australian breed in actuality but did come to America by way of Australia. It is believed that these dogs originated in the Barque region of Europe in the 1800s. As shepherds, they were used primarily in the rugged areas of Australia and the western United States. Selective breeding has developed a dog known to have “a great deal of stamina [who] is loving, bold, alert, confident, independent, smart, and responsive.”

The Aussies we’ve met certainly have that look of intelligence in their eyes. They tend to be wary of strangers and thus take a few minutes to get to know us before we can go to work. They are double-coated and require thorough brushing at least once a week. We occasionally clip them down to 1/4-1/2 of an inch all over, usually in hot weather and/or for ease of maintenance. Their coat really is gorgeous when it is maintained. We prefer to see them come in for a good brushing and bath every 4-6 weeks so that we can thin out the hair a little at a time.  They often become fussy for prolonged brushing and can occasionally be snappy.

Below, Karma Knaus sports a summer cut. The feathers on her chest, legs and rear are scissored short and blended to the sides.


The Bath

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Our bath process is set up to accomplish three primary functions.  We consider bathing your pet and doing a good job our top priority.

1. Thorough cleansing of the coat and skin -  We wet your pet thoroughly, exercising caution around the eyes and in the ears.  Appropriate shampoo is applied to the coat and is spread evenly over the dog using a soft bristle brush.  We then apply more water and scrub through the coat.  Additionally, we use a universal grooming brush to remove any left over dirt, grime, and loose hair.  The coat is rinsed through to the skin and, if necessary, conditioner is applied.  Your pet is then ready to be hand dried.

2. Skin and Coat Treatment Shampoo – Our default shampoo is a protein, aloe, lanolin solution for medium to short coated breeds.  For long-coated dogs we use the Davis Deluxe Luxury shampoo.  These are both moisturizing shampoos which enhance the coat’s shine and texture.  We also carry several treatment shampoos such as hypoallergenic, oatmeal aloe, deodorizing, medicinal and tearless for puppies.  Visit the shampoo section of our website for a brief description of each.
3. Pesticide Control – Our flea and tick shampoo will kill what is on your pet and is safe for use on dogs over 12 weeks old.  Since it is a shampoo and is rinsed off, there is no residual affect and re-infestation is something for the owner to consider.  We are reluctant to use any dips or flea control products due to the possible reactions they may cause.  Explore the use and safety of these products carefully before applying.

Mike’s Formula for Dog Age

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 by Mike Cronk

The old rule of thumb of using seven years of our age for every year of dog age is obviously incorrect—dogs reach maturity between one and two years old.  Giant breeds take the longest.  Try this formula out and see if it makes sense to you:

The first year is worth 20 human years (Lizzie being 8 months old, is a teenager around 13) and every year thereafter is figured out by life expectancy.  If the average life expectancy of man is 75 years and that of a Golden is 12 years then subtract 20 from 75 and 1 from 12.  The remaining dog life span years is divided into the remaining life span years or 55 divided by 11 gives 5 years of age for every year after 1 (which is 20).  So at two years of age, Lizzie will be 25, at 6 years she would be 45 years old and having her mid-life crises.

Let’s do it for Molly, my Great Dane.  The average life expectancy of a Great Dane is 7-9 years so let’s say 8.  For the first year, subtract 20 from 75—divide 55 by the remaining 7 years and for each year after 1, add 7.86.  So in 6 years when Lizzie was like a 45 year old person, Molly would be more like 59 and a half!