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 the 'Breeds: As Related to Grooming' Category

The Golden Doodle

Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Mike Cronk

The Golden Doodle was bred in the early 1990’s in an attempt to develop a guide dog for visually impaired individuals with allergies. The Doodle is considered to shed less than most breeds and hence can cause less allergies.

The Golden Doodles I have encounter have certainly received and displayed the wonderful disposition and temperament of the golden retriever. For owners who want an excellent companion that is friendly with other people and dogs, and like to walk a mile or so daily, the Golden Doodle is a great.


The Golden Doodle may not shed much, and that can be desirable, but it leads to a considerable amount of grooming. Brushing is required at a minimum of once a week. There are two types of coats most dog breeds have in varying degrees; a primary coat which is coarse and fairly straight, and an undercoat with the texture of cotton. Unfortunately, the Golden Doodle’s coat is primarily undercoat and highly prone to matting. In order to prevent such matting, frequent grooming is a must.

We have developed a grooming style for the Doodle, which we consider our style. The body of the Doodle is clipped to a length which may vary from 1/4 to 1/2 inches – the decision is yours. The legs are scissored into cylinders and the paws are rounded. The tail can have some length scissored off if it is fairly long. The ears are left long and slightly trimmed. The beard is trimmed to length as required. The cheeks are the same length as the body and the top knot is scissored round and blended into the ears. Because of the density of the coat, we recommend a bath and brush every three to four weeks and a full grooming every six to eight weeks.


Standard Groom

Golden Doodle


Short Clip, All Over

Golden Doodle

Breed Facts

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 by Mike Cronk

One of the breed books I own “The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds” by D. Caroline Coile, PhD., grades each breed on various characteristics from 5 (the best) to 1 (the worst).Two of the categories are friendliness towards strangers and friendliness towards other dogs – both crucial to pet grooming where we are strangers and your pet is surrounded by other dogs. Here is a sampling of the findings.

Breed Facts

Over 200 professional dog obedience judges also ranked 110 dog breeds by intelligence. The top five in order are: Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Doberman. The last five in order are: Borzoi, Chow Chow, Bulldog, Basenji, and Afghan Hound.

Reputable Breeders

Friday, November 16th, 2007 by Jenna

A reputable breeder is focused on doing their best by their breed in every way. Your relationship with them does not end when you buy the puppy. They will maintain contact with you and offer you any information and assistance that you may want from diet questions to training. They will give you a written guarantee of your puppy’s genetic health and temperament. They will take back the dog at any point in its life for any reason. They will specialize in one or two breeds and be thoroughly knowledgeable about the history and medical conditions of each.

They will not sell their dogs to pet shops but rather will keep them as house pets. In fact, the Code of Ethics of AKC affiliated breed clubs specifies that members should not sell to pet shops. These breeders will not sell their puppies before 8 weeks of age and they may even insist on visiting your home–they will certainly interview you. They will deny owners that they believe do not suit their puppies.

Because they keep their puppies in their home, the puppies are well socialized and are not exposed to poor health conditions. Reputable breeders may charge a lot of money–Susan Giles’ pet quality lhasa apsos may be $1000-1500. However, these breeders may actually be losing money on their breeding because of the cost of properly evaluating the health of their puppies. Typical tests include the OFA (hip x-ray certification), CERF (Canine Eye Registry Foundation), Penn-Hipp (hip joint laxity), and SAS (subaortic stenosis check). Research the common defects in your preferred breed and ask your breeder what he is doing to prevent and detect those issues.

Reputable breeders will have at least the dame on site for you to see and interact with. They will have a limited number of litters per year. They rarely need to advertise and usually have buyers lined up before a litter is born. They will be experienced and confident in their reputation as a reputable breeder and will be happy to offer you references.

I spoke with a breeder named Susan Giles because one of our customers is a very stand-out lhasa apso named Oliver. Due to backyard breeding and the breed’s natural inclinations, lhasas can come with a myriad of issues. They are typically supposed to be “chary of strangers” but poorly bred lhasas can be kennel shy, unpredictable, and aggressive toward strangers. They are susceptible to physical defects such as cherry eye, renal failure, and hip dysplasia. Oliver is a very healthy boy who is cautious toward strangers but friendly once he gets to know you–exactly what the breed standard calls for. Susan is a show breeder so the puppies she raises come with a thick, luxurious coat as well. She is very aware of the problem of backyard breeders and because of this she insists on a spay/neuter contract when she sells her puppies.

The most important thing to remember when looking to buy a puppy is Do Your Research. Know what health exams your breeder should be doing, what temperament problems you should watch out for, and find a breeder you trust who is first and foremost concerned with what is best for their dogs.

The Shetland Sheepdog

Monday, July 2nd, 2007 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin:  Shetland islands off Scotland
Group:  Herding
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Height:  13-16 inches
Weight:  15-25 lbs
Color:  Sable and white, tricolor and blue merle
AKC Rank 2006:  20

The Shetland Sheepdog
This breed was developed in the rough terrain of the Shetland islands where the climate is quite harsh.  Early members of the breed were small and not nearly as elegant of coat.  They were excellent herding dogs of not only sheep but horses as well.  Since fences were not used at the time, their herding skills were highly sought after.  Adjectives describing this breed are “sensitive, bright, obedient, gentle, playful, and extremely willing to please.”  They are good with children too—sounds like the perfect combination of dog and pet! 

They are initially shy of strangers so we as groomers usually use their first visit to work slowly and earn their confidence.  They may nip otherwise.  The coat is double with a fine dense undercoat and a coarse long primary coat.  The undercoat can be a shedding machine so frequent brushing is necessary (twice a week) and professional grooming should happen every 6 weeks.  The breed groom calls for a thorough brushing and light trimming of hair around the ears and neck to maintain the shape.  Most of our customers want us to trim leg and chest feathers some and also remove hair on the hind quarters under the tail.  Shaping the rear end keeps them more cleanly whent they relieve themselves.  While we have some customers who have their Shelties clipped short all over (a utility cut), we prefer to keep that beautiful coat brushed out.

This is a breed that our thinning tools can really do a good job with.  They allow us to remove a lot of undercoat while maintaining the bulk of the primary coat—you experience less shedding and your dog feels more comfortable in hot weather without losing the asthetic aspect of the coat.

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.