Small Dogs, Big Hair: Managing the Mane of Long-Haired Breeds


Long-haired dog breeds are known for their luxurious locks, but keeping up with their grooming needs can be a challenge. Small dogs with big hair, such as Shih Tzus, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers, require regular grooming to prevent matting, tangles, and skin irritation. In this article, we will discuss tips and tricks for managing the mane of long-haired breeds.

Grooming Essentials

Regular grooming is essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your long-haired dog. Here are some grooming essentials you will need:

  • Wire brush or slicker brush
  • Comb
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner
  • Dog-safe scissors or clippers
  • Styptic powder (to stop bleeding if you accidentally cut the quick)
  • Treats (for rewarding good behavior during grooming sessions)

Grooming Routine

Establishing a regular grooming routine will help keep your dog’s coat in top condition. Here are some tips for a successful grooming session:

  • Start by brushing your dog’s coat to remove any tangles or mats.
  • Bathe your dog using a gentle dog shampoo and conditioner. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent skin irritation.
  • Trim any excess hair around your dog’s eyes, ears, and paw pads using dog-safe scissors or clippers.
  • Regularly check your dog’s ears for signs of infection or irritation and clean them as needed.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth regularly to prevent dental issues.

Professional Grooming

If grooming your long-haired dog at home proves to be too challenging or time-consuming, consider taking them to a professional groomer. Professional groomers have the skills and tools necessary to keep your dog looking their best.

Managing Mats and Tangles

Mats and tangles are common in long-haired dog breeds and can lead to skin irritation and discomfort if not addressed promptly. Here are some tips for managing mats and tangles:

  • Regularly brush your dog’s coat to prevent mats from forming.
  • If you encounter a mat, gently work it out with a comb or slicker brush. Do not yank or pull on the mat, as this can be painful for your dog.
  • If the mat is stubborn, consider using a detangling spray to help loosen it.
  • If the mat is too severe, visit a professional groomer for assistance.


Managing the mane of long-haired breeds may require time and patience, but the effort is well worth it to keep your dog looking and feeling their best. By establishing a regular grooming routine, using the right tools and products, and seeking professional help when needed, you can ensure that your small dog with big hair stays happy and healthy.


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