Guess we should nip a myth right in the bud. There is NO SUCH THING as a NON-SHEDDING dog! That being said, the PWD is a single coated breed that has "hair" instead of "fur" like most canines - - what that means is that their hair continues to grow unless it is cut AND they lose hair like a human does (imagine your bathroom floor when you clean it after a week!) The shedding is minimal in the PWD and can vary based on how often the dog is bathed, combed, etc. You will occasionally find a small ball of hair on your carpet, too. But, all of that being said, I never have to rinse the tub after bathing them (if you have a shedding dog, you know that in and of itself is a miracle!) and even when I launder the towels from dog baths the lint trap in the dryer has minimal hair in it.
As for caring for a PWD coat, there are a lot of "variables" to take into consideration. Is your dog getting dirty? Is he getting wet a lot (because of rain, or because you have a pool or live on a lake?) Do you like the hair longer, or do you want to keep the dog clippered short for easy maintenance? If you have or want a longer coat, you're going to need to comb it (down to the skin - not just hit the top with a slicker brush) - and frequency is going to depend on the things listed above. If you're looking for the fluffy perfect outline you see on a show dog, just know that behind that picture is 2.5 - 3 hours of grooming, from bathing through complete blow drying and hand scissoring!
The PWD must also have his ears cleaned regularly - especially if he is in and out of the water. Wet ears usually lead to ear infections! Nail trimming is a must as well and is best taught to a young puppy and done frequently.
One of the biggest questions asked by most spectators at dog shows is WHY do people put their dog in that "awful" Lion Cut? (where the front of the coat is long and the rear shaved). You should know that everywhere in the world, except the US and Canada, this is the ONLY acceptable trim in the show ring! This is the "traditional" trim of the breed. (The theory behind the trim is the long hair will keep the dog's vital organs (heart/lungs) "insulated and warm", but the rear is trimmed to keep the hair from impeding the dog from using it's hind legs in the water). From a competitive stand point, in the show ring it will, at times, make more sense to accent a particular dogs better qualities in this trim. Similarily, the Retriever Trim can be sculpted to accentuate the positive and camouflage the negative! It is also very common to see PWDs with wavy coats in the "Lion Cut" and those with curly coats in the "Retriever Trim." Lucky for those competitors in the US and Canada - you can show your dog in conformation events in either trim.
Look around on this page - - we have included a lot of photos of PWDs in different trims. It will give you an idea of the options you have for keeping your PWD groomed.
If you don't have the time to groom your dog yourself, you can expect to pay anywhere from $60-$85 per visit to the Pooch Parlour to bathe, dry and trim "Fifi" - - and ideally that would be done every 6-8 weeks. if you're looking to show (or just save money!) and want to learn, the best way is to just try it yourself and ask others questions and tips and keep working at it! If you have a pet at home, you could easily learn to master the pet trim - - and you'll save a lot of time NOT cleaning dog hair up out of your house by owning a PWD!
For guidelines on both the Lion Cut and Retriever Trim, click here:
It is recommended that anyone with allergies spend several hours in the home of a PWD owner to see if they have a reaction to the dog.