Australian Shepherd clemares expósito

Australian Shepherd Grooming

Grooming an Australian Shepherd can be easy depending on your outlook. These dogs require little grooming for those who wish to make sure their dog remains clean and healthy, but it can entail a lot if you want your dog to look show-ready every day. There is also the inside dog that requires more vacuuming afterward and the outdoor dog that requires great grooming vigilance against debris caught in the coat, bugs in the hair, and injuries that may not be obvious because of the thick double-coat. On this page, you can find a lot of detailed information on how to best groom your Aussie Shepherd.

Australian Shepherd Coat Care

Matting is the primary reason that Australian shepherd grooming and coat care requires these dogs be brushed at least a few times weekly if not nearly every day. The long, fine, and thick hair is prone to tangles that can easily become matts that will quickly become "hot spots" and create skin problems including infections and worse. While it's best to get to a groomer every few months, you can learn how to groom Australian Shepherds at home, for summer, and even for the show ring! You can find a grooming guide online or in any of many books on the Aussie Shepherd, and they will help you understand their grooming needs — including the two times annually when they shed heavily. The double-coat of this dog breed should never be shaved down unless it's a medical emergency, and they shouldn't be trimmed either, as it can permanently affect the coat. The undercoat rake is the tool that works best with these dogs, and on this page are many tips regarding grooming and other tools.


Some may say that there is no one brush that will work alone for the double-coat of the Aussie Shepherd, but if you had to choose just one, it would probably be the undercoat rake. One of the best that breeders and owners alike claim is the best is the Furminator. This great brush gets those undercoat hairs that can remain under the outer layer and create problems as well as get rid of the guard layer's loose hairs.

On the other hand, there are some tools that won't work well. You will want to avoid wide-spread combs as well as brushes with thin, spindly teeth. Neither will work well with the plush, heavy, and thick coat of the Australian Shepherd.

Brushing your Aussie Shepherd is a bonding experience that builds trust, lends to socialization, and feels great! While you may not have the time to brush her every day, you should brush at least three times a week. If you wait a week or more, you will have to brush harder and longer, and this can be uncomfortable to you and her.

Here are some more tips for brushing:

  • Choose a time and place that is quiet
  • Lay out all your tools on a towel
  • Have a large plastic bag on hand, preferably in a garbage bin for easy handling
  • Fill a spritz bottle with water to use before and during brushing
  • Go easily at first to determine any tangles or matts
  • Don't be afraid to be talk to and handle your dog throughout the session

Getting Out Tangles

The massive tangles and easily produced mats that can occur in the typical Australian Shepherd is well-known among breeders and owners of these dogs. Unless you brush daily, you are probably going to regularly encounter these coat issues. Using a de-tangling spray or spray bottle with water will help to keep the hurt at a minimum, especially if you don't brush daily.

Using a slicker brush first is best to get the topmost dead hairs off and the easier tangles out. This type of brush will help to identify tangles too, so that they can be brushed out with something such as a Furminator. If the mat is too involved, you may have to carefully cut it out with scissors.

Here are some tips to help you get out tangles from your Aussie Shepherd's coat:

  • Have a bowl with rubbing alcohol for bugs
  • Use a de-tangler in a spritz bottle
  • Have a heavy brush once the tangles are out and any mats found
  • Don't pull too hard with tangles or mats
  • Problem areas for mats tend to be the "pants" (or "skirt") area around the groin
  • Have a fine-toothed comb for afterward and check for ticks and other parasites


Dog-bathing day need not be a chore for you or unpleasant for her. If viewed as a bonding activity for which preparations are taken beforehand, this can be a fun activity!

Aussie Shepherds are not known for having a doggy odor, so you shouldn't decide when to bathe her on just her smell. These dogs love to get down and dirty, so she should be bathed, whether by you or a groomer, every three months or so. Brushing and combing her prior to the bath is essential too, as this will help get out the hair that will make more of a mess. Brushing and combing is discussed elsewhere on this page, so be sure to read up on that as the first major step for "bath day."

Picking a time and day when there is little activity otherwise so as to create a calm atmosphere goes a long way in preventing anxiety — especially when it's her first bath. Having all the tools necessary is part of the preparation when it comes to bathing your dog. While it's important to find the best shampoo for Australian Shepherds, this is one small task when to bathe her. If you are wondering about the best shampoo for your sweet Aussie, a couple that are high on many lists are Isle of Dogs Silky Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs and 4-Legger Certified Organic All Natural Dog Shampoo. Regardless of which shampoo you choose, be sure it is free of ingredients that can harm your dog such as parabens, mineral oils from petroleum, DEA cocamide (a carcinogen), and sodium laurel sulfate (sometimes labeled as only "sulphate"). Stick with natural, preferably organic ingredients, natural scents, and well-reviewed dog shampoos. Of course, NEVER use human shampoo on any dog

Here are some tips for when it comes to bath day:

  1. Have several towels as well as everything laid out on a towel
  2. Have a garbage bin to scoop out hair and debris as it collects
  3. Make sure the tub and its surrounding area is free of anything not needed
  4. Use room-temp water, neither too hot nor too cold!
  5. Fill the tub before putting her in it
  6. Place her in the tub gently and after the door is closed
  7. Gently wet her from behind, moving forward
  8. Soap and then rinse her in sections so that the soap doesn't dry
  9. Do a through, full-body rinse afterward from top down
  10. When drying, start with her feet After feet, dry from the top down
  11. Be sure they have a dry, warm, dirt-free area where they can continue to self-groom comfortably

With this info in hand and practiced, you and your Aussie should soon be looking forward to bath day as one that will be a shared, joyful occasion!

Australian Shepherd Styling & Haircuts

While there may be minor variations between show and working dogs of the Australian Shepherd breed, they are so minute that it's best for most people to basically keep with a grooming style that is best for play and exhibition. The double-coat of these dogs is naturally beautiful with basic grooming (frequent brushing, combing, and bathing), but there are haircut styles for those who wish to have their Aussie stand out. Of course, maintaining outstanding haircut styles requires a lot of daily maintenance if you wish to keep her looking the same. Trimming tends to be the most that many Aussie Shepherd owners pursue, and even this is typically done lightly as they don't want to damage the guard hairs that help keep this doggie's coat insulation intact.

It's best to watch some YouTube or other instructional videos and then to have a groomer do this the first couple of times while you watch. The last thing you want to do is to have to shave down your dog because of a bad cut. Shaved dogs tend to fare poorly, especially those whose skin is used to the insulation provided with a double coat. Even when it comes to hot summers, you should not shave your Aussie. They are long accustomed to the hot, dry, and brutal Australian outback, of course, and they will do fine so long as they have their natural protection. For those who wish to go whole hog with the stylings, below are types of coat styles that are most common for the Aussie Shepherd.

Puppy cut This is not as simple as it sounds, but it's best for most dog shows as the natural look is desired by the breed standard due to this breed's working origins. This is less about trimming and more about brushing and making the little bits align perfectly — which means making sure the coat looks as if nothing was trimmed.

Teddy bear cut This soft and cuddly style is not as easily done as it may sound, as you want everything to end up fluffy-looking and with balance, rounded corners where there would otherwise be naturally sharp angles. The legs tend to look a little like tubes if you do it right, and the face will have that rounded style with eyes peeking out a bit.

Rounded cut This style allows the dog's natural muzzle shape to remain even as the body is less like a Collie and perhaps more like a Poodle and tubular. This may be a bit easier for the lay person to do as the harder parts of the dog are left somewhat intact.

Simba style Like the name implies, this is all about manipulating the fur around the head and neck to resemble a lion. The body is trimmed down significantly, and you can leave tufts around the feet and end of the tail to really give this cut its "roar"! (Don't try this at home unless you are ready to risk having your Australian Shepherd have a very short coat if things don't go well while styling.)

Paw Care

Your Australian Shepherd will need its paws maintained as well, in the following areas:

  • Nails: If Australian Shepherd nails click on hard surfaces, it's time for a trim. Your Aussie Dog nail clippers can be standard clippers--the same ones you use on yourself! Cut the nails as close to the toes as possible, but be sure not to cut into the nail's quick (the blood vessel running through it), as doing so can make the nail bleed and be painful.
  • Toe Hair: If the hair between your Aussie's toes gets too long, it'll get extremely dirty and even cause infections. Use scissors to trim the hair short if needed.
  • Paw Pads: Your Goldendoodle's paw pads can get dry, cracked, and tender, especially if the dog walks a lot on hot asphalt or snow and ice. Apply canine paw pad moisturizer (available at pet stores or online) to the pads weekly to keep them soft, moist, and healthy.

Fleas, Ticks, & Other Pests

As the Australian Shepherd loves to run through the shrubbery (thanks to their thick double-coat, they will feel little of the brambles and thorns!), there is always the chance of fleas, ticks, and other harmful parasites piggybacking on your precious pup. While it's best to keep these things at bay by a thorough brushing and combing session afterward, there is always the chance that something stays behind. When that happens, and you elect to use a medicine to combat the problem, be sure to first know if your Aussie has a multidrug resistance (MDR1) that can be as bad as any disease caused by a bug. There are tests to determine if your doggie has MDR1 (as it's medically known), and there are natural cures in case you need them. Many folks believe that the best flea treatment for Australian Shepherds are natural ones such as Shoo! Tag (for the collar) and Chuggas Choice Shoo Flea ointment.

Mange is another problem that can occur when mites get ahold of your dog and are allowed to remain. As these are microscopic creatures, they are difficult to remove by merely combing. Ointments and bathing are required to keep these pests away, but if they do get ahold of her skin, other measures must be taken. Eggs are laid in the skin, and as they hatch, the problem quickly worsens. The bald patches and "hot spots" that occur are not just unsightly but can mean skin infections. These mites tend to go for the least amount of hair, and if your doggie has scabs on the edges of one or both, this is almost a sure sign of mange setting in. When this occurs, drastic veterinary steps usually need to be taken to cure the mange and be rid of the mites.

Tear stains can be a problem that, while cosmetic in its effects, can mean there is something else wrong with your dog. It could be as simple as the food or as serious as an ingrown eyelash, an infection, or a reaction to a medicine. Be sure to have a vet check out the symptoms so you can figure out how to treat it.

Other Care

The number of Australian Shepherd teeth is anywhere from full dentition to however many less there may be due to accidents — i.e., those missing — or inherited missing teeth. This may sound confusing, but it is what it is, and what is common is that your Aussie Shepherd may or may not have all 42 teeth ("full dentition"), or have one tooth gone, or even multiple missing teeth.

Crossbites and overshot or undershot teeth are typical. There are the occasional yet rare instances of cleft palates, and these are not typically inherited like most of the other dental conditions. Despite these things, you can help your dog's dental condition with chews such Dentastix, daily personal teeth-brushing, and vet visits.

Since it is strongly recommended that you clean your dog's teeth, the first thing you should understand is that human toothpaste is a no-no. Proper canine toothpaste is a must, and whether you choose a flavored paste (beef, chicken or fish, oh my!) or a non-flavored one, to use a finger brush or a long-stemmed one, or to use other oral washes to help loosen the debris to make the task easier, is up to you.

Another thing is that you must start early with your puppy, and you don't need an actual toothbrush, canine toothpaste, and all that. What you need is to get your Aussie Shepherd accustomed to having her teeth, mouth, and gums handled.

Finally, feeding her the quality food she deserves is paramount. Depending on your budget, your vet's recommendations, and your Australian Shepherd's daily activity — whether for show, field work, or both — you should do the best you can. Feeding her cheap food may not cost much now, but the dental and vet bills will take a bite out of your budget later!

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:March 28, 2020