It often seems that Norfolks come in two styles -- those which are conditioned and groomed so that they appear to be contestants in a beauty contest (which many of them are) and those whose owners take "natural" appearance to the opposite extreme.
While most owners won't be preparing their dogs for the show ring, it is still important to keep your Norfolk in good weight and tidy condition.
A regular grooming regime should start with proper nutrition and regular exercise. There are innumerable diet choices available, and most Norfolks would be delighted to sample each and every one of them! No matter what you feed your dog, the quantity should be measured and treats should be held to a minimum. If you use food as a training device, then take those calories into consideration when you evaluate your dog's diet. And, no matter how soulful those little brown eyes, it is not necessary to share your buttered toast, your ice cream cone or your fast food French fries with your four-legged buddy. A fat Norfolk is an unhealthy Norfolk. Regular exercise is a must.
Not everyone is prepared to hand strip their dog, but that doesn't mean that hair long enough to braid is particularly attractive, either. Most of us are capable of doing basic grooming chores ourselves, or of finding a professional groomer to take care of the details.
Dental care is important, as is trimming toe nails. Even though hand stripping is the approved means of removing dead hair, no one will fault you if you take scissors to trim around your dog's ears, feet and tail. Regular brushing can help keep a coat under control, and an occasional bath is probably as good for the dog's psyche as it is for his skin and coat.
It is true that a dog with a soft coat is harder to hand strip than is a dog with a good, harsh coat. If your Norfolk is one with a coat that is rather soft and profuse, it may make sense to have him shaved or scissored in order to keep him neat and tidy. If, on the other hand, you feel brave enough to hand strip your dog's coat ... have no fear. Even if you make an occasional hole in the coat ... or if your first efforts are not exactly perfect ... hair does grow again and your mistakes will be covered up in no time!
ANTIC, September, 2004
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