As the Drentsche Patrijshond Club of North America and kennel owner I field a good number of questions. One of the questions that I’ve been hit with several times over the years is Drent coat care. In general, most start off more or less the same:
“…I am reading about people saying you need to trim a Drent, and/or cut the hair on the ears to keep it from getting to long. Also how much effort do you put towards grooming/combing to help with shedding?”
So what I’ve done here is capture a typical response to this common question:
Drent hair, tends to be pretty fine, so regular brushing almost totally eliminates the need to bathe your Drent. Even if they get really muddy, just put them in their kennel to dry, one dried, take them out and brush (outdoors preferably). This works great unless the mud is super goopy, then you may want to get after that sooner rather than later with a hose and running water - you'll learn the tipping point.
Drents do not have an undercoat, unlike many other breeds like Labs, Golden Retrievers, huskies, etc. But since they have a decent amount of hair, they do okay in cold in environments. Maybe not as good as a Lab in cold water, but way better than a GSP, or English Pointer. I've hunted my Drents with both. Working in heat is very much up to the individual dog! I know an English pointer or two who are total rubbish in the heat…
Like most breeds, Drents shed twice a year. Managing the seasonal change is generally handled with a comb, followed by a pin brush, finished with a boar bristle brush. Use the comb to loosen and get the bulk of the hair which is ready to come out. Follow by the pin brush, it’ll do a nice job of sweeping up the rest. At this point you are likely to see dander, and so enters the Boar brush. The boar bristles will clean that up, and helps distribute the natural oils, and get the coat nice and shiny. If the bristles whiten, take the brush outdoors and pat/rub the bristles on a stone – that is all dander you don’t want in your house. This is also great for people allergic to dogs, like me. We are not allergic to the hair, hairs, or fur – but we are allergic to a dog’s dander. By reducing the dander on the dog it makes the dog easier and more pleasant to be around.
Usually a brief weekly grooming session handles everything pretty well, between shedding seasons, you might get to skip for a few weeks, if you Drent doesn't carry the brush to you for the attention. Normally, I trim nails every Wednesday, and each dog gets a quick brush down. Having four, you have to imagine it's a pretty quick job to get them “in and out”. During shedding season, I'll also brush them indoors while watching TV.
On trimming a Drent with scissors or shears. The only Drent that should "require" a trim would be one which has been "fixed". They tend to blow out their coat as they age, and it is magnified when they get fixed. If you need to trim your Drent because they are shaggy, with a full curl or more in the coat – please don’t breed your Drent, as it’s coat does not meet standards, the coat is “open”. My older female has been fixed, and she gets quite wooly in the winter, she gets shaved down for your annual trip to Arizona, due to the heat, and how much debris her open coat collects.
As for ear hair, yes, most Drents will develop some goofy looking tufts of fur on their ears, these tufts are also very susceptible to sun-bleaching, which further to alter the “correct” framing of the face, and Drent expression. Typically, these hairs are simply plucked out by moistening your fingertips, and plucking - at first your Drent may not appreciate it much, but they soon get over it. The end result is a "properly framed face". If you have let it get really out of hand, a stripping comb maybe handy, but be careful as you can take too much very quickly, and that look isn’t very sporty either.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some odd years later this is what you get.