Coat Care for your Drent
As a long standing and current representative of the Drentsche Patrijshond Club of North America and a Preservationist Breeder of the Drent I field a good number of questions on a very regular basis. One of the questions that I’ve get hit with several times every year 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 ear and/or body hair to keep it from getting to long. Also, since I have you how much effort do you put towards grooming/combing to help with seasonal shedding?”
So what I’ve done here is to try and capture what a person really needs to know about Drent coat care: body & ears:
Drent hair, tends to be pretty fine, but surprisingly dense, so regular combing and brushing almost totally eliminates the need to bathe your Drent. Even if they get really dirty or a little bit muddy, just put them in their kennel to dry. Once dried, take them out and brush (outdoors preferably). This works great unless the mud is super goopy, and your Drent ends up with dreadlock-like looking mud mats in their fur. Then you will want to get after that with a hose or some other running water with some pressure behind it before it all dries hard. Otherwise a nice comb and a pin brush are what is needed most of the time to keep your Drent looking smart!
Drents do not have a true undercoat, unlike breeds like Labs, Golden Retrievers, huskies, etc. But they do have a decent amount of hair, and they do pretty good in cold in environments, in particular if they have been given a chance to acclimatize (they will grow a denser coat). The Drent may not as good as a Lab in icy cold water, as they do not have the sebaceous oiliness common to the retriever breeds, but way better than a GSP, or English Pointer, based on my experience. I've managed to hunt over both breeds with my Drents. Working in heat is very much up to the individual dog and how well they have been acclimated to the heat…
Like most breeds, Drents tend to 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. At the height of a Drents shed, we recommend using an undercoat rake with a set of double-row pins. I have pictured a rake with a single row, which is fine, but the double is...well twice as good. Start with the undercoat rake to loosen and get the bulk of the hair which is ready to come out. Start cleaning your Drent up with your combs, working from coarse to fine. Then when you are about to wrap the grooming session up break out your pin brush, the dog will love, they feel amazing, and it’ll do a nice job of sweeping up much of the stragglers. At this point you may see some dander, and so enters the Boar brush. The boar bristles will clean all that up and help to distribute the natural oils, making the coat nice and shiny. If the bristles whiten, take the brush outdoors and pat/rub the bristles on a stone or brick – that is all dander you don’t want in your house. This is also great for people allergic to dogs, like me. As a side note: humans are not allergic to the hair, hairs, or fur – but we are allergic to a dog’s dander (and saliva - so there really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, it all BS and marketing). 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, and between shedding seasons, you might get to skip for a few weeks. That is if your Drent doesn't carry the brush to you for the extra attention. Normally, we trim nails every Wednesday, and each dog gets a quick brush down. Having four they all line up for their turn - it's a nice trick.
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