Around his first birthday, my dog endured his first Los Angeles summer. It was hot. Surface-of-the-sun hot. Riggins is a German Shorthair Pointer–Samoyed mix, which means he has luscious, thick locks. His Samoyed undercoat, inherited from his dad, is never ending. His mom’s Pointer contribution is an almost entirely black coat with fur that lies down flat. Many people mistake him for a Lab mix.
To help Riggins get through the horrific heat, and for me to get through a shedding season with light carpet, I took him to the groomers for a shave. The groomer was “horrified” by my request. “You don’t shave this kind of dog,” he smugly informed me.” I let him know that Riggins wasn’t a show dog or anything. He doesn’t have to look good. I just wanted him to be happy. With that, I handed over my pup and told the know-it-all groomer to do his best.
When I picked up Riggins, he was annoyed but clean. The only part of him that was shaved, though, was the little white tip of his tail. What kind of monster would do that? Needless to say, we never saw that groomer again. In fact, that groomer ruled my thinking for the next nine years of Riggins’ life. Riggins and I would look longingly at pups in the park with their cute summer cuts, jumping and frolicking around with no cares in the world, a literal weight lifted from their shoulders.
As a dog sitter, many of my fluff-ball dogs get a summer cut. When I first see them, I usually squeal with delight. It makes Riggins jealous. Heck, it makes me jealous! I have to control myself from calling my hair lady to have her whack a few inches off my own head of hair.
One day, Huxley walked in – shaved! Huxley is a Lab mix, and his coat looks a lot like Riggins’. Immediately, I texted his mom to ask where she had it done. After making an appointment, and assuring the woman on the phone that I was fine if Riggins didn’t look “great” when shaved, he was set and FINALLY going to get his first summer cut.
Riggins was hesitant walking into the groomers but, as usual, happy to say hello to the new humans paying him attention. The manly groomer easily lifted Riggins up onto the table and started shaving his butt while I settled the bill. “He looks pretty good!” was the last thing I heard before I snuck out with the hope that Riggins wouldn’t notice I had abandoned him.
When I picked him up later in the day, I almost swooned. He was so handsome and happily strutted to me as if on a catwalk showing off the latest fashions. I bought him some celebratory dried fish skins on the way out, and we headed home to show all of his friends!
So far, Riggins’ summer cut has been a smashing success. Groomers, dog pros, and other people in the know will tell you that with many dogs, their coat actually helps when it’s hot outside. The extra insulation helps keep them cooler. This may be true, but Riggins is extremely active, even at the senior age of 10. He hikes with me and our ever-changing dog pack almost daily, and although our house has central air, you won’t catch me in long jeans, so it seems only fair to give him a time-out from his heavy fur coat.
As a dog sitter, and now an owner of a short-cut pup, here are the many things I like about the summer cut:
1. It helps many dogs stay cooler
One of my good friend’s dogs, Morgan, is a Standard Poodle. During early summer hikes or trips to the park, he drags behind, which is unusual for such an active pup. After his summer cut, he prances around in circles. Honestly – PRANCES. There is no mistaking that he’s pretty proud of his spectacular buzzed appearance. One summer, Morgan was buzzed beyond recognition. Morgan’s dad was horrified, his human sisters were horrified, and I was horrified. Not Morgan’s mom! “Look at how happy he is!” She had a point.
2. A summer cut makes it easier to find and remove ticks, sticks, and thorns
I have a regular daycare baby, Asscher, who is the most gorgeous Golden Retriever you have ever seen. She is also a tick magnet. I tell her that she is obviously delicious because they can’t keep their grubby blood-sucking mouths off her. Each hike, it takes time to dig through Asscher’s amazing blonde fur to find any unwanted hitchhikers. Her parents and I have missed more than one. Her summer haircut makes spotting and removing the creatures easier!
3. They are cute as buttons with a summer haircut
Summer cuts are cute. You can’t deny it. One of my clients, Dot, transforms into a new dog with her haircut. She is adorable with long fur, but absolutely show-stopping with it cut. It works well for Dot, too, since she wants you to pet her, and anything to make herself more alluring to humans is a-okay in her book.
4. A summer cut makes post-hike cleanup easier
Dexter, a Cocker Spaniel, has a knack for getting his tummy and paws muddy even if there is no mud! He is very talented that way. When he is shaved, my cleanup time is cut in half!
5. I can see their eyes!
One of the smallest dogs in my crew is Chloe. She is a mixed breed so hip and cool that her hair hangs down over her eyes, making taking a great picture of her almost impossible. During the summer, when her hair is short? No problem at all. That cute little face is uncovered and ready for a close up!
Does your dog get a summer cut? Share a picture with us in the comments.
Read more about grooming on Dogster:
- Grooming Your Dog From Puppy To Senior
- Grooming Supplies For New Dog Owners
- Tips From a Groomer: How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails at Home
About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.