Grooming Guide for Your Australian Shepherd

Choose how you want your Aussie to look while maintaining a healthy coat and skin for this floofy breed.

Published May 22, 2023
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Woman cuddling her Australian Shepherd.

Your Australian Shepherd is a fluffy ball of softness. But keeping their coat that way takes work. Grooming your Australian Shepherd regularly will help maintain their health and well-being. Although it requires a little more effort than grooming other dog breeds, it's not necessarily difficult. All you need are the right supplies and you'll be on your way to having a good-looking companion.

Do Australian Shepherds Need to Be Groomed?

Yes, like all dogs, Australian Shepherds, need to be groomed. But it doesn't have to be a massive chore. Here's what you need to know:

How Often?

Aussies are double-coated dogs and need to be brushed at least once per week. They have an undercoat that keeps them warm, as well as an outer coat of longer hairs.

Brush the outer coat weekly: Your Aussie's outer coat needs to be brushed More often to prevent matting.

Brush and strip the undercoat every few weeks: The undercoat only needs attention when it starts to mat. Brush or comb it out as needed during the grooming process, usually twice a month or so.

Brushing your Aussie's fur is an important part of grooming because it helps keep their coat healthy by removing any loose hairs and dirt from their coat that can cause them to develop skin problems. Brushing also helps distribute natural oils throughout his fur, so they stay soft and shiny all year round.

Quick Tip

Aussies blow their coats, usually when the weather changes. Expect to groom your dog more frequently during shedding seasons.

Person brushing Australian Shepherd

How to Groom Australian Shepherds

Brushing your dog's coat is important for maintaining a healthy, shiny coat. Your Aussie should be brushed at least once per week to remove dead hair and prevent matting. Pick a slicker brush and a long-tooth undercoat rake to brush your dog.

Brushing Steps

Addressing your Aussie's coat with consistent brushing is a very good idea. Just remember to be gentle and work those tangles out slowly.

  1. Using the slicker brush, brush in the direction of your dog's coat.
  2. Gently use the undercoat rake to remove tangles and distribute oils through the skin.
  3. If you find tangles, gently remove them with the rake. If the tangles are too much, use the slicker brush to help remove them.
  4. If you need to thin out your dog's coat, use thinning shears rather than regular shears once your dog's fur has been brushed out thoroughly.

Quick Tip

When you're grooming your dog, it's important to check for lumps, bumps, and parasites.

Trimming and Cutting Styles

There are several grooming styles for you to choose from:

Australian Shepherd Summer Cut

Australian Shepherd in summer cut.

The summer cut helps your pup remain cooler during the hot months. This cut still allows your dog to keep their good looks while thinning their fur. To get started, you will need a pair of thinning shears.

  1. Begin working on the back of your dog, starting at the base of the tail. Hold the thinning shears at a 45-degree angle and make small cuts through the hair, working your way up towards the shoulders.
  2. After you have thinned out the hair on the back, move on to other areas of your dog's body that may need thinning, such as the legs, ears, and neck. Use the same technique of holding the shears at a 45-degree angle and making small cuts.
  3. Once you have finished the rest of the body, brush your dog's fur. You should notice a thinner coat ready for the warmer weather.

Australian Shepherd Lion Cut

Australian Shepherd in lion cut.

The lion cut leaves the fur around the neck and head long. There are tufts of fur left around the tail and paws. The remainder of the coat is trimmed, following the same steps as the summer cut. Your dog will definitely resemble a lion with a puffy mane. This cut isn't as common as the others, but it's a good option if you're looking for a unique look for your Aussie.

Australian Shepherd Teddy Bear Cut

Australian Shepherd in teddy bear cut.

The teddy cut keeps your Aussie's fur long, but provides a rounder shape. To get this cut right, you may need to use a snap-on comb. Then, trim the body, belly, sides, and the back of the head. If necessary, trim their paws and use curved shears to make the back of their rear legs look natural. Or, you can leave their backside puffy and simply clean up their face and ears to provide the teddy bear look.

Taking Care of Teeth and Nails

Taking care of your dog's teeth and nails is an important part of the grooming process. If you don't take care of your dog's teeth, they can get cavities, which can lead to infections and tooth loss. Keeping your dog's nails trimmed helps keep their feet healthy and avoids injury. You should take great care in both areas to ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy.

Brush your dog's teeth at least two times per week, or more often if needed. Brushing removes plaque from the surface of the teeth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease from forming. Brush your dog's teeth at least 2-3 times a week, or more often if your veterinarian recommends it.

Nails need to be trimmed regularly, especially if your dog is running around outside a lot. Nails can get long enough that they curl under the toe pad, which causes pain and makes walking uncomfortable for the dog. Keep an eye on your dog's nails and trim as-needed.

Brushing Australian Shepherd puppy's teeth

Aussie Grooming Product Recommendations

The following are product recommendations that could help you groom your Aussie:

  • Deshedding tool: Long-haired dog owners should also invest in a deshedding tool, like the Furminator, so you don't have to worry about pulling out too much hair at once.
  • High-quality dog brush: You don't want a brush that will damage your dog's fur. Investing in a high-quality brush, such as the Hertz Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, will save you money over time.

  • Nail clippers: Choose nail clippers, such as the Coastal Pet Safari Professional Dog Nail Trimmer, you're comfortable with.

  • Natural shampoo: Choose a natural shampoo, such as EarthBath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo, to maintain your dog's coat.

  • Thinning Shears: Good thinning shears, such as the Master Grooming Tools 5200 Series, will provide your dog with a more natural look. Search for products with approximately 42 to 46 teeth.

  • Specialized dog toothbrush and toothpaste: Get a kit for this. You should never use human toothbrushes or toothpaste on your dog's teeth.

Grooming Tips and Tricks

Check out these grooming tips and tricks to help maintain your dog's skin, coat, and nails:

  • NEVER shave your Aussie. Shaving will lead to skin and coat problems down the road, and their coat may never grow back the same. It will not reduce the time spent grooming, either.

  • The goal is to brush all of your Aussie's fur without irritating their skin. If your tools are irritating their skin, it's time to look for new ones.

  • Remove mats as soon as possible to protect your dog's skin health.

Maintaining Your Dog's Health

Grooming an Australian Shepherd requires some patience and time, but at the end of the day, your efforts will be rewarded with a healthy coat. Grooming your dog is also a great way to bond with them and strengthen your relationship. It can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity for both you and your dog.

Grooming Guide for Your Australian Shepherd