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Afghan Hound

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Primarily a coursing hound, this aristocratic breed is an exercise in grooming patience and dedication. Laughingly, one experienced exhibitor explained to me that the coats tend to come in 3 types, way too much, just right and not enough! He also stated that there are 10:1 odds that you will have at least one of each.

Again there is the question of how much does one do to present a breed such as an Afghan and there are those countries who traditionally do less or more. Personally, I like to do as much as is allowed. This is one heck of a glamorous breed with a great air of arrogance required. I tend to think if he was human he would wear Armani.

As your Afghan coat must be allowed to develop naturally, apart from a light hand stripping on the saddle and perhaps the odd light twitch with the scissor around a stray hair or two on the feet, this breed does not advocate any artificial shaping such as clipping or trimming. However, when young, most have “monkey” whiskers. It’s not desirable to clip these but rather to hand pluck if you can persuade your independently minded Afghan to allow you to do so. Once plucked, they usually don’t return. So, savour those “spider monkey” days as they don’t stay there forever.

The hardest coats to maintain as puppies will be your Blacks or Black & Tans. They can appear dehydrated before the golds and creams so may need extra assistance such as an application of Plush Puppy OMG Concentrate is a revolutionary grooming spray that lives up to it’s name. A light spray of OMG and brushing in allows this product to refresh the coat leaving it feeling wonderful. Using at an approximate mixture of 1 part OMG to 20 parts water as available in the OMG ready to use or using this break down form the OMG concentrate. The stronger the mix the stronger there effects. Using OMG can be a one off at shows or during the drying process after bathing. An amazing product for regular brushing also. OMG never builds up, never gos stringy. A product that took years to develop using the latest of technology for maximum effects. A true necessity for the tool kit. You can add Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 cup water to flatten the coat, when blow drying. Also add 1 to 2 tspns of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil into the final rinse mix for a show bath.

Presenting some challenges to exhibitors are the old fashioned Black Masked Golds and sometimes the Blues when out of coat. They benefit from bathing in Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at a ratio of 3:1 (3 parts water to one part shampoo) and an application prior to blow drying of Plush Puppy Volumising Cream at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 cup water. Use the whole of the mix. You can adjust this stronger or more diluted according to need. For easier use try Plush Puppy Volumising Spray; it is a ‘Ready To Use’ for quicker, easier and fuller coat results. Perfect either before blow drying or used to ‘fluff’ up the coat at the show. A light even spray, brush in until dry or use a dryer. Produced for easy use and scientifically balanced for all coat types. This is a hair thickener to add volume - not a hair stiffener and not easily detectable as it leaves the coat with a natural fuller look and feel.

However, most times the Afghan can be bathed with Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose at a dilution rate of 5:1. For extra shine use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo at 5:1and to minimise rusty tones on a black coated Afghan use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at a dilution ratio of 5:1. This shampoo will not lighten or bleach but adds a tonal effect to the finish, deepening and reducing the unwanted overtones.

Plush Puppy Let’s Face It; is what the dog showing world has needed for way too long. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products that with the latest of technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, sooth, adds moisture, aids healing and anti inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amount directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. It’s low foaming design allows easy of rinsing yet complete cleaning.

As Afghans have such a lot of products usually used on their coats, it does behove the outcomes if every “pancake” day one uses a clarifying shampoo such as Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo at a dilution ratio of 5:1 to remove all unwanted buildup on the hair. This will help bring the coat back to virgin status and allow you to start with a new playing field.

The quest with this coat is that each hair should flow without clumping or gathering. Each hair should appear light and individual without being stringy. It should never look oily or heavy. It must never look “pasted” down. The coat must bounce and lilt. You want it to swirl, swing and float with the dog’s movement and then fall exactly into place as did Ginger Roger’s skirt when she danced with Fred Astaire. We all know she had lead weights in the hem of her skirt but a light application on show day of Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm smoothed through from the mid lengths to the ends with an extra amount clumped onto the very tips of the coat will allow this illusion to be a reality.

To achieve the holy grail of Afghan coats, the final rinse for a show bath is the ultimate secret. There are those who have their own wonderful ways of doing things and this is mine garnered from many brilliantly successful people and able to be shared with you. Do not condition the saddle ever as it dulls the coat and gives rise to scurf. You can add conditioner such as Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner lightly to the ears & top knot and rinse well. For the body of the coat you add after shampooing, one cup of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner plus 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to 1 gal/4lt water and either sponge through thoroughly or use in a hydrobath. DO NOT RINSE OUT - LEAVE IN. You can adjust the proportions slightly as some coats will vary in texture. However, this is a starting base and appears to suit the majority.

If I can share one great maxim with you for the Afghan - it is to MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE. Having worked out what worked, you will want to be able to recreate it again. Measuring allows you do it each time or be able to adjust slightly from time to time.

The reason we do all the application of products at final rinse stage and do not rinse it out is because it is easier to disperse through such a lot of coat, the products evenly, rather than spraying as we dry and if one does a 2 step or 3 step routine such as conditioner, rinse, apply product for drying etc, then you can never gauge just how much conditioner to rinse out or how much as been left in. Consequently, there is an uneven amount left throughout the coat. The recommended method I have given is simple, quick and accurate in it’s even dispersion.

For maintenance bath, use 1 - 2 cups of the Conditioner and 2 tbspns of the Oil as a final rinse. Leave in to prevent matting. You can use the new Plush Puppy Coat Rescue at this point using 1 tbspn to the mix. You should wrap the ears using the Plush Puppy Reviva Coat and a plastic bag and then a band or Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil and wrap. As Afghans like to dunk their ears into water bowls, an old hand trick is to have a loose collar with two elastic bands attached at the rear of the collar and once the ears are wrapped, attach the ends of the wraps to the collar elastics. Voila, no more chewed ear wraps or wet yucky ears.

When drying for show day, use a Plush Puppy Ultimate long Pin Brush. I avoid slickers like the plague with any long coated breed. They are an Afghan’s worst friend. Never brush a dirty coat nor knots out of a dry coat at all - if it’s dirty or it’s knotted - bath it! Always blow dry with your Pin Brush till 7/8 dry at least then switch to an oval cushioned Plush Puppy Anti Static Brush. This is at least ½ plastic and ½ bristle to allow you to get that smooth finish. Great product to minimise matting, tangling and static is Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray. Buy preferably the Concentrate for such a large dog as it is more economical in the long run. You can also dilute more accurately. Dilute at least 30:1 depending on your dogs coat. You can dilute up to 40:1. No greasy residue or buildup. Just perfect - this is a winner! The Ready To Use is approx a 25:1 strength.
For puppies, brush legs up and body coat down. For adults everything gets directed down.

There is a trend amongst some handlers to do a quiff shape on the top knot and to hold this raised up with one hand tilting it up when posing the dog. All things are personal choices.

Now it’s just the final titivating touches such as smelling good with Plush Puppy Odour Muncher, a light and judicial dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust for subtle shimmer on the mid lengths and perhaps the saddle, and for some who are a little too aloof in the ring, at least an early morning dose of Plush Puppy Apprehension Drops. Can be used the night before as well.

Your Afghan is the King of Dogs - the rest of the world according to an Afghan is insignificant and no grovelling, eager fools need apply. To watch this dog’s signature movement around the ring with a smooth springy lift with coat lilting and swinging and his elegantly curved tail raised for the action, it is no wonder we mere mortals collectively gasp in envy. This is a true blue blood of the dog world.

CHERYL LECOURT

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