I’ve been really happy with the coat quality of our livestock guardian dog, Bronte. Maremmas are long-coated dogs that do develop some mats in their winter coat. But Bronte’s coat shed nicely in the summer, and almost all of the mats fell off on their own. She had a few along her backline and behind her ears, so I trimmed them during the summer, just to keep her tidy.
If you’ve ever groomed a lot of different long-coated breeds, you know that some breeds mat way down to the skin. It’s really hard to cut those kind of mats off, because there is little room for the scissors to go between the mat and the skin; and you have to snip just a few hairs at a time to be sure you don’t cut the skin. And, if you don’t do the trimming between the mat and the skin, and rather just hack through the middle of the mat, you’ll leave matted fur behind, which will just promote more matting.
Bronte’s mats were “nice” mats though- there was a good inch of long, untangled hair in between the mat and the skin, so it’s easy and safe to get the scissors in there and whack a whole mat off at once. I prefer to use small, sharp sewing scissors; but of course, you have to be careful with them. They will easily saw through a very deep layer of skin, which feels, when cutting, a lot like cutting a mat!
In the end, Bronte had a not-too-stylish, chopped look along her backline; but I don’t care, she’s no show dog. It filled in soon enough. I’m so grateful that she is able to look reasonably clean and tidy with so little grooming from me- I can’t imagine trying to brush her out, or bathe her! That’s too much work!
Now she’s growing in her winter coat and getting all wooly again! She is very weather-proof, and can be seen playing silly games on her own in the pouring rain, as happy as a clam.