I would personally start a new puppy’s main grooming training when they arrived at 8 weeks old.
I find it best to start with a bath on an uncombed coat every week to 10 days.
Bathing guidance can be found lower down the page.
The idea of bathing first at this stage of their development is that the act of combing and brushing during the blow drying process
gets a puppy used to the idea of grooming whilst the coat is clean and soft so there is less chance of snagging and pulling.
Many puppies I have bred or owned over the years have found the feel of a comb on their skin a little stressful at first
as they are not used to the sensation, but as long as you are gentle they will soon get used to it.
Comb and brush both with and against the lay of the coat so as to be thorough.
Obviously its much easier to blow dry a dog with a stand dryer or a hand held dryer attached to a grooming arm but if you just have one dog
and don’t want that expense, then just dry with a regular dryer but stop and groom through each area as you go.
It is helpful to use a soft slicker on a thick coat in areas like the legs to really get from root to tips –
or if in an adult dogs case, the coat is very knotty.
When using a slicker the aim is not to brush the skin as such, rather to gently stroke from roots out and up or away, with gentle pressure,
(no heavy hand behind it) in a short repetitve motion. Its more like a pat/stroke motion.
When used in this way you should not get slicker burn, but be mindful of the skin and check that you are not causing any undue redness.
It may be useful to try the difference between light stroking and heavy brushing on your own skin before starting on the dog!
I know some breeders like to use a good quality bristle brush like Mason Pearson when they groom or dry the coat,
but I have never really used bristle brushes – everything comes down to personal preference and technique!
A pin brush is generally used to blow dry and groom, but always give a final comb through to ensure all mats are removed.
If you are not growing your apsos coat long you do not necessarily need a pin brush as it is most useful on longer coats.
As the coat grows and thickens and you have to groom mid-week to keep up to it, by then the puppy is so used to thorough combing and brushing that he/she thinks nothing of having a groom without a bath!
When grooming mid- baths use a light mist of grooming spray through the coat, I tend not to use silicon type aerosol sprays, as they build up in the
coat, although they can be useful on a heavily knotted dog.
As part of the bathing routine you should try drying your puppy on a little grooming table and as their confidence builds, and hopefully they are relaxed enough in your methods, you can train them to lay on their sides which is the most thorough way to groom/dry the legs, stomach and inside the elbows.

Play Video

Brushing Tools

A wide toothed comb such as a Spratts 69 – Resco 600C – Petceteras Round Wooden Handle Coarse Comb.
There are pictures below of the general comb you should be looking for in case the product numbers have changed over time.
Slicker Brush – I like All Systems Slicker Brushes from Petcetera. A bit more expensive but excellent quality and not too harsh.
Dezynadog’s own brand white slickers are also good and probably better than the more expensive Doggyman Slicker.
I also wouldn’t be without a Les Poochs Red/Medium Brush from Redcape. This is a double sided brush but I only use the side with curved pins.
They are very flexible and comfortable to use for both you and the dog and really grasp and separate the hairs, making quick work of knots & legs.


Ideally the best way to combat knots is regular bathing and thorough grooming whilst you blow dry them.
If growing a show coat I think the best maintenance is a once weekly bath and a mid week groom through.
If I had 1 or 2 lhasas purely as pets I would be bathing them every 2-3 weeks
Also a good practice on a daily basis is to pop the dog on a table and just groom his or her tail and facial furnishings including the ears.
When mats do happen – and they will, my solution is to spray the coat with some kind of grooming spray,
and handling a slicker brush in the manner shown in the photograph below, use quick short, light to medium strength brush strokes avoiding the dogs skin,
to tease out the tangled loose coat.
Keep stopping to comb through in between slickering to remove the dead coat you’ve loosened.
A good tip is to hold the dogs coat at the root with the fingers of your other hand, so that when you brush – you are pulling against yourself
rather than the dog’s skin. Put as little pressure on the dog’s skin as possible to avoid their discomfort.
Imagine if your hair was very knotty and a hairdresser just pulled straight from the roots through the knot with a brush or comb – ouch!
If I wouldn’t like it doing to myself I try my utmost not to do it to a dog!
If the knot is really horrendous – and you will be amazed how with some patience and persistance the above method works on seemingly impossible knots,
then use a tool such as a mikki mat breaker, which can cost around £12-£15. This is a plastic handle with a set of blade combs on the head,
and if you use this through the knot using a twisting motion of your wrist as you do, it will literally slice through the mat.
Take great care as it is also capable of slicing skin if used in a careless manner, and try to use it sparingly, make a couple of passes at the knot
and alternate with the slicker to save as much coat as possible.
Alternatively you can cut through a knot with a small pair of scissors, but don’t cut inwards towards the dog,
slide the underside blade between the knot and the dogs skin pointing directly out, and away cut through the knot, and then slicker as above.
Never cut across a knot as you will cut out a blunt chunk of coat which will leave an ugly result.
Personally I would not cut a knot with scissors or use a matt breaker on a show coat, I would persevere with slicker, comb and spray.


It’s detailed below about trimming the anal and groin areas, but also very important is to check at least once a day when
your apso (or any other hairy breed) has been to the toilet properly, that the stool has come away and not left any klingons as I call them behind!
Based on grooming salon experience a high number of hairy dogs go around growing a nasty collection of bacteria that owners seem blissfully unaware of!
This can be dangerous as they will tend to over strain as they think they still need to go further.
My tip particularly when you take them for a walk, is to take baby wipes with you as well as your poop bags, and always check they’re clean.
If you are not willing to contemplate checking bottoms I really advise you not buy a hairy breed of dog!
If your dog has a very dirty bottom I would suggest you properly bath and dry the hind end,
if you are worried about leaving shampoo in the coat when you are just washing a section of coat, then just sluice with conditioner and water,
it won’t hurt if a bit of conditioner stays in the coat.
Alternatively use a two in one shampoo/conditioner for this job.


There is no doubt that the best results are achieved by having your hands free to groom as the coat is drying.
You don’t have to be too methodical when drying a young pup, the object is to get them dry as quickly as possible but making
sure they are dry right to the roots.
Once the coat grows long enough, I find it helpful to use sectioning clips to dry the coat in layers,
starting with the hind end and working toward the neck and ears, then turn the dog around and dry the other side.
If bathing for a show I would dry the show side first!
I then lay my dogs’ down while I blow dry their legs and tummies, one side then the other and then stand them back up to dry the front and head
and lastly the bottom and tail, that way they are left with absolutely no knots.
My tools for drying are a wide toothed comb, pin brush for a long coat, slicker brush for the legs on any coat length.


If you are not growing your Apso’s coat then you will need to book in at a groomers every 5-7 weeks
depending on how fast/thick your dog’s coat grows.
If you want to try growing the coat then it is still advisable to clip or scissor some of the thickness out of the dog’s tummy hair,
up to the umbilical area, a little of the inner thigh, plus the anal area for hygiene purposes.
You will also need to trim the hair that grows between the dog’s pads, don’t scissor actually in between the pads unless they are matted,
just cut it so you are level and neat. Feel in between the pads to check there are no knots or foreign bodies that will cause discomfort.
Try to use the tips of the scissors rather than the length of the blades and only use small scissors on the feet.
If apso feet are neglected and matts are allowed to develop it will cause the dog pain and in serious cases could distort the pads and splay them
causing further disability to the dog.
I see many apsos that come for grooming with smelly hard mats between their pads that have become almost stonelike in texture and as much as they
may not like the sensation of me cutting it out, the relief on their face when it has been done is palpable!
Below are a couple of clips on trimming the pads.


When I first wrote about grooming on my own website I wrote that I would usually only put them straight in the bath if they were very dirty,
as grooming beforehand would then remove too much coat. I don’t tend to worry about that so much anymore – but I still think a full coated Lhasa
should have had a thorough groom no more than two or three days before to get the best results.
If you don’t groom out the knots beforehand it is essential you rinse the dog as clean as possible and you must be very thorough in your grooming and drying
afterwards otherwise any remaining knots will be twice as bad.
Short or long – I shampoo and rinse twice, (the 2nd time very thoroughly) and follow with conditioner before giving a final good rinse.
When bathing be as careful as possible with soap and rinsing near the eyes.
On a long coat try not to tangle the coat together as you lather, instead, smoothing it down the hair shaft.
A shortie can have a good scrub and massage!
Squeeze the coat out so its not dripping and then towel dry going with the lay of the hair, so as not to encourage it to knot.


If you are not going to a groomer then nails are something you are going to have to tackle.
Even if you do have a groomer I think most apsos benefit from a nail clip inbetween their regular trims –
to prevent the nails getting too long.
Also if a groomer is running short on time or under pressure from a manager when they do your dog
sometimes the nails can be overlooked,so it’s worth checking to make sure it’s been done!
When doing it yourself – If you look at the nails, hopefully some of them will be opaque in colour
and you will be able to see a pink vein running about halfway down.
This is called the quick and it will bleed if cut, so you need to clip the nail a little after the quick ends.
Some or all of your dog’s nails will be black and the quick no longer visible.
If this is the case, then the best course is to trim little and often.
Don’t forget to do the dew claws on the inside of the legs, most breeders will have removed the hind ones,
but check anyway as these are dangerous to the dog when they grow unchecked.
Should you accidentally snip the quick don’t panic. It can bleed quite a lot but it’s not life threatening!
Apply some styptic powder, Bio-Groom makes one, as does Four Paws, Hatchwell’s Trimmex is another.
A small amount held to the nail using slight pressure until it ceases should do the trick.
My own product of choice for this kind of accident is Petkins Liquid Filled Blood Stop Swabs.
They are easy to use, just snap off the end of the cotton bud, allow the liquid to trickle in the other end and apply to the wound.
Styptic powder is equally good but if you are anything like me you may end up throwing most of it over yourself and it can stain!
I prefer guillotine nail clippers to the pliers type, but that is just a personal preference.
Underneath the photographs are a couple of video clips of nail cutting.


Apso’s grow hair right inside the ear canal and if this is not regularly checked and removed,
then your dog could end up with an ear infection.
About once a month look inside the ears and gently tweeze out any excess hair,
using tweezers/blunt nose medical forceps or fingers if you prefer.
Pull only a few hairs at a time and get as close to the roots as possible, wiggling the hair as you pull, will help loosen it.
To aid this process you could put a little ear powder into the ear, which will help you grip the hairs. Thornit is a popular brand.
If the ear seems waxy put a few drops of ear cleaner in and gently massage the base of the ears to distribute it,
wipe away any discharge with cotton wool or buds, but don’t poke down the canal, as the ear drum is closer to the surface than you think.
Should the dog’s ears feel hot to the touch, be very itchy or smelly, the skin thickened or inflamed then this is evidence of an infection
and your vet should be consulted.
As with the nails – sometimes a busy groomer will cut corners here, so keep your own check on it.
The pictures below show tweezers and forceps and beneath those you can watch a video of Madison having her ear plucked.
Forceps are available from suppliers such as Dezynadog or Groomers


Apso eyes do tend to protrude a little and many will have some discharge from the eye corners.
This is not a problem unless it is greeny or yellow in colour or the white of the eye looks red or inflamed.
These are both signs of infection and will need your vets advice, normal discharge can be just gently wiped away with damp cotton wool.
I use cooled, boiled water from the kettle for this.
Keep the coat tied back or clipped away from the eyes at all times.
Lhasa’s are prone to red staining around the eye caused by tear flow and due to the positioning of the eyes in the dog’s skull.
The staining is not usually a problem although it can be unsightly when showing a dog.
A little cornflour can be applied to the coat, left to dry and then combed out.
This will help improve the appearance of the stains if done regularly.
Colloidal silver is gentle for wiping the eye area and some research suggests it combats the bacteria that causes the staining.
If you are worried that the tearing is excessive then you may wish a vet to check that there is no underlying problem,
but generally if the eye is not sore and the skin where the staining occurs does not seem irritated then I wouldn’t worry.


As with most small breeds, tartar will form from quite a young age.
Although you needn’t worry too much about the baby teeth as they’re not permanent, it is the time to introduce regular checks.
Your puppy should have lost all their baby teeth by about nine months old. If they haven’t,
or aren’t looking like they may come out at any time, then a vet may have to remove them so they don’t
hinder the normal placement of the adult teeth or lead to gum disease/decay.
If you have the patience to train your dog then regular teeth brushing sessions are great or try Logic Oral Gel,
available from Hyperdrug this is just popped in the mouth, with no brushing required. They also sell veterinary quality wormers at better prices.
A company called Lintbells manufactures a tooth polishing solution and microfibre cleaners that you slip on your thumb,
this combination is very easy to use.
I have used this and a dental spray on the dogs called Petzlife Oral Care Spray,
This can be used 1-2 times a day, depending on the degree of tartar, just sprayed on either side of the gums.
It also comes in gel formulation if you prefer.
Giving the dog good quality chews designed to clean the teeth will help too, although it is not suitable for dogs in full coat,
as they’ll just chew the hair off with it unless they are closely scrutinised or protected by a snood!
Many people have found the homeopathic remedy Fragaria 6C or 3C useful in reducing tartar build up.
One tablet popped on the tongue, once a day for a month and then once weekly, (for dogs 2+ yrs)
This does seem to make the tartar easier to remove.
As with all homeopathics avoid touching the tablet with your fingers.
It may be more effective if you don’t give the dog food or drink for a 15 min period before or after.
The main thing is to be aware that dogs are prone to gum disease too, but if you are going for annual vet checks then your
vet should be able to advise you if a problem is developing.