Japanese Spitz Grooming – Ultimate Guide

How to groom Japanese Spitz

Compared to many dog breeds, the grooming requirements of a Japanese Spitz are relatively modest. The main task that you will want to get good at is brushing.

Japanese Spitz grooming tasks include:-

  • Regular brushing
  • Bathing
  • Remove knots (commonly form behind the ears)
  • Sanitary clip
  • Under paw clip
  • Scissor tidy – feet, feathers, and ears
  • Nail clipping
  • Anal gland expression (best done by a Vet or groomer)
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Ear cleaning
  • Eye cleaning

Japanese Spitz shedding

Do Japanese Spitz shed a lot? Despite their long fluffy coat, the Japanese Spitz is a moderate, rather than heavy shedder. They do drop or shed coat once or twice a year depending upon the climate and lasts for around a week or so. During this period they will need to be brushed most days.

During this shedding period they are said to have a “blown coat”. The heavy moulting time usually occurs in Autumn and Fall (Spring). During the rest of the year they will still require brushing weekly to prevent knots and tangles and to keep the coat healthy.

Best brush for Japanese Spitz

Finding the right brush for grooming your Japanese Spitz can be confusing if you don’t have dog grooming knowledge.

Having the right tools for any job will make it easier and you can do a much better job. Just as a carpenter will not just use a hammer, having a selection of brushes with different functions will be much more effective.

For brushing and deshedding your Japanese Spitz I recommend using a good quality slicker brush, a steel comb, and some type of deshedding tool. These are some suggestions for the best brush to use for grooming a Japanese Spitz.

Slicker Brush for Japanese Spitz

The slicker brush is a pin brush which is used mainly as a dressing brush. This puts a shine on the coat and works well to loosen tangles and break the coat up to allow the other tools to finish the job.

It is well worth spending a few extra dollars on a good quality slick brush. Not only will it last longer as the pins or bristles on these type of brushes wear down and fall out over time. A better quality brush will have better quality pins and will be more effective.

You will also find that when brushing your Japanese Spitz the pins on a slicker brush will fill up with fur. You can use your comb to remove the accumulated fur. An easier option is to use a self-cleaning slicker brush. With these, you push a button and the fur is lifted out from between the pins.

My top pick for a Japanese Spitz is the Pro Quality Self Cleaning Slicker Brush available here from Amazon.

Steel Comb for Japanese Spitz

A good comb is an essential tool for anyone who grooms a dog. Once you have gone over the area with the slicker brush first, ran the comb through to remove any tangles.

My personal choice is a 50/50 Comb which has two different width teeth. View 50/50 Steel Comb on here on Amazon.

Run the comb thought your dog’s coat first with the wider teeth and then again with the finer teeth. If you can’t run the finer teeth of the comb through the coat without resistance the coat is not fully brushed out. Repeat the process until you can.

There are other types of steel comb available including some with a handle that some people find more comfortable to hold.

9 Tooth Dematting Comb


The 9 tooth de-matting comb is used to splice matts and tangles in the coat. There are various de-matting tools available but this is my preferred tool. It works well for removing knots and tangles and also works well to remove bulk undercoat.

The trick is not to rip the matt out with this tool but to roll your wrist when you meet resistance and gently splice through the knot.

View the 9 tooth dematting comb on Amazon.

Best deshedding tool for Japanese Spitz

There is quite a range of different types of deshedding tools and brushes for double-coated dogs. Not all are necessarily suitable or work that well for a Japanese Spitz. These are my recommendations for deshedding a Japanese Spitz.

Top Pick: Mars Coat King Undercoat Rake

Best Budget Buy: Long Tooth Undercoat Rake

Long Tooth Undercoat Rake

An undercoat rake works very well removing undercoat and tangles and is gentle and comfortable for the dog. They are also very inexpensive making them the best budget choice for deshedding tools.

View Long Tooth Undercoat Rake on Amazon

Mars Coat King

The Mars Coat King is my number one pick for removing undercoat and dead coat from your Japanese Spitz. Works really well even on very thick and bulky areas. It leaves a nice shine and finish on the coat as well.

View Mars Coat King undercoat Rake on Amazon

Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool

I have included the Furminator as it is the most popular and best known of the deshedding tools for dogs. The Furminator is a grooming tool you either like or don’t like. From my personal experience, it is not as effective as the Mars Coat King. I have also found the blades can cut the guard coat and doesn’t leave such a nice finish and shine.

How to brush a Japanese Spitz

  1. Using your slicker brush, brush your Japanese Spitz all over in the direction of the lay of the coat. If you come across any thick areas of undercoat or tangles you can brush in the opposite direction.
  2. If you come across any tangles or thick areas you can use your dematting tool to gently remove rolling your wrist when you feel resistance. The most common area for this will be the fluffy pants area.
  3. When the coat feels brushed out, run your steel comb thru to ensure you haven’t missed any tangles or small knots.
  4. Finally, use your selected deshedding tool to remove any remaining undercoat.
  5. Important note: Take great care when brushing your Japanese Spit’s tail. Many Japanese Spitz have a curl at the end of their tails. It is easy to accidentally catch the skin with a brush and a comb. Use your thumb to protect the tail where you are brushing.

Another technique is to do what is called line combing. This is where your select a small area of the coat to start. Use your comb to remove undercoat until the comb is able to slide though the top coat easily. Using your free hand, push that area of coat up and begin on the next section. Repeat this process until the whole dog has been thoroughly combed out.

This video demonstrates how to brush your Japanese Spitz. It also shows how to scissor the paws. I recommend using curved grooming shears for the feet as it gives a nicer rounder looking foot.

For more information on brushing a dog see here.

How often should you brush a Japanese Spitz

During the period when your Japanese Spitz is doing a heavy moult you will need to brush daily if possible. This heavy moult period usually lasts about one week. During other times when they are not dropping too much coat, brushing once a week should suffice.

How to bathe a Japanese Spitz

This is the recommended process for how you wash a Japanese Spitz.

Step 1:

Brush your Japanese Spitz before the bath to remove any tangles and as much undercoat as possible. Matted fur and thick undercoat hold water which will tighten the knot when it drys.

Step 2

Start by thoroughly soaking your dog’s coat being careful not to get water in the ears. It is a good idea to put cotton balls in the ears before you start to avoid this.

Step 3

To wet your dog’s head use your thumb to flatten down the ear and from back to front wet that side of the head. Repeat on the other side. Gently hold your dog’s head down by the muzzle and wet face. Now raise the head up and wet under the chin being careful not to get water in the nose.

Step 4

Use tearless baby shampoo to thoroughly wash your Japanese Spitz’s face and beard. Then apply the other regular dog shampoo down the dog back and work into a lather using your fingers or a rubber dog bathing brush such as The Zoom Groom.

Step 5

Many shampoos are quite concentrated so you can premix with water which will help the shampoo lather and will rinse better. Work in the direction the coat lays or the coat will be trained to stand up. Never use human shampoo on your dog as human hair has a different pH level and it will dry and irritate your dog’s skin. Human shampoos may also contain chemicals that may cause skin irritation.

Step 6

Then rinse your dog using the same process you use to wet them. I always do two lots of shampoo as it gets the dog much cleaner and the clean smell lasts longer, so with the first rinse, you don’t have to rinse as thoroughly as you will with the final rinse.

You can also use a conditioner if your chose. This will make brushing easier and leave a nice finish on the coat.

Step 7

Once you have done the two shampoos and thoroughly rinsed all the shampoo out of the coat scoop excess water off your dog with your hand. If you don’t want your dog to shake while in the bath put a towel over them and pat to dry.

Step 8

Then dry as best as you can by rubbing with a towel working in the direction of the coat as much as possible. You can even leave them wrapped in a towel for a while to absorb as much water as possible. Don’t forget to remove the cotton balls from their ears.

Step 9

Blow-dry your Japanese Spitz. You can use a hand-held dryer for human but this can take a long time.

The best solution is to use a dog blow dryer. Commercial dog blow dryers like those used in grooming salons are very expensive, however, there are available smaller dog dryers available at very reasonable prices.

I would recommend something such as these low-cost dryers which come with two airspeed settings and three heat levels (no heat, medium and high) and several easy to attachments to increase airflow.

If you use a blow dryer as suggested above, it is possible to not brush your Japanese Spitz first. The power of the blow dryer can be used to blast the undercoat out saving a lot of time brushing. However, this can get quite messy.

You can brush using a slicker brush while you blow dry as this will remove a lot of the undercoat saving on drying time. Once your Japanese Spitz is fully dry, thoroughly comb the coat through to remove any remaining undercoat.

Do Japanese Spitz smell

One of the real advantages of the Japanese Spitz is that they do not have that doggy odor that many breeds do. There coat generally repels dirt and doesn’t trap odor.

How often should you bathe a Japanese Spitz

As the Japanese Spitz is a breed that doesn’t smell doggy they don’t require bathing too often. Once every two months is more than sufficient, at the most monthly.

It is important not to over bathe a Japanese Spitz as this can remove the natural oils from their coat and dry their skin. This can lead to skin irritations and scratching.

Best dog shampoo for Japanese Spitz

There are countless shampoos available and selecting the best shampoo can be confusing. You need to take into account any special needs your Japanese Spitz has. Do they have sensitive skin? Or are they prone to yeast infections or hotspots?

The obvious choice if your Japanese Spitz doesn’t have any skin issues is to use a whitening shampoo. These are our top picks.

Best shampoo for sensitive skin

Paws & Pals 5-in-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Oatmeal is one of the best ingredients for sensitive skin. It has all-natural ingredients and is soapless so it won’t inflame or irritate dogs’ eyes. It is an excellent all-purpose shampoo being a 5 in 1. This shampoo aside from cleaning conditions, detangles, moisturizes, is anti-itch and controls odor.

Best antifungal and antibacterial shampoo

Nootie Medicated Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

This shampoo is very concentrated and when you apply it forms a really thick and rich lather. It also works really well in treating yeast infections and cooling and soothing your dog’s skin It will also always leave your Japanese Spitz smell really clean and fresh and leaves their coat beautiful and shiny.

Best whitening shampoo

Veterinary Formula Solutions Snow White Shampoo 

Snow White Shampoo is specially formulated for dogs with white coats. Patented optical brighteners safely eliminate the appearance of yellowing and stains while bringing out your pet’s natural bright white coat.

It is pH balanced for sensitive skin and has a long-lasting citrus fragrance. This shampoo is also safe containing no bleach or peroxide that might irritate your Japanese Spitz’s skin. With gentle Vitamin E and green tea extract, your dog’s coat will be free from stains and back to its natural bright white color.

How to remove knots and matts

Your Japanese Spitz may have some knots in certain places. These are usually behind the ears or in their pant area.

There are several simple techniques to remove any knots and matts in your dog’s coat depending on how big the matt is and how tight and close to the skin it is.

Use you slicker brush to locate the knot and gently brush to loosen. Use your de-matting tool or finger to pick the knot apart and finally use you steel comb to remove any tangle remaining.

If it is a tight matt and close to the skin use scissors to cut the top of the matt off. Then pick apart with your fingers or de-matting tool and then your steel comb.

Never try to cut under the matt as it is highly likely you will cut your dog. You can also use the point of your scissors to slice through the middle of the knot and then once it is broken up use your de-matting tool and steel comb to finish it off. Always splice away from your dog to avoid injury to them or you.

I use thinning scissors also to break a matt down which doesn’t leave scissor marks and you can’t see where the knot was removed.

Some areas may be better to clip the knot such as under the armpit as the skin is very thin and can tear easy.

How to do a sanitary clip

Standing behind your dog lift up their tail. With a #10 blade clip upwards carefully skimming away any fur without touching the blade to the skin or rectum. With breed like the Japanese Spitz that has “pants”, you can clip a channel by clipping down and then clip up around the rectum as above.

To clip the groin area there are a number of ways you can position the dog.

  1. Lift up the back leg and then clipping forward, skim away any hair in the area again not touching the blade directly on the skin.
  2. With a small dog like a Japanese Spitz, you can hold the dog up gently by the front legs so they are standing up on their rear legs
  3. Or you can do while your dog is laying on their back.

With a male dog, you can skim around the tip of the penis and slightly in front of the area if they tend to pee here. With a female dog, you can lightly skim around the vulva.

Ensure when you are doing a sanitary clip that your blade is not getting warm. You can use scissors to clean around the rectum but very careful.

Nail clipping and filing

Unless your dog is regularly walking on concrete their nails will need regular trimming. Filing your dog’s nails will remove the sharp edge preventing them scratching you.

If you hear your dog’s nails tapping on the floor when he/she walks then it’s definitely time to grab the clippers and trim those nails. When a dog’s nails tap on hard surfaces, it pushes their nails back up into their nail beds, which can be extremely painful.

Not only can it put pressure on the toe joints, but it could also force the toe to twist to the side, resulting in soreness or even arthritis. Most dogs can go about a month in between nail trims (this will vary depending on your dog’s lifestyle).

For more on clipping nails see here

Teeth Cleaning

Brushing your dog’s teeth should become part of your regular routine. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of dogs and cats will suffer from periodontal disease (AKA gum disease) by the time they’re just two years old.

Unless you take action early on, your dog’s teeth will just worsen with age. Dog toothpaste is available. Obviously never use human toothpaste as your dog can’t rinse and it is toxic to your dog.

Chewing also helps with dental health so provide your dog with dental chew toys and treats.

For more on teeth cleaning see here.

Ear Cleaning

You can give your Japanese Spitz’s ears a regular wipe around the visible area to prevent ear infections and smell. If you want to put ear drops in your dog’s ears I would recommend checking with your vet as you can’t see what is going on inside and if there is an infection or damage to the eardrum you may make things worse. 

For more on ear cleaning see here

Cleaning around the eyes

Many Japanese Spitz, being a white dog, can be prone to having reddish-brown stains below their eyes. This is rarely a health issue or the result of any serious eye issue. In a few cases it can be caused by block tear ducts. A vet will be able to advise you if this is the case and what may be needed to fix the problem.

Usually eye tear stain is more of a cosmetic issue and there are a few remedies to help fade and reduce the appearance of the stain. To learn more about eye stain remedies see here.

Should you shave a Japanese Spitz

Some people want to shave their Japanese Spitz. They usually want to do this for two reasons. Firstly, to make their Japanese Spitz cooler in hot weather. Secondly, to reduce shedding.

Unfortunately it doesn’t keep a double-coated dog cooler as it hinders the natural function of the coat. It also doesn’t reduce shedding as it grows back thicker causing more shedding.

I do not ever recommend shaving a Japanese Spitz or double-coated dog. To learn more about why see here.

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