Ear trimming on a Newfoundland is an important part of the grooming process.
Newfie’s have big, heavy ears and they are prone to ear infections so keeping the ear hair neatly trimmed can allow for better airflow to the ear canal, reduce mats and keep debris from building up.
Grooming Tools Needed To Trim The Ears
Thinning shears. 40 tooth thinning shears.
You can use shears with less or more teeth just remember that the fewer teeth equal a choppier cut. The more teeth you have the more blended the cut will be.
When using thinning shears, keep in mind that while they only have one straight blade on the bottom, they can still cut the skin. (I sliced my finger pretty good a few weeks by not paying attention and it was actually the first time that I’ve ever had a grooming accident.)
Pin brush, slicker brush or greyhound comb.
Grooming table. A grooming table is optional but you definitely can do the trimming on the floor if your dog will lay still for you while you do it.
Before Trimming the ear
Before you begin trimming the ear you’ll want to check for mats.
Ear mats love to hang right underneath the ear of a Newfoundland so make sure that you feel around your Newfie’s ears before trimming.
If you find a mat, it’s o.k.!
I don’t know a Newfie that hasn’t had an ear mat or 5 in their lifetime.
You can gently use a mat splitter, straight shears, electric clippers or you can use some diluted conditioner like Pro-Gro and gently try to work the mat out.
Trimming the outer edge of the ear
Start with the outline of the ear and brush or comb the hair in the directions that it naturally lays.
Hold the ear gently out to the side with your non-scissoring hand and slowly trim along the outer edge of the ear with the thinning shears.
Take your time as you trim and trim until the hair is flush with the edge of the ear.
You can also place the ear on the palm of your non-scissoring hand and trim the edge of the ear using that method. This may be easier for some to see the edge of the ear and the stray hairs.
Next, you can gently hold the ear up and trim around the edge of the ear making sure that you have a nice clean outline along the ear.
Trimming the flap of the ear
Next, use your comb or brush and brush the hair on the flap of the ear up, against the natural way that it lays.
With your thinning shears pointing down, begin to trim the excess hair on the ears slowly.
It’s usually easiest to do this when you’re behind or on the side of the ear.
Don’t worry if you’re in front of the dog and have the thinning shears pointing up, it’s not that big of a deal but I was always taught to trim down rather than up. Trimming down is said to give a more blended look but always do what is most comfortable for you.
How much hair you take off will depend on how overgrown the hair on your Newf’s ear is. Some may need only a few snips while others may need to have a few layers thinned out.
Make sure that you take the time to step back and look at the ears and see how they look keeping in mind that you don’t want to thin the hair to the skin.
The hair on a Newfie’s ear should be longer towards the top and thinner as you work down but since this isn’t a show trim you can trim it all the same length.
Trimming under the ear
Lastly, you’ll want to trim the excess and greasy hair under the ear.
Comb through the underneath of the ear with your greyhound comb to make sure that there aren’t any mats that were left behind and with the shears pointing down thin out the hair.
You can hold the ear with your non-scissoring hand or have another person gently hold the ear for you.
You’ll want to thin out as much of that greasy hair as possible and then blend the hair into the neck.
While you’re in that area you’ll also want to trim down the hair on the underside of the ear flap and any long hair that is blocking the canal.
You don’t want to go in the canal, just trim the long wispy hairs that are around that area.
Be careful and go slow in this area because it’s often a ticklish and a sensitive area and the dog may tend to shake their head without warning.
This is why I don’t recommend using straight shears if you’re just beginning with trimming.
An unexpected head shake from a Newf can definitely make you jump and jumping isn’t recommended when holding straight shears so close to a dog’s ear.
And you’re done!
If this is your first time trimming, take it slow and remember to step back and look at your work several times to see where you are.
If you don’t take off enough, try again next week.
If you got a little too excited and took too much off, it’ll grow back fast!
For a full 28 minute live demo on ear trimming visit our video on IGTV
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Where to buy thinning shears for basic ear trimming
Thinning shears can be bought at certain pet stores, farm stores such as Tractor Supply, beauty supply stores, dog shows or online at Amazon, Pet Edge, Cherrybrook, or Chris Christensen Grooming Supplies.
If you’re just starting out using thinning shears you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on shears. I would recommend starting off with a less expensive pair that you can get from a beauty supply store for $30-$40.
You’ll want to make sure that they are comfortable for you to use and that they fit your hand well.
- Thinning Shears (40 tooth)
- Greyhound comb, pin brush or slicker brush
- Gently remove all mats from behind the ears with mat splitter or comb
- Brush or comb the hair on the ear flap the way that the hair lays
- Slowly trim the edge of the ear all the way around the flap
- Using a brush or comb, brush the hair on the ear flap up, the opposite way the hair lays, and slowly trim the hair with the thinning shears pointing down.
- Gently flip ear over and slowly trim the hair on the underside edge of the ear.
- Take a step a back and see how the ear looks.
- Finish trimming if needed.
Remember to go slow and take the time to step back and see how the ear looks.
How much hair needs to be trimmed will vary from dog to dog but the ear should look neat and tidy.
Be careful trimming the underside of the ear ear flap as this can be a ticklish area for the dog and they can shake their head without notice.