Competitive dog grooming is colorful and weird, just ask a rainbow poodle [Video]

Competitive dog grooming sounds like a sedate hobby that consists of brushing pretty poodles. But in reality, it’s a colorful, weird form of competition.

To those not in the dog world, competitive dog grooming might sound like the set-up for a late night talk show joke from Jimmy Fallon or Seth Meyers.

However, those who are aware of what’s involved know that the competition gets extremely colorful and, on occasion, very weird.

Competitive dog grooming turns pups into paintings

We’ve all seen an occasional Poodle prancing down the street with his top knot tied with a bow, or a freshly bathed Golden Retriever bouncing along with fur gleaming in the sun.

But….how about a Poodle who looks tie-dyed? Such is the world of competitive dog grooming, noted Salon.

The documentary Well Groomed, directed by Rebecca Stern, turns the spotlight on four competitive dog grooming experts.

While Cat Opson (yes, that’s her name, we could not make that up) is a California dog grooming expert, Nicole Beckmann from New York is just finding her way in the competitive world of making dogs go beyond gorgeous into the realm of art.

As for the varieties of dogs profiled in the documentary, just as with the contests themselves, competitive dog grooming focuses primarily on poodles with white hair.

Competitive dog grooming goes to the dogs, er, white poodles

Why are so many white Poodles chosen by their competitive dog grooming masters to enter the competition?

Poodle hair grows quickly, and those with white hair are easily transformed into all colors of the rainbow. Competitive dog grooming shows involve achieving:

  • smooth scissoring
  • clever clipping
  • creative coloring

And we’re going way beyond doggy top knots here, with entries in competitive dog grooming showcasing transformations such as “Jurassic Bark,” an homage to dinosaurs.

Competitive dog grooming equals ‘super bliss’

So suppose you’re clever with those dog clippers but into Chihuahuas rather than Poodles?

That’s where dog renting comes in. Director Rebecca Stern shared that competitive dog groomers may rent dogs to participate in the contests.

And it takes a certain kind of dog (beyond breed and hair hue) to participate.

“All of the creative dogs are show dogs, and they are the women’s dogs, so they are incredibly well behaved,” explained Stern. “The women are so surrounded by dogs that they are incredibly clued in to what’s going on with the animals.”

And for those who worry that blinging out their dog would be cruel, not according to Rebecca.

“I spent four years with these women, and their personal dogs are so used to being groomed that adding hair dye to the process adds maybe 15 minutes to the grooming,” said Stern. “The dogs don’t even notice. They are super blissed-out on the table.”

Now if you’re noticing the emphasis on “the women” rather than a generic “people,” Rebecca admits that “it’s an incredibly female-dominated field.”

Every competitive dog grooming star is female with the exception of one man, making the world of creative dog grooming “very feminine.”

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Would you want to enter your dog in a competitive dog grooming contest? Tell us if you think these groomers have gone to the dogs in their effort to take home a trophy in our comments section.