How to groom pets for a dog show

How to groom pets for a dog show

Ever wonder what goes down at a dog show? Asking dog owners for some insider advise on how to turn a canine into a champion performer will only serve to raise eyebrows. So it is at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, that dates back to 1877 as a gentlemen’s sporting event.

The general response one gets for inquiring after grooming secrets is that it’s either proprietary, or that it would cost a lot of money or a death threat. However, it’s best place on the planet to gain some insight and sometimes unorthodox tips to help make dogs look their best.

It’s always necessary to remember this when discussing dogs: every breed is different. That goes for the whole hog: body, prep and grooming.


It’s rumored that some handlers use eyeliner to make rims around eyes darker, or use markets to keep noses black. But most owners do not resort to anything special for improving the appearance of their wards. These people do not take to that believing that their pets are beautiful on their own. There’s also the matter of some judges who don’t take lightly to over-grooming.


For silky terriers and those with rich coats, the best thing would be hair oil (all for their delicate coats.) It’s also necessary to wash the coat with shampoo on a regular basis. This ensures that it’s preserved and not broken or matted in any way. Some pricier breeds like the Yorkshire Terriers, also wear satin jackets over oiled hair when not competing.

Diapers, anyone?

Some lighter colored breeds get to wear one until it’s judgement time. Owners explain that if in the event of an accident, this can help maintain the perfect color and appearance of their dog’s well-groomed legs.

Some Dishwashing liquid can be handy

Some breeds like the Spaniels have somewhat long ears, which means they get into the food bowl as they eat. Some dish-washing fluid will work on the grease that gets in their ears the same way as it works on a duck that gets into oil.

Corn starch to keep things dry

What if it’s nearing showtime and the hair around your pet’s mouth all wet? A dog’s gotta drink, and a good way to clean up their appearance would be Corn starch!

Wiry-haired dogs

A “stripping stone” can be used to pull out mature hair on breeds with wiry coats like Brussels Griffon. Cutting the hair won’t work with such breeds as would with other dogs. This will help the coiffed coat retain proper texture and color, something that the judges are sure to pick on.

Do nothing

Some breeds like the American Eskimo dog are blessed with a beautiful natural coat, and owners just need to bathe and blow-dry them. Anything extra will only serve to burden the coat.

Several breeds also can’t have their hair tampered with in any way according to the specifications of the competition. Some breeds like the American Eskimos, are only allowed to be cut around the ankles and feet!

Related Post: How to treat a pet dog well