Most people are not aware that Professional dog grooming competitions even exist. Yet they are getting bigger and bigger across the country and abroad. The first grooming competitions were held during the late 70’s and early 80’s and involved simple trims and basic grooming skills performed before a group of judges. Now there are several categories from novice to expert and the grooming is spectacular. All breeds as well as mixed breeds can be entered and divisions are based on coat type, breed and size.
In 1980 a new type of competition was introduced called the Creative Styling Contest. In Chicago, Illinois, show organizer and groomer, Jerry Schinberg had seen a human Creative Hair styling contest and decided to bring the idea to groomers. It wasn’t exactly a huge success at first but it was the start of what is now the biggest draw to dog grooming trade shows and competitions. By the mid 80’s groomers began experimenting with colors using kool-aide to dye white coats a rainbow of colors. Judges were mystified but soon began to see dogs sculpted and dyed to fit any theme imaginable. Some have jungle murals sculpted into plush poodle coats, others are dyed and trimmed to look like lions, tigers, zebras, etc. Anything is possible.
Ask your groomer if they have ever competed and where you might go to see a competition. You won’t be disappointed! The Atlanta Pet Fair and the Carolina Groomfest in Columbia are two excellent shows in the Southeast. They are held in March and May each year. You can check them out online too.
Sallie Walbourne, NCMG