The Westminster Dog Show, now in its 137th year, is reputed to be the most watched dog show on the planet. But when the doggie contestants strut their stuff on the green carpet, it’s not only about pedigree and performance — it’s also about looking absolutely furbulous!
It can take hours to primp and preen these furry contestants, just as it would take for any human competitor in a beauty pageant, right? So we asked the pet parents of some of this year’s hottest contenders to share their pooch’s beauty secrets.
Show Name: Sparkling Blu My Dreams of Glory
Beauty Secrets: “Before a show, Deemer’s hair is sectioned into small sections and wrapped with plastic wrappers, which are kept in place by a satin coat that he wears,” explains doggie mom Nancy Lonas of Tucson, Arizona.
“I use Argan oil imported from Morocco to keep his coat soft and silky and it gives it a great shine after its blown out and flat ironed. I use a special spray-on thermal heat protectant to protect his hair and I have a favorite Mason Pearson brush that costs $120 for final touch-ups. It can take hours to get him ready. The topknot has to be specially teased and sprayed into place and that alone can take about 30 minutes to achieve the right look. I spend a fortune on products for him and shop at the Dollar Store for my own beauty products!”
Show Name: Briar’s Path to Enlightenment
Beauty Secrets: “I really watch his diet and step up his exercise routine before a show to ensure his body looks well-toned,” confesses Igor Bily of Malden, Massachusetts. "I train for triathlons and Brock enjoys running with me and we like to go for two-hour hikes in the woods. His diet is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids and he enjoys a combination of dry food mixed with raw food."
“Apart from his diet and exercise routine, before a show he doesn’t need any special grooming. However, for his pre-show bath, I like to use a shampoo that contains primrose oil and follow it with a good conditioner. We are staying in Long Island for the show and not in Manhattan because Brock doesn’t like to pee on sidewalks. He prefers grass and I don't want to stress him out.”
WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
Show Name: Bear Hug Cee Barry Rockbridge JH THD
Beauty Secrets: “The breed standard calls for his coat to be really natural,” confides his dad, David Boehner of McGregor, Texas.
“He gets bathed three to four days before the show and I use a little baby powder on the top of his head just before he goes into the show ring. It takes out any oil and gives him a more natural look. He also gets a good brush-down with a wire brush just before show time.”
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL
Show Name: Grandville Butterscotch Kiss
Beauty Secrets: “My beauty secret is to bathe her often,” confides Tracie Laliberte of Attleboro, Massachusetts. “After all, the skin is what insulates the vital organs and dispels toxins.
“I use an all-natural shampoo and a rinse-off conditioner that I make myself before I blow-dry her coat.
“My conditioners contain various essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus to rev up her energy levels and lavender to relax her. On the day of the show, I often use lavender on myself to keep me calm. I always spray a little distilled water on her coat just before we enter the ring.”
Show Name: Sunebank Broadway Bound
Beauty Secrets: “Because she has a double coat, I like to use an all-natural keratin-based shampoo and make sure I keep her coat well conditioned,” says Marni Sharoff of Baltimore, Maryland. “I only use Chris Christian brushes on her. They give her coat that required ‘stand-offish’ appearance.”
BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG
Show Name: Cameo’s Centerfold
Beauty Secrets: To ensure that Kendra truly dazzles under the spotlights, owner-handler Laura Fourre of Edina, Minnesota, uses several shampoos to bring out the beauty of her thick coat. A special purple shampoo is worked into the area of white fur to accentuate the whiteness, and a volumizing shampoo is used all over her body to fluff her out even more.
“I also use a special K9-II hair dryer that is very powerful to add extra volume to her over all look,” says Fourre. But when she’s not getting ready for a show, Kendra is like any human pageant contestant that doesn’t worry about hair and makeup; she likes to run around the horses in Fourre’s barn and play dirty with the other dogs in the household.
CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI
Show Name: Allegro Celestial Charm
Beauty Secrets: “She’s a Corgi with a tail,” says Leslie Gene Reed Gurley of Alabama. "So we work hard to keep it looking good along with her short coat, which has a dense undercoat. I find a shampoo with primrose oil always keeps her looking her best and I condition with a product called Naked Care, which keeps her coat looking wonderful because it intensifies the color of her fur.
“Exercise is also extremely important before a big show. June has ten other housemates to bounce around with at home. But before a show, I make sure we schedule lots of one-mile walks. I have to admit I get more nervous than she does. For her, its just another day at the office.”
Show Name: Countrywind’s Courtesan JC
Beauty Secrets: Catherine Harker admits to using a finishing spray with mink oil to bring out the sparkle in Courti’s black and red brindle coat.
“I use a special shampoo and a crème rinse to keep her long hair looking soft and silky,” she says. “I also tie up her ears in a special bag wrap to keep them clean before show time. It takes me between two to three hours to blow dry her hair straight and then I run a flat iron over it 45 minutes before she enters the ring. It’s a production.”
Show Name: Lyn-Mar Acres Turn Back Time
Beauty Secrets: “Bubba really only needs a good a bath before competition,” confides mom Amanda Ballew of Red Bank, New Jersey. “We use an oatmeal shampoo and conditioner and occasionally a whitening shampoo to show the contrast between the white hair against the black hair on his coat.
"Apart from that, it’s all about brushing and raking his coat. This 'dry' grooming keeps the natural oils in his coat and gives it an amazing shine. Just before show time, I make sure his whiskers are trimmed. Not many people do that anymore but I like to keep that Basset tradition going. He gets a quick once over with the 'hound' brush, and a little spritz of water on a towel to wipe off his mouth, eyes and nose. And he always wears a snood, which is an ear hat to keep his ears clean. We remove it literally seconds before he goes into the ring.”
Next: Last Year's Westminster Winners
Show Name: B & G Melody of Love
Beauty Secrets: “No fancy primping needed,” says doggie mom Susan Gregg of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “Luther is a stick in the tub, soak, soap and shake dry kind of dog."
"My biggest concern in preparing him for the show ring is not to get water in his ears. So instead of splashing his face, I always wipe it down with a warm face cloth and he’s good to go.”