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Creative Pet Grooming

on September 15, 2009
Posted in Cats

A distinctively new market niche in the veterinary sector has recently come up and is on a steady rise, much to the appreciation of dog groomers everywhere: creatively grooming pets for fun or competition. Unlike traditional pet grooming, creative pet grooming incorporates trimming the fur of animals to create a desired design on their coats. Poodles are the favored animals for these creations because of their good looking and easy to rear coats.

Then and Now

Pet grooming in the past used to be about cleaning the animal, making sure that the animal’s coat is tidy by shaving when necessary, clipping paw nails, as well as veterinary visits for the pet’s vaccinations to curb certain transmittable diseases.

However, today pet grooming is about creating different looks for the animal, printing designs on its coat as well as all of the other previously mentioned grooming routines. What would drive someone to have their pet creatively groomed? For fun mostly, but since this cultural phenomenon is catching on, there are worldwide competitions in search of the best creatively groomed pet.

There is a whole world of pet products created just to satisfy this emerging market. There is an enormous amount of pet and animal grooming products that are advertised, both online and in print media that will improve or change your pets look. There are products such as paw print plaques, craft books with a variety of designs that can be used creatively on pets.


The common patterns used by groomers include: elephant, mouse, dog, lion, Bambi, panda, alligator, and giraffe. The creative look comes off perfectly on poodles because of their predisposition to grow long hairs on their coats. The interesting thing is that the animals, when the groomers are through with them, actually look like the real deal!

Graphic designers are creating various designs to be imprinted on the pets’ coats. There are all these mixes and creations of your favorite characters on your pet. The wonderful thing about it is that it is not permanent so when you the pet owner gets tired with it you can always change it. New hair needs to be grown on the pet and the colored fur can then just be trimmed off in order to obtain a different look.

Pet Display Shows

Pet groomers and owners are turning up in talent shows and creative searches showcasing their creations and how well the pets are taking it. The overall effect is most often theatrical and gives the audience a good laugh. Animal rights activists have come out to oppose this new trend but since no damage is done to the animal there is really no stopping the groomers or the amounts of owners who want their pets to stand out in the crowd.

Groomers are of late putting creative grooming talent on their skills profile to attract pet owners as there is a clear market emerging for them and no one knows how far this will go, but for now they are making the most of it and are certainly not being disappointed with ever increasing demand for creative pet grooming. The names given to this new sensation are quite interesting. You will hear of ‘pet camouflage’, ‘show grooming’ and ‘creative pet designers’. The name leans towards the groomer’s choice of ideas and their use. Show groomers will combine designs and training dogs for show. Pet camouflage will create a lion out of a poodle for fun, show or talent training.

One of the oldest pet grooming competitions in the world today is the All American Grooming Show, which was founded by Jerry Schinberg in the early 1970’s. Mr Schinberg was a 15 year pet groomer veteran himself, before starting up the competition. The very first competition received 50 entries and 300 spectators. The creative pet grooming category was introduced into the competition in 1980 and has grown in popularity ever since.

The first prize for the Creative Styling Challenge at this year’s All American Grooming Show, which was sponsored by Governor Insurance Agency, was $1700, plus an extra $100 for first time entry winners.

The biggest pet grooming competition is called Pet Expo and will be held September 17 – 20, 2009 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Their Creative Styling Contest is being sponsored by Groomer to Groomer Magazine and offers a first prize of $5,000. The second and third prizes are $2500 and $1000, respectively, from Barkleigh Productions. A $500 prize will be awarded to the winner of the People’s Choice Award and will also be placed on the front cover of Groomer to Groomer.

“This is the highlight of the Expo, with the winner taking home great prize money,” says Sally Liddick, organizer of Groom Expo, “and it is a personal highlight for me. I love creative.”

Photo Credit: Psyberartist

Read also: China Produces First Ever Gene-Edited Cloned Dog

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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