Fans of the Westminster dog show know all about the elaborate dog grooming that each breed is known for.
Breeds like the Komondors with their strands of matted hair that look like mopped dreadlocks, or the Poodles that have their coat groomed in giant poofs emblematic of their name, are all regulars at the Westminster dog show.
What about a dog breed that requires a different kind of maintenance for dog grooming?
Dog Grooming: Westminster Kennel Club
Last month at a news conference the kennel club announced three breeds new to compete in the avant-garde dog show: the Pumi, a furry teddy-bear dog, the Sloughi an elegant cousin of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and the Hairless American Terrier, the dog many think requires no dog grooming.
That’s right. No hair. Almost like the Chinese Crested Dog or the Mexican Hairless Dog (Xoloitzcuintli), these guys are all skin. Janet Parker and her dog Walkyr have entered the competition and she told the New York Times that her dog’s skin feels like “a warm piece of bologna.”
The “hairlessness” of dog breeds like these are actually highly sought after. The American Hairless Terrier is a mutant Rat Terrier that never existed until 1972. The Rat Terrier is a burrowing dog that is used to hunt rats in Louisiana. The hairless gene is recessive and some accidental Oedipus-inspired breeding took place. Now the American Hairless Terrier will be jumping through hoops in the Westminster agility competition.
Because the dogs have no coat, their exposed skin needs moisturizer as part of their dog grooming ritual. Depending on the amount of direct sunlight the dogs are under they will also need sunscreen. Many pet parents love this dog because it does not shed, is non-allergenic, and has relatively low maintenance for dog grooming as far as bathing goes. There is also an esoteric appeal the hairless breeds possess.
Hairless Breeds Competing
“They have an aura about them,” said Jennifer Young-Johnson who planned to take two (Xoloitzcuintli) to the show. “They don’t have a purpose like going and getting the paper or something. They think they’re gods. It’s like, you’re not worthy,” Johnson tells the New York Times.
Johnson usual special dog grooming products. She receives a high-end moisturizer and exfoliant from a pet accessories company that has a special arrangement with her one of her dogs. Similarly, the Chinese crested need moisturizing cream to keep their skin elegant.
One of the twists of the breeds is that these “hairless” dogs aren’t actually fully hairless. The Chinese Crested is bred in two forms. Powerpuffs—a variation of the Chinese Crested with splotches of hairless areas usually in the chest and belly area and the true hairless form are both recognized as Chinese crested. But even the hairless crested have wisps of hair.
Many of the pet parents at the Westminster dog show have their dogs groomed to appear hairless. “It’s a secret,” Johnson told New York Times. “You will not know how much body hair my dog has. I will make it perfect on the day of the show.”
It seems even exotic breeds still go to extensive dog grooming lengths to impress judges at this year’s dog show.
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