To get your four-legged friend looking perfect for the world's biggest dog show takes months of preparation, from ensuring they’re accustomed to big shows, to having their coat groomed to a high standard.
This year is a huge year for Crufts, which will see over 20,000 dogs compete from March 10-13, with the 2021 event cancelled for the first time in 60 years due to the global pandemic.
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Laura Campanella, master groomer and hand stripping expert at GroomArts, has shared insider tips on achieving show dog standards from the comfort of your own home.
How to get the Crufts look
Different dogs have different needs because of their coats so it’s vital to understand what type of coat your dog has – and what products are suitable for it.
Wire-coated dogs like Terriers, Schnauzers and Jack Russells require a keratin-based shampoo to fortify their coat and conditioners are also a good idea to remoisturise the skin.
For dogs with curly coats, such as Poodles, Bichon Frise and Water Spaniels, volume-boosting shampoos are a must, while using a product with some keratin will make the hair thicker and result in a high-standard groom.
Silky-coated breeds like Afghan Hounds, Irish Setters and Cocker Spaniels can use a wider variety of shampoos, so choose one to suit your dog’s particular hair and skin needs.
How to shampoo a dog
When it comes to water temperature lukewarm water is best - test it with your elbow, just as you would do for a baby
Swapping a towel for using a hair dryer from a distance is completely safe, as long as the temperature is only warm or cool, and is a better option for dogs with curly hair, whose coats can become matted from towel-drying
Using a reliable brush while bathing will remove dirt, debris and oily residue, allowing natural oils to replenish themselves
If you need to bathe your dog regularly, use a moisturising shampoo or a sensitive/oatmeal shampoo if they scratch themselves a lot, to keep that coat glossy.
Special doggy hairspray can keep unruly locks firmly in place for the perfect finish.
Maintaining yor dog’s coat
Coat maintenance is clearly much easier for short-haired dogs, who just need a rubber palm brush to help keep their coats healthy and your home tidier.
If you have a double-coated breed – like a Shiba Inu, Chow Chow or Husky – a grooming rake or a deshedding tool will remove any dead undercoat and cut back on the frizz, while if you add a shed stopper to your grooming routine you’ll also reduce dog hair around the house.
With a curly or silky-haired breed, you’ll want a metal grooming comb and a pin slicker brush to get rid of any knots before they turn into matted fur and need to be shaved out.
For most breeds, scissors are an absolute must for your grooming kit. You might need straight scissors for curly coats, chunkers for thick curls or thinning shears for heavy coats. There are now plenty of high-quality dog grooming scissor sets available.
Groom your dog like a pro
Once you have all your equipment, it’s important to get the technique right.
Always brush your dog’s fur in the direction it grows, adjusting the angle to follow their body.
Different breeds need different grooming routines, with curly, silky and short-haired dogs needing groomed every 4-6 weeks, with a bath every couple of weeks.
Wire-haired dogs can usually be groomed less frequently – every 4-8 weeks – but their coats have to be stripped out by hand, rather than clipped, which takes longer.
However, every individual dog is different, so it’s best to ask a groomer – they can point you in the right direction and help you establish a healthy grooming routine, whether or not you’re heading off to Crufts.
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