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Thursday, October 13, 2011

A doodle on a poodle: Creative dog grooming craze hits Britain with first-ever show

By Leon Watson

Phoney pony: A poodle creatively groomed as a My Little Pony at the competition in Swanley

The creative dog grooming craze that swept America has reached the shores of Britain.

From a red dragon and Bertie Bassett to Lady Gaga and Winnie the Pooh, these prancing pooches are enjoying a doggie fancy dress show.

Imaginatively transformed from humble dogs to All Sorts of cultural icons these poodles were blissfully unaware of what all the fuss was about during the British Dog Creative Stylist of the Year competition.

Winnie the Pooh-dle: A doggy Pooh in make-up before the event

Flying start: A groomer puts the finishing touches to the winner, a Welsh red dragon poodle

The event, organised by dog salon owner, Louisa Tandy, 38, from Gravesend in Kent, showcased the best of Britain's dog groomers.

Incredibly, the range of colours are produced by washable vegetable dyes.
'It's all good fun and the event gives top UK talent the chance to really show off what they can do,' explained Louisa.

'The dogs are thrilled with all the attention they get - and love strutting their stuff. For them it's just like getting a bath and a haircut.

'We have to use dogs that have the right personality to pull it off. Like human models they need to be cool and collected and happy to stand still and enjoy the process.'

The 14 poodle and poodle cross-breeds came from all corners of the country to Swanley in Kent to take part. The breed is chosen for its good nature and easily sculptured coats.

This year's winner was the amazing red dragon - inspired by the mythological beast displayed proudly on the Welsh Flag.

It takes Allsorts: A dog groomed as Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts character Bertie Bassett

Not born this way: A doggy Lady Gaga dolled up and ready to go

Off the scales: The winning red dragon poses on the top of his castle

'My personal favourite was Liquorice Allsorts mascot, Bertie Bassett,' said Louisa. 'Children love Bertie and the idea was so original and British.

'The groomer even sprinkled Allsorts at the feet of the poodle - it was a great touch. The idea of the competition is to unleash this kind of creativity for UK stylists.

'At the end of the day they are given a normal cut and returned to their doggie origins.'

Heart of the matter: A doggy make-up artist works on the My Little Pony poodle

Louisa's competition is strictly regulated to ensure that no dog is harmed in the process of changing their appearances.

The creative grooming craze is popular in the U.S. - where many people tend to think of their dogs as a fashion accessory.

'In the UK we think of our dogs mainly as companions,' said Louisa. 'And we in our nature are more reserved and less flamboyant than Americans.

'But in my own business I've now had customers come in to request their dog be given a blue or red brightly coloured coat for special occasions. So the idea has filtered through over here.'



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