By Anthony Bond
For most dog owners, grooming involves occasionally trimming their beloved pets hair and maybe attaching a fancy collar.
But as these incredible pictures show, for some it is a much more serious business.
From hit children’s TV show The Muppets to a panda, these dogs have been groomed to the limits of creativity.
Colourful: For many in the U.S., dog grooming is a serious business with a number of pageants taking place across the country. Although it most definitely cannot fly, this poodle makes a decent owl
Competition: The poodle, left, shows a different side to its owl design. The dog on the right looks slightly more realistic as a panda
Chilled: The poodle panda looks relaxed and happy as it lies on the floor
Stunning: This airdale terrier has been transformed into characters from the popular children's TV show The Muppets
Made up: Miss Piggy's face is clearly visible on the body of this terrier
This jaw-dropping set of images show how with a dose of artistic flare our most familiar friend can be transformed into a dinosaur or even Eor the donkey from children’s book Winnie the Pooh.
Other pictures show dragons, owls and racoon designs which look like they are hanging off the bodies of the dogs – some of which have their coats carefully pampered, shaped and died over a period of six months to produce their radical look.
Photographer Ren Netherland, 51, from Clearwater, Florida, travelled more than 19,000 miles across the U.S. in a mobile studio to visit conventions which showcased the bizarre craze for cutting and dying dogs into incredibly different forms – an art called ‘creative grooming’.
'I'm hired by the grooming competition across the United States to photograph the winners of the shows,' said Mr Netherland.
'At the very beginning of the show you will see a dog with what looks like a mix of colour.
'By the end when the groomers have finished their work you will see something crazy.
Stylish: Photographer Ren Netherland travelled across the US to visit conventions that showcased the bizarre craze for cutting and dying dogs into different forms. This poodle has been groomed with a red mohawk design
Dedication: This terrier has been groomed into a Roman gladiator. Some of the dogs have had their coats carefully pampered, shaped and died over a period of six months
Regal: This poodle has been groomed into Her Majesty The Queen, perhaps in honour of her diamond jubilee
Unique: This poodle has been groomed into Eeyore from children's book, Winnie the Pooh. Groomers use coloured artist chalk and temporary hair colour spray to achieve their effects
'This could be a bird, raccoon, owl, dinosaur or a face of a frog or pig sculpted into the fur.
'The groomers choose the designs.'
Mr Netherland explained how the groomers are able to turn domestic dogs into these uniquely designed pooches.
'The groomers have roughly two hours to cut the dogs hair into the designs and add colour,' he said.
Fancy dress: While the coats of the dogs may look extreme, Mr Netherland insists that the pooches are more than happy to take part. This west highland terrier has been transformed into Animal from The Muppets
Wacky: It may not look quite as intimidating as a T-Rex but this poodle still makes a decent jurassic dinosaur
Different: The poodle shows some bite on the other side of its body
Safe: The photographer says that in the 15 years he has photographed these shows, he has never seen a groomer harm their dogs
'Many of the dogs have some colour already before they start the competition.
'Groomers use coloured artist chalk and temporary hair colour spray to achieve their effects.
'Some also use semi-permanent hair colour brands. Hair spray is used to make the hair stand up or look spiked.'
While the dog’s coats may look extreme, Mr Netherland insists that the pooches are more than happy to take part.
Extreme: Some of the groomers use semi-permanent hair colour brands. This poodle has been transformed into a macow parrot
Tropical: With its bright and bold colours it is certainly recognisable as a parrot
Bizarre: Although in real life they couldn't look any more different, this mongrel hound dog is supposed to look like a raccoon
'Most people are amazed with the images I take and cannot believe they are dogs,' he said.
'But I do get emails from people telling me I'm sick, and they have told me it's cruel to do this to dogs.
'I truly can say that the dogs that have photographed love the attention.
'In the 15 years I have photographed these shows, I have never seen a groomer harm their dogs.
'I would never agree to photograph any of these dogs, or work for any of these shows, if there was ever any harm done to the dogs.'
Multi-coloured: A poodle which is supposed to look like a dragon
Illuminated: Some of the groomers use hair spray to make the dog's hair stand up or look spiked. A number of different rainbow colours have been used on this pooch
Bright: This jaw-dropping set of images show how with a dose of artistic flare our most familiar friend can be transformed into almost anything
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
A cut above: Photographer crosses America to record the weird and woolly winners of dog grooming pageants
By Anthony Bond