Extreme Poodles, Where Dogs Are Art

Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art

Last night, TLC aired the one-hour special Extreme Poodles about the Barkleigh's dog-grooming beauty pageant. It was like Best in Show meets Toddlers & Tiaras meets Bronner Brothers Hair Show. Basically, it was the culmination of everything camp.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art

In the Barkleigh's Creative Grooming Competition, dogs are groomed live on stage in front of an audience. (They are allowed to be colored—using a non-toxic, vegetable-based dye—beforehand, but all cutting must happen during the contest.) The prize is a cover shoot for Groomer to Groomer magazine.


The grooming is judged by people like this guy.


There are a host of unpredictable elements that could ruin the chances for competitors, like irregular bowels. One dog, Odin, was constipated the morning of the event, and his owner feared that he might poop on the table. He didn't—but he farted a lot. This exact thing has happened to me before, except substitute a dog-grooming competition for my wedding, and "table" for "altar." (I ended up finally going during the salad course at the reception.)


The two and half hours of live grooming is followed by presentations—akin to the "Wow Wear" portion of kiddie pageants—in which humans don costumes and put on elaborate performances set to music to display their work.


Advertisement
Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art

Although I thought that "Cherokee Heritage" had all over the other entries, he only took home third place.


Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art

This little guy pranced away with second place.


Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art
Advertisement

Amazingly, this entry—"The Snake in the Garden of Eden"—didn't place at all.


Illustration for article titled iExtreme Poodles/i, Where Dogs Are Art
Advertisement

This jungle-themed entry took home the grand prize. He was a lion in the front, and then had a giraffe and a zebra crafted onto each side of his butt. While all of this grooming is definitely unnatural, it somehow seems a little more humane than kiddie pageants, in that the dogs seemed to be treated with much more respect than child beauty queens.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

scummbunny
Scummbunny

This might be massively unpopular, but in response to everyone freaking out about these dogs "hating what's being done to them," How on earth would you know? I'm not saying they love it, I'm saying there's no discernible way of telling unless the dog acts distressed in any way.

Were the dog to freak out and try and tear its hair out, then yeah, of course the dog hated it. And in that case, it would be inhumane for its owner to dress it up in these ridiculous fashions, and would be wise to quit it immediately. But if the dog doesn't seem to mind one bit? If it prances around and shows off? Then I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume the dog can't stand it and is being mistreated in some way.

Assuming that a dog yearns to get back to nature and live the way its ancestors did is akin to assuming I want to go out into the wilderness, build myself a lean-to and live off the land. Which I really, really don't. Pups are domesticated animals, and they seem to thrive on making their owners happy with them.

I'm not saying these dogs undoubtedly love being dressed up as bison - I'm just saying its a bit presumptuous, until the dog displays any behavior indicating its distaste for the (100% safe) costuming, to assume that it's miserable.