At IDEO we liberally use the phrase: “Defer Judgment,” and I am asking that of you here. As I said the last time I wrote about this topic, I’m in no way condoning dyeing animals with toxic chemicals, but there is clearly something going on here. For a modicum of reassurance, on Sandy Paws Creative Grooming website, the writer says of her poodle Cindy: “For those who are overly concerned about the dogs emotions. Cindy loves the attention. She will prance around and expects your attention. This is a Creative Grooming Contest and Cindy will look like this for only a few hours. After the contest Cindy will be clipped into a normal poodle haircut.” I’m not sure if this is giraffe (or is it okapi?) Cindy below, but as a dog owner, to me she seems pretty content.
In recent years, pet ownership has been booming in China where it was once banned as bourgeois. In Beijing alone, there are more than a million households having pets.
As their country prospers, wealthy Chinese have begun to pamper and dress up their pets. Many pet grooming salons, especially for dogs, have sprung up. These salons offer pedicures, rose petal bubble baths, massages, dyeing and other pet pampering services.
New stars among the dogs are created using Hollywood hair design ideas, such as pony tails, spikes, braids and Mohawk. An ordinary dog grooming session will take two to three hours, costing anything between 50-500 yuan. The statistics gathered by the Beijing Association of Small Animal Protection shows that the Beijingers spent 500 million yuan per annum on pets.
Dyeing of pets has been practised in China for quite some years. However, dyeing them to resemble some other wild animals started only in mid-2010 in Beijing.
In a Chinese pet store, pets are turned into exotic wildlife in the new fad. The colours and looks of the dogs are manipulated in such a way that they look like other animals.
You can find dogs, ranging from golden retrievers to Pekingese, being groomed to look like a panda, a ferocious tiger, a zebra, and even Spider-Man/Woman or Ninja-Turtle.
One of the most popular trends is to create the panda-dog, as the giant panda is China’s treasure. The tiger-dog is also a favourite among pet owners.
However, such dog grooming service is not cheap. A full-body dyeing will cost the pet owner US$300. The whole process will take five hours to complete and can last only for six months or so.
The practice of dyeing pets is rapidly spreading to countries like USA, Japan and Taiwan. Pet owners have different reasons for dyeing their pets; some for vanity’s sake while others for events or for fun.
Pet owners are known to have changed their dogs’ colours for special occasions (e.g. wedding) or for a particular holiday (such as St Patrick’s Day). Some used the dogs as fashion accessories and dyed them to match their wardrobe or to highlight certain outfits. Others treated their dogs like novelty items and dyed them in a spectrum of inspiring colours.
The new Chinese style of dyeing dogs to resemble exotic animals has brought the art of pet dyeing to new heights.
In the USA, all grooming roads lead to Intergroom.
The first Intergroom Conference was held in 1981; since that time, the event has become the largest international conference of its kind in the world. Over 2,000 dog and cat groomers from over 20 different countries attend Intergroom yearly.1997 marked the first year Intergroom was held both in the United States and in Europe.
At the conference held in the United States each year, Intergroom always begins with an international grooming competition that leads to the title of “Intergroom International Groomer of the Year” - one of the most prestigious awards in the the world of grooming. The quality of grooming is extremely high and the competition is keen as top groomers from the United States, Canada, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, compete for over $20,000.00 in cash, trophies, rosettes and prizes.
Groomers can compete in six different classes: (1) Poodles, (2) Terriers, (3) Handstipping, (4) Spaniels and Other Sporting Dogs, (5) All Other Purebreeds, and (6) Mixed-Breed/Miscellaneous (this includes dogs of mixed-breed parentage plus any purebreeds that will be trimmed in styles other than “standard”).
A New class was added in 2010: The ”Feline Fantasy” Class was offered in addition to the regular “Extreme Makeover” and “Creative Styling” Classes. The first winner, a half-shark half-cat, is showcased here. Defer Judgment.
What Of It? I put this stuff alongside children in beauty pageants and giving pigs awards at State Fairs - not my thing but I appreciate how much pleasure it gives other people. As I said the last time I blogged about this, I’m certainly not condoning dyeing animals with toxic chemicals (the Intergoom website goes out if its way to insist on non-toxicity) or even shaving their coats, but there is some inherent skill at work here.
I Am Curious about all forms of creativity: the weird, the wonderful and the downright crazy.