By Jean Anselmi

    Walking around the streets of the west, you will see some very stylish dogs. I struggle to choose a hairstyle, so I wanted to explore how these styles come about.

    Dog grooming probably started in the Middle Ages when dogs were economic assets for their owners and kept for their working abilities. Nobles would have ‘groomers’ who lived with the dogs and cared for them, including brushing their teeth and cutting their coats.

    Grooming as a style statement starts appearing in 16th century France where poodles were kept by the wealthy as pets. In the last few decades dog grooming has changed exponentially, partly because new equipment makes it quicker and easier to achieve an impressive array of styles, but mostly because of increased pet ownership.

    To find out more about dog styling, I contacted dog groomer Krystina Pallikaros from Bath & Bone in Spotswood. I’ve known Krystina as a fabulous veterinary nurse for many years, but she has moved away from nursing so she can concentrate on expanding her dog grooming business. 

    “After completing a dog grooming course, I quickly realised that grooming provided me with all the things I love – dogs, creativity and a community of like-minded loving dog owners.”

    Krystina notes that the most important reason for dog grooming is health. Maintaining a clean, healthy, mat- and knot-free coat leads to healthy skin and reduces the chances of skin, ear, urinary and eye infections, overgrown nails, and insect infection. Grooming also can help regulate body temperature which is worth remembering heading into hot weather. 

    People also love having a stylish dog that smells nice. 

    The most common pure-bred dogs that Krystina grooms are Mini Schnauzers, Border Collies, Toy Poodles and Cavalier Spaniels. However, reflecting their popularity, there are oodles of Cavoodles, Spoodles, Groodles, Bordoodles and Schnoodles. 

    There is a lot of large equipment involved in dog grooming such as dryers and baths, as well as an array of shampoos and other products. Krystina has her groomer’s kit with various types of scissors, brushes, clippers, combs, tailored to her preferences.

    I asked Krystina if there are fashions in dog grooming. “Most certainly! There are no style boundaries. You pick and choose any style you like from traditional breed clips to something unusual like a Mohawk or 70s flared legs.” Krystina has a book she calls the ‘groomers bible’ which lists the traditional styles for pure bred dogs. Poodles, as an example, have many different traditional clips. 

    Owners have specific styles they like to request. Sometimes it’s a traditional look, occasionally clients ask for their dog to have the traditional clip of a different breed, and often it’s a creative style of their own. Has Krystina received any odd requests? “Depends on your version of odd. I have dyed a beautiful white Bull Arab’s coat to a leopard print with safe dog hair dye.” 

    “In my experience owners really appreciate a style that reflects their pup’s personality as well as keeping them happy and healthy.” 

    Bath & Bone 4/50 Hudsons Road

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