Extreme Poodles – Fuzzy Work of Art or Monstrosity of Bad Taste?

Have you ever seen extreme poodle grooming? Because I have and I just can’t force myself to look away.

You may remember I get weirded out by some dog things–like dogs in costumes or movies where they talk.

Well extreme poodle grooming (I’d call it sculpting) trumps all dog weirdness. Check out the video and see what you think.


If you think I’m crazy and you can’t get enough, check out this slide show of poodles who were groomed to become snails, camels, pandas, you name it.

What do you think? Is it amazing? Beautiful? Scary?

And would your dog tolerate this?

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  1. As you know, I have no problem with pet dressing — it’s fun and doesn’t harm the dogs if the costumes are not uncomfortable. And, except for functional clothing, which is protective, the costumes are usually removed very soon.

    This, on the other hand, strikes me as a) endangering the dogs’ health by using chemical dyes and sprays. There’s no evidence that all natural food dyes or sprays are used. b) Destroying the reputation of poodles, who are very smart water dogs traditionally used for “jobs” such as retrieving. It’s hard to mention a poodle these days without invoking frou frou images.

    • I heard an interview earlier where the groomers swore the dyes were made of vegetable coloring and entirely nontoxic. Of course anything can be toxic in high enough concentration.

  2. I think the extreme grooming is kind of weird. I’m not morally against it, per se, but I really don’t dig it either. If you’re that into topiaries, perhaps bonsai trees or shrubbery would serve better. Sand castles can also be involved, and dyed with no ill effects (well, using food coloring).

    One poodle “style” I saw a couple of pictures of, but have never seen in person, is letting the coat get long and having it “corded”, like a Komondor. I can’t say why it appealed; perhaps because it was just so different from the pom pom cuts (which I know are meant to in fact be functional), or because the notion of a Rasta poodle was also nifty.

  3. I saw this once on TV, and was completely… nonplussed. Why would ANYONE want their dog to look like a school bus? I don’t know if you can call it abuse, but I’m with Edie that dogs are not meant to be dyed green and yellow and blue, and that it’s an assault on their dignity.

    • Scientists are trying to identify what emotions dogs feel. Embarrassment is one of those weird feelings most scientists don’t believe a dog can feel.

      Of course, the dog is the center of attention. If Honey got that, she’d be happy to be dyed purple.

  4. I saw this once on television as well. Some kooky dog show that I can’t help but watch. At first I thought it was harmless but now I am not so sure. Edie has made some excellent points about health. I don’t know if it’s naive but I always assumed it was safe, that people wouldn’t dare apply chemicals to their dogs. But I am probably incorrect in this assumption now that I think about it and it makes me sad.

    Personally I love poodles and I find traditional “show” cuts for these dogs to be utterly ridiculous. My husband still doesn’t like the dogs because of them. They were bred for sport initially and I am sure deep down are quite offended by this image.

    I guess I remain on the fence. Mostly, I just don’t really understand the reason behind it. Animals are not objects of art.

    • I personally like the “puppy cut” for a poodle. It looks most like a regular dog.

      I was watching the dogs very carefully, however, and I didn’t see signs of nervousness or distress. The puppy track and field video I showed last week had lots of lip licking and turning aside–calming signals. But every instant of footage of these poodles caught them looking relaxed. One even jumped up on the grooming table.

      I watched a golden retriever grooming video recently and the groomer treated the dog like a piece of meat. And the dog was not happy.

      These poodles look fine to me.

      So, although I think extreme grooming is wackadoo, it appears the groomers love their dogs and treat them well. I certainly hope that’s the case.

  5. Poodles have been poufed and coifed so much through the centuries that today’s Poodle loves the grooming process and the attention afterward. There may be Poodles who have had unfortunate experiences in grooming, but they are definitely exceptions.

    While I would never to this to a Poodle, it’s totally harmless to their health or to their psyches. It’s really a bonding experience between owner/groomer and the dog, not the kind that most of us would choose maybe. Some of the extreme groomers have gotten a lot of hate mail and death threats, which is unfortunate.

    • Although toenail clipping is a different matter, all of my dogs have enjoyed grooming. Honey enjoys it the most of every dog I’ve ever had.

      I like the notion of grooming as yet another bonding experience.

      And yes, hate mail is inexcusable.

  6. I think Darby would chew my fingers off if I tried this — he barely tolerates the grooming he gets now. I can’t imagine doing it to my dog. Having said that, I know several people who say their dogs love, love, love being groomed. If the dog is happy and the dog owner is happy, let them be. There are far worse things people do to pets than over-grooming them.

  7. I think it’s pretty fun! Much more imagination than I have!

    I’ve found most breeds that need to be heavily groomed grow up not minding if it is introduced early and properly. The poodles and afghans at the dog show I went to just laid out relaxed on their grooming tables.

    • Although Bella and Daisy don’t have the coat you’d need for sculpting, I remember seeing some pretty spunky nail polish over at your blog.

  8. I could probably get by with shaving some letters on Jon Farleigh’s butt, but that’d be about it. 😉 Thankfully, the corgi physique doesn’t lend itself well to artistic interpretation (unless the artist is into Twinkies and hot dogs).

    Those are some crazy looking poodles. :/

    • And just what letters were you thinking you could shave into Jon Farleigh’s butt? You’ve got me curious.

      • I have to find a better way to keep up with your comments; sheesh, I’m tardy.

        To answer your question: “I <3 Mom" (of course). :) (BTW, I'm no where near coordinated enough to shave letters into anything, let alone my dog's bum. But, that's what I'd shave, if I could.)

  9. I’m with those who think it’s weird, but I would like to paint Beryl’s toenails:) I don’t know if she’d like it though!

    I guess it could be quite fascinating and we do the same thing to people but it’s not my thing at all.

  10. Honestly, I don’t see the point. But then I don’t believe in the less grooming the better, so this is just off the charts bizarre to me and quite hideous I might add. I don’t even clip my dogs nails, they tend to take care of themselves. I would argue the real “bonding” time involved, but then I won’t judge. I guess to each his own.

    • To each his own is probably the phrase everyone should use a lot more, huh?

      I’ve always had dogs with simple grooming needs. Having to trim and comb a Golden Retriever so she doesn’t get mats is a whole new challenge. Maybe when you start daily grooming it’s hard to know when to stop? :)

  11. It’s not my thing. I know, surprising after some of the things I can get my dogs to do for photos, but at the heart of it, I wouldn’t do anything to them that I felt would come across as mean spirited or demeaning. I don’t mind Poodles in show cuts, because I understand that there is a historical reason for why they look that way. In the end, though, it’s really just too high maintenance for me. I just want to be able to take my girls out for a walk or a hike and enjoy time together. I don’t know that I’d criticize someone else for doing it, in fact, I’d love to meet someone who does so I could ask a lot of questions. I guess for me, it’s sort of like a train wreck. I can’t look away.

    • I can’t look away either.

      But I was glad to see one of the dogs out playing ball. And, obviously, the dogs have to grow their hair out before one of these grooming sessions. So that’s a lot of time they’re just having a good time being dogs and not on a grooming table.

  12. I’ve actually seen this one before. Part of me has always been horrified by it and the other fascinated. My feeling is dogs should be dogs, that’s why I also hate to see people dress them up in cute little outfits (clothing for warmth is completely different), but I also think what these groomers do is amazing. I could never do what they do (nor would I want to), but it’s fascinating to see how they do it.

    In answer to your questions about my dogs tolerating it? I would say probably not, but we’ll never know because I would never subject them to it. I couldn’t.

    • I’m also from the dogs should be dogs school. But once again, I’ll say I didn’t see the dogs in that video showing signs of distress. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over how these women choose to spend time with their dogs.

  13. Personally I don’t care for it. I can’t see why a person would do this to their dog.

    • There have been lots of nasty comments made about the women who choose to do this. They might be a bit shy. But it would be fun to interview one about it.

  14. No, that’s definitely weird. And freaky…Plus, it’s so not fair on the dogs…I know poodles need grooming, but not in that fashion. I personally see that as a humiliation and devaluation of the dogs, by turning them into doll-like objects. But then, that’s just my opinion, I’m sure others think it’s great.