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First time conformation handler - show grooming a pom

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  • First time conformation handler - show grooming a pom

    Hi everyone!

    I am a "lurker", dog trainer and dog enthusiast who has taken the leap from working German Shepherds, to showing a Pom in the conformation ring.

    So being completely new to show dogs, I need A LOT of help getting my poms coat ready. I won't be showing her until June, I just have too many other commitments in my working dog life, so I figure that gives me some time to practice and get it right.

    So I have attached some pictures so you can see what I have done - I really haven't take any coat off, just bathing bi-weekly, sanitary, ears and feet trims.

    The products I currently have are Crown Royal Shampoo (the one for textured coats), the Crown Royal finishing spray, Chirs Christensen Thick n' Thicker Shampoo, Mousse and Styling Spray.

    The tools I have are a wooden pin brush (CC), a metal slicker brush (CC), a CC comb (metal with two different teeth spacings), blending shears, and a small set of straight shears for ears and paws.

    So what I have noticed, my poms hair is very heavy (maybe due to length) and lacks that wiry texture, and it is hard to make it "stand" although I only ever use shampoo and the finishing spray - honestly I have no idea what to do with the other products. Should I be using texturizing Crystals? I was looking at the Panagenics products, what do you guys think, better then what I currently have?

    Next, the actualy hair cutting...how the hell do I get that "round" shape? It looks to me like a LOT of coat is taken off those dogs - I am going to say my preference is to leave as much coat as possible, but just "shape" it. I don't like the idea of taking off what is natural to the dog. So just a tidy, really.

    This is her now at 12 months






    I am also just using my hair dryer, not an HV dryer, is it best to invest in a HV dryer?

    Sorry this is so long, I am sure more questions will come about as everyone asks me more questions - so thank you for reading!

  • #2
    DEFINITELY get an HV dryer. You'll spend forever with a hair dryer, and you'll probably never get that full fluff out without an hv. The k9 Kool Pup would be a really good option for traveling to shows with.

    I can't help you with the Pomeranian grooming for the ring. I've only shown hunting breeds (Beagle, Setters) and they're not that much fluff, but there should be some breeders or handlers on here. Your breeder would probably be the best source of info though.

    Where did you get the Pom from? Is your breeder willing to take your questions or maybe meet up and help explain some of the techniques?

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    • #3
      Although the breed standard says the coat can be neatened, in fact, there is A LOT of grooming on this breed. Learning from a person who shows Poms would be your best bet. Have you taken your puppy to any Fun Matches yet? Or gone to any dog shows? There you will meet people that can help show you the proper way to groom for show.

      Have you had a chance to watch any of the dog shows on YouTube. The American Pomeranian Club has their Speciality on there....you can see the style of grooming that is common right now.
      Pomeranian.org has a book/video that looked rather good on show grooming.
      Starfire Pomeranians has a nice gallery of photos of past and current winners...as well as the Breed Winner at Westminster.

      As you can see from these examples, there is A LOT of shaping and scissoring. Also, note, that the dogs are more heavily coated then yours. Shaping your dogs coat will help her appear to have a thicker coat.

      You are doing a nice job on her feet. Nice and round and 'cat like', as the Standard calls for. I would like to see her ears rounded rather then pointed. I once had a Pom breeder tell me 'their ears should look like a Panda Bear". And you will notice in the pictures of the show winners, they all have rounded ears.

      I would prefer the Pin Brush over the Slicker Brush. The Slicker might remove to much coat, and you want to retain as much thickness of coat as possible.

      She sure is cute...good luck to you...

      namaste...dogma

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      • #4
        Is the pictures of that Pom the one you want to show? Not trying to be mean, but you have to look at the breed standard and compare with your dog. Your dog will never have a round head as it does not have the conformation for it and will never have it. Ears are too big. Too tall on leg. This is just a few faults that I see and the head is a major one. I learned over the course of showing dogs to be very critical of what I was putting in the ring. Go to Breeders (more than one) who show and breed Poms and ask for a "critical" assessment of the dog. This is how we learn, and have a "critical eye" and not be "kennel blind" seeing what others see. In my opinion, this dog is pet quality and should not be shown. Please no flames.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Susan Lavallee-Shaw View Post
          Is the pictures of that Pom the one you want to show? Not trying to be mean, but you have to look at the breed standard and compare with your dog. Your dog will never have a round head as it does not have the conformation for it and will never have it. Ears are too big. Too tall on leg. This is just a few faults that I see and the head is a major one. I learned over the course of showing dogs to be very critical of what I was putting in the ring. Go to Breeders (more than one) who show and breed Poms and ask for a "critical" assessment of the dog. This is how we learn, and have a "critical eye" and not be "kennel blind" seeing what others see. In my opinion, this dog is pet quality and should not be shown. Please no flames.
          That was my thought as well.......that being said you can LEARN proper coat care on this dog......I thought almost the exact same as you on everything you said to the OP. I groom several show retired FINISHED poms and they are nothing like this one....
          <a href="http://www.groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_smarter" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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          • #6
            Susan and Parti have given very sound opinions and advice. Most here are pet groomers, with the exception of a a few of us who have show experience. My self included.

            Good luck, we all start somewhere.

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            • #7
              I agree that you need to work with experienced Pom exhibitors to learn proper grooming, and I think that they are also going to tell you that this little one is just not show quality. I show Lowchens and I go to a lot of dog shows and I have watched the Pom ring many times and your cutie just does not look like the winning dogs. The Pom breed is extremely competitive and it is hard to finish a true show quality dog. You can still learn proper coat care and styling on your baby. Of course, you should have Pom breeders go over your dog and learn from the experience. I still ask other Lowchen people to look over my dogs and tell me what they see as their faults. I am sorry, I am sure this is not what you were expecting to hear.

              Kat

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              • #8
                Long time show person here too, and I agree. This dog is not show quality.

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                • #9
                  Re: First time conformation handler - show grooming a pom

                  I saw the pictures last night, but didn't know how to word it right. I agree with everyone else. Although I grew up showing Borzoi & Whippets, my aunt had l-c Chihuahuas that I handled for her. I have been beat by many poms in the group ring.
                  Please don't get discouraged. Take her to handling class & fun matches. That way you are ready to kick butt in the ring with your next pom.

                  Sent from my T-Mobile myTouch using Tapatalk 2
                  If you sweat the small stuff, all you have is small soggy stuff.....

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                  • #10
                    She may not be show quality but you can practice good coat maintance on her. I do quite a few retired show Poms and they have way more coat then that little one. Definatly take her to handling class and talk to some Pom breeders/showers that way your ready when your next one comes along
                    Never gonna know if you never even try

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                    • #11
                      Ok - thank you to SetterGirl and Dogma for actually answering my question. I didn't realize that this was a "show quality" thread, so I didn't add this information previously. 1) I am only doing conformation for fun, I plan on doing sports with my Pom as well as temperament tests, so showing is just to "get my feet wet", 2) She has been evaluated by our local Kennel Club and she is SHOW QUALITY, but is not extreme, exactly what I was looking for.

                      According to the Pom standard:

                      HEAD
                      Expression  may be referred to as fox-like, denoting his alert and intelligent nature.

                      Ears - small, mounted high and carried erect. Proper ear set should be favored over size.

                      Skull - closed, slightly round but not domed.

                      Major Faults - Round, domed skull.

                      So Poms are supposed to be fox like - and as you can see her ear set and size are not out of the standard. Also, the standard also says that a "round" head is a MAJOR fault, as Susan Lavallee-Shaw indicated that is should be round...

                      As for coat the standard says:

                      Females may not carry as thick or long a coat as a male.

                      I think that not being able to tell secondary sex characteristics has taken over in the show world, I chose these lines for a reason.

                      I just got my video from Foxxlane Pomeranians, and from someone who has experience showing poms for 12 years, she does indicate that current handlers are taking WAY too much coat off the poms these days. She shows how to groom a pom into shape without taking off all of the coat or cutting down to undercoat.

                      So again, thank you to those who stayed on topic, I think from now on I will remain a "lurker".

                      Here is her parents, both finished champions, neither extreme:

                      Dad


                      Mom

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                      • #12
                        I think you really need to consult with other Pom show breeders, particularly your dog's breeder for more precise info on what to do with your pup to make her more ready for the ring. There are different styles of Poms, and knowing the best judges to show under for your Pom's type is part of the game. I think if your dog's breeder says "go for it," then you should. I do agree, today in the show ring, Poms do tend to be overgroomed, but the other side of that is it's tough to compete if you don't go with the trends. I think that is one of the reasons many people enjoy competing in UKC as dogs are not professionally handled. Many breeds are overgroomed in the show ring, but even though the standard may say "natural presentation," that rarely flies in the AKC ring.

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                        • #13
                          Have you considered showing UKC. It's a great way to get your feet wet and you may, like I did, prefer to stick with their shows. I'm in the midwest, and they're based out of Michigan, so it is a lot easier to find nearby shows for me, but they're definitely worth looking at even if you're farther away. In my experience, especially with setters, the UKC standard usually has less coat and more working ability. Since you're in the working dog world, you've probably noticed the Tervurens and Groendaels lack a big difference between the sexes in AKC, but UKC bred females have a lot less coat. I have a Dutch shepherd, and they're only FSS with AKC, so we stick with UKC for his competitions as well. I personally hope the breed never reaches full recognition, but that's a whole other thread. You said you've had working German Shepherds, so I'm sure you've experienced the UKC vs. AKC differences. You'll probably come across a lot more similar personalities to the working dog people at UKC shows over AKC.

                          The competitors at UKC are way more friendly and are willing to help each other out. There's a lot of political drama at the big AKC shows, and if you're just in it for sport it's not worth it. I know there's a lot of debate for which is the better kennel club, but it's really up to the individual dog and what you want to get out of it. The only professional handlers you'll be going up against at UKC are those that own the dog. You can't hire outside help in the conformation ring.

                          Those parents look cute. The dad seems to have a lot more hair, but with an hv and back blowing and brushing you can get a similar poof, just maybe less volume. A Chris Christensen pin brush will help eliminate breakage caused by a slicker.

                          I noticed on the mom's photo that it is Shamrock Kennel & Obedience Club, is your girl a Canadian breeding?

                          Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. I did the opposite as you, started with conformation and switched to the working dog world. I have a 2 year old Dutchie and I'm just getting started figuring out what to do with him besides obedience and agility.

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