This Month's Featured Pet

Chinese Crested Grooming


Maddie, a hairy hairless Crested before grooming.


Minnie showing of her pretty face.

I know we do not see many of these dogs in our salons, but I do see a fair number, so my staff is familiar with how to groom them. Some people have no idea so I thought this would be fun to do a quick instructional blog on how "I" groom them.

There are several varieties of Cresteds, and Hairless, Hairy Hairless, VERY Hairy Hairless and POwderpuff are how we refer to them. A Very Hairy Hairless will actually grow a full covering of hair on their body and sometimes appears to be a puff to those who are not familiar with the breed. Her parents like her shorter than most people do, so we trim up her mane and boots a good bit. Because she is a "hh" she needs her body shaved and I shave it against the lay of the hair with a 40 setting on my Bravura.


Showing the hair she grows on her body

Maddie is a Very Hairy Hairless and as a result grows a fairly good amount of hair on the body where a real Hairless would not. As a result, she needs shaving every month or so to maintain her correct breed appearance.

We use a 40 setting on a Bravura against the lay of the hair to achieve a proper Crested look on her. If you are a bit more adventurous and the dog will tolerate it, you can use a regular women's shaver with shaving cream. Many show crested people use Depilatory cream on the bodies to make them as smooth as possible.

The pattern basically sets itself on most Cresteds.


Maddie all trimmed up.

Head: Their faces are generally shaved like a poodle, but some like to leave the cheeks fuzzy and only shave from the rear corner of the eye forward. Either is correct. Ears are also a personal choice and can be left fringed or shaved. I usually make that decision based on what the owner wants as well as how much hair they have. A thinner coated dog will not have enough ahir to make proper fringes and might look better shaved. I usually trim a visor on this breed, but some people prefer it natural and falling in their faces.


See how the mane falls into a natural pattern? Shave everything else, leaving the mane

Body:The mane will generally set itself, and as my apprentice pointed out to me, it is almost the same shape and positioning as a Poodle's neckline. I like to lift the hair up and shave underneath it a bit as well. This keeps it nice and neat and allows the mane to not get out of control. Generally you would not trim it up very much, except for the split ends. Maddie however had a request to cut it shorter because "she is hot", so I did it. In the photos below you can see what it looks like naturally and what I did to it to make her dad happy.

 Maddieneckcombed down

Mane left natural, untrimmed.


This is Maddie trimmed fairly tight.

Legs: I clean out pads really well and grind nails with my Dremel. That is to prevent them from scratching themselves up badly after being clippered. The boots start aproximately 2 fingers above the knee joint in the back and then in front, try to make them the same height as the rear legs for balance. Go against the lay again on the legs, using caution not to cut the dog in the flaps of skin. You will have to really watch the lay. It can be in swirls, and your shaving direction will change often. If you do not adjust your clipping it will not be smooth.


Maddie's foot trimmed natural

Maddie's foot trimmed tight

Feet: The feet can either be trimmed tight to minimize dirt and trash being brought in on the hair, or left natural.

TAIL: The tail I usually shave about half of it and leave a tuft of hair at the end. Again, it can be left long or trimmed shorter.

Skin: A bath and conditioner is important after clipping. I also go over the dogs after shaving with a lotion and spray them with Benedryl Spray to minimize itching after such a close shave. Avoid Lanolin in the products you use because for some reason this breed tends to be sensitive to it. Hairless have a tendency to have bad skin and if you see one with Acne (blackheads) rest assured it is perfectly normal. Parents should be exfoliating weekly with a Benzoyl Peroxide shampoo and a shower puff. Extreme cases will need an acne medication and SeaBreeze Astringent seems to be the choice of many breeders. An over abundance of acne may need a vet visit for antibiotics and a change in food is likely to relieve some of it. Sunscreen is also a mandatory item for hairless and hair hairless dogs to prevent sunburn or sun poisoning which results in blistering and peeling of the skin.

This is Minnie a Crested/Bichypoo mix sporting her pony trim

This breed is actually very easy to groom yet because we do not do it often, many have no idea how to do it properly. The cut is sometimes called a Pony Clip, and it can be put onto other breeds as well. Yorkies, Maltese and many mixes are prime candidates for this type of trim. Powderpuff cresteds are often put into this trim as well. It is completely possible to do this trim with any length blade you like. I do a mixed breed of my own in this style with a 7F. In the winter we go up to a 4F. WHen people see it they are more likely to let you put it on their dog, so it helps to have photos (or a dog) for people to see it on.


Scrappy is Minnie's Brother but looks like a powderpuff to most people.

Powderpuffs can be done in the Pony Trim or an even all over trim. Sometimes their legs can be trimmed longer than the body, but since their legs are so long and skinny that is harder to do than it might appear. In many cases, powderpuffs and mixes of cresteds and anything else will have a made that patterns itself in. The hair is a different texture and tends to lay flat where the mane would appear on a hairless.


You can see the way the mane is self setting the pattern on his back ven though his dad was not a crested. 

For more information on this breed you can go to Crestars, for the most comprehensive site on the breed I have seen.

Meet Shadow, My Hurricane Katrina Success Story

We all say that if there was a need for us to evacuate we would take our pets with us. NO WAY would we ever leave them behind. I fully believe that many people in New Orleans and the Coast of Mississippi found themselves in a situation they never thought they would find themselves in after Hurricane Katrina ran ashore with the fury and destructive power that she had behind her. Many had taken their pets to shelters, and many had left them in places that had ever before been flooded. They thought they were safe doing those things. They thought they were going home the next day after the storm like they always had. Sadly, for some, they never did go home. For some they never left their homes. I saw firsthand the damage that this storm inflicted on the area in the days immediately following the storm and cannot imagine the horror and fear that the residents must have experienced in the hours leading up to the end of the storm. A friend of mine who raises cockers tell a story of his partner, himself, 4 cocker puppies and 7 adult cockers in the closet of their master bedroom on the second floor of their home watching water come in thinking they were going to die. I cannot imagine how terrified they and their dogs must have been. I hope I never have to experience it personally.

There are so many horror stories of what happened to people in this storm. Many were forced to relinquish control of their pets at the SuperDome, at schools and other city and county facilities they had taken refuge in. They had no idea that they were going to be taken away from the area on buses and that they would not be allowed to bring their pets with them. Remember the little boy screaming hysterically at the SuperDome as the aid worked took away his dog Snowball? It is one of the most vivid memories in many people's minds after the storm was over and there was nowhere for them to return home to.

While Snowball and his boy captured the media - and the world's - attention, there were thousands of other stories that went untold. Like the ones behind these photos.


There were some success stories:


But for every one of those images there were hundreds of these:


There were stories too horrific to read completely, like what happened in St Bernard's Parrish in Louisiana when the people who had sought shelter in the school were forced to leave their pets behind, assured they would be returning to save them, only to find out later that it never happened, and probably was never intended to happen. WARNING! THIS WILL UPSET YOU!

After the storm passed we had rescue groups step in to help relocate and try to save as many pets as possible. No one is sure of the exact number of pets saved, or of those reunited. It is estimated that less than 25% of all animals rescued from the area were reunited with their rightful owners. Many people are probably still wondering "What happened to our dog" and many are hoping like hell that their beloved pet found a safe, loving home.

I know of at least one cocker that did find a tremendous and happy home.

Houston Cocker Rescue stepped up and took in hundreds of cocker and cocker mixes. We were asked if we had room to take in a few and we did. I had a client who had lost their buff female cocker, so we requested rescue send us a buff female. We got Abby. Abby had survived the SuperDome only to be handed over to rescue after the family discovered their home was destroyed and they were being sent to a shelter in Houston. She was handed over to rescue directly. We knew her name, her history and her story. She was a sweet dog. My client however did not end up with Abby.

Included in the dogs my husband brought back from his run to Montgomery AL to pick up the dogs was a very pretty, very loving black cocker spaniel the rescue had named Buddy. We knew nothing about him at all except that he was found recently groomed, wandering the streets of New Orleans after the flooding with flood water and debris in his coat. The rescue said he was covered in sewage and trash but oh so sweet. They shaved him, bathed him and took him to a foster home; hoping that whoever lost him would come looking. No one ever did. I knew that if I could not find a home for this pretty black boy he would stay with me. He was so loving it was obvious he had been loved and cared for. It broke my heart that he was now living in limbo. How confused he must be! ALL of them must be confused for that matter!

When we had the dogs safe in the shop, I called Pam and Larry and they came in to pick up Abby. When they walked past Buddy's cage he stood up and barked and went to wagging all over. It was as if he knew this couple. Pam stopped and scolded him saying "BOY! Who do you think we are?" and Larry said "He knows we are here for him" and they never even looked at Abby. They took him home that day and they have been in love with him ever since. Now, don't feel sad for Abby, because last I heard she was very happy living a good life with a family that truly loves her. She had a lot of issues related to stress and abandonment to be worked on, but she did well.

Buddy was housebroken, picky about his food, will not drink the water if it is not cold – he actually prefers that it have ice in it- and he loved their other dog, Sidney. They changed his name because Buddy didn't feel "right" to them, and he became Shadow because that is what he is. He is their shadow, waking everywhere they walk, taking care of the grandbaby, and letting them know if Sidney got out of line. He does have one issue they cannot fix. He is afraid of rain. DEATHLY afraid of rain. He will run and get on the bed when it rains and will not come off until it stops. We can only imagine what he went through that horrible week or so he was wandering the city looking for his family, but it still haunts him to this day.

The good news is he has found a new family. They love him very, very much and they want me to tell you all that if he is your dog you were missing, he is safe and sound. You cannot have him back. They would do anything for him. He misses you, but he is happy where he is. Rest comfortable knowing he is safe and loved.

There was some good news to come out of this tragedy. Shadow, as they call him now, was one of those stories. Shadow is on the right and Sidney, their other cocker and Shadow's partner in crime is on the left. They lost Sidney about a year ago so now it is only Shadow at home.

Sidney and shadow


So, out of the tragedy that was "Katrina" came stories of hope and success as well as horror and regret. Things that happened during this crisis taught us all how to do things in a better way. I hope there is never another situation like this in our history. I do not condemn those who made the choices I do not understand. I rather commend those that helped and made a difference and honor those that sacrificed of themselves to help or save others, both human and animals alike. We can all say "I would never leave my dogs" but how do you know until you are faced with the ultimate decision: My kids, my life or my dogs? How do you choose? Hopefully none of us will ever be in that situation. I do not know how I would respond, but like the family that lost Shadow, I would always wonder "what happened" if I had to do the unthinkable. I can only hope that they would find someone to love them like he did.

I praise all of you who were involved in the rescue efforts. The world owes you a lot. More than we can ever repay. And for those of you who lost, we feel your pain and wish we could help relieve it in some way; like letting you know dogs like Shadow and Abby are happy and healthy. It might make a difference in your life somehow knowing that there were stories of hope and love. I hope it helps. It helps me.