Dog shows are no joke. The competition is stiff, the fur is shiny, and the beauty routines are intense. Similar to a beauty pageant or a fashion show, you can walk down any aisle in the prepping halls during the National Dog Show and be forced to dodge puffs of hairspray and the wind streams of hundreds of high-powered blow dryers.
When walking through the aisles and watching all the dogs get primped and pampered, I almost felt guilty for simply spraying some sea salt in my wavy hair back in the hotel room. That’s when I came upon, quite honestly, the shiniest coat of hair I’ve ever seen on a pint-sized Yorkshire Terrier named Rudy.
Now when I say shiny hair, I’m not even close to exaggerating. This dog’s hair was sleeker than Ariana Grande’s ponytail at a red carpet event. I couldn’t walk past without knowing—and quite frankly, stealing—some of his beauty tips.
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Rudy’s long-time handler, Vicki Meadows explained to me that he was 5 years old and had been competing for only a year and a half. However, in that short amount of time, Rudy was already a platinum Grand Champion—a title that is only held by three dogs. He is currently the number one Yorkshire Terrier in all of the United States.
But this fame and fortune doesn’t come easy. Meadows went into extensive detail as to how the small pup prepares for a national competition. Waking up at 5 a.m., Rudy is bathed, blow-dried, and ironed for a minimum of two-and-a-half-hours. Yes, you heard that right, and so did my dull, flat five-minute waves. “When you have a Yorkie, if the coat falls through your hands, that’s true silk,” Meadows said.
In terms of products, Rudy actually uses a ton of human products, since his hair is silky just like ours. The tiny dog is bathed using Biolage moisturizing shampoo and conditioning balm. He then is blow-dried in the direction that the coat grows and is brushed during the drying process. Meadows says she specifically uses Chris Christensen brushes and combs on the dog because they are so excellent in avoiding breakage.
After the coat is dry, it’s time to flat-iron it. “I’m a Chi woman!” Meadows said with excitement. “Every piece of hair needs to be ironed.” The handler uses a Chi straightener as well as the key to a sleek coat—shine spray. “I like to make sure there are no fly-aways with the anti-static,” she said. When the coat lies flat along a pin-straight part, that’s when Rudy is looking his best. Perhaps the final step of the beauty routine involves putting in his signature hair bow. Certain breeds are required to have their hair tied back in the ring and of course Rudy has a bow designer who has created his good luck hairpiece specifically for him.
But that’s not all in terms of Rudy’s beauty routine. Health is extremely important when it comes to the shininess and strength of a pup’s hair. Rudy’s workout of choice involves swimming in a jacuzzi twice a week. “He has more leg muscle than most big dogs,” Meadows said. His food and vitamin intake are also closely monitored.
Aside from his jacuzzi and pamper sessions, Rudy gets the full spa-treatment twice a week with a private masseuse. Unfortunately, the tiny pup slipped a disc not too long ago and his chiropracter found it. Ever since, he’s been getting a special massage multiple times a week to soothe his little body. Yes, I’m officially jealous of a six-pound dog.
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When asked whether or not Rudy gets to play outside after all this prepping and pampering, Meadows answers enthusiastically. “His hair is wrapped with wax paper, sometimes 36 to 38 wraps in total,” she said. “Then we put a silk jacket on him and he runs in the backyard.” While Rudy may seem like a diva, he is still just a dog like any other.
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We ended the chat by discussing his evening routine. “Last night we got to the hotel and he ate, and then jumped right up on one of the fluffy pillows on the king-sized bed and fell asleep,” Meadows said. “We let him do that because he’s a star. He’s the man.”
I can’t disagree—Rudy IS the man. And with that, I’ll see myself (and my common, shine-free hair) out.