A HUNTER dog groomer has clinched two prizes at the Pup Cup, a national competition for canine clipping experts.
New Lambton’s Hannah Grice was one of several Hunter competitors testing their skills against the nation’s best. She took her poodle Ivy and a client, schnauzer Lucy, to Coffs Harbour to compete on the big stage against almost 60 dogs and dozens of groomers from around Australia.
“There were even a couple of girls from Singapore,” Ms Grice said.
Ms Grice, who operates Dog House Newcastle in New Lambton, took placings in both the novice terrier and novice poodle classes.
“When you compete you have got to look at a lot of things like coat, texture and temperament,” she said.
“I’ve never competed with my poodle before, so it is special – but you know just how naughty she is, too.”
The two-day event was billed as run for groomers by groomers, with rules tweaked from events in capital cities to better suit competitors.
Coffs Harbour groomer Jazz Fitzgerald started the event to offer a chance for groomers to gather and show under conditions designed to showcase their craft at its peak. In its first year, the Pup Cup is the country’s biggest independent grooming show and the only one of its kind outside a metropolitan area.
Ms Fitzgerald said the level of difficulty groomers faced was something the event wanted to reveal to the general public.
“Basically you’re moulding these big fluffy dogs into something that’s a proper breed cut … there’s a lot of skill involved, you’ve got a moving subject and you’re holding sharp objects,” she said.
Many groomers use clients’ pets to showcase their skills, a negotiation Ms Fitzgerald said compared to asking to borrow someone’s child.
“We’ll pluck up the courage and say ‘I really love your dog , can I take it away for a weekend?,” she said. “There can be a sour face after a ribbon isn’t awarded but I think that’s across the board, it’s about sportsmanship.”