What’s it like to actually groom a dog?
Evolution of dog grooming industry over the past 2,000 years
By Colin Macgillivray, Arts Editor
From splashing through muddy piles of half-melted snow to getting soaked during flurries, winter is one of the filthiest times for our canine companions. Matted paws and dirt-stained bellies become commonplace and for countless Calgary families, trips to the dog groomers become a monthly routine.
But what actually happens after you drop off your furry friends at the groomers?
Jackie Boulton, co-owner and stylist at Calgary’s Mucky Pups says that one of the hardest parts about her career is educating the public on dog grooming.
“A lot of people don’t really understand the work that goes into it,” says Boulton while clutching her dog, Sasha. “The longer the hair, the more complicated the cut and if a dog’s hair is matted, we will have to clip them. It’s a whole process that is time-based, and some dogs just take longer than others.”
Boulton, who has been grooming dogs professionally for over three decades, had no knowledge of the industry before she stumbled into the dog business profession over three decades ago.
“It was not something we thought we would ever do, own our own shop,” says Boulton. “We kind of just fell into it, a bunch of circumstances and all that, but we definitely had no idea what it was going to be like.”
Most pet-owners just drop off their pups and return a few hours later to pick them up, but few really understand the ins-and-outs of the industry. Deb Cameron, Boulton’s sister and co-owner of Mucky Pups believes that the dog grooming industry has come a long way since they opened their shop 22 years ago.
“It’s evolved a lot over the years since we started,” says Cameron. “It wasn’t even considered a career.”
With the history of dog grooming dating back to ancient Rome, the dog grooming industry has gone through an insane evolution. Originally, monuments and coins featured pups that would resemble modern-day poodles. At the time, the Roman elite had these poodles groomed in a way so that they would resemble lions.
A transformation of the dog grooming industry occurred at the turn of the 19th century, with doggie barber shops opening up in marketplaces in Europe and North America. These shops were relatively small, cramped and were at times incredibly unsafe for pets.
Suddenly, canine aristocrats around the globe were clamouring for dedicated groomers, professional equipment and shops, and the dog grooming industry was born.
So, next time you drop your furry friend off at the groomers, hopefully the storied history of dog grooming will have you appreciate the work that goes into making your pooch fit for the elite… or just have a snazzy haircut.