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Westminster dog show 2011: The hair makes the dog

February 15, 2011 |  8:18 pm

Poodle at Westminster

The Westminster dog show is nothing if not a reliable source of silly dog photos. It's one of our favorite things about the show, which concludes Tuesday night with Sporting, Working and Terrier group competitions followed by the big finale, Best in Show.

We could happily look at dog pictures -- of puppies, gray-muzzled oldsters, mutts, purebreds, dogs wearing costumes, you name it -- all day long. But throw in the additional heaping helping of silliness that comes along with a big dog show -- the oddly coiffed fur, the strange, bedazzled neckwear that dogs wear to keep their ears from getting messy when they fall in a food bowl or water dish -- and you're bound to get some truly interesting animal photos.

Above, a standard poodle named Sparkle is already yawning -- and judging from her hairdo, she's not even close to being done with her grooming session yet.

Smooth-coated dogs -- your Rottweilers, miniature pinschers, Labradors and the like -- have it relatively easy in the pre-show grooming department. But for the breeds with specific styling needs -- like long-haired Yorkshire terriers, shih-tzus and Maltese, the elaborately clipped poodles and Bedlington terriers and the corded dogs like Komondorok and Pulik, which can take days to fully dry after bathing -- grooming can be a lengthy affair.

After the jump, we've assembled a ton of our favorite photos that document the behind-the-scenes grooming that goes on at Westminster.

Komondor at Westminster

Above, a corded Komondor trots (in the dog-show world, it's called "gaiting") in the ring at Westminster on Tuesday. The Komondor's coat naturally forms into cords, and "[f]ailure of the coat to cord by two years of age is a disqualification," according to the breed's standard.

Hairless Chinese crested at Westminster

A Chinese crested named Parfait waits backstage at Madison Square Garden before entering the ring on Monday. Chinese cresteds come in two coat styles: Hairless (which isn't really hairless, just mostly hairless -- as you can see, Parfait here has a pretty impressive mop of hair on her head and ears, just not much elsewhere) and powder puff.

Poodle at Westminster dog show

A poodle who's clearly used to this relaxes while being groomed backstage on Monday.

Old English sheepdog prepares for the Westminster dog show

A groomer can never be too careful. That's why D.J., an Old English sheepdog, wears hair ties to keep his fur away from his mouth before his class is called on Monday.

A Maltese named 'Smartee' is seen backstage during the 135th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Smartee the Maltese has already been bathed and brushed, and it looks like he has a long way to go before he's show-ready.

Bichon frise at Westminster dog show

Tommy, a Bichon frise, sports a festive wrap of brightly colored gauze around his tail prior to entering the ring Monday.

A Havanese named Starlet is blow-dried before competition.

Starlet, a Havanese, must be blow-dried as part of her preparations for Best of Breed competition.

Puli at the Westminster dog show

Bear, a Puli, shows off his impressively long cords. Unlike the Komondor, the Puli can be shown with its coat either corded or brushed out.

A Basset hound wears a brightly colored wrap around its ears to keep them from getting dirty before competition starts.

Many groomers opt to place wraps -- like the festive sequined purple one this basset hound is modeling -- around the ears of their floppy-eared charges in order to keep them clean before competition.

Lhasa apso at Westminster dog show

Penny, a lhasa apso, wears bright red elastics to keep her long fur out of her eyes.

Chow chow at Westminster dog show

A chow chow named Cody is groomed before the competition begins.

Shih-tzu at Westminster dog show

A shih-tzu named Austin Powers, right, is shown in a state of partial groom backstage on Monday.

Afghan hound at Westminster dog show 2011

An Afghan hound named Leo shows a different take on the ear wrap trend.

Poodle is groomed at Westminster dog show 2011

A groomer puts the finishing touches on Parker the standard poodle. The pom-poms on Parker's hips and feet are the hallmark of the Continental clip, the most popular approved grooming style for show poodles in the U.S. 

Old English sheepdog at Westminster

Jordan the Old English sheepdog is seen backstage before his class on Monday.

Yorkie at Westminster

A groomer works to make sure Jack the Yorkshire terrier's face is perfectly clean before his class. 

Maltese at Westminster

Smartee the Maltese gives a lick to his owner Anja Mali.

Shih-tzu gets a bath at Westminster

A shih-tzu named Kindle waits to be blow-dried after receiving a bath.

West2PoodlePaws

A standard poodle's front legs, featuring their trademark pom-poms, are shown.

West2CockerEars

A parti-colored cocker spaniel wears gauze around his ears.

Chinese crested at Westminster dog show 2011

A Chinese crested demonstrates the windblown look.

English springer spaniel at Westminster dog show

An English springer spaniel named Potter is groomed before his class is called.

Corded poodle at Westminster

Parker, a corded standard poodle, waits backstage after competing in Best of Breed.

West2CockerEars2

A parti-colored cocker spaniel named Jackson stands on a table in the backstage grooming area before his class is called into the ring.

West2Basset

A basset hound named Nicole poses for a photo in the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

RELATED DOG SHOW PHOTOS:
Westminster dog show 2011: The contestants prepare
Westminster dog show 2010: Day 1 in photos

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photos, from top: Poodle: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Komondor: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Chinese crested: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press. Poodle: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press. Old English sheepdog: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters. Maltese: Justin Lane / European Pressphoto Agency. Bichon frise: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters. Havanese: Spencer Platt / Getty Images. Puli: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press. Basset hound: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Lhasa apso: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press. Chow chow: Seth Wenig / Associated Press. Shih-tzu: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters. Afghan hound: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Poodle: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Old English sheepdog: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Yorkshire terrier: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Maltese: Justin Lane / European Pressphoto Agency. Shih-tzu: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Poodle: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Cocker spaniel: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Chinese crested: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images. English springer spaniel: Jeff Christensen / Associated Press.  Poodle: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press. Cocker Spaniel: Mike Segar / Reuters. Basset hound: Tina Fineberg / Associated Press.

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