This beautifully balanced member of the dog show fraternity, could easily be dismissed as a no frills dog because of his short coat and easy going, no fuss manner. Wrong! He has a lot of presence and style and ought never to be shoved out in the ring without the formal rituals of good grooming.
The Bulldog may be a power pack type of dog but he can display oodles of glamour given the chance. As your standard says the coat should be fine in texture, short, close and smooth then we have the products to help you achieve this!
Firstly let’s go for some shine - when bathing attention has to be given to finding the right shampoo for your Bulldog as this breed can be beset by a scurfy powdery dandruff problem. If this is the case, use the Plush Puppy Sensitive Skin Shampoo at a ratio of 3:1 or 1 part shampoo to 3 parts water till the scurf clears and then dilute further to a maximum of 10:1 for maintenance. For maximum shine use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna as this is known as the “shine” shampoo. Use at a ratio of 5:1 for show grooming.
Your standard also states the coat should be lying smooth and close. No fluffy coats for this dog! So scratch any ideas of using a conditioner as this can tend to fluffiness in a coat texture though it will assist in softening the coat. I recommend you keep the focus of shine and smoothness in mind and use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil as a rinse after shampooing, use at a ration of 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt water. Pour this all over and work well into the skin and leave in - do not wash out. This also helps keep any scurf at bay and leaves the coat smelling wonderful and with great healthy vigour and shine. It does not make the coat oily.
If you have, as is permitted, white markings on your Bulldog, then you can use either the Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo for a creamy white finish on those areas or Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo for a pearly white finish. Then follow with the Seabreeze Oil as above.
Personally, I like to blow dry this coat. Cool dryer and blast all the dead hair out. I find this rolls the coat and keeps it regenerating without the holes one associates with coat shedding. He will shed, but it won’t be a moth eaten finish - it will be even. Now you have a good even surface to work with and complying thoroughly with your standards requirements.
Now let the grooming begin - if you thought this was the end of the contribution to show day - you have another thing coming. I believe in the principle of 100 small things to make a great dog rather than any one big thing. I have seen ordinary dogs turned into extraordinary dogs with the right approach and yet they were always good dogs. Unfortunately, no-one else got to see just how good they could be till taken in hand.
Your dog ought to have wrinkles and they have to be cleaned regularly and properly. A little hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip/cotton bud or small cloth and wiped through to keep them clean and dry. I kind of like the old liquid ear cleaner for the ears and the folds - great too for drying out hot spots. Even a solution of water and Nappi San is not a bad practice. Watch out also for that reddening around the toes. Again as this dog likes to get his feet and face wet, you need to watch out for reddening. My old recipe of 1 dspn Apple Cider Vinegar per day in the food for this sized dog is a good one as I believe it helps keep the gut alkaline. Acidity is a curse for show dogs that have whites. A light application of a Smokers Tooth Paste is a nice gentle bleach for reddening too. Apply, leave on for 10 - 15 mins and wash off.
Trim the whiskers. - this breed looks great with a clean face. Neaten his tuck up with a pair of clippers turned upside down and if you have a wobbly hand, hold your left forefinger and middle finger under the front of the clipper head just behind the blade and, keeping a loose wrist, arc the angle slightly to present a clean silhouette.
Using thinning shears, neaten under his tail and neaten the point of tail by rounding off. Proceed to neaten also the 2 cowlicks where the 2 hair patterns meet at back of stifle. This dog does call for good musculature and to appear powerfully developed with all that power pack of dog showing under the skin. You don’t want to leave any fluffy bits standing out away from the body to detract from the clean line he must present.
Whiten up his whites on show day with a touch of Plush Puppy Coverup Cream applied with a barely damp piece of kitchen sponge and worked against the growth of the coat. Apply a dab of chalk block or loose chalk onto a small bristle hairbrush and allow to dry. Comb or brush afterwards for a clean finish. This gives a clean and bright finish to his whites and will within reasonable conditions last all day.
Spritz now with a spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb. This does not give a greasy finish but gives a great deal of lustre to the coat. Spray again just before ringtime.
I also like a spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for a nice clean smelling dog. It literally deodorises and gives a pleasant fragrance to the dog negating most odours with ease. I also use it on the dog’s mats if I am being flamboyant and frivolous. I can be very frivolous when I am away for a cluster of shows and cannot find time nor facilities for another bathing. Keep on hand Plush Puppy Wonder Wash for those last minute emergencies too as this will clean up the whites, pronto. Just spray, foam with the fingers and towel off.
You can step it up a notch if you are ready for it, with a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust. Gee, but I like this stuff. Applied judiciously to your cushion 1⁄2 bristle/ 1⁄2 plastic Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush and brushed through, allowing the powder to settle and the shimmer to stay behind on the surface, can look very glamorous. Don’t overuse and abuse this stuff. It is not the aim to turn the dog into the glitter fairy - just to make him shine and shimmer for all to see that wonderfully muscular body of a dog all sleek and clean and shiny.
Good handling, good presentation and a good dog - what else can beat that?
- Cheryl Le Court