A relative newcomer to the show circuit, the Chinese Crested has nonetheless been a distinct and known breed for centuries, traveling with the Chinese sailors of old to the far flung corners of the earth, emerging under various names as far back as the 15th century in South America and Mexico. Finding great favour with the ancient mariners, this little breed of dog was a great companion and managed the rat and vermin population on the ships, a great boon especially during plague times.
Admitted to Kennel Club licensed events in 1994, the Chinese Crested is represented in two varieties, "The Hairless" and the Powder Puff" with both possible within the one litter. The Hairless is just that, with hair only on the head, tail and feet whilst the Powder Puff is completely covered with hair which is required to be soft and silky.
This playful and entertaining breed is a joy to own and show, however, I am frequently besieged by exhibitors who are often fazed by the grooming of the Powder Puff. Having owned a Hairless, they then are confronted with a Powder Puff and unsure as to what to do. Your standard states variously in the two main standards ie: AKC and Kennel Club - a soft veil, flowing, long guard hairs over a short silky undercoat, and straight. Penalties apply for excessively heavy, kinky or curly coat. So, the picture one has to maintain for the ideal silhouette, is not too big, not too excessive and smoothly flowing without over exaggeration of grooming, but, maintaining a neat appearance.
For the Powder Puff as all colours apply, choose the shampoo best suited to your current need, Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo for a coat needing toning and lessening of unwanted warm tones, Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna extract for shine without altering the texture or Plush Puppy Natural Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose for flattening and softening a perhaps too heavy coat or a dry coat. Dilute each of these approx 5 parts water to one part shampoo for easier and even dispersion throughout the coat. I am dead keen to always have an even result plus measure at all times the dilution rate so as to replicate the procedure exactly each time. The additional advantage is that you minimise the amount of shampoo applied and thus lessen static in the coat. One should choose using the same criteria for the Hairless - there is just less hair but the choices are the same.
For the final rinse, again even dispersion is desired and I like to recommend a mix that you leave in and don't rinse out. This is not only fast it is able to be reproduced each week and gives even dispersion. No point having the products on just a part of the coat when you need them through the whole of the coat. For each Powder Puff Crestie, mix one litre/2 pints water with 1 dessertspoon (I.e 2 teaspoons) Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner, 1 teaspoon Plush Puppy Swishy Coat and if working with a heavy, voluminous coat, add 1 teaspoon Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream. The conditioner will assist in keeping the coat in a desirable pH state by closing the outer cuticle layer and assist in maintaining moisture, the Swishy will reduce static, aid straightening and add shine, and the Blow Dry Cream will flatten and soften. They each do a little of what the other will do but they each have over riding primary outcomes, hence the inclusion of at least the first two and the third if dealing with a particularly heavy or boofy coat. Apply with a large sponge and saturate the coat to ensure it is fully through the whole of the coat. Do not rinse out. You can adjust this recipe with either a little more or less of each item but this is a good basic overall recommendation. For a cottony or puppy coat change, add a touch more Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream.
Squish the excess out of the coat by hand and then blow dry using a warm not hot, dryer. Section the top layers of the coat up and starting at the underneath layers, dry the coat from root to end so as to minimise any flyaway effect. Using a gentle action with a cushioned Pin Brush ( Plush Puppy Pin Brush) so as not to overstretch the hair when in it's fragile wet state, switch to the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush once the coat is approx 3/4 dry as this brush will smooth the hair. The Plush Puppy Pin Brush is for easy brushing and not stretching and the Porcupine with it's half bristle and half nylon cushioned structure adds more tension and thus finish. However do not use any bristle or densely bristled brush on a wet coat as you can over stretch at that point. By waiting till 3/4 dry you are safe to use the correct brush for straightening and smoothing. Try not to dry by brushing and flicking as this causes static and does not get the best action. Use the brush slowly and apply near root area on the top of the section and slide an inch or so and hold and dry with your warm dryer to flatten the root area as much as possible. Now switch the brush to the underneath of the section and slide whilst drying and then hold once you reach near the ends - the hair should be over the top of the brush curving over the cushion. This helps to curve the ends slightly under rather than flicking them up as in the usual brush and flick drying action that a lot of people wrongly tend to use. Your desired outcome is to keep this coat draping, straight and flat.
The above is your basic routine for the show ring - you can for general maintenance, dilute all shampoos up to 10:1, but 5:1 is the best for show performance and I would still utilise the rinse mix even when not showing, to maintain the coat in pristine condition at all times. I suggest using Plush Puppy Revivacoat for daily moisture during the week either by direct application with your hands or by mixing a golf ball amount with 1 cup water and spray onto the coat. This is a good mix for wrapping for those who like to go the whole distance and is an ideal leave in moisturiser for maintaining hydration in the coat. Hydration equates to elasticity and good elasticity ensures good length and longevity to the coat.
For the Hairless, apply Plush Puppy Revivacoat directly to the skin to keep suppleness and good texture to the skin. You can often get a pimply skin and these need to be sloughed off regularly with a sugar based skin scrub as one uses on human skin. There are some excellent quality ones around that are gentle and do a great job. Follow with a good moisturiser such as Revivacoat applied daily. Remember they are quite unique being able to actually sweat.
For brushing, use Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray - this is an unbelievably performant product for disentangling, dematting or just general brushing dilute according to need but for most situations, dilute the Concentrate approx 40:1 i.e 40 parts water to one part OMG. If using the OMG "Ready To Use", dilute with euqal quantities of water to OMG. For a heavier action dilute Ready To Use with 50% water or the Concentrate at 30:1. You cannot live without this product! It is truly amazing.
Some other helpful hints for grooming Chinese Crested:
If your Hairless has skin problems then use Plush Puppy Sensitive Skin Shampoo diluted at 3:1 initially till the skin improves and then diluted progressively through to as much as 10:1 for maintenance.
A good extra for the Powder Puff's or even the furnishings on the Hairless is Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tspn to one cup water and applied during the week in a water spray (shake well before use). This will help keep the lengths on the coat if you are not wrapping as most don't. This stops matting, helps through the coat change etc and enables you to get that good length on the coats. Remember, a good coat starts long before the show!
Keep Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular on hand for quick dry cleaning at shows or those long weekend shows. This all natural product is a wonder for an instant clean without wetting the coat - after all, you have spent the time to blow dry and get it smooth so you don't want to wet it down and have to dry all over again! Just toss on the Powder Puff and work through with your fingers on the soiled area and either brush out or blow out with a quick blast of the dryer. Instant clean and deodorised as well.
All that is left to do is make sure the coat has a neat appearance so some judicious trimming is allowed. Do it wisely.
For show day you can use the OMG for brushing and then Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm which is a non greasy anti stat lotion applied to the coat just prior to ring time. You can re apply this several times throughout the day without fear of overdoing it. Just keeps that coat from flying away in the ring.
I do go the full routine and apply Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that fresh fragrance and deodorising action. I believe judges experience all the aspects of a dog and a pleasant smelling dog is one to behold.
Your Crestie is a regal & intense yet playful little dog. He certainly is entertaining and agile. His good trotting gait is a miniature working dog gait without hackney and never stilted. Moving with good reach and drive he is a formidable opponent in any show ring. There are more and more of the Cresties finding their way to the red carpet as more and more people master the intricacies of grooming presentation and it is simple once you know!
Never be fazed and never be mystified. It is all learnable! I am captivated by this breed keeping a sharp eye out for whenever they are showcased. Truly magical.