A few years ago whilst sitting ringside at Crufts for Toy Group Specials I was blown away by the entry of the little Yorkie who looked as if he owned the ring. His demeanour was of a much larger dog yet all in this small package. Placed on his box for the stacked lineup, it was clear to me this was a real winner. Sure enough he went through as I had predicted and also won Best In Show. So, how does one put together the presentation that shouts loudly to even a non Yorkie owner that this dog has star quality and is a clear winner?
It is that indefinable thing that everyone from here to there tries to quantify in endless books and articles - it is star quality! That shining example of a winner equals a good dog and presentation, presentation and presentation. That means the 100 little things you have to do to make the whole. It is not easy and it is not always going to be quick, but to win you must do it all. That’s what separates the men from the boys and the amateurs from the pro’s believe me - the attention to detail and that anal approach to everything you do. We are all half possessed anyway when we attend shows every week, so why not go the whole hog?
Your standard calls for the coat of the Yorkie to hang evenly and “perfectly” straight. Now I reason that if a standard calls for something specifically then that means they really want to see that. It is not a kind of, sort of request. It is a command. Standards are the bibles of dog showing and breeding. Nothing else and no-one else’s interpretation is final - they are just opinions but the standard says it all. When in doubt refer to the standard.
So the quest for the coat is two major things that I can ascertain - correct colour and a straight silky coat. Simple but not always easy to achieve unless you do all the right things to it for the glamour presentation and if you show outdoors, keeping that nice straight coat looking like a waterfall is sometimes a hard battle.
The behind the scenes work for this coat is the focus - doing the hard yard each week with wrapping and judicious attention to maintaining the texture and length. Bathing this dog is a quest to keep the shine and not allow the coat to become dehydrated which will hasten loss of coat colour. Use Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose diluted 5 parts water to one part shampoo. If the coat is beginning to fade it’s colour, then use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo 3:1 (i.e. 3 parts water to one part shampoo) to enrich and deepen the tonal qualities.. The Whitening Shampoo does not lighten or bleach but tones & minimises unwanted warm tones. This is a very useful shampoo to get that dark steely blue to the blue areas and deepen the tans which are required to be darker at roots with the Headfall a rich golden tan. You cannot colour a dog can you? You can assist by toning.
Now as most small dog people take along a cast of thousands to every show, it is probably a good idea to save time during the bathing process by combining a couple of steps.. In the final rinse water, add 1 tablespoon Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner and 1 teaspoon Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to ½ gallon/2 litres water. Play with this mix but it is a good overall one. Squish this liberally through the coat and thoroughly saturate. Leave in. The Swishy will give the lovely drape, anti stat and smooth straightness you require. The Silk Protein will give the comb through and softness to the coat. This is your show bath routine. You can skip the Swishy between shows if you wish.
When drying keep the air from the dryer coolish and ensure the flow of the air is running down the length of the coat and not upwards which just causes snarls and tangles. Don’t allow your brushing technique to be one that creates lots of static either. That means less busy, busy brushing and doing slower steadier brushing - all that agitation with a brush creates agitation! Use your Plush Puppy Pin Brush whilst the coat is very wet so as not to overly stretch it and then switch to the Plush Puppy Metro (anti stat) Brush when the coat is ¾ dry for smooth final finish. Stroking down the length of the coat to the tips and holding the brush in place and allowing the air to do the work for you will also prevent stretching and breakage. Hair when wet is susceptible to damage so it takes a calm and gentle hand when dealing with length on a coat.
Wrap using Plush Puppy Revivacoat which is a great non greasy moisturiser. It’s an aerosol moisturising mousse so you can either apply directly with your hands or do as we all do and for wrapping add 1 golf ball amount to 1 cup water and spray onto each section before wrapping. Use greaseproof paper or the special wraps you can now buy and gently band each section. Unwrap and redo at least every other day.
You can also between shows use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil for protection and hydration. This fabulous product is Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula Oil and other natural niceties all in one bottle. It is water soluble and readily washes out of the coat without much ado. Use 1 tspn to 1 litre/2 pints water and leave in. Gives a nice shine and enriches the coat colour. This is a good protector for the coat especially if the coat is less than wonderful. You can also once a month or more if necessary, use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue which is a heavy duty protein treatment containing literally everything known to man that is good for a coat. Rinse well and follow with the Silk Protein Conditioner and rinse again to give the comb through qualities that conditioner adds. Treatments treat and conditioners which are ostensibly acid rinses , close the cuticle and allow easier combing.
You can trim for neatness and you do trim the hair on tips of ears. The fall on the head is tied with a bow or two - prefer the one bow myself and, the way you place the bow is in keeping with the balance of the head and not dragging too far back nor sitting into the eyes. Place it to suit the best attributes of your dog. Practice this till perfect or watch a clever groomer do this when out of town!
Tails should be carried slightly higher than level of back though with the introduction of tail docking in many countries the picture of the tail of old is changed. Should make for some interesting silhouettes in the ring and my opinion of what looks correct in these cases is still out with the jury.
You have done the check list I hope before show day. You have wrapped muzzle hair, top knot hair, body coat hair, fall, tail hair etc and conditioned, oiled, treated and moisturised and the coat is flawless with colour rich and true, all coat lengths draping like a waterfall to the ground. The coat is not scratchy, it feels silky and is glossy. You can add a tspn Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream to the final rinse mix of conditioner and Swishy if the coat is a changing from puppy coat to older coat or is a too boofy coat that refuses to drape. Blow Dry Cream will flatten and soften.
Now for that show day glamour, use a touch of Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm onto your hands and apply from the part to the tips of the coat. This is a great anti stat and can be used repeatedly during the day without greasiness. The coat will not separate and hang stringy. Apply an extra amount to the hem of the coat prior to going into the ring. Always apply to the lengths when brushing. Try to avoid the bristle brush during the day to avoid static. I know this is a sacred cow as the bristle brush polishes the hair but it causes static too so don’t over do it.
Your Yorkie does have origins as a terrier from the Scottish weavers and was blended with a few different ancestors along the way. He is spirited and he is cheeky and does have a big dog mentality. However as a Toy he is often pampered yet on show day he will strut it along with the best and biggest and surrounded by all that wonderful glamour of a long swinging coat. He is a busy little dog with a very confident air and his demeanour says I want it all and I want it now. Gosh! attitude and glamour all in the one package. No wonder they win such a lot.