Love it or hate it, it’s swept the country by storm and both groomers and pet owners alike can’t get enough of it. We are fascinated by the styling, by the shapes, by the seemingly endless permutations, and the technical challenges it presents. ‘How to do Asian Fusion grooming’ is very high on the list of Google’s most popular search terms, with visual references but very little instruction coming back to feed our hunger for more knowledge.
Defining it is more difficult than it might seem on the surface. From extensive travel to training schools and salons around the world it is clear different countries have their own slant or style. For instance, the Japanese styles lean more toward the full, rounded teddy bear or cartoon like appearance. The Korean styling seems to put more emphasis on eyes and facial features, with very short shaved bodies and wide bell bottom legs. These trims are more child-like than cartoon, with ribbons and various other embellishments added above or on the ears in a pony-tail fashion adding to the illusion and allure. Of course, with all these countries styles, there are cross over’s born from the extensive knowledge sharing and influence gained from attending international seminars and the like.
Historically, our UK trims have been guided by breed standards and based largely on form and function. However, with the explosion in cross-breeds or ‘designer dogs’, the demand for alternative trims has been driven – not only by the consumer – but by the professionals who are at a loss to know what to do with many of them, or are bored creating the same style (usually a standard puppy trim) on these dogs. These days, owners lead busy lives and are requesting hair shorter and easily maintained to fit in, but do not wish to compromise on style.
The eastern styling is not only for cross-breeds. Many of the pure-breeds are getting fur-styles that have nothing to do with the standards laid down by the breed clubs, specialists and the like.
The burning question that everyone wants to know is ‘how’. How exactly is it done? The social networking sites and grooming forums, act as a stage for groomers to showcase their best works and to show the groomers worldwide where they should be aiming for. Preparation of the dog is the key in all of these trims. Using the correct products in the correct way to ‘set-up’ the dog’s coat followed by using the correct tools to obtain the often complex shapes and techniques.
The breeds most commonly used for these styles include the Yorkshire and Maltese Terrier, Shih Tzu, Poodle and Poodle mixes, and Min Schnauzer, though many of the dogs we are presented with in the salon can have at least a nod to the Asian influence. As previously stated, the coat must be well prepared, also the dog needs to co-operate, the owner needs to want it done or be willing to think outside the box and allow you to try this creative grooming, and of course time must allow.
Not all the elements need be included in a style to satisfy a customer. Parts of the Japanese or Korean trim styles can be used to great effect. I offer what I call ‘Fusion Grooming’. A kind of East meets West styling. Customers love it as they are building a style for themselves – pick ‘n’ mix fashion and we think Asian Fusion Grooming rocks – welcome to our world!