Asian Freestyle Grooming

Asian Freestyle grooming is something we’ve posted about here before, possibly because of a strange fascination we have with this trend. We concede, however, that it takes talent and creativity, and as long as the dogs are well treated, who does it really hurt? The ultimate goal of Asian Freestyle is to evoke a sense of whimsy while making a dog look like a stuffed animal. Needless to say, AF grooming pays no attention to breed standards and “breed-correct” grooming goes out the window. When pressed to describe Asian Freestyle to someone who’s never seen it before, Veronica Frosch (in an interview in Groomer to Groomer magazine) says, “It’s a look made up of ponytails, braids, weird mustaches and big ears.” (note the tufts at the end of the ears of the Yorkie groomed by Riza Wisnom who also gets photo credit). 11750674_473304182836682_1364467749991166602_n

11755114_473304186170015_8434196233545052479_nThe roots of AF is, of course, Asian, but trends and styles vary from region to region. What’s popular in Japan and Malaysia may have already peaked and become dated in Thailand and Taiwan; a growing trend now is the “cone head” which, as in all AF styles, is intended to accentuate a dog’s sweet expression and maximize cuteness. For this reason, grooming styles in the Far East are far more concerned about individual expression of the head. There also seems to be a certain delight in disregarding breed standards so that, for example, the skirt on a Cocker Spaniel will be clipped off in favor of accentuating voluminous legs. This isn’t entirely without practical considerations. Pet clothing is hugely popular in Asia, and keeping the hair on a dog’s torso closely clipped enables pets to wear changes of clothes on a daily basis without fear of friction mats forming.

Needless to say, these are not low maintenance styles, and we hazard a guess that they’re not inexpensive to achieve, either.That said, if the goal is, in fact, to give a dog the appearance of a stuffed animal, we say “mission accomplished.”

For complete information, see Grooming to Groomer magazine and Riza Wisnom’s article on Asian Freestyle from which excerpts appear.

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