Cut Like a Dog


1700 lion dog

This cutie is no bigger than a quill pen. From 1799

Joanna here, talking about dogs again, for which I hope everybody will pardon me.


I am not actually more partial to dogs than to cats, but I have decided to talk about the history of Extreme Grooming. About fur topiary — a subject doubtless of burning interest to the generality — and there doesn’t seem to be much history of humanity trying to do this to cats.

Cats, if asked, would explain to you why this is so. Or you could experiment.

Thus I am not speaking of mere dog washing or dog brushing or the ever-

Paris 1900 ish

Groomers clipping dogs on the bridges of Paris c 1900

popular “Take that thing out and don’t come back till he doesn’t stink to high heavens” which is doubtless the origin of dog grooming back in the days when a nice dry cave was the most des res available.
And I’m not looking at yer King Charles Spaniel or Papillon getting the most delicate and minimal of snip, snip, snips to become even more perfectly beautiful, worthy though that subject is.


I’m looking at Dog as the canvas of the fur butchers art.

Dog grooming as a profession has to date back to the earliest hierarchical societies. The same Sumerian or Babylonian noblemen who tossed the reins of their horse to Hobbins the groom with a “Rub her down good and give her extra mash.” doubtless had a dogsbody washing mud off the hunting dogs and checking their footpads for thorns.

Our earliest specific references to dog grooms date to the Middle Ages. We know kennel boys lived with the dogs, cared for them, brushed their teeth, washed and groomed and curried their fur.

Somewhere along the line,
things gets kookie.

Jakob Philipp Hackert - Porträt eines Pudels (1795)

Poodle 1795

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