This section is from the book "A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear, And Feed Them", by Leslie Williams. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear And Feed Them.
Although the profits to be obtained from exhibiting are of a secondary nature, and relative simply to the influence exercised on sales and the way in which showing them brings dogs into public notice, it is well worth the while of the dog owner who has a really good little toy to exhibit it sometimes for the fun of the thing. At a show one can learn more about breeds and points, and all the little details which interest doggy folk, than is possible otherwise; compare notes with other owners, and obtain many useful hints. I am sorry to say that we can also see a good deal going on which would be well suppressed, and get glimpses of the less attractive side of human nature which keen -competition and rivalry are apt to call forth, and which the socialistic mixture of all classes composing "the dog fancy" encourages. "Faking" - dyeing pale tan bright, pulling out coat, or tweaking white hairs, dusting disguising powder into the stained jackets of white dogs, training ears to fall or stand erect (temporarily) in the desired way, with other little improvements, such as clipping the hair from the edges of Poms' ears and from their paws and legs, are all practices nobody would own to, but which nevertheless exist; while even perfectly honest owners are able to bring their dogs to the front by legitimate methods which are unknown to the novice, and which she can learn from the initiated.
As to the "cruelty" of showing, which Ouida so strongly deprecates, a word may be said. It is certainly not kind to send a little petted toy, accustomed to regular ways and the constant society of its owners to a show "on its own," unattended, and with no care but such as the show officials may feel disposed to bestow upon it - often of a perfunctory character. On the other hand, if its owner takes it to the show, establishes it in its pen, visits it from time to time, feeds it, and takes it out of the show at evening time to spend the night with her, as can always be arranged, I fail to see the slightest cruelty in the matter - in fact, many dogs enjoy being exhibited, and it is quite the exception to see a melancholy face in the rows of pens devoted to the well-cared-for toy section.
The first thing to be thought of where exhibiting is contemplated is getting the dog, or dogs, up to their very best form. A toy which is properly looked after at home ought to be always, more or less, in show condition, that is, as far as Nature's arrangements for the shedding of coat, etc., permit; but a little extra care for a few weeks before a show is desirable. Short-coated dogs, which, par parenthese, should never be washed at all if it can be helped, must certainly not be washed for at least a fortnight beforehand, but the least possible trace of vaseline or cocoa-nut oil may be applied to their jackets and polished off with a clean handkerchief; while brushing and hand-rubbing the right way of the hair get up a beautiful gloss and sheen upon their coat, and a little milk to drink daily helps this effect. Eyes should be washed, and if noses are, as some, unfortunately, are too prone to be, dry, a little vaseline well rubbed in with the finger twice a day will remedy the defect.
Long-coated dogs, of course, need much more attention. They must have extra combing and brushing, and, if dirty or flat in coat, but not otherwise, should receive a tub about forty-eight hours before appearing in the ring. For this, use soft, warm water, with, in the case of Poms, whose jackets ought to stand out well, a teaspoonful of powdered borax and a quarter of an ounce of dissolved gelatine to each two quarts of water. The soap used should be carefully chosen, and of the best - Vinolia or E. Cook & Son's Toilet Soap for choice; common soaps are most unsuitable. Many people also use and much like this firm's Improved Dog Soap. These stiff, stand-out coats are encouraged by habitually brushing the wrong way of the hair, and this is advisable, too, for the manes of Schipperkes. Flat-coated dogs, like Yorkshires and toy spaniels, often spend their lives, the former especially, in the intervals of shows, like summer fire-irons, "in grease " - that is, their coats saturated with oil. To such an extent as this, the preparation may be left to the professional exhibitor (with whom, it is as well to remark, few inexperienced amateurs have much chance, as far as the Yorkshire terrier is concerned); but a little cocoa-nut oil, with the merest trace of cantharides, well rubbed into the roots of the hair for some weeks beforehand, encourages the coat to look its best.
Great care is needful in washing white dogs, and only the best of soap should be used; also soft water, with a little borax in it, and a squeeze of a blue-bag in the rinsing-water, to prevent the hair from showing a yellow tinge. Yorkshire terriers must not be rubbed up and about anyhow in their bath; neither must Maltese nor toy spaniels; the hair so carefully kept parted down the middle of the back in the two former breeds must be sponged downwards from the parting, while hot towels and warmed, soft brushes should be used for drying, in such a way as to preserve the habit of growth, which is such a point in these dogs. Rubbing "all over" also encourages curliness - a fatal fault in the breeds mentioned - and this is an additional reason for care. In washing dogs great pains should be taken to dry the insides of the ears thoroughly, and the bath, which most dogs so detest, will be robbed of half its terrors if the head is not soaped or soused; it can be effectually washed with a sponge, thus avoiding the miseries of soap in nose and eyes. Washing, however, as an habitual thing, is most injurious to coat and skin, ruins the colour of black dogs, and should never be made a practice.
Daily grooming with brush and comb will keep any properly-fed dog perfectly sweet and clean.
Poodles are, perhaps, as troublesome to prepare for show as any dogs. There are, as yet, no corded toy poodles to speak of, but the curly toys are very delightful little dogs, deserving much more than their present popularity. Their shaving or clipping is, of course, an ever-recurring task, which must at no time be neglected, and is necessary once a month; but, after the first time or two, it is not at all difficult to manage. The shaved parts should be gone over, the dog having been washed the day before, with one of Spratt's Patent Poodle Clippers, a little machine exactly like a small horse-clipper, always working against the trend of the hair from the tail along the back to the middle of the body, and from the feet upwards. A pair of scissors, with curved-up points, will be needed for the face and toes, which are the most troublesome parts to do; but actual shaving with a razor is only done as a finishing touch just before a show. It makes the skin rather tender and is the one part of the toilet, not needful for everyday attire, which calls for expert aid. After clipping, the skin should be well rubbed with a very little white vaseline oil, which brings up a nice gloss and prevents the dog from taking cold.
There are various professional poodle clippers in London, among them a lady, who will visit dogs at their own homes for the modest charge of five shillings; but country exhibitors are generally obliged to resort to home talent for the operation.