Pet owners in Taiwan are ditching the classic haircut for their dogs. The new trend is grooming your dog in geometric shapes like squares and spheres. Elise Hu of NPR went to watch Mo Ming Fung, who owns his own grooming shop, turn a furry white Bichon into a square. The process starts with a “blowout,” and then Fung begins cutting, using eight different types of shears. His tools are very expensive, so getting your dog groomed costs about $75 per cut. Not to mention the dog has to stand still for 45 minutes while being groomed.
This dog art has taken Fung 13 years to perfect, and continuing to practice has inspired him to continue working on more exotic shapes. Currently he’s working on perfecting the shape of the old Apple computer monitor. According to Hu, this “canine topiary” has become a trend because of social media sharing. People post pictures of their dogs being groomed in different shapes, so many owners have decided to follow the style.
Although artistic, this fashion also seems cruel to one’s innocent pet. It’s not surprising that this trend has spread as a result of social media, but I personally think it’s a little weird, and makes the dog look less cute. It turns pets into a bizarre work of art, and while the talent is incredible, it seems unfair and inconsiderate to the pet. First off, the poor dog has to stand still for 45 minutes while someone cuts at its fur. I personally cannot stand still for 45 minutes, even if I’m talking to people. I can’t imagine the frustration it causes the dog having to stand there just so that at the end its owner can take a picture they’ll post for their fellow dog-owners on Instagram. It might seem “cute,” but the whole process seems a bit torturous, and it doesn’t even benefit the dog. I certainly recognize the talent, but that’s why topiary art is meant for bushes and trees. Inanimate objects will not be affected by the art-making process. Grooming dogs into shapes isn’t fair to the animal, and it does not look as ornate as when it’s done to shrubs anyway.
The special grooming process takes away from the natural cuteness of the dog and makes them look like strange statues. They almost look like they’re meant to be put in a museum and stand on a podium for display. It’s a futuristic art that doesn’t make sense yet. I think that what Fung is doing is creating a new art movement. It’s no longer about art made from inanimate objects, but is actually being integrated into our everyday lives. The art world and everyday life merge when owners walk around with their geometric-shaped dogs. In some ways tattoos and piercings bring art into people’s lives, but not in a way that is highly recognized or valued. They’ve become such a huge part of people’s lives that many overlook their prevalence. I may not agree with it yet, but I recognize Fung’s efforts and commend him for leading a potential new art movement that’s eclectic. It’s something noticeable and different than most are used to, and these days everyone is looking to do the next best thing that will have him or her stand out, especially in the art world. Although Fung’s grooming service is certainly doing this, I still maintain that it seems unfair to the pet.