Siba, Westminster Dog Show 2020 Winner, Shares Her Grooming and Diet Secrets


How much active time does she need a day?

To keep her in condition for this show, a fair bit. We actually have her outside running for maybe two hours a day. But when she’s not in a competitive condition, sometimes we get lazy. She turns into a couch potato. She eats lots of pancakes.

Pancakes, really?

She has a really great food she’s on, ProPlan, and it’s always chicken-flavored. And then she pretty much gets any snack my son feeds her.

Yeah, I read that she’s really into chicken. Is that a poodle thing?

Loves chicken. I think that’s a her thing. Her kibble has to be chicken, her treats have to be chicken. It’s all about the chicken.

With handler Connie S. Unger post-victory.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Can you tell me more about her grooming routine? Her hairstyle is even more involved than I was expecting.

It’s a lot. Her bath usually takes about two to three hours. She has a very dense, thick coat and to properly blow it out takes about two, three hours.

And how often does she get that treatment?

Once a week.

What are the shampoo and conditioner brands that you use?

There are some dog brands — the shampoo and conditioner we really like is Coat Handler. Every now and then we’ll switch to a people thing, we’ll use Pantene and different products like that.

How do you go about sculpting her, and how often does she get a trim like this?

It’s all scissors. I do everything myself. That’s the nice thing about poodles: the hair will just grow and grow and grow. So she gets trimmed like this for every competition but in between, we don’t really bother. She can get pretty scruffy.

Does she ever get stressed out, and how does she relax?

She never gets stressed out by the competition at all. In fact, I think she would be more stressed out if we were to ever leave her at home. A lot of show dogs that really love this, they live off that energy, the constant attention. Poodles just absorb that attention, that’s all they want.

I think you said in another interview that she knows when she’s won. Can you elaborate on that some more?

She definitely knows she’s won. For example, last night, the energy in that building was so intense that she was just on her toes the whole time. She gave 110% the whole night.

What was the preparation like going into the show?

Actually, she slept most of the day. And then we got to the show around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. She got her feet washed and stuff like that. We perfected the trim a little bit more.

Was there one moment when you thought “she’s clinched this?”

Not at all. He said “the poodle” and I just remember standing there, thinking, “that can’t be right.” And then everyone came up and congratulated me and here we are.

I read some reports that she was not the crowd favorite—Daniel the golden retriever was. How have you two been handling that?

Actually, I think it’s so funny because the dog show community is a smaller community but it is one big family. And we all think it’s so funny hearing the crowd react like that. The lady that shows the golden is a dear friend of mine, she is so professional, so amazing, I look up to her so much and that dog is beautiful. Any of us could’ve won last night and we all would’ve been so happy for the other. I know she’s happy for us.


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