North West Wales

The pampered pooches turning heads in north Wales

Three dogs with dyed hair and airbrush tattoos Image copyright Alternadogs
Image caption Pampered and painted - grooming with a difference for these dogs

Painted nails, crazy hair colours, airbrushed tattoos - and perhaps a little bit of beauty spa pampering too?

But before you rush off to the salon, be aware this is strictly for dogs.

It is the vision of husband and wife Danny and Catherine Borrill, who have discovered that north Wales dog owners love nothing more than seeing their dogs done up to the nines.

But the Dogs Trust charity has warned that it might be fuelling the idea that a dog is a fashion accessory.

Creative grooming - known as Asian Fusion - is a trend taking off across the region.

"Some people enjoy their dog looking a little like them, a little bit personalised," said Mr Borrill, 37.

"It brings out a big sense of individuality when your dog is walking down the street with its nails painted, and a bit of colour in its Mohican."

Image caption Danny and Catherine Borrill say north Wales dog owners are more adventurous

He and wife Catherine set up shop in Colwyn Bay in March, after running a grooming parlour in St Helens on Merseyside.

But they have been astounded by the response to their alternative take on grooming - and how Conwy county dog owners have a taste for wilder looks.

"North Wales people are adventurous. They are not just after a pet trim, they want a bit of colour on their dogs, they want a bit of unique style , they want a unique twist to it - something that's different to the ordinary day," added Mr Borrill, who was originally from Colwyn Bay.

And it is not just a different attitude to styling - there is a diversity in breeds which always puts a smile on the Borrills' faces.

"St Helens is a big Shih Tzu town, but here you get a lot of the bigger breeds, it's very varied," said 37-year-old Mrs Borrill.

"It's much more exciting."

Image copyright Alternadogs
Image caption Painted nails - but is it fair?

But it is not all colour and smiles.

Creative grooming has faced some criticism from canine charities, who are worried what message it sends out.

"We understand that dog owners like to pamper their pooches; however we strongly believe that a pet is not a fashion accessory and should not be paraded as such so as not to fuel this perception," said Dogs Trust.

"We have seen an increase in the number of dogs dumped once they fall out of fashion and urge new dog owners to remember that a dog is for life."

But the Borrills, who own seven dogs themselves, said they believed they had got the balance right - both in terms of the services they offer, and the ethics.

"We will only do a dog if it wants to sit there and be pampered," insisted Mr Borrill.

"If a dog doesn't want to, it can just have its groom and move along."

Image caption Not every dog gets the creative treatment - for pets like Alex - it's just a wash and go

The couple stressed that all the colour and grooming products have been specifically devised for dogs.

The so-called 'tattoos' are also just airbrush temporary dyes, made to fade or wash-out after a few hours.

The pair have also taken industry-recognised qualifications in grooming.

"We've mainly found that people who get their dog's nails painted or an airbrush tattoo, it is maybe their birthday or the dog has had an operation," said Catherine,

"They just want to do something extra... it's something different."

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