Woof Weekly: The dog blog – Winning a dog show with a mutt that looks like Shrek

By Rachel Heyes

When people love dogs, something funny happens to them…  Suddenly THEIR dog is THE most beautiful, talented, intelligent, friendly, and basically THE best dog on the planet.

And so they decide to enter it into a dog show to prove to the outside world that this truth is absolute.

The first dog show that I went to was at the RSPCA shelter where I found my lovely dog, Frankie. She was in bad shape when we got her so all I really wanted to do was take her back to the people who nursed her to health and show them how well she was doing. She’d put on weight, was walking better on her sore pads and had developed lots of lovely muscles. When she won third Prettiest Bitch I was so happy! She had her picture taken and everyone fussed over her. I was the proudest dog owner that ever owned a dog.

From this moment on, I was hooked on dog shows.

Frankie seems to love all of the attention too. She is happy to sit still, walk around, pose, do some tricks, let people pet her and take all of the treats she can get (including candy floss from one little girl!).

Frankie, is adorable, but she does have a funny looking face which reminds me very much of Shrek. We were inspired to name her Frankie as our nickname for her during the adoption procedure was ‘Frankendog’ due to her misshapen features and lumpy body, which we think may have been caused by a car accident of some kind. Also, because Frankie is so strong, muscular and big, people often assume that she is a boy and so she really wouldn’t suit having a feminine name. Even the nicknames we have for her are masculine and mock her unusual stature.

So, upon thinking about costumes for the Fairytale theme of the Pink Dog Show 2011 (a fun dog show organised by The Manchester Dogs Home and Barking Barbers as part of the Gay Pride Fringe Festival) I came to the conclusion that we would make the perfect Shrek and Princess Fiona. In the second half of 2011, I had red hair and we had some ladies costumes left over from a medieval party. Everything was fitting into place…

In a moment of madness, after watching a video from the show in 2010 and seeing someone dye their dog pink, I decided to dye Frankie green. I know, I know. In my defence I researched the safest way to do it and settled on using diluted lime green Kool-Aid and a sponge. It worked – maybe a little too well. She was green for weeks afterwards.

On the morning of the show we arrived early to set up the marquees and the sense of excitement began to build. Frankie ran around Sackville Gardens in all her green glory. A young man who was still on his ‘night’ out thought he was seeing things but after talking to everyone and getting equally excited, he decided to go home, sober up, have a shower and come back later to help out. He kept his word. Frankie is very persuasive.

The show itself was spectacular. There was music, singing, a stage, judges, drag queens, a red carpet and cabaret. Within the gardens there were lots of stalls including tombola’s, merchandise, dog beer and cookies. The crowds arrived in droves. We entered Frankie into as many categories as we could but kept a close eye on the Best Costume prize. Pickles, The Manchester Dog’s Home Mascot, ‘Paris Hilton’ and ‘Cruella-De-Vil’ were judging the categories with Marc Abraham ‘The TV Vet’ judging the King and Queen of the Pink Dog Show.

The first category that we entered was Prettiest Bitch and luckily Frankie came 4th. The girl still had it! Then it was time for the best in costume. Frankie came 2nd. It was tough competition so this was excellent placing but I was still a bit gutted. 1st and 2nd from each category got to enter for King and Queen of the Show though so we gave it a bash.

By this point, Frankie was turning into a regular little celebrity. Everywhere we went, we drew crowds and all I could here was “look, there’s the Shrek dog”. We were loving it. I was so pleased that everyone liked the outfits and understood the theme straight away. Everyone wanted a picture taken with us and we made it into the local newspaper coverage – hurrah.

As for the Queen of the Show – She only went and won. I was shocked and overjoyed. We were showered with gifts and rosettes. There was a large rosette for me, a small rosette for her and a large pink and blue sash saying Queen of the Pink Dog Show; plus lots of treats and food for Frankie. We were deliriously happy. I think that nearly a year on I am still the proudest American Bulldog Mom on the planet.

It was fun to be a celebrity for a day or even a celebrity’s handler. It was also insanely addictive.

Since winning the Pink Dog Show we have been to many more fun dog shows and Frankie has picked up some more rosettes. I’ve even made here a padded frame to pin all of her rosettes to in the living room. My partner Ciaran hates it. It’s very tacky. I love it.

Recently, we made her a Jubilee outfit, which she wore for a couple of shows. It went down especially well over the Jubilee weekend and she once again got her picture in the paper.

Try it for yourself. But just be warned that there are a few people out there to take the fun dog show circuit very, very seriously. And you’ll have to beat Frankie. 


Judging and Compering a Fun Dog Show at Marple Carnival for The Manchester Dogs Home – Saturday 16th June Registration will be open from 11 am- 1pm, with an entry fee of £1 per dog, per class. Classes are as follows: Dog Most Like Owner; Cutest Puppy; Sweetest OAP; Best Crossbreed; Best Pedigree; Prettiest Bitch; Most Handsome Male. 

Pink Dog Show – Sunday 19th August 2012

Theme: Dog Olympics


Rachel is a 30-year-old media teacher, who along with her partner Ciarán, owns two dogs and two cats. They also have another cat on long-term foster. As a self-proclaimed dog-lover, Rachel dedicates a large part of her time to the world of dogs, taking training classes, grooming classes, behavioural classes, judging dog shows, turned her dog into a ‘celebrity’ and regularly volunteers for Manchester Dogs Home.

Make sure you follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook for more of Rachel’s blogs.

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