Also, when people show a dog frequently, do they always give their dog a bath for each show? It seems that it would not be good for their fur/skin to be getting baths every other week or so.
This may be a bit of a tangent but ever since I got Ziggy (about 6 months ago) I've been trying all sorts of sprays and wipes to see if anything can substitute for a bath. Baths make him look so nice - but like you said, it's probably not good for the skin to do it too often. He seems to have really sensitive skin and will flake even if I don't bathe him often.
Lately I've tried some new things. I made a spray with diluted apple cider vinegar (Bragg's brand, the organic kind with "the mother," not the regular kind at the grocery store). I wet him down pretty good with the apple cider vinegar spray, then gently work it in with a rubber curry-type brush. Very soft little nubs, very gentle brushing. I let that dry for 20 or 30 minutes then spray him with Cherry Knoll Coat Dressing. I work in the Cherry Knoll coat dressing with the Chris Christensen "Finishing and Polishing" brush. That brush has VERY soft bristles, you can hardly call it a brush at all. What it does it just bring up the natural oils of the skin. It doesn't irritate Ziggy at all.
So, the apple cider vinegar spray seems to help banish "doggie odor" and the Cherry Knoll Coat Dressing almost gives him a "just-bathed" shine. It's the closest combo I've found to be almost as good as a bath. It might be a good alternative to bathing before a show because it doesn't make him flake at all. But I'm going to keep experimenting because I take Ziggy in public ALL the time and I want him to look and smell good.
If he starts to look flakey I also use a spray called Eqyss Premiere Rehydrant Spray. It's marketed for horses but seems to helps Ziggy's flakes.
I've also made my own holistic version of "satin balls" and give him a little every night, about 1/4 of a pound and that seems to also be keeping the flakes away and putting weight on him too! I can't believe it. I made it with ground chuck, steamed yams, raw wheat germ, unsulphered molasses, steel cut oats soaked overnight in goat kefir (you could use milk), organic coconut oil (Nutiva brand), and Knox unflavored gelatin - then I add in fish oil and Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar before I serve it. He LOVES it! In just one week his skin and coat look better.