Lisa Vanderpump Says Her Deep 'Love of Dogs' Prepared Her For Pooch Perfect Judge Role

Nicholas Rice
·3 min read

Christopher Willard via Getty

For Lisa Vanderpump, joining Pooch Perfect as a celebrity judge was an absolute no brainer.

While recently chatting with PEOPLE about her role in the ABC dog grooming competition series, the 60-year-old reality star detailed how her role on the show came to be and how her vast love of canines influenced it.

"In the dog world, I've been very vocal about my love of dogs over the years," Vanderpump tells PEOPLE exclusively. "... So I think when you think of dogs, or if you're gonna think of anybody attached to dogs, it would be me."

Citing ways in which she has proved her love of dogs over the years — including speaking before Congress to enact animal rights laws and creating her nonprofit dog rescue organization, the Vanderpump Dog Foundation — the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star continues, "I think people just think of me when they think of dogs."

"[ABC] came to me and they said, 'Would you like to be involved in judging a dog show?' and I thought about it for at least five seconds and then I said, 'Absolutely!'" Vanderpump adds. "For me, coming from a place of rescue when you've seen so many dogs that have been poorly treated ... to see all these powdered, puffed, and pampered pets, even before they're groomed, was actually a break from rescue."

RELATED: New Competitive Dog Grooming Series Pooch Perfect Is Here to Make Fur Fabulous

Christopher Willard/ABC

Pooch Perfect, which premiered on ABC last month, sees Vanderpump alongside fellow judges, Dr. Callie Harris and Jorge Bendersky, rank dogs with elaborate hairdos created by top groomers. Rebel Wilson, who comes from a family of dog showers, hosts the reality series.

Each episode of the eight-episode series features the country's best groomers and their assistants taking part in an Immunity Puppertunity challenge, where one grooming earns immunity from elimination.

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After the first challenge, teams must compete in the Ultimutt Challenge showdown. In the showdown, the show's talented contestants are tasked with transforming a dog's fur into something epic; the team that falls short is sent home by the judges.

All of the groomers are competing for a cash prize and the coveted Pooch Perfect first place trophy.

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Vanderpump believes that Pooch Perfect is a series that the entire family can sit down and enjoy together.

"There are so few shows that you can actually watch together as a family that have a feel-good factor," she says. "I think we've lost a little bit of that because a lot of people are watching things on tablets and individual things, or shows that are just for the grown-ups. There aren't that many shows where you can all sit down and go 'Okay, it's on again!'"

"And this show isn't just about dogs," the Vanderpump Rules star continues. "It's about the groomers and their journeys as well. It's just a really, really lovely feel-good show."

"I loved being a judge and I love ABC," Vanderpump adds. "They treated us really nicely, probably not as well as the dogs, but ... I loved every second of it."

The dog mom concludes: "I just have a love of dogs ... they are everything. And all these people that are involved, they're the best groomers in the country and they have a love of dogs too, they really do."

See Lisa Vanderpump and the amazing dog dos she gets to judge on Pooch Perfect. New episodes of the reality series air on Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST.