Ten things you might not know about the world of dog grooming

  1. Our clipper blade numbers are different from hairdressers/barbers. The higher the blade number, the shorter the cut length. The most commonly used clipper blades in dog grooming range from a no.3 (10mm) to a no.7 (4mm). For hygiene trims we would use a no.10 (1.5mm) and for very close work we might use a no.30 (0.5mm).
  1. Competitive grooming is a big thing! Events are held all over the word with the best groomers competing at the highest international level. Categories can be traditional breed standards, creative (using pet-safe dyes and colours) or Asian Freestyle (see point 7 below)
  1. Poodles are most commonly claimed to originate in Germany where they were used as working dogs to retreive water foul. The name “poodle” derives from the German word “puddeln” which means “to splash”. Their flamboyant modern groom styles have their roots in the traditional working needs of the dog – pompoms on the ankles to protect the joints; coat left on the chest to insulate the vital organs; a clean face for ease of retreiving and to keep their coat away from the eyes. The fancy trims we see today started to evolve during the 18th Century in France where the dogs were trimmed to match their owners outrageous wigs!
  1. The poodle is the only breed where “puppy trim” and “teddybear cut” have a definite meaning and style.
Both images from “Notes from The Grooming Table” Melissa Verplank, CMG. 2016. 2nd Edition. Publishged by White Dog Enterprises.
  1. In the UK there is no legally required training needed to call yourself a dog groomer nor is the industry licenced or regulated. Dog grooming qualifications do exist, awarded by the Open College Network (OCN) and City & Guilds, and the number of grooming salons offering structured training towards these exams is increasing. However, this is a relatively recent development and is not a prerequisite for setting up a business and working on peoples dogs. On-the-job training in a salon is essential to build up the skills and experience needed. There are also professional and advisory bodies for dog groomers but membership is not a requirement for being a practicing dog groomer. Support is growing for a change so that the industry is made safer for groomers, clients and dogs.
  1. Hypoallergenic dogs arent really a thing. All dogs produce dander (skin flakes) and lose fur, just some more than others. A dogs coat has four growth stages;
    1. Anagen – Growth phase.
    2. Catagen – Regressing phase.
    3. Telogen – Rest Phase.
    4. Exogen – Shedding Phase.

At any given time, some follicles in the coat are in anagen, some in catagen and some in telogen. Dogs who shed less (e.g. Poodles) tend to have a longer anagen phase so the coat keeps getting longer and longer. Dogs who shed frequently have a much shorter anagen phase. The timing and ratio of each phase determines how frequently shedding happens, the overall length of the coat and the amount of undercoat. “Hairless” dogs are mostly in the telogen phase.

  1. Asian Fusion, or “Asian Freestyle” is a grooming trend that originated in Japan, Korea, Malaysia and China. Whereas most western grooming styles are based on the traditional working needs of a particular breed, Asian Fusion is designed to make any breed look as cute as possible, emphasising the eyes, nose, ears and legs. It allows much more creativity and expression for the groomer but also requires a great deal of practice, skill and patience on the part of the groomer and dog combined. Common features of Asian Fusion include;
  • Bows
  • Braids
  • Colour (dog safe)
  • Pigtails
  • Asymmetry
  • Flared legs
  • Accessories
  • Round muzzles

1.http://www.quality-dog-grooming.co.uk/index.asp?pageid=562512. 2. https://www.thegroomersspotlight.com/georgiafuller

  1. Groomers use a variety of scissor sizes, shapes and designs to create the look of each groom or style. These include straight edge, curved edge, thinning, chunkers, curved chunkers, bull nose, swivel, left handed and right handed. Blade lengths can range from a couple of inches up to 8 or 9 inches. Prices for professional grooming scissors can vary from under £100 up to several hundred pounds depending on e.g. size, quality of steel, blade type etc. Each scissor size and type has a particular job to do when shaping and styling all different types of coat. Mastering the art of flawless scissor technique can take a long time and is something most groomers aspire to. The type and make of scissors preferred by each groomer can be a very personal thing. Dropping a pair of scissors can render them useless and needing sharpened so this is to be avoided at all costs!
  1. Have you ever noticed your dog has a bit on their tail that goes bald, or feels oily, changes colour or fur texture? This is called the violet gland or supracaudal gland. Not all dogs show this and it is sometimes called “stud tail” even though it occurs in both males and females. The violet gland secretes proteins and other chemicals used in scent marking.
  1. Hand stripping is a specialised technique traditionally used on harsh coated terrier breeds e.g. the Border Terrier, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Airdale, Welsh & Irish Terrier. Some silky coated gun dog breeds should also be hand stripped. Hand stripping removes the harsh outer guard hairs to reveal the softer undercoat while retaining the colour and texture of the coat. These breeds are traditionally working breeds and so they would have needed their coat to be waterproof and warm. Clipping these coats cuts all the hairs at the same length and so can change the look and feel of the coat. Most pet dogs are clipped but some owners do prefer them hand stripped. The process is not sore on the dog when done corretly but they should be introduced to it early and only carried out when the coat is ready or “blown”.
Border Terrier mid way through hand stripping.
From https://aurclan.com/Health___Grooming.html
Reprint Permission:  E. Winburg, Sweeping Border Terriers

*1. By Wenceslaus Hollar – Artwork from University of Toronto Wenceslaus Hollar Digital CollectionScanned by University of TorontoHigh-resolution version extracted using custom tool by User:Dcoetzee, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6233803. **2. From: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshefalitayal.com%2Fdog-grooming-dogs.html&psig=AOvVaw3x0ko0un65FZCZgFjrSWdf&ust=1633698415256000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAkQjRxqFwoTCIi04P-uuPMCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAb