About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grooming Changes

Shortly after Grooming School I came to the realization that the school I went to left a lot to be desired.
The school that I went to mainly concentrated on Poodles and #7 clip downs.
Skip tooth #7 clip downs!
It still makes me shiver now when I think about it. All of those matted dogs that I shaved down with a skip tooth blade.
I only own one skip tooth #7 now, I rarely use it.
It comes in handy for skimming sometimes.

Anyway, before I get too far off topic, shortly after I got out of school, I bought a book for grooming all breeds.

It has seen better days.

 I graduated in 1984 when this book was written.
For more then 10 years I used this book as a reference if I ever had any questions about a pattern on a breed.

More then 10 years ago I started noticing some changes in some breed patterns when going to dog shows or watching dog shows on T.V.
I had stopped going to Hershey after I started having my kids.
That was a mistake.
I groomed a lot of years the hard way, because I did not continue my grooming education.

I remember when a new customer brought in his Airedale one day for grooming.
He had printed out instructions from the computer.
Don't you just love that.
When I looked over the papers he gave me I was surprised.
The owners instructions were different from my trusty Grooming Guide.
Had the pattern really changed that much?
I was sure something was wrong.
All of my other Airedales were groomed in the old pattern.

I always thought I was pretty good about change.
I try to be a modern girl.
I try to keep up with the times.
I use the word awsome.
I don't say "that's cool."
I say "that's awsome!"
Well, I try.

So why was I finding it so hard to change some of my ways of grooming?

In 2004 I bought the new Breed Guide.

This is an excellent Grooming Guide.
Every groomer should have one, and every grooming school should give one to their students.

I pulled out my 1984 Grooming Guide, and my 2004 Grooming Guide today.
I put them side by side and had a great laugh.
I took pictures of some of the breeds that have changed patterns in the past 20 years, and I was going to post them.
Then I thought better of it.
I don't want anyone mad at me for copywrite.
So I decided to draw the changes myself and scan them.

I am sorry if some of the dogs looked deformed, but the patterns are exactly how they are in the books.

This is The Airedale Pattern when I graduated from grooming school.

This is the way it is pictured in the All Breed Dog Grooming Guide.

This is the way that I clipped Airedales for 10 years.

This is the way they are groomed now.

This is the pattern in The Notes from the Grooming Table.

I have found that the Terrier Patterns are the ones that have changed the most.

I have no idea when this change took place and how long I was doing it wrong.

The Schnauzer Pattern has also changed.

I never did hula skirts.
My teacher from school did teach us to blend, but my skirts were much higher.

I have also found that most owners do like more skirt left on the dog.

The top schnauzer pattern is from 1984.
The bottom pattern is from 2004.

Messed up a little on the 2004 pattern.
I don't draw as much as I used to. 

Westies have also changed.

The 1984 pattern was straight across from point of shoulder to point of hip.

The Westie head is what has changed the most.

Personally, I am not crazy about the teased, spiky westie head.

Of course, most of my customers do not care for it either.

I do the softer round Westie pet head.

The Bichon is the one I laughed at the most.

I like Bichons, but I am not at all crazy about the way they are groomed now.
It is fine for show, but totally unrealistic for a pet trim.
All of the angles drive me crazy.

I don't know about other groomers, but 95% of my Bichon customers could not take care of a Bichon in the official pattern.

Forget the head.
If I did the head and neck the way the book says, my Bichon customers would be mat balls every time they came in.

Note the ears in the 1984 Bichon picture.
This is exactly how it was pictured in the book.

The 1984 instructions were:
*Short on top of head so the hair does not fall into the eyes.
*Blend back of head to neck.
*Do not shorten beard, only make even.

It did not mention the ears at all.

I have a question; Who is the person that makes up these cuts and changes them?

It is just my personal opinion, but most official breed trims are not realistic for the average pet owner.

I only posted a few of the breeds that have changed over the years, there were a lot more.

I will follow the new breed patterns, because I do like some of the changes, but I will modify them to fit my customers.
I know that some groomers would disagree with me on that.
They think that to be professional you must do the Breed styles the way they are supposed to be.

I respectfully disagree.
I groom to please my paying customer, not other groomers. :)

I love learning new things in the grooming world.
I also don't think that you always have to go strictly by the book, unless you are competing.
Especially when someone out there likes to change the rules.

I'd like to meet that person some time.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I loved this one. Thank you for doing that drawing...I've been grooming since the mid 90's and seen some changes too. No one even knows what "bell-shaped head" on a Bichon means anymore...LOL.
    Fun articles!
    Groomer in Seattle

  2. Thanks Katie! I sill have a couple of owners that like that 'bell shaped head'. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  3. I am soo glad i stumbled upon your article! I graduated groom school in 2006. I just got a new groom job and turns out i am the only one in the salon to groom the new way. At times they made me feel i was wrong in how to set some patterns. I realized that they were just set in the old school way. I would love to print your drawings to show them that my patterns are right.

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Be my guest. It should be fun showing them the difference. It sounds like your co-workers need to checkout some Educational Grooming Expos. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  5. Wow this was really interesting! I have to hand clip my Airedale because she suffered a bad Brown Recluse spider bite last year and lost most of her back. She is NOT a show dog so I use a clipper on her hind legs just because we have woods on the property and if she sat, she'd be full of leaves and such. I do not leave a long beard on her and do not clip her close to the skin, nor am I comfortable shaving her ears close..I like alittle fluff..softens her look lol. This was super helpful to me, as I also noticed the difference in cuts these days..in all the breeds. I wonder why?

  6. Oh oh. I'm in the same boat. Off to amazon to find some 'new' books? I actually went by the same one you did. Where did you go to school?

    1. Hi Marg,
      I went to the Baltimore School of Dog Grooming. I didn't get an All Breed Dog Grooming book until I was out of grooming school. The Notes from the Grooming Table is a great book to have on hand.
      Lisa, MFF

  7. those are the same two books i own! Anyways, love your blog, and I am making my way to today :)

  8. Its not that the styles have changed on the terriers. Its that the books were simply wrong. Look at the show dogs patterns from the 80s. All the same patterns as today.