5 Top Dog Grooming Competition Must-Haves For 2022
Unlike traditional dog shows, dog grooming competitions focus on professional dog groomers’ skills and scissor work and how well they can groom dogs.
Most salon groomers require tools suitable for performing everyday cuts that support the health and well-being of dogs. In contrast, competition grooming can be incredibly intricate and meticulous and requires a different kind of grooming arsenal.
To make sure you’re prepared for the world of competitive dog grooming, we’ve rounded up our top tips, tools and kit to get you ready to compete like a pro!
Table of contents:
What is a dog grooming competition?
Competition grooming concentrates on either the standard of a groom and how well it meets the specifications outlined by the Kennel Club relating to that breed, or the creative flair of an individual stylist and how inventive they can be with their cuts.
Professional groomers are judged on their preparation before the competition, their knowledge of the breed, the skill of their scissor work and how they handle the dog they’re grooming.
Unlike standard dog shows where dogs canter around a show ring to show off their form and breed credentials, in professional grooming competitions, judging takes place at the grooming table, where cuts are closely inspected.
In creative grooming, dogs are transformed into artwork through the use of creative sculpting, bold colour, design and character creations. Dogs are transformed with dog-friendly colouring into fabulously bright and colourful designs and groomers are judged on their boldness and creativity.
During standard professional grooming competitions, judges will comb out the dog’s coat to check the length and detail of the cut, so it’s important to have the correct tools to master it to the best of your ability.
Here are our top picks to add to your competition grooming kit;-
Easy to pack, store and carry, a portable grooming table is an essential piece of equipment for any grooming competition.
A great entry-level product, this table is completely adjustable, so it’s easy to set at the correct and comfortable height for styling your dog.
Complete with a non-slip mat and grooming noose to keep your dog safely in place, each part folds away, making it perfect for travel.
At competitions, dress to complement the dog you’re grooming, and avoid wearing dark colours when grooming dark-haired dogs so that the judges can easily see your scissor cuts against the backdrop of your clothing.
This also applies to your equipment, making a bright pink grooming table a great choice for showing off the details in your dog’s newly groomed hair.
- Easy to erect and fold away
- Sturdy MDF tabletop with easy-to-clean rubber matting
- Bright pink in colour – a great contrast against your dog’s hair
- Foldaway grooming arm and noose included
- Easy to carry, weighing just 10kg
At professional grooming competitions, part of the judging criteria is the accuracy of your clipper work.
It’s important to invest in a reliable pair of clippers to help you achieve your best work in front of the judges.
Like the Andis Pulse ZR II range, portable, rechargeable clippers are powerful and durable, with long battery life, perfect for mobile competition grooming without worrying about wires. And with snap-on clipper blades and attachments, it’s suitable for several different dog breeds and coat types.
Great for clipping both dense and fine coats, you’ll be able to achieve definition easily.
- Up to three hours cordless operation on a two hour charge
- Powerful and rechargeable
- 5 speed settings for optimum clipping control on any coat type, 1800 to 3800 spm
- Compatible with universal snap-on clipper blades and attachments
- Ergonomically designed to reduce wrist and hand tension
Because competitive grooming judging specifications analyse technique focused or breed-specific scissoring, you’ll want to invest in a good, reliable scissor set.
This set from Groomers helps you cut to amazing breed standards and show off your scissoring skills with ease.
Each pair of scissors allows you to work a different area of your dog’s coat for a pristine finish;-
- Bull nosed scissors are perfect for delicate trimming, such as styling the face.
- Straight scissors allow you to create perfectly straight lines for a neat finish to the coat.
- Chunker scissors offer depth and texture. Great used after clippers or straight scissors, they remove severe scissoring lines for a more natural finish.
- Thinning scissors also help to remove the harsh scissor lines from your groom and for thinning out the coat.
- Curved scissors are essential for shaping and rear leg angulation and create a neat, more rounded finish to a dog’s coat.
Always make sure your scissors are oiled and sharpened before a competition, and try to take spare scissors where possible as a backup. You may want to invest in a scissor holster to keep your scissors safe.
- Designed for groomers with experienced scissor techniques
- Engraved, raised ball bearing screw for adjustable tension
- Maximum accuracy
- Lightweight and easy to control
- 7.5″ in size (except the bull-nosed scissors, measuring at 4.5″)
A good comb can be a real saviour for professional competition grooming.
If you already know the breed of dog you plan to groom for your competition, you may want to choose a comb tailored to their coat, such as an undercoat rake comb for double-coated breeds or a fine-toothed comb fit for facial hair.
A combination comb is a great all-around investment, fit for a range of dog breeds. Made up of medium and fine teeth, it’s perfect for separating hair, unpicking knots and tangles and lifting the hair for a fabulous, pristine finish.
- The ideal choice for first-time competition groomers
- General use, great for untangling and lifting the coat
- Combination of medium and fine teeth
- Hardwearing and durable
Slicker brushes are essential for many coat types, removing dirt and moulted hair from the coat.
Built for general purpose grooming, it’s worth adding a slicker brush to your competition grooming kit, particularly if you’re grooming a dog with dense fur or a double coat.
A slicker brush will remove undercoat hair with ease for speedy grooming on show day. Penetrating the coat, right down to the skin, they remove tangles at the base of the coat to give your dog a much cleaner and fuller, tangle-free finish.
This small slicker brush is perfect for grooming smaller, long-haired or double-coated breeds, with its round edges allowing you to work the brush into tighter areas. For medium and large dogs, discover our full slicker brush range.
- Great for removing moulting hair and dirt from the coat.
- Rounded edges for grooming trickier areas
- Soft, non-slip material handle for comfortable grip and control
- Great for dense coats and double-coated breeds
Grooming competition top tips
Now you’ve updated your grooming kit and are ready for your next competition, here are our top tips for preparing for the day. From what to expect to some other failsafe essentials to take with you, here’s what you need to know to make your competitive grooming debut a real success!
- In the run-up to the competition, it’s important to practise your cut on the dog you intend to groom for the competition. Choose your products before the event, and don’t try out anything new on show day.
- If you know any grooming judges or competitive pros, take photos of your practice cuts and allow them to give you feedback so that you can improve your techniques before show day.
- Bathe your dog before the competition with the products you intend to use in case of any allergic reactions that your dog may have.
- On competition day, make sure your dog is fed, watered and exercised, and your equipment is working before the show. Oil scissors and take spare equipment where possible, just in case anything breaks during the competition.
- If you have time and help available, go to the competition venue first to get set up, then get someone to bring your dog along later, so they are less stressed and restless when it’s time for them to be groomed.
- Make sure your tools, shampoos and conditioners are all breed-specific and that you’ve studied the competition guidelines and breed standard you’re aiming for before the show.
- Pack some detangling spray to spot treat any tangles to the coat and some coat conditioner spray to tame any unruly hair.
- Pack some treats to reward your dog for its good behaviour throughout the competition.
- When the judge critiques your work, always keep one hand on your dog when they comb its coat. The dog should be facing the judge and should only be allowed to sit and relax once the judge is happy that they have reviewed your work fully.
- Be sure to choose a patient, well-behaved dog that’s comfortable being groomed.
- Stay calm and have fun! An anxious groomer can make for an anxious dog, so try not to get too stressed on competition day.
The perfect place to pick up all of the tools required for your next grooming competition, explore our full range of professional products at Groomers. Our mobile grooming and competition collection is tailor-made for competition grooming, housing all of our recommended products in one place. Browse today and get your grooming kit competition ready.