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Basic Grooming Equipment


BLADE WASH ($4-$6) - Used to clean and condition blades. Use to clean new blades and to clean blades at the end of your grooming sessions. Do not leave blades in blade wash between groomings as this is a corrosive and the blades will begin to rust.

BLOW DRYER - human ($10 - $20)- Canine “Duck” dryer with stand or a regular human hair (be sure to watch the heat and don't point the dryer at the same spot for extended periods of time). I would highly recommend purchasing a neck hanger or table clamp to help you hold a human hair dryer as you dry the dog. These items allow your hands to be free to hold the dog, pick up the legs and/or to brush the coat as you dry the dog. Check out a dog show or an on-line dog show vendor for one of these items ($12-$20). Or you can purchase a length of copper wire and a piece of plastic tubing to go over it at Lowe's and make your own neck hanger! ($5)   

BLOW DRYER - human ($10 - $20) - A canine stand dryer is more powerful and will dry the dog quicker, but unless you're showing or have multiple dogs it's probably not worth the investment.

CLIPPERS ($100 - $150) - A quality set of clippers is your most important grooming tool.  I recommend the Oster Two-Speed Turbo A-5.

CLIPPER BLADES ($20 - $30 each) - A #10 blade is all that you absolutely have to have for pet grooming.  (The higher the blade number the shorter the cut.)  Be sure your blades are cleaned, oiled and sharpened as necessary.  Blades will last longer and need less maintenance if you use them on clean, non-matted dogs.   Be sure and check the temperature of your blades regularly as the friction of cutting hair will cause a build up of heat.  Buy the best blades you can - steel blades heat up quickly; blades with ceramic cutters last longer and stay cool longer.  Oster Elite Cryogen-X or Top Performance Titanium Ceramic blades are the best.

  • A #8 1/2 is a good choice for cleaning the face on dogs that tend to clipper burn or scratch sores on their face after grooming.
  • A #15 or #30 is nice for cleaning out the hair between the pads.  These blades can also be used for really close trims on dogs that don't have sensitive skin.  (Generally very thick coated blacks.)
  • A #7F or #5F is good for trimming the back coat of dogs that tend to get irritated by shorter clips or that have reasonably flat back coats that only require light trimming.  These blades are also good for blending short back clips into the longer side coats.  Can also be used for short summer cuts or to strip matted dogs.
  • A #3F or #4F can be used for short "puppy cuts" on the legs and side coat.  (Leaves hair 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.)

CLIPPER LUBE - "Kool Lube", "Cool Care", etc.   Clipper blade coolant and lubricant. Use while clipping to cool blades and wash away debris that slows and clogs blades. Spray surfaces of blade with clipper running. Blot with paper towel before returning to clipping. Some types also disinfect.

CLIPPER OIL - This is needed to lubricate your blades so they run cool and smooth. 

COAT CONDITIONER/PROTECTANT ($5 - $20) - Use when brushing.  Show Sheen and Lasersheen are two equine products that can be used to help reduce/loosen tangles and to repel dust, dirt and yard debris.  They also help protect white/light coats from urine stains.  Canine products include The Stuff, Crown Royale, Ice On Ice and #1 All Systems Conditioners.

COAT KING STRIPPER ($15) - EXTRA FINE 20 BLADE COMBO.  I use this type of stripper on most of my puppies and my show dogs.  The stripper is pulled down the neck and back repeatedly to thin and smooth the coat and to blend the back into the side coat.  (Doesn't do much for thinner, flat-coated dogs but can really help on those with lots of back coat.)

COMBS ($5-$25) - I use two combs.  My favorite is a Resco 600 series Fine-Toothed comb.  I use this as my "brush-out" comb - to help locate tangles and do a final once over to be sure the dog is completely brushed out.  I also use a "greyhound" style comb (has a coarse-toothed and a fine-toothed end) for quick smoothing and to help work out tangles.

GROOMING TABLE w/arm ($40 - $85) - This will make grooming much easier for you and the dog.  Crate-top tables start around $40 and small "ring-side" tables start around $55.  Both of these will require that you buy the grooming arm separately ($25).   A regular grooming table and arm combo will cost about $100.

MAT SPLITTER ($5-10$) - I prefer the single blade mat splitter as it does less damage to the coat and doesn't pull as harshly on the dog.  Multi blade splitters can be used to help thin a dog's coat if you would like less bulk.

NAIL CLIPPERS ($6 - $10) - Choose the nail clippers that you are most comfortable with.  Styles vary but most work equally well.  Nails may be done before the bath (if you quick a nail you can wash away the mess) or just after the bath (the nails will be softer after the bath).

NAIL GRINDER ($20 - $50) - A nail grinder is worth trying if your dog hates having his nails trimmed.

Pin Brush ($5 - $75) This brush is used for moderate to heavy coats and will help remove minor tangles.   Chris Christenson or #1 All Systems brushes.

Scissors ($15 - $100) - You will need 2-5  pairs of shears.  Check out vendors at a dog show or go to a local beauty supply store.  You must try the scissors in your hand before buying!  The scissors should open and close with little or no pressure and should not be uncomfortable in your hand. 

  • I prefer a straight 6.5" shear ($30 - $60) for initial trimming around the bottoms of the feet and an 8.5" straight shear ($45 - $100) for hand scissoring legs and side coat. 
  • Curved shears are the best choice to "bell" the feet on a Cocker in full coat.   I use a 6.5" shear for this as well.  ($30 - $60). 
  • A 4" pair of ball-tipped shears ($20- $40) are good for trimming between the pads of the feet, in the corners of the eyes and inside the ears around the ear canal.
  • A set of thinning shears are a must to smooth and blend the top-knot, to hand-scissor the back of a show dog and to blend other "lines" on the dog.  I use a 5.5" 40 tooth shear.  Quality REALLY counts here!  ($60-$150)

SLICKER BRUSH ($5 - $25) - To brush the coat and remove tangles.  For show coats and puppies, the Chris Christenson or #1 All Systems brushes.  For pet coats and/or those that need to remove serious tangles, the Universal Slicker.

STRIPPING KNIFE ($5 - $25) - Not necessarily needed for pet clips.  This dull knife is used on show Cockers to remove the undercoat on the back.  (Back coats may also be hand stripped - the hair is gradually "pulled" with the fingers over a period of time.)

Stripping/Shedding Stone ($2-$5) Use to strip, smooth and blend the back coat of show dogs.

TOOL TOTE ($5)  - Pick up two or three small plastic tote boxes for your equipment.  The open type boxes with handles or stackable boxes with lids will work.  Or mix and match.  I suggest one for bathing supplies, one for brushes, combs and scissors and one for clippers and related equipment.  You might even need a fourth for bottles of Blade Wash, spray conditioner, Kool Lube, etc.  Keeping your equipment organized will make grooming quicker, easier and more convenient as you won’t waste time trying to find lost articles.

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Copyright © Sandcastle Kennels 2004

Last revised: January 03, 2006