Dog Breed Info


Clippering is a technical skill that is implemented every day, on almost every dog, in a typical grooming and styling salon. More than just simple shaving, the function of the clipper is to enhance the finished appearance of the dog through a series of artistically applied clippering techniques. From taking excessive coat off during the prepping phase, to placing the rear angulation on a Kerry Blue Terrier in the finishing phase, when skillfully executed, clippering is an art and must be practiced in order to master this technique so that you can create the ultimate clippering finish.

A clippering technique is used to remove excessive coat on undetermined coat types because dogs with these coat types cannot have their hair removed naturally, therefore excessive coat can be removed by clippering, rather than scissoring or thinning.

Clippering techniques are used before the bath to remove excessive coat and are the most efficient means of removing excessive coat on undetermined coat types. Clippering techniques are also used to remove coat on determined hair growth coat types, however, care must be taken when artificially removing length on determined coat types. To maintain excellent skin and coat on determined hair growth coat types, it is recommended that more natural means of removing coat be utilized unless the dog is not able to have these technique applied.

The dog should be placed on the grooming and styling table and safely secured with a safety loop during clippering techniques.


Blade Cooler



Blade Length

  • Clipper blades vary in their cutting length and the easiest way to remember their function is the higher the blade number, the closer the blade cuts.

Blade Teeth Spacing
  • In order to utilize clippers to the max and maintain safe and gentle handling of man's best friend, the professional must be aware of the types of blades, understand what they are designed to do, and when and where to use them.

Spacing of Teeth
  • Blades that have the teeth spaced close together can be used on any area of the pet.
  • Blades that have the teeth spaced farther apart are restricted to certain areas to prevent cutting the skin.

Surgical Blades have teeth that are spaced close together and are used for:
  • Prepping an area for surgery.
  • Clippering the face, feet and tail on show Poodles.
  • Clippering the pads on most breeds.
  • Used under snap on combs or blade attachments.

Detail Blades have teeth that are spaced close together and are used for:
  • Detail work, setting pattern lines and clippering small areas such as the feet on Toy Poodles.

Finishing Blades have teeth that are spaced apart and are used for:
  • Clippering matted and dense coats.
  • Finish clippering the body and legs on all coat types.

Skip Tooth Blades have teeth that are spaced apart and have every other tooth missing and are used for:

  • Clippering matted and dense coats.
  • Finish clippering the body and legs on certain coat types, especially on wire coats and sporting breed coats.

T- Blades are extra wide blades with the teeth spaced close together and with the teeth spaced farther apart and are used for:

  • Clippering matted and dense coats on large dogs.
  • Clippering the body and legs on large dogs.

Proper Body Position When Clippering
Proper body position is required by the professional to achieve smooth fluid clippering motions. The professional must secure the pet with one hand and with the other hand, place the clipper down creating a sweeping motion.

Clipper Sculpting
Clipper sculpting is a technique that has been practiced for years by the "old timers." In the past the professional had only a few blade lengths to choose from, with no blade that left any length to the coat. To improvise, the professional used a # 7 blade to lightly skim the coat to create the overall shape and profile and then detailed with scissors. This technique takes practice and a steady hand with a dog that stands like a statue. This technique is one of the most artistic ways for a professional to express their style.

Clippering with Snap on Combs
Clippering with snap on combs is the "new timer's" method of "sculpting the coat," however you cannot accomplish the same finish as with the #7. A snap on comb is placed on a #30 or #40 blade and utilized to take length off and shape the overall silhouette or profile.

Clipper Scooping Technique
Clipper scooping is a technique that is used on a daily basis in the salon. This technique is used to clipper small areas on a dog such as the stop area, footpads, armpits and behind the ears. The clipper motion must be very light with the blade on a slight angle to prevent scratching or cutting the skin.

The Angle of the Blade When Placed on the Coat
The blade must be placed on the coat and the clipper moved in a smooth and fluid motion to prevent the point of the blades from poking or scratching the skin of the dog. The blade should be placed on the dog almost as if you are landing a plane.

Check Blade
Always check to make sure you have the right blade on the clipper before you begin. If a #40 blade is used by mistake on the sanitary area instead of a #10 blade, the skin could be severely irritated. To avoid choosing the wrong blade, keep blades in order by cutting length and make yourself aware of the blade that you are picking up and putting on your clipper.

Repeated Clippering
Never clipper over the same area more than 3 times when clippering sensitive areas such as the muzzle, cheeks, throat and stomach area. The skin can become very irritated from excessive clippering when using close cutting blades such as the #15 and #40 blade.

Cross Cutting
Cross cutting is a term used if you cut across the lay of coat. With most coat types, except for the tight curly coated breeds, cross cutting will leave "clipper marks" that are almost impossible to blend. If you accidentally cross cut a coat especially on breeds that have a lot of undercoat, utilize a conditioner spray and brush the coat lightly and then clipper the area with the lay. If you are not able to smooth out the clipper marks, you will have to get your "eraser" out and use your thinning shears to blend.

Clippering over cowlicks can be a big surprise for many beginners and a much bigger surprise for the pet family. Avoid clippering over these areas, but if you do, follow the direction of the coat as much as possible. If you are not able to achieve the finish that you would like, bring out your "blenders" to finish the job.

Keep the Blade Moving, Clippering with the Lay of Coat
To achieve a smooth, velvet finish without clipper marks, keep the blade moving on the coat at all times never allowing the blade to come to a rest directly on the coat. The blade should be placed on the coat as if you were landing a plane with smooth and continuous strokes skimming off the coat. The longer the clipper strokes, the smoother the finish.

Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing Professional's Position: Front, Rear, Side, Front/Side, Rear/Side

Place the clipper on the coat with a slight bend in the elbow and always pull the clipper towards you or in a downward position, never clippering away from you which creates an awkward position for your arm and wrist. Keep your wrist as straight as possible, using your entire arm and upper body to help you maneuver your clippers around the dog. Long, smooth strokes are used when clippering the body and legs because you are covering a larger area and are typically removing excessive coat. Shorter strokes are used when detail clippering such as on the face, feet and tail and the clipper strokes are shorter and you move your clipper in all directions much like you would a pencil or a paintbrush.

Direction of Clippering
When used against the lay of coat, a blade will cut closer than when used with the lay of coat. Just how much closer needs to be discussed. It has been stated in various articles, books, etc. that when the blade is used in reverse that it will cut as short as the next blade length. For example, if you clipper against the lay of coat with a #5, it will cut as close as a #7. Yes, the blade will cut shorter when used in reverse, however, the coat type and the density of the coat also determines how short a blade will cut when used against the lay of coat. You may use a #5 blade against the lay of the coat expecting to see the length that a #7 blade would leave but you can be surprised. Evaluate the coat before choosing a blade to clipper against the lay of coat.

Clipper Blending
To groom and style a dog with clippers and be able to give the dog an overall smooth appearance is an art, but also a challenge. The professional must be able to blend the shorter hair on the back into the longer hair on the legs. This is a technique that you will use on many coat types.

To blend, always follow the lay of the coat no matter what coat type.
Always sweep the clipper in an outward position to graduate the length of coat. The blade is lifted off the coat at a gradual angle, blending the coat lengths following the lay of the coat.

Clippering Matted Coats
A coat that is matted close to the skin requires a skilled hand. Holding the skin taut with one hand, the blade must be placed correctly under the coat. Use a slow, continuous movement. Keep the blade foot positioned correctly. The blade must never be forced through the coat. If the blade will not cut, step to a shorter cutting blade. Use blades that have close teeth to prevent catching the skin. A #10 blade can be used with the lay of coat on severely matted coats. If it will not go through the coat, go to a #15. It is easier and safer to glide along the contour of the body using a close toothed blade than a blade with teeth spaced apart or with uneven teeth. If you have to step up to a #40 blade, great care must be taken, considering this is a surgical blade. Coat types such as the tight curly coated breeds, such as on the Poodle, that have been neglected over long periods of time may require using a #40 blade. Yorkshire Terriers and other drop coated breeds are also candidates for using very short blades if neglected.

Safe & Gentle Handling
Never use a blade with teeth spaced far apart in areas where there is loose skin, wrinkles or folds because the skin can be pulled between the teeth. Skip tooth blades such as #7,#5, and #4 are all blades where the teeth are spaced far enough apart that skin can be pulled into the blade. Skip tooth blades have a wider space between the teeth than finishing blades such as the #7F, #5F and #4F, therefore more caution must be used when working with these blades.

Head Area
Blades that have the teeth spaced far apart should never be used on the underside of the ears (earfolds), under the front legs (armpits area), between the rear legs (genital area) and the stomach area. Blades that have the teeth spaced far apart should be used with caution on the head area around the lips.

Throat Area
Many dogs have wrinkles and folds on the throat area. To clipper the throat area safely, the skin must be held taught to create a smooth surface so that you can clipper the throat without catching or scraping the skin. Use close cutting blades such as a #10 and #15. Avoid using blades with teeth that are spaced apart because they can catch the skin.

Stomach Area
Take caution when clippering the stomach area to prevent nicking or cutting the nipples.

Tuck Up Area
Clipper in a downward position to prevent catching the skin. Never hold the dog up and run the clipper down the tuck up line.

Hock Area
When clippering above the hock area, begin to clipper off to the side of the leg, avoid running the clipper on the back of the leg in a downward motion. Clipper off to the sides of the leg above the hock area. Clipper from below the hock to the foot in a downward motion to create a clean line and prevent catching above the hock area.

Small Dogs
Care must be taken on small pets that have their front legs clipped. Due to the small size of the dog and the angle of the clipper, the cutting edge of the blade can jab the legs. Use a small clipper in a pencil/paintbrush position to enable you to place the clipper blade on the legs without "jabbing" the dog.

Severely Matted Coats
Coats that are severely matted often have skin disorders which can be severe underneath the matts. Care must be taken when removing excessively matted coat.

Clippering Under Matts
Never pull the coat with one hand while clippering under a matt. This is a sure way to cut a dog.

Hold the Skin Taught
Hold the skin taught with your holding hand during all clippering procedures to create a smoother finish.

Client Relations: Notification to the Pet Family
Severely matted dogs can react in different ways. Some react to just feeling different with the coat being removed. The excessive coat is very heavy and when removed, the dog not only feels air on the skin, which may cause the dog to begin scratching, but also, everything feels lighter. Dogs that have been clipped down with a very short blade must be monitored in the salon and by the client after the pet leaves the salon. Often times, pets may begin to scratch and irritate their skin, simply because the air on the skin feels itchy.

Pet Grooming Training