Dog Breed Info


Carding is a natural technique to remove the loose coat from many coat types and is one of the most popular techniques used in the salon today. The carding technique helps to maintain a healthy coat by removing the undercoat and helps to prevent shedding and makes the topcoat lay flatter, giving a smoother appearance, especially on the jacket area on the breeds such as the setters and spaniels with the sporting coat types. For many coat types, carding can actually enhance the coat color, especially on coats that have been clippered instead of handstripped. The carding technique is used before and after the clippering procedure to remove the undercoat that the clippering did not remove, creating a more vibrant top coat.

Carding can be overdone, however, and when overdone, it will stimulate the undercoat to grow and may cause problems such as matting, not being able to get a nice smooth finish on the jacket due to the excessive undercoat growth, and damage to the topcoat. If carding is overdone on coat types such as the Nordic and Rough, there is a risk that the topcoat could be cut, especially when a sharp carding tool is used. This can change the appearance of the topcoat, leaving a finish that appears somewhat "burned." If carding is performed on a short coat type in order to solve a shedding problem, the professional can easily irritate and inflame the skin, so great care must be taken when applying this technique to prevent over-carding and irritating the skin, especially in sensitive areas such as on the spine and on the legs. Great care must also be taken when moving the tool over the base of the tail area to prevent irritating the skin.

The carding technique is similar to top brushing. The carding tool is placed on the neck area and pulled over the coat with the lay, working from the head to the tail.

Be Prepared for the Pet's Reaction
Carding can be a very relaxing procedure for man's best friend if safe and gentle handling is utilized during this technique.

Carding is a procedure that is similar to brushing and combing, the only difference being that you are using a different tool. The carding tool is always pulled in the same direction that the coat grows.

  • A stripping knife is used to card the coat using a top carding technique. The stripping knife is placed on the coat and pulled with the lay of coat from the neck area to the rear.
  • A #40 blade is a very close tooth blade, making it one of the best tools to pull the soft downy undercoat. The blade is held between your thumb and four fingers. Make sure to move the blade around in your hand until you have a comfortable position. Angle the blade slightly forward and then backward so that you have a feel for what this tool will do in this application. Remember to keep your wrist straight. Use the same type motion that you use when brushing, combing and handstripping utilizing your entire arm and shoulder to create a smooth and fluid motion.
  • There are several other types of carding tools available on the market today that have a #40 blade incorporated into the design. They are in a rake or stripping knife type design. The tools can be used to top card and to line card.
  • The pumice stone is a charcoal colored stone with a very porous and gritty surface, making this tool ideal for pulling out the soft downy undercoat. It is best to use this tool only during the prep because it leaves tiny particles in the coat and has a foul odor. The pumice stone must be stored in a plastic bag to prevent it from crumbling and causing a nasty odor in your tool box or grooming station.


Pet Position: Standing
Professional's Position:

  • Begin directly below the occiput on the crest area.
  • Gently secure the dog by holding on to the safety loop and with the same hand, hold the skin taut above the area that you are going to card.
  • With a #40 blade or with a tool that mimics the #40 blade, gently run the carding tool with the lay of the coat or the coat growth direction.
  • Work your way methodically toward the rear of the dog.
  • After completing this procedure, massage the ear area and praise the dog for allowing you to complete this task.
Pet Grooming Training