History of Dog Grooming

Dog grooming has been known to have existed since the Roman times. For many centuries grooming was a luxury reserved for aristocratic pets and valuable hunting dogs. During the 1500s dense coated water dogs (curly coated retrievers and poodles) were clipped so that they could move in and out of the water easily and left small tufts of hair covering their joints to keep them warm. The hair on top of the head would be tied up with brightly coloured ribbon to enable the dog to see better. Poodles were clipped to look like lions and by the 1700s the French started clipping various style poodle cuts.  Dogs were often bathed outdoors in basins and by rivers. Until the Victorian era (1837-1901), many resisted bathing and washing their dogs because disease transmission was so poorly understood.

The first professional dog groomers began their trade in the early 1800s although they did not have the tools we have today. They also didn’t have the convenience we have today of plumbing, electricity, central heating, pure tap water, or effective soap.

1930s

Hand held blow dryers were invented in 1920.

In the 1930s dog grooming barber shops started opening consisting of a tub and a few cages.

Leo J. Wahl introduced the Vac Clipper in 1965, a clipper with a vacuum attachment to pick up hair. After that comb attachments were available. They are plastic or metal attachments that go over the blade on the clipper to set the length of the dogs hair but is not meant to replace finish scissoring.

As animals became an accepted part of society, pets and work animals became more important; dictated by how they looked. The animals were groomed, either by their owners or professional pet groomers. As animal labour was replaced by automobiles and machines, the grooming of the animal took on a more personal reflection of the owner, particularly in high society. A well groomed and clean animal was a sign of wealth and prosperity.

Today, the animal is considered part of the family or something to show as a source of pride. Special events are organized to present current animal grooming techniques and the products of the pet grooming industry. There are even pet grooming conventions that meet periodically around the world to present the newest techniques and equipment used in the pet grooming industry.

There are thousands of web pages dedicated to the art and fashion of grooming and as with many long-standing professions, a rich history of pet grooming dictates pride and self achievement in the professional. So next time you visit your local pet grooming expert, remember that they are not just a service, but they have been backed with centuries of expertise, refinement, and dedication to the art.