The Essential Guide to Professional Dog Grooming Scissors
This essential dog grooming scissors advice guide from Clipit Grooming provides you with valuable information when purchasing new professional scissors. We show you how to look after them properly to prolong their life and what to look for when choosing your sharpening and servicing provider.
As a dog grooming student, one of the most important pieces of equipment you will use is professional grooming scissors. There are literally hundreds of types of dog scissors on the market, ranging from the very expensive high-standard finishing scissors, which give a truly expert cut, to the more affordable, basic varieties.
Professional dog scissors are very personal and can be addictive, ask any Master Groomer to show you their collection!
Selecting the right scissor comes with a mind daunting offering which can be very difficult for a newbie and an established dog groomer to understand. In this scissor buying guide, we try to make scissor information easy to follow with valued advice for when you go buying.
Types of Dog Scissors
Straight Scissors are used for shaping and finishing work.
Thinning Scissors are used for thinning and shaping the coat. They have one cutting blade and a thinning blade.
All professional grooming scissors are made with STAINLESS STEEL that is manufactured in either Japan, Germany, China, India or Pakistan. The steel made in Japan is regarded as the best dog grooming scissors steel in the world and are known for producing convex - honed edges. The edges are very thin and sharp, allowing the groomer to cut effortlessly, for a smoother, precise cut.
German steel is very hard, usually too hard to sharpen to a razor edge. Known as a bevel edge, these professional dog grooming scissors are not angled the same as a convex and should be sharpened differently. Many come with blade serrations or tiny little groves down one-side, that help grip the hair instead of pushing it forward. The bevel edge is found to be more noisy than convex, but is very durable. Pakistan and Indian steels are the poorest quality and do not sharpen or hold an edge well.
Bevel - squared
Convex - tapered point
Open opposing handle
A positive grip and even tension on the handle for smooth, precise cutting.
For a proper groom, you need dog scissors that have even tension on the handle and a secure, positive grip. This gives you the confidence to freely move your hands without fear of slippage and provides an easier cutting motion to help achieve a neat finish. Good curved dog grooming scissors are designed with ergonomically-shaped handles that provide just the right amount of friction so your hand can safely manoeuvre them.
The most important thing that you should look for in scissors after you have established what quality of scissor you want to purchase, is how it FEELS, not just in your hand, but how it feels to your whole body. The wrong scissor can contribute to CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME, TENDONITIS, BURSITIS, ROTATOR CUP, and other hand, arm, shoulder, neck and back problems. The right scissor can prevent these problems.
The factors that make good dog scissors are:
- HANDLE CONFIGURATION
Some groomers like heavy scissors, but most prefer lighter ones. Be aware of your preference and make sure that the weight of the scissor is comfortable and that you have a feeling of control all the way to the tip of the blade.
Handle configuration is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a new scissor. Opposing or straight handled scissors put the most strain on the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and back. Offset and crane-handle scissors put less strain on the body and are usually a better choice.
Opposing Handle. A standard design, ideal for groomers who like to hold the scissor with the middle finger and thumb.
Offset Handle. Ergonomic design for reducing hand fatigue. Ideal for groomers who hold the scissor with their ring finger and thumb.
Swivel Thumb. The thumb is free to move and follows the motion of the hand.
When trying a dog scissors make sure your thumb and finger do not slide through the finger holes. Finger inserts are plastic rings you put inside your scissor finger holes to reduce the size of the finger and thumb holes. Use finger inserts so that your scissors fit your fingers and thumb properly. The holes on a scissor handle should not be sloppy and must not go past your knuckle, especially on your thumb. A poor fit will put more strain on your hand, dull your scissors quickly, as well as giving you a substandard cut.
What size dog scissors should I use?
The fully equipped professional groomer should have a toolbox with several sizes of different scissors. The reason for using longer dog scissors is to take off more coat per cut. This increases efficiency and can also help achieve a smoother finish.
There is also something to be said for smaller scissors, 5.5" to 6.5". They allow for good control, and will work in smaller areas with the least amount of stress on your hands.
Most groomers choose to work with a 7.5" to 8.5" scissor which is classed as a finishing shear. If you are not comfortable making big cuts, then don't buy big scissors yet. If your technique is still at the snipping stage, and you are mostly cutting with the top 1/3 of your blades, we would advise you to get a smaller scissor and practice using more of the blade.
Your scissoring style as well as what kind of work you are doing should be factors in your choice. Are you doing lots of mixed breed clip downs with cute faces?
Measuring Dog Scissors
Did you know?
Scissors that measure up to
6” in length are called scissors
Anything longer than 6” are
generally called shears
UK measurements - tip to and including finger hole
US measurements - tip to and including finger rest
Dog Grooming Scissors Guide
Bull nosed/safety scissor
Delicate areas such as pads,
groin and in front of eyes
Popular size scissor
6 1/2" - 7 1/2" are
suitable for trimming
a variety of breeds
Longer/ wider blade
Suitable for heavier,
coarser coats. Takes
coat off quicker.
Your scissoring style, as well as what kind of work you are doing should be factors in your choice when purchasing new dog grooming scissors. There are literally hundreds of scissors to choose from; from lots of different suppliers who should be able to tell you the difference with every scissor that they sell. If they can’t give you this information, then you are buying from the wrong supplier!
If you are a student groomer go for a heavy duty scissor kit like the Clipit Scissor Starter Kit. A good starting kit that
includes a 4.5” bull nosed for trimming in between pads and around eyes. A 7” straight scissor for bodywork on small to medium size dogs and then a single edge 36 teeth thinning scissor for shaping and sculpturing work.
Although you can do everything with a straight scissor, curved blades can help with top knots, faces, ears, and feet. Turned upside down, they can also help you set angulation.
Dog Thinner, Blender or Chunker Scissor? Let's clarify....
What about thinning scissors? Let's clarify the terms. Thinning shears are scissors with two blades with notched teeth. They are good for bulk thinning such as English Cocker coats. The scissors that have one straight edge blade and one blade with teeth are "blenders". Uses for blenders include finishing teddy bear faces on Lhasa or Shih Tzu types so as to not look choppy and shaping around chest and necks. Basically, blenders are great for any work where you want a softer definition. Thinning/blending dog grooming shears can save time and produce more uniform results when softening “lines” and “corners”, feathering, thinning bulk, or adding volume.
Thinning scissors come in many styles. The finer the teeth on the scissor, the softer the dog's coat will look. The more teeth, the more hair is removed, but they do it without leaving cut marks - the blending is better. 46 tooth scissors cut your grooming time. The less teeth, the less hair is removed, but they can leave more marks.
Provide softening lines
Ideal for Teddy Bear faces
Great for removing
For removing blemishes
Works like a pencil
Left Handed Users
If you are a left handed user then the choice for you is not as great as if you are right handed. As a student decide whether you want to train on a lefty or a right handed scissor. In order to distinguish whether the scissor is right or left handed, the thumb ring with finger rest should be on the bottom of the cutting blade , closest to you, is pointing to the ceiling. If this is the case you are holding the scissor in the correct hand. A left handed scissor will have the thumb and finger hole pointing to the left.
on the left
Did you know?
A fixed finger rest offers better
scissoring. A screw finger rest is more
likely to come out.
on the right
How to adjust your dog scissors tensioning
Step 1. Hold your scissors in one hand with the tips pointing upwards and the finger rest pointing down
Step 2. Open the handle that your finger goes in at a 90 degree angle (L shaped)
Let it go....
- It should close 2/3 or the way down the blade.
- If the blade completely closes then this means your scissor is too loose.
- If the blade fails too shut, then the tension is too tight.
If the tension is too loose this will result in the hair folding. If the tension is to tight this will put wear and tear on the inside of the scissoring blades, plus it will put strain on your carpal tunnel and make your wrist ache.
How to care for your dog grooming scissors?
For every good dog scissor you will need a good reputable skilled sharpening company to keep your scissors sharp and maintained. Most scissors require sharpening every 3 - 6 months depending on how they are looked after. Sending your scissors to an inexperienced engineer can result in damage. Convex and bevel edge scissors, are angled differently and should be sharpened accordingly to the correct angle or better still polished. A inexperienced engineer or a person who does not have the correct equipment could destroy your scissors.
A convex edge has a tendency to nick and dull faster than a bevel version, especially if they are dropped. Where as the bevel version is more durable but is not as smooth as the convex. If you are finding your scissors are under performing, or they feel sloppy, then that is the time to send them off for maintenance.
Your scissors need sharpening and servicing when:
- The scissor pushes the hair
- The scissor pulls the hair
- The scissor is dropped
- The scissor stop is missing
- The scissor catches at the tip
- The tension nut or screw won’t stay tight
- The scissor is used with more thumb pressure
Dog grooming scissors should be sanitised and oiled at the end of grooming. Convex edges need to be oiled more frequently than bevel edge. Always store your scissors in a safe place when not in use. Never throw your scissors into a draw unprotected.
Watch out for corrosion. Hair is porous and will always hold moisture even after drying the coat. When finished always clean with Clipit Ice Care Spray and lubricate the scissor screw with Clipit Easy Oil.
Did you know?
You should never use Clipper Oil