Clippers designed to trim and cut a pet’s fur are similar to hair clippers, but also quite different. At first glance, they look identical, however some differences can be noticed. First and foremost, the blades used on pet clippers are designed in a way that allows for precise clipping and trimming without pulling the pet’s fur, which is rougher and denser than human hair. Pet clippers also sport a powerful internal motor which is built to support excellent fur cutting results for different kinds and lengths of fur. A pet clipper’s motor is also less noisy than the one used in hair clippers as an animal’s hearing is much more sensitive than a human’s. This is why pet clippers are costlier than hair clippers and could cost twice as much.
Pet clippers are designed for pet care and grooming. There are many types of pet clippers out there. Some of them are specially designed for professionals and vets, and others are designed for consumers who want to take care of their pet from the comfort of their own home. Depending on the pet’s size, breed, and gender, each pet’s fur needs different care. For instance, certain dog breeds don’t need much looking after, but others need extensive care in order for their fur to look and be healthy. There are many different types of pet clippers that are designed to cover all the different pet grooming needs. Pet clipper types There are many different types of Pet clippers, which differ in their principle of operation, their power, their ability to be use for long stretches of time, etc. Pet clippers for dogs can be electric or mechanical: Electric ones are considered heavy duty and are usually meant for professional, frequent and intense use. Mechanical or manual clippers are mainly intended for the care of the muzzle, ears, etc. Usually, each device’s kit includes cleaning brushes, oils and special accessories with which various hair lengths can be treated. Their power varies depending on the size of the pet for which they are intended.
10 W – are meant to be used for small breeds with soft hair,
15 W - are meant to be used for medium-sized breeds,
20 W - are meant to be used for thick hair,
Over 35 W - these are meant for professional use.
Pet clippers are equipped with fixed or removable blades. If using the later type, detachable blade sets must be obtained. Pet clippers are electric, rechargeable, power / rechargeable, or battery-powered.
On the packaging of each pet clipper kit, all differentiating characteristics are usually mentioned. This way professional groomers, veterinarians, and consumers can easily choose the clipper that most suits their needs. For example, Moser Pet Clipper packaging includes information on the device’s power, revs per second, blade material, range of guide combs included, accessories, weight, cable length, and country of manufacture. The size of the pet that each clipper can be used on is also indicated, along with the parts of the pet's body on which it can be successfully used.
Dog breeds and grooming
Every dog breed is different. This means that each breed has its own unique needs, and grooming processes for each of them are of course different too. First of all, it should be noted that not all dog breeds need haircuts. For some it is necessary, but for others it could almost be considered harmful. For example, breeds such as the Poodle, Terrier and Maltese need to be regularly groomed and their fur is trimmed usually at the beginning of the summer season. These dogs need a good trim when long periods of hot weather are expected, this way they won’t be hot and their hair won't get tangled. For some pet owners of course, grooming is more of an aesthetic choice too. On the other hand, there are breeds for which hair cutting and trimming should be forbidden, according to experts. Breeds with a double layer of fur (eg Husky, Chow-Chow, Akita and Simba Inu) should not be trimmed at all as their fur is specially designed to protect against the temperature changes and the weather (cold and heat). It acts as an insulator more or less. If their fur is cut or trimmed, the animal's health will not be compromised, but its fur may get damaged and no longer protect it from temperature fluctuations during the winter and summer months. Their fur might also end up thinning out. Information on each breed’s particular needs, as well as each dog individually, can be provided by veterinarians and professional groomers. These professionals will be able to provide information on whether or not to trim or cut a pet’s fur, as well as how and when said trim or cut should happen.
Use by vets
Pet clippers are very important for veterinarians as well. They are absolutely essential for doctors, as they often use them to shave fur off various parts of an animal's body in order to access and have a clear view of said parts. Shaving a specific area might be required before performing surgery, when cleaning and caring for a wound, and even when conducting simple tests or applying ointments. The fur is shaved off as it might come in the way of the above processes. It is also often a source of infection, so it is necessary for health and hygiene reasons too.
Leo J. Wahl invented the first electric hair clipper. He originally designed a portable medical massage unit for his uncle, Frank Wahl. Frank Wahl opened a production plant in Sterling, Illinois, to produce and sell Leo’s massage device. Leo was selling massage units to various barbers and, on one occasion, noticed the need to improve the tools they had been using.
Leo J. Wahl took over his uncle's business after Frank went off to serve in the Spanish-American War in 1898. Leo continued to work on his inventions and patented his cutting-edge invention, the world’s first ever electric clipper in 1919. Within a year, Wahl Manufacturing had built and sold thousands of clippers across the United States, and in 1921 Leo changed the company’s name to Wahl Clipper Corporation. When Leo J. Wahl died in May 20, 1957, he had more than 100 patent applications in his name. His descendants still run the company today. Wahl Clipper Corporation now international, and is considered a leading company in the manufacturing of products for professional and personal grooming, and animal care. WAHL is known for its innovative tendencies and adaptability. For example, the latest models of its Pet Clipper range, sport long-lasting batteries which can trim the fur of at least two pets with a single charge. This range also boasts of powerful electric and rechargeable clipper models. WAHL’s clippers have adjustable speeds, as well as many blade options for the different types of fur.
Pet grooming over the ages
According to archeological and scientific studies, humans and dogs have had a strong bond, dating back to mankind’s first steps on the planet. As this bond developed, so did the love between the two and their sense of commitment to each other. The prevailing theory is that early humans began to develop bonds with "primitive" dogs, seeking their protection. As the bond between them grew stronger, people began to see these dogs as their companions and started offering them shelter and food. Although there are theories that early humans took dog grooming seriously, the first references to the "dog groomer" profession only date back to the Middle Ages. During this period, in European feudal estates, there are mentions of young men - referred to as "kennel boys" - meaning boys who lived with the dogs. These young individuals took care of the hunter and herder dogs which belonged to noble lords who owned vast lands. They lived with the dogs and were responsible for keeping them healthy and caring for their needs. They brushed their teeth, combed their hair and trimmed their fur using a comb and scissors. After all, dogs in the Middle Ages were highly valued for their services, as in addition to hunting and guarding herds, dogs also protected crops from pests and other animals. Hence, both the dogs and their caregivers were appreciated and received a lot of attention. As cameras were only discovered in 1685, and the first photograph was finally taken in 1814, there is no tangible evidence of the early history of dog care. Paintings and portraits, however, attest the fact that this practice existed and was widespread during the Elizabethan period even.
Aesthetics or efficacy
Although portraits and paintings depicted well-groomed dogs next to their owners - lords and aristocrats mostly - dog grooming practices originally surfaced to enhance efficacy rather than aesthetics. Most researchers agree that the first dogs to ever be groomed were Retrievers with curly furs. During the 16th century, European dog owners and hunters trimmed their Retriever’s curly fur because it got in the way of them finding their prey in the water. As these Retrievers are considered to be the ancestors of today's Poodles, it is not surprising that the classic poodle cut was done during that time. The owners trimmed the dog’s fur off, but left the hair intact on the neck, shoulders, ribs and chest, in order to keep the dog warm but also flexible and agile in the water. Hunters also left bits of fur around the dogs' joints to protect them from rheumatism. Their owners – on occasion – also turned the dogs' hair in knots on their forehead, so that it wouldn’t fall into their eyes when swimming. Although dog grooming began as a bid for efficacy it soon evolved into more of an aesthetic choice. When Louis XVI ruled France (from 1774 to 1792), dog fur was occasionally combed in a way that resembled various hairstyles which were popular among the country’s nobility. The ‘’Continental Clip’’ cut was the most famous one and was favoured by many aristocrats who wanted their pets to reflect their own prestige.
The Continental Clip made a come-back in doggie fashion during the 19th century in Paris. At around the same time, it was also widely fashionable to give dogs hairstyles quite similar to popular women’s looks. The "tonte en macarons" haircut, first launched by Princess Eugenia, the wife of Emperor Napoleon III, inspired the new look for the Caniche breed. In the 1920s, fashion changed both for women and dogs. Many women now had their hair cut short in an effort to demonstrate their rejection of Victorian stereotypes. In fact, several women from wealthy families decided to abandon the tradition of having small cuddly dogs, preferring larger and stronger dogs, such as the Newfoundland breed. Many women, during this period, kept their dogs' hair short in order to reflect their own hairstyles.
In the 1960s, dog grooming styles and accessories followed closely the hippie - boho trends which dominated the market at that time. Many dog owners chose to adorn their pets with synthetic flowers, while others dyed their dog’s fur green, yellow, or pink, in psychedelic patterns. Many owners chose not to groom their dogs at all. In the same decade, half-breed dogs became more popular, as they symbolized the coexistence of different breeds and races in the same creature.
The first doggie barbershops
In the United States, the first doggie barbershops popped up shortly before the 1940s. These shops were usually small, with enough space to accommodate only three or four dogs, a treatment table, and a place for washing and drying dogs. As there were no special doggie dryers, the groomers used cage dryers, which were neither safe nor effective. Even when the new special dryers were released during the 1940s, these shops - which operated without air conditioning – faced another problem. The temperatures were rising so fast within the shop, which made both the groomers’ and the dogs’ experience in the shops unbearable.
As dog groomers did not yet have access to electric clippers, pet grooming was hard work. Professionals could not take care of more than 8 dogs a day.
Towards the end of the 1940s, pet grooming equipment evolved and became readily available. This, along with the rapid increase of the pet population, led to great changes for doggie barbershops. From small shops, hidden in narrow streets, pet grooming salons grew and started occupying prime city centre locations. With the arrival of electric hair clippers, secure cage dryers, hydraulic treatment tables and many other types of equipment, pet grooming was propelled into the modern era.
Pet grooming today
Today, pet care and grooming practices are quite widespread. Pet owners know that grooming is essential, not only to maintain aesthetics but also to promote heath. The pet groomer profession is constantly evolving. New methods and new tools are now at the disposal of professionals (groomers and veterinarians alike), but are also readily available for pet owners who like to take care of their pet easily, in a pleasant and safe environment like their home. Pet groomers now enjoy the respect and appreciation of both pet owners and their pets as they offer great, relaxing experiences for everyone involved.
Further animal categories which can benefit from grooming practices
Although pet grooming practices were originally developed for dogs only, nowadays a more diverse range of animals has been receiving similar care. Many people now choose to groom their cats as well. Although cats do not like water, most of them seem to enjoy a good trim now and then. Regular grooming and even hair tattoos are also very common in horses and other Equidae. Back in the day, these lovely animals were used for work or transportation, however now, they enjoy a far more glamorous status as they are kept as pets and riding companions. This is why horse owners invest a lot in their care. Horses which participate in races and competitions, receive regular grooming treatments and get their mains braided in elaborate styles, while also benefiting from oil and ointment applications from professionals in order to maintain their shiny and well-groomed appearance. After all, grooming practices developed just for horses are not an entirely new trend, as traditionally certain horses – used by royalty - were well groomed and always taken care of. Horse grooming is essentially the revival of an old tradition which has evolved in wholesome way. Professional pet groomers have a huge range of skills. They specialize in grooming, ear cleaning, nail trimming, brushing, bathing, drying, styling and more, and are more than capable to take care of the appearance of many other animal species, such as weasels, hamsters, birds, etc.
Pet grooming itself has become a sport across the globe. Professional groomers to be, as well as pet owners, take part in grooming international and domestic competitions with an aim to get their skills recognized, but also of course to win the prizes (cash or other).
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