The Kerry from a Professional Groomer’s Perspective

As a professional groomer I’d like to offer a little bit of enlightenment to those out there frustrated in trying to find a groomer for your kerry blue terrier.

First unless the groomer that you choose regularly participates inconformation showing or grooming competions they may have never seen a kerry blue terrier much less been close enough to see how the dog was groomed. Many groomers learn to groom by apprenticing in a shop with an experienced groomer and the quality on their education is often limited by the quality of their teacher.

As a new owner of a kerry one might naively expect to call the first grooming shop in the phone book and find some one who will be able to trim your kerry to look just like the pictures you have seen. Even a person with many years of experience as a professional groomer may not be able to properly groom your dog.

Just as an example of this I was at a grooming seminar several years ago and there was a grooming competion held in conjunction with the show. There were 2 kerries entered in the competion. The judge was a wonderful woman with many years of experience as a groomer as well as raising and showing cocker spaniels. At the time I had only been grooming professionally for about a year but had been grooming my own kerryblue for several years as well as handstripping our lakeland terriers. We had an oppurtunity to talk prior to the competion and when she found out that I had experience with kerries she really quizzed me on what she should be looking for when judging the grooms. Even with 25 years grooming dogs, she had never had the oppurtunity to groom a Kerry.

Another thing that owners need to realize is that the world of pet grooming differs greatly from show grooming. Many of the trims that one sees on show dogs are not maintainable by the average owner, nor is the average owner willing to maintain a grooming schedule that would allow a dog to be maintained in a manner that would be similar to a show trim. Few owners are willing to spend the money that the groomer needs to charge in order to make the job worth their while. When grooming a dog such as a kerryblue or standard poodle the groomer is often losing money because they can often groom several small dogs in the time that it takes to groom a kerry but find that the market will not bear them charging what their time is really worth for a kerry or a standard poodle. This fact also makes a number of groomers unwilling to even want to learn to properly trim a kerry blue.

As a thought of how breeders could help to solve the dilema that exists for both groomers and owners. Breeders might volunteer to teach interested groomers in their local area how to properly groom a kerryblue terrier. Then send your local buyers to the groomer that you have personally trained. I think breeders, owners, and groomers would find this a win/win situation. Groomers would expand their knowledge and gain new customers. Both groomers and breeders will learn from each other. First time owners would no longer be frusrated.

As a side note to owners who take in instructions, tapes or charts for groomers to follow remember that you are asking a groomer to spend unpaid time to study your instructions which although they are somewhat helpful can’t go far enough to give a groomer the help that they need. The groomer is probably already cutting rates to accomadate you.

When you do find a shop that does do a good job for you. You will want to find out the name of the groomer who groomed your dog and make sure that only that person is allowed to groom your dog. If you choose to wait more than the groomers recommended time between groomings or take your dog in without the coat being properly brushed and combed out expect the price you pay to be higher and the quality of the grooming possibly lower because you are making the groomers job more difficult as well as more time consuming.

I hope I don’t sound too harsh about this and that it gives you a bit of an idea of what the reality of the situation is.

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