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AKC Master Groomer

Master Groomer Testing

The title of Master Groomer is hard-earned through years of consistency, integrity, and support of our best friends. Yet we all have to start somewhere. We encourage you to begin the Master Groomer journey wherever you’re comfortable. Are you a pro with Bichons? Then get started with the Curly coat type! It’s up to you.

Written Master Groomer Exam

Located online, this test can be taken at any time. It provides evaluation of your knowledge of all things grooming and will cover the following areas:

  • AKC Group Names
  • AKC Breed Identification
  • Canine Structure
  • Coat Type Identification
  • Equipment and more

A score of 80% is considered passing.

Practical Master Groomer Exams

We’re excited to offer AKC Master Grooming testing in conjunction with grooming competitions around the country. Participants will be able to groom your competition dog to fulfill the program requirements, however competition time requirements must be followed.

Groomers will also be able to participate in test-only events. Testing will take place over two days, and you will be able to groom two times each day. With proper planning, the AKC Master Groomer Program can be completed in as little as two days.

Master Groomers will test in person on each of the following coat types, and submit before and after pictures of each exam in their portfolio.

Required Coat Types

  • Curly
  • Wire
  • Drop
  • Jacketed

Practical exams will take place around the country at grooming trade shows and dog shows. Events will be posted on our website and social media.

How Does Master Groomer Testing Work

Groomers will be required to supply their own dogs, table and equipment. They will have two hours to complete the hair cut. Groomers will be evaluated in the following areas:

  • Handling (interaction with dog & equipment)
  • Prep-work (dog clean, brushed and nails done)
  • Profile (balance, symmetry)
  • Details (breed specific, blending, finish work)

Grading will be assessed on a 16-point rubric. A score of 12 points is considered passing. A written critique will also be supplied.

Definitions of Dog Coat Type

For our testing purposes, this program will divide breeds by coat type.

Wire: Consists of a harsh outer coat and soft undercoat. Can be maintained at a variety of lengths, but primarily requires the act of pulling harsh coat to encourage production of wire-hair.

Example breeds:

Drop: Consists of long hair that tends to fall to each side of dog. This is a continuously growing coat that does not follow a yearly shed cycle. Primarily presented with a natural finish, typically achieved with thinning shears.

Example breeds:

Jacketed: Consists of a harsh, weather resistant jacket and longer furnishings. This requires a combination of carding and scissors/clipper work. Some dogs are gifted a natural “coat pattern” that requires less maintenance.

Example breeds:

Curly: Consists of single, stand-away coat. This is a continuously growing coat that does not follow a yearly shed cycle. Can require heavy maintenance to remain manicured. Some breeds should remain rustic.

Example breeds:

Double: Consists of a harsh outer coat and soft undercoat. A variety of coat lengths can occur, and typically follows a yearly coat growth cycle. Primarily presented with a natural outline.

Example breeds:

Smooth/Hairless: Consists of a naturally short coat or even hairless. These breeds require minimal coat maintenance, and will not required for evaluation of grooming proficiency.

Example breeds:

We recognize that not every breed may fit neatly into our six coat type divisions. Please reach out for approval before testing.