Young Kennel Club entrants will compete for the prestigious title of Wahl’s Young Groomer of the Year at this year’s Crufts.

Here, over 20 of the best under 25 year-olds, who have qualified in heats from all over the country, will gather in the YKC ring between 8.15am and 10.30am on Thursday 6th March to demonstrate their skill and knowledge of grooming on a range of dogs in six age categorised ‘groom through’ and ‘clip, trim and strip’ classes.

All handlers must be aged at least six years of age and up to 24 years of age and, in the ‘groom through’ class, are required to show the understanding and skill required to remove all dead hair and tangles from the dog’s coat. A small amount of trimming to tidy the feet, ears and tail is allowed but the class is mainly judged on the handling of the dog, cleanliness of the ears, eyes, mouth and sensitive areas, no loose hair or dirt should remain in the dogs’ coats or signs of shampoo or conditioner in the coat.

Another young groomer takes up the challenge
Another young groomer takes up the challenge

In the ‘clip, trim and strip’ class competitors need to demonstrate their skills in coat removal by stripping, trimming and / or clipping the coat. Competitors need to use one or all of these skills in this class.

The classes are open to any dog providing it is registered with the Kennel Club in accordance with their regulations. This includes rescue or crossbreeds who do not qualify under the breed register but can instead be included under the ‘activity’ category.

The Young Kennel Club Grooming competitions are being judged by international grooming champion and author of Grooming Your Dog, Peter Young and renowned dog groomer, Fiona Brook. An overall champion will then be chosen.

One of the judges of last year’s competition, Eileen Geeson, commented: “Having been involved and passionate about grooming dogs since about the age of 13 when I had my first Standard Poodle and decided the artistry of clipping was for me, it was a tremendous pleasure to be asked to judge the Young Kennel Club members Groomer of the Year competition at Crufts 2013 along with co-judge Kitty Deersgieter.

“We were both enthralled by the standard of presentation as well as the dedication that these young groomers show towards their dogs. Taking the crown was 18-year-old Sophie Wing with her Miniature Schnauzer.

“Without doubt the young groomers are a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts and their obvious rapport with their dogs is a joy to behold.  It inspired confidence in me that our dogs will be in capable hands in the coming years. This competition will continue to grow as more and more dog owners come to realise the importance of dog care and enjoy precious time with their dogs. The ringside was packed to bursting with interested spectators, often intrigued at the professionalism demonstrated by the young groomers. Crufts is as popular as ever and I am sure with competitions such as these the interest will continue and we may see the need for an even larger ring to accommodate our young enthusiasts.

As international leaders in the manufacture of clipper products for the animal grooming sector, Wahl has been sponsoring the competition since its conception around eight years ago.

Nicola Darling of Wahl UK, said: “Our business is grooming and we are passionate about our equipment being used correctly. Sponsorship of the Young Kennel Club grooming competitions provides an opportunity to support young people as they learn the important elements in taking care of their dogs.  Some will go on to be groomers of the future and we value the opportunity to encourage the best and most appropriate grooming techniques at a young age. We are delighted that the competitions continue to inspire youngsters to develop their grooming skills and we look forward to continuing our work with the Kennel Club in the future.”

Many of the dogs relax and enjoy the experiance
Many of the dogs relax and enjoy the experiance