Dog grooming has long been a favorite activity of pet owners, with documentation since the days of the Romans. Only aristocratic pets or valuable hunting dogs received this special treatment in ancient times, although it is known that water dogs, those with dense coats like retrievers and poodles, were clipped during the 1500’s to enable them to get in and out of the water more easily. The hair on the tops of their heads was even tied with ribbon to help the dog see better. Poodles were often cut to resemble a lion’s mane, and the French began to stylize poodle cuts by the 1700’s. Dogs were bathed outdoors in rivers or creeks, or in old basins, without benefit of plumbing or heating. Until the early 1900’s, washing dogs was avoided due to fear that diseases could be transmitted to humans through the process.
In the early 1800’s manually operated clippers became available, one of the only dog clipping tools available until 1919, when Leo J. Wahl introduced the electric clipper. Matthew Andis sold an electric clipper in 1921 through his Andis Clipper Company. Hand held blow dryers came out in 1920. Wahl came out with the Vac Clipper much later, in 1965, a combination clipper and vacuum to pick up the hair as it is clipped. Comb attachments are also now available which help regulate the length of the hair clipped off.