Clipping: The Long and Short of It

At many points across this website, we emphasize brushes over blades, brushing and combing over clipping, shaving, and even shedding blades like Furminators. There are many reasons why we do. The short answer is that clippings are very problematic. Here is why:

The Whole Hair Shaft Is Best

First and foremost, because they are not the entire hair shaft, it’s a challenge to get clippings to “grab” onto other fibers. The part of a dog’s hair shaft that catches onto the other parts is just above the follicle, which is why mats form close to the skin. Sometimes, we can blend clippings with another fiber to spin them; it really depends on the individual dog’s hair.

Length Matters

long body clippings (above) vs. short clippings (below)

Same dog, different cuts: long body hair (above) vs short leg hair. The short clipping causes bumps and sheds out of the yarn.

The other big problem with clippings is the length. Most people clip their dogs regularly or have them clipped regularly.

If the hair is kept short, then the clippings are very short. And when they are really short, they do not stay in the yarn. If we can even get them to spin, they come right back out if they’re too short. So even though your doodle doesn’t shed now, it could shed after it’s spun. We won’t know until we sample it.

The Unkind Cut

Finally, if clippings are long enough and they will spin, you need to be aware that both ends have been cut. You don’t feel it when you pet the dog; you’re petting in one direction and it feels smooth. But once hair is spun, those cut ends go in all directions. It can be an uncomfortable feel, and again I have to say that we just don’t know until we sample the hair.

Want to Know for Sure?

So having told you all this, if you think your clippings are long enough (at least an inch is good, two inches much better) and you would like to see if it would work, we can sample the hair. If your clippings are short, I would suggest that you forego clipping all winter, brush the coat regularly to prevent matting over the winter, and then wait as long as you can in the spring to clip and save those. If you are interested in sampling your clippings, contact us to be notified when we can accept your sample.

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