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HappyPaws Grooming and Pet Supplies

General Clipper/Blade Usage/Care
Groomer/Stylist ApparelSizing Guide

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Do not attempt to operate your clippers without first oiling the blades. Use of Clipper blade oil(Andis, Oster, etc) is recommended

Do not use WD 40 or other similar solvents/scouring agents to clean or lubricate the clipper or the blades. Again,
It is best to use one of the blade cleaning/care sprays, dips or washes available that are specifically made for caring for blades and clippers

Do not attempt to sharpen the blades yourself - they need a special can usually find a blade sharpening service in the phone book or many sharpening service companies allow you to ship blades to them for sharpening..there are even some sellers offering this service on e-bay now-ask and I will show you

A wide range of “snap-on” or detachable blades (commonly referred to as A5 or A-5 type)can be fitted to the clipper that specify they are A5 compatible, including those made by Oster, Andis, Wah, ConairPET, Geib, Master Grooming Tools, Top Performance, etc.

Detachable or “snap-on” type blades should not be taken apart other than for sharpening purposes at the place of sharpening. 

Blades need to be regularly sharpened to keep a good cutting edge, and they must be constantly oiled during use....again it is best to use one of the sprays or products available that are specifically designed to cool, clean, lubricate and sanitize blades during use

Cleaning of the blades and inside of the clipper head should be thoroughly carried out after every clipping session to avoid a build up of hair and dirt.-see above

Remove all traces of oil and hair with a small stiff brush and wipe clean with a dry clean cloth. Use a small paint brush or similar. This will enable you to remove most of the muck, after which a good “blow” will usually do the rest! Try to avoid a build up of dirt and hair – it makes cleaning easier! 

The foam “hair” protector located at the top of the housing on most clippers is designed to stop hair from getting into the head assembly. With the cleaning of the head this may become dislodged and come away. This is not a disaster and the clipper will continue to function quite happily. When the machine next goes for service this will usually get replaced.

When completely free from hair clippings and oil, re-oil all working parts within the head and likewise to the blades to prevent any occurrence of rust. 

Remember even the smallest spots of rust can have an adverse effect on the cutting performance of the blades - in some cases making clipping impossible.


Understanding what different types of blades are capable of can make you a more efficient groomer. Familiarizing yourself with the following terms and types of blades will help. 

All blades have two parts. The larger bottom blade, called the comb, feeds the hair into the top, or cutting, blade. The cutting blade is moved back and forth very quickly by the clipper motor to cut the hair.

Length of hair left when cutting against the natural lie of the coat, or on a dog with off-standing coat, such as a Poodle or Bichon Frise. Cutting with the grain of the coat on most breeds leaves it one blade length longer. For instance, a #7 blade leaves approximately 1/8" hair when going against, but will leave approximately 1/4" when going with the lie.

Skip Tooth Blades - 3, 4, 5 or 7

Skip Tooth Blades are generally used instead of a finish cut blade when:

Hair or coat is heavily matted or for VERY thick coats.-The coarse or uneven teeth on a Skip Tooth will feed the hair into the cutting blade more effectively, which allows you to clip under mats.
Often used before the bath for rough-cuts, and on dogs that must be shaved completely down.
Perfect for blending short areas with longer lengths. Ideal for coarse-coated breeds such as Terriers  

A hair cut using a skip tooth blade is generally "finished" off with the same size finish blade to give coat a smooth, finished appearance...for example: if you cut hair with a 4 skip-tooth blade, finish off with a 4F blade

PLEASE BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN USING A SKIP-TOOTH BLADE as it is much easier to cut your pet with this type of blade.

Finishing/Full Cut Blades - 3F, 4f, etc (also referred to as 3 3/4 FC, 4FC, etc)
The teeth on this blade are even, creating a smoother finish. Can be used before and after the bath. Used for a smoother finish or full shavedowns.

Cutting surface is wider than regular blades for larger breeds or faster stripdowns.

Surgical Blades 
Used by veterinarians to prep an area for surgery by removing hair down to the skin. Also used for show cuts on Poodles. Best blades to use with Snap-on combs.


Blade Size Cut Usage
50 1/125" Surgical prep, Show Poodle feet, face, sometimes pattern.
50SS 1/125" Stainless steel—harder, holds edge longer, rust-resistant.
40 1/100" Surgical prep, Show Poodle feet, face and pattern, Pet Poodle feet. Excellent for using under Snap-on combs.
30 1/50" Pet Poodle feet, between pads of some dogs. Good for using under Snap-on combs.
15 3/64" Sensitive Poodle feet, pads, face on Poodles, Cockers and Terriers.
10 1/16" Sanitary trim (tummy & genital area), face on Poodles, Cockers and Terriers, most cat clippings. A very short, but safe blade.
Wide 10 3/32" Similar to the size 10 blade, but with a wider blade sweep. Good for full-body shavedowns and large breeds.
T-84 3/16" Stripping heavy coats, medium length, wider cutting surface than standard blades.
9 5/64" Sporting Breed's necks and sometimes bodies, very smooth finish. Popular on Cockers, Springers and Schnauzer bodies.
8 1/2 7/64" Head, face, neck and sometimes body on Sporting Breeds and Terriers.
7 1/8" Skip tooth— body work on Sporting Breeds and Terriers, Pet Poodles, excellent for clipping matted dogs where blending is required.
7F/7FC 1/8" Finish blade for 7 Skip Tooth, unmatted cats.
5 1/4" Skip Tooth, body work on Sporting Breeds and Terriers, Pet Poodles, body work on short trims on Lhasa Apsos and Shih-Tzus.
5F/5FC 1/4" Finish blade for 5 Skip Tooth.
4 3/8" Body work on the low-slung Terriers (West Highland White, Scottish, Cairn, etc.), Pet Poodles, short trims on Lhasa Apsos and Shih-Tzus.
4F/4FC 3/8" Finish blade for 4 Skip Tooth— also used against the lie of the coat of thick-coated Springers or Cockers for a very short but very smooth look.
3 or
3 3/4
1/2" Skip Tooth, good for a plush, almost puppy look on Lhasas, Shih-Tzus, Old English Sheep Dogs— anything that you want to give a short, but not shaved look.
3 or
3 3/4FC
1/2" Finish Blade for 3¾ Skip Tooth— can also be used against the grain as with the 4F and 4FC.
5/8 HT 5/8" Finish Blade— good for slightly longer puppy cut. Longest blade cut available.
7/8 1/32" Cutting surface is 7/8" across. For small areas. Ideal for setting patterns such as the Dutch Clip on Miniature Poodles, great for small Poodle feet.
5/8 or 5/8 NC 1/32" Cutting surface is 5/8" across. For small areas. Ideal for setting patterns such as the Dutch Clip on Toy Poodles, great for small Poodle feet.

In general, uses for each blade can be categorized in three areas. They are Body Cutting, All Purpose Cutting and Specialty Cutting. Below you will find a list of popular blades, but there are additional ones not listed here. 

Size Cut Description
4 3/8" / 9.5 mm Skip Tooth blade ideal for short legged dogs - Westies, Scotties, Cairn etc.
4F 3/8" / 9.5 mm Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 4.
5 1/4" / 6.4 mm Skip Tooth blade for body work leaving a shorter cut than Size 4.
5F 1/4" / 6.4 mm Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 5.
7 1/8" / 3.2 mm Skip Tooth blade popularly used on many breeds. Ideal for matted coats.
7F 1/8" / 3.2 mm Full Tooth finishing blade version of the Size 7.
Size Cut


8 7/64" / 2.2 mm Head, face and neck, commonly used on some Terriers and Sporting Breeds.
8 1/2 5/64" / 2.0 mm Ideal for various uses on Terriers.
9 1/16" / 1.6 mm Smooth finish commonly used on Spaniels and Schnauzers.
T-84 3/16" Wide cutting surface for medium length. Large dogs and dense coats.
10 1/16" / 1.6 mm Underbody areas such as the stomach and genital areas. Short, popular blade.
15 3/64" / 1.2 mm Poodle feet and pads, face, as well as Terrier and Cocker faces. Close cut.
30 1/100" / .25 mm Closer than Size 15, often used in show trimming. Can use under Snap-Ons
Size Cut


5/8 1/32" / 0.8 mm Only 5/8 inch wide cutting surface. Usually used for setting patterns. Very close cut
7/8 1/32" / 0.8 mm Only 7/8 inch wide cutting surface. Usually used for setting patterns. Very close cut



Why Snap-on Combs?
There was a time not so long ago that groomers never used snap-on combs because they had not yet been invented. Once they landed on the scene many groomers adopted them quickly claiming they improved their efficiency. Yet there was another group of groomers who even unto this day don't use them favoring scissor and clipper only grooming.

From our experience snap-on comb attachments were indeed a great way to improve efficiency and overall productivity, and they were never meant to eliminate scissor finishing. Today, almost every groomer has a few sizes of snap-on combs. It's not unusual to find them useful every day. Anything that saves time and reduces hand fatigue should be important to all groomers alike as grooming has always been laborious work, and we must look to our tools and equipment to reduce wear and tear on our precious bodies.

While we may call them "snap-on combs" they may be referred to as clip-on/universal/guide combs, blade guards, blade grips and blade attachments. There is not a standardized system used by manufacturers branding the various sizes of snap-on combs so it can be confusing.  If in doubt about size of comb always look for length comb will actually leave hair not what number or letter it is called.

Using Snap-on Combs
Snap-on combs are attached to the blade end of a clipper over the blade.

They are best used over a #30 or #40 blades.Snap-on combs are intended to be used over a #40 or 30 blade. Although they will go over some other even-toothed blades, the combs have a tendency to drag and catch hair when used over the longer blades and will not give you specified length of comb being used.
Like all grooming techniques, it takes some practice to master snap-on combs. For the most part, they are used on coats after bathing, fluff-drying and final combing so that no matts are present. Snap-on combs do not go through matts.

Always go in the direction of coat growth. Your objective is to create as even a result as possible. Once done, use scissors to smooth any uneven spots.

Some purebred dogs being groomed into non-traditional styles can make great use of snap-on combs. For example, a full-coated Sheepdog can have its coat reduced to an inch, or two, (depending upon comb used) very quickly with snap-on comb. In fact, many other purebred full-coated dogs being given an even length coat reduction cut all over are candidates for snap-on comb grooming, followed by scissors to perfect any uneven spots.

Keep in mind that with the popularity of clipper vacuum systems the traditional application of snap-on comb grooming at the same required some modifications. Because the vacuum effect is lifting the hair coat into the comb and blade, you are likely to get a shorter cut than using the same size snap-on comb with a clipper not attached to a vacuum system.

Clean snap-on combs regularly with soap and water only. Remove any clipper oil or aerosol spray on combs before use.Do not spray Snap-on combs with coolant or any aerosol, as this may degrade the plastic. To clean, run under warm soapy water and dry off gently. 

Improve Your Efficiency With Snap-On Combs

Snap-on combs, also called blade guards, can save you a great deal of time and hand fatigue.

Smaller finisher trimmer type clippers may come with their own combs that fit only that clipper. 
. All given lengths are against the lie of the coat and are specified by the manufacturer, the same as blades. Snap-on combs can be used either with or against the lie of the coat. Keep in mind that the cut will often be longer when cutting with the direction of growth. 

There are some differences in the available brands. Oster combs are stamped with the length of coat they leave, and their lengths are a little different. All others have a number or letter designation stamped on them. Most brands (except Oster) have the original six comb sizes: 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Laube adds eight longer length combs.
Snap-on combs are intended to be used over a #40 or 30 blade. Although they will go over some other even-toothed blades, the combs have a tendency to drag and catch hair when used over the longer blades and will not give you specified length of comb being used.Experiment with these tools. When used as recommended, they have many advantages. However, they do not cut well through heavily matted coats. Ideally, they are to be used on a clean, combed-out coat. If the dog is not very matted, try using them pre-bath to reduce the amount of coat that must be washed.

When doing full scissor trims on Lhasa type dogs, or puppy cuts, try a Snap-on. There may be some unevenness, but that will diminish as your technique improves (it is vital to clip following the angle of hair in the direction of coat growth to avoid leaving marks and short spots, just as with clippers). Use the comb to get to the approximate length and then scissor over it, or use thinning shears. When starting with an overgrown coat, this can be a great time saver. Try using a longer comb and going against the grain for a smoother, more plush finish at the same length. Start with a comb a couple of sizes longer for the legs on these dogs; or for a short version, use a #4, #5, or #7 on the body and a comb on the legs.

A Sheepdog done with one of the extra large size combs with the grain will turn out a great puppy cut. Heads can be given shape as well. For Poodles, the same ideas work, but remember that lengths will be shorter on Poodles with their off-standing coats than the lengths on Shih-Tzus.

A few additional things to remember: if you have one of those occasional dogs that the clipper burns at the lightest touch of the blade, try using only combs. The #5 comb will provide you with a length close to that of a #10 blade. Keep in mind, when using a Shear Magic or another vacuum clipper system, the lengths should be adjusted accordingly, as the pull of the vacuum will make them shorter! Do not spray Snap-on combs with coolant or any aerosol, as this may degrade the plastic. To clean, run under warm soapy water and dry off gently. 

Body, sides & tail #7 or #5 Ears #10 or #15
Head, throat #9 or #7 & #7FC Underbody scissor

Bearded Collie

Puppy Trim - Body #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC  or 1-1/4" AC*

Bedlington Terrier

Body #5 & #5FC Head, ears, tail #10 or #15

Bichon Frise

Plush Look - Body #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Pet Trim, Short - Body #4 & #4FC or #5 & #5FC

Bouvier Des Flandres

Body, sides #3-3/4 or 1" AC* Cheeks & Throat #4
Legs, underbody, face scissor or 1-1/2" AC*


Puppy Trim - Body 1" AC* Face, legs, underbody scissor or 1-1/2" AC*
Cairn Terrier
Head, face, legs, underbody  Body scissor
#4 or #3-3/4
Ears #10 or #15


Very Matted #10 Some Matting #7FC

Cocker Spaniel

Body, sides, back, tail #7 & #7FC or    #5 & #5FC Underbody, feet, legs scissor
Face, ears, throat, head #10 or #15

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Body, sides, back #4 Legs, underbody scissor
Head, tail, feet scissor Top of ears #10 or #15

English Cocker Spaniel

Body, back, sides #7 & #7FC Head, neck, ears, face #15
Front of forelegs #7 & #7FC Underbody, legs scissor

English Setter

Body, sides, back #7 & #7FC or   #5 & #5FC Top of Ears #10 or #15
Head #9 Underbody, tail, legs scissor

English Springer Spaniel

Body, sides, back, tail #7 & #7FC or    #5 & #5FC Underbody & legs scissor
Head, neck, ear tops, throat #10

Irish Setter

Body, sides, back #7 & #7FC or   #5 & #5FC Underbody, tail, legs scissor
Head, ears, throat #10

Irish Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail #5 Head, ears, throat #10

Kerry Blue Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail #4 & #4FC or
#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC
Neck, ears
#10 or #15

Lakeland Terrier

Body, sides, back, tail #4 or #5 Neck, ears #10
Head #8-1/2

Lhasa Apso & Maltese

Puppy Trim #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Head, face, tail, underbody scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #5 & #5FC or   #4 & #4FC

Old English Sheepdog

Puppy Trim 1-1/4" AC* Head, face scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #4 & #4FC or
#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC


Short Pet Trim - Body #5 & #5FC or   #4 & #4FC or #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC


Face, feet, base of tail #10 or #15 Body #7 & #7FC or #5 & #5FC
Top knot, tail piece scissor or #4 & #4FC   or
#3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Portuguese Water Dog

Body #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Head, tail scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #4 & #4FC


Body, back, sides #7 & #7FC Head, ears, cheeks #10
Legs, underbody scissor

Scottish Terrier & Sealyham Terrier

Body, back, sides of face #5 or #4 Top of head #8-1/2
Ears, throat #10 Tail #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC

Shih Tzu

Puppy Trim #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Head, tail & ears scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #4 & #4FC

Silky Terrier

Puppy Trim #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Head, underbody scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #4 & #4FC Ears #10

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Body, tail #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Legs, underbody scissor
Shorter Pet Trim
(body, throat)
#4 & #4FC Head, ears scissor

Welsh Terrier

Body, back, sides, tail #5 Head, ears, throat #10

West Highland White Terrier

Body, back & sides #4 or #3-3/4 Ear tips #10 or #15
Head, tail, underbody scissor

Yorkshire Terrier

Puppy Trim #3-3/4 & #3-3/4FC Face, head scissor
Shorter Pet Trim #4 & #4FC Ears #10