There are 5 types of grooming scissors: straight scissors, curved scissors, thinning scissors, blenders and chunkers. Which you use when depends on the hair type, style and size of the dog.
Straight dog grooming scissors
Straight grooming scissors are the most commonly used. They exist from 4” to 10”. The 8” scissors are used mostly on curly coats such as: bichons, poodles, Ihasa puppies, etc. The smaller scissors from 6” to 7” are suitable for small dogs or for small surfaces, on the inside of the hind legs of poodles for example. Very small scissors such as the 4” are suitable for precision work around the feet and legs, the eyes or to cut only the tips of the ears. There are two models of straight scissors in the longer lengths: the normal, narrow scissors, suitable for the lightest or finest of coats, or a wider pair of scissors, an 88-model or a Filipino-style, which is suitable for a heavy or rough coat: bobtail, king poodle, Portuguese water dog or cocker.
Curved dog grooming scissors
Curved grooming scissors also exist in different lengths, ranging from 4” to 10”. Although a good groomer can certainly cut any shape with straight scissors, even a curved line or a circle. Most find it easier to use curved shears. The top of the head, the tail of a poodle, or the angulation of a bichon can be cut much easier with 6,5” to 8” curved scissors. The rounder or the more angulation is needed, the more the shear should be bent. That is why scissors with extra curved blades exist nowadays.
Thinning dog grooming scissors
Both blades of the thinning scissors are serrated in the form of a comb. You can easily thin out coat that is too heavy. By using thinning shears, it is possible to model the coat where necessary. You can also thin out at the root to make the coat seem thinner and flatter.
Blender dog grooming scissors
Blenders have one serrated edge and one side is smooth like a normal pair of scissors. With a blender you can have your short (where for example shaved) and long hairs run over without seeing any marking. For example, you can lift the hair with a comb on a Shih-Tsu and cut the hair on the flat side. Blenders are used for styling and modeling. It is best to always cut with or against the hair growth direction to have no markings. Cut a few times and comb the loose hair from the coat. Repeat until the desired result is obtained.
Chunker dog grooming scissors
Chunkers are mainly used to model heavy curls faster without causing major inequalities. Sometimes the curly coat has so much hair and it is so thick that it is difficult to get to the skin, here it is useful to work with the chunkers.
How many grooming scissors do I need?
How many shears you need depends on the situation. If you can miss your scissors for a week if they are blunt, you can work with one trimming scissors or one set. But imagine being halfway done with cutting the dog’s coat and dropping your scissors: the scissors won’t work well anymore and the dog will be walking around with a half-cut coat. In professional use you need a double of each type of scissors in case one has to be sharpened.
As a beginner, you should first buy a straight pair of scissors and thinning scissors. With these you can cut everything and they are cheap. Someone who is professionally involved will have different qualities of scissors and use different scissors depending on the type, style and size of the dog.