certificate in

certificate in Salon Proficiency Guidelines


NDGANZ Certificate in Proficiency is designed to help set a starting standard in the grooming industry in New Zealand.  This exam is designed to be the first exam a groomer does as a precursor to their Master Groomer journey.  The Master Groomer exams are based around purebred dogs whereas the Salon Proficiency ensures competency in grooming Crossbreeds and pet trims that we see in the salon every day.

The practical exam will consist of two grooms on different dogs.  The first dog groomed in the morning is to be a cross-bred wool coated dog, and the second dog to be groomed in the afternoon is to be a drop coated dog.  The dogs must be pre-washed and dried before attending certification either early in the morning or the previous evening, and then be groomed in the presence of two NDGANZ judges.

The groom is to be a pet style and must consist of either snap on combs or a medium to long blade, and scissor finishing with at least a 50% scissor styled head and additional shaping to the legs and any other areas necessary.

At the exam, please bring your dog fully washed, dried and brushed but please DO NOT pre-cut the nails or sanitary area or pads. You should also bring with you all the equipment you require to groom that dog including tables, leads etc.

Your dog will be pre-examined and you will be required to describe the dog to the judge.  You should point out any flaws in the dog’s structure which you will attempt to hide, as well as any positives you wish to accentuate.

Things to consider in your trim are a nice expression of the face and the head, body and legs all in balance with each other. For example, you do not want to see large front lets and skinny rear legs or visa-versa or a body which is left too large while the legs are tiny, similarly a tiny head on a huge body.

Once your dog has been pre-judged you will wait for everyone to start together prior to grooming. Each groom should take around 60-90 minutes and you will put your hand up when you are happy with your finished groom and a certifier will come and check it over.

Typically, these grooms are not kennel clip shave offs, but you can use electric tools to shape much of the dog as long as you give special attention to making each dog look its very best (eg hiding any flaws such as corkscrew legs).

The trims you choose must not be a standard breed trim but purebred dogs are allowed.  For example, you may choose to do a Shih Tzu for your drop coat portion, and a poodle in a clipped and scissored teddy bear trim for your wool component.

Following each exam your certifier will run over any areas for improvement which have been highlighted in your exam process.





Following the pass mark of 75% or more on each practical exam you will sit your written exam.  The questions and answers are all common sense and general grooming knowledge and can be found in most grooming books such as Notes of the Grooming table and other good books.

The pass mark for the written exam is 75%.




When scoring, points will be awarded based on the following criteria for each groom.   

Initial Presentation

The dog should be freshly bathed, dried, well brushed and combed. It should smell and feel clean to the touch and should be completely free of matts and tangles.  The ears should be clean and plucking is optional based on the best interests of the dog.


                Nails should be trimmed as part of the exam.  Points will be lost for nails which are for too long or two short (eg bleeding).  Nail trimers and dremel are acceptable tools to use. The pads should be free of hair with no hair shaved around the outside of the pads or between the toes.  Poodle feet are not acceptable for this exam.


We expect at least 50% of the dog to be clipped.  Various blades and snap on combs may be used to a length that suits the dogs style. The sole purpose of clipperwork is to speed up the groom as you would in a busy salon.  The coat when finished should be free of any clippermarks and have a natural appearance.


The scissorwork is to neaten, finish and style the dog giving it character and hiding any faults.  All forms of scissor, blenders, thinners etc may be used.

Suitability of trim

                The trim chosen should aim to optimise the structure of the dog and giving it a pleasant expression.  The trim should be easily maintainable by the customer eg no Asian Fusion.