National Dog Groomers Association of N.Z. Ltd (NDGANZ)


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 and using traditional grooming equipment, whereas the Salon Proficiency ensures competency in grooming Crossbreeds and pet trims that we see in the salon every day. 

It is highly encouraged that the member attempt the CSP prior to sitting any of the Master Groomer modules, particularly if the member has been grooming for less than 3 years. 


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, or a pure-bred wool coated dog which is getting a non-breed trim, 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 should use electric tools and snap on combs 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. 

The pass mark for the practical exam is 75%. 


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%. 

Once you have completed your paperwork and it has been scored, regardless of your score, a examiner will read through all the questions in a group which some may have missed or got incorrect, and the answers will be given in detail so that the sitting member can improve their general knowledge when they return to the salon. Provided the member has shown understanding during the session, the theory portion will be marked as passed regardless of if the original theory score was below 75%. If the participant chooses not to stay for the debrief session, the original score will stand and if it is below 75% the participant will need to resit the paper again after a 6 month stand down period. 


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 (e.g. bleeding). Nail trimmers 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.

Clipper work
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 clipper work is to speed up the groom
as you would in a busy salon. The coat when finished should be free of any clipper marks and have a
natural appearance.

Scissor work
The scissor work 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 give it a pleasant
expression. The trim should be easily maintainable by the customer e.g. no Asian Fusion.