Competition Rules

Maryland State Fairgrounds
2200 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093

GroomTeam USA® Sanctioned Rules and Policies

General Expo Information

 

  • Well socialized pets, providing they are kept on a maximum 6’ leash, are permitted at the World of Pets Expo. Dogs will not be allowed in the Cat Event Area. Pet owners are responsible for any property damage or personal injury caused by their pets.
  • Providers of dogs must register for the event and wear a wristband for admittance into the Expo. No one is allowed in the Exhibition Hall without a wristband. 

  • Dogs must be cleaned up after immediately and all waste must be properly disposed of

  • There will be a holding area for during the hours of the competition only. No dogs will be allowed to stay overnight. This holding area is in a secluded area, but will not have staff attending to it.  The Maryland Grooming Competition is not responsible for any dogs or equipment left in the holding area.  


Bathing Area

  • There will be access to bathing tubs at Shaggy Chic Pet Grooming located at 1607 York Road, Lutherville Timonium, Maryland 21093

  • The salon will be open for prepping by appointment only. Only the groomer and one assistant may come at a time, per time slot.  Due to space and time, we want to limit the amount of people in one area.  

  • Competitors must provide a grooming loop, products, and their own towels.

  • Please bring only one dog at a time for bathing and drying. Only dogs that are part of the competition may be washed in the salon.

  • Personal tables or cages are not allowed in the bathing area; there simply is not enough space.

  • Electrical problems can occur, but class start times will be as scheduled. Plan your prep time so that you have an alternate plan to bathe and dry your dogs should there be downtime in the prep facility

  • You must clean up after yourself! Vacuum or gather-up and dispose of all hair when finished and sanitize the tables with the provided Clorox wipes.


Rules for All Maryland Grooming Competition Categories

  • There must be sufficient coat to allow the groomer to make a distinct change in the dog’s appearance.

  • Contestants will have between 90-135 minutes, depending on size of dog, to complete each category. All styling must take place during the time frame of the competition, except where noted below. 

  • All dogs must be groomed according to breed standard, with the exception of Salon Freestyle and Creative.  

  • All dogs may have sanitary and pads shaved, prior to class start.

  • All dogs may have nails trimmed and ears cleaned, prior to class start

  • Chalk products are permissible prior to and during the competition time frame, but are prohibited after time is called. 

  • Finishing sprays are permissible in order to tidy up after competition time frame ends however, reshaping with water or product application is prohibited. 

  • There is to be no coaching by anyone, at any time, during the competition.

  • There is to be no access to visual or written grooming instructions during the competition.

  • All photos and videos taken are the property of the Maryland Grooming Competition.

  • Group A is open to all competitors.  It is recommended for groomers with advanced styling skills, previous successful competition experience, and professional conformation show exhibitors and/or certifiers with expert styling skills.  ONLY GROUP A division class winners are eligible to earn GroomTeam USA points.

  • Group B is restricted to competitors who have not won two Best in Show or two Best All Around Groomer titles, from any division, at any show, OR three group placements from any tiered show, OR three 1st placements from any division at any show.  

A minimum of two contestants must be entered and judged for a class 1st to be considered, in level advancement protocols.

A contestant placing and defeating someone in a regular class, in Open division, at any show, is prohibited from competing in Group B division


Procedures, Policies, and Protocols

Clarification of ANY issues that may arise, that are not covered by the rules, will be determined by judging panel and/or show management. 

Check-In Procedures

Check-In Procedures

  • Contestants must pick up their registration packet at the competition area desk, upon arrival to the show.
  • Competition check-in station opens 1 hour prior to contest start time. 
  • Contestants must bring their contest entry ticket,  competition dog, and equipment to contest check-in station prior to entering the ring. 
  • Contestants will have pre-contest photos taken and will be assigned a table.
  • Check-in station closes 15 minutes prior to competition start time.
  • Contestants who have not checked in 15 minutes before start time, will not be permitted to compete. 
Competition Dog Qualification
  • Dogs should be clean, dry, and free of matts and tangles.  Nails should be clipped and/or filed and ears cleaned.  Sanitary and pads may be clipped prior to competition.  All other grooming must take place during contest time frame, with exceptions as noted in Poodle and Pre-Groomed Creative
  • Must be of an age appropriate for competition environment.  Suggested age is between 1 and 10 years. 
  • Must appear health, in good condition, and free of infectious diseases and parasites.
  • Must not show obvious signs of pregnancy or nursing.
  • Must NEVER be left unattended.
  • Must be properly cared for with food, water, and exercise while on the show premises.
  • Must be leashes when not crated or not being groomed.
  • Must follow applicable vaccination regulations for city, county, state, and country hosting the competition.
Prejudging Documentation and Entry Confirmation

Judge(s) will evaluate, confirm, and note the following:

  • Correct class
  • Sufficient coat growth and evaluate preparation
  • Time frame by size, breed, or technique
  • Correct division
  • If pattern is pre-set
  • Contestant comments, such as, but not limited to: ear infections, missing coat, moles, scars, healing injuries, etc
Product Applications
  • Decorative objects, such as bows and scarves are not permitted in regular purebred classes
  • Coloring, other than to enhance the natural coat color of the dog, is prohibited in purebred classes
  • Hair extensions that are the same coat color of the dog are permitted and if uses, must be applied during the competition time frame.
  • Products such as hair sprays and styling gels may be applied during the competition time frame.  Spray is limited to “freshening up” once time is called.  Re-shaping, such as that done on Kerry Blue jacket, shaping or patting coat into place utilizing water or product, or shaping a show poodle headpiece may not be done once time is called.  Hair spray is prohibited on poodle tie-ups prior to competition time frame and after time is called.  
  • Chalk, such as terrier chalk, may be applied prior to or during the competition time frame, to aid in hand stripping or enhance coat color.  It is prohibited to apply after time is called.
Competition End
  • Contestants should remove hair, tools, and equipment from grooming table/
  • A comb should be placed on the table.
  • Contestants may comb their dogs after scissors down, prior to, and after judging.
  • Contestants may use finishing sprays to freshen up their dogs after scissors down, prior to and after judging, but ANY reshaping or styling with hairspray, products, or water is prohibited.
  • Contestants should stack and present their dog to the judge(s).
Judge’s Evaluation
  • Overall uniformity of the trim.
  • Balance, symmetry, and style of the trim.
  • Purebred: adherence to correct breed profile.
  • Freestyly: ability of groomer to create the best possible profile according to body type, conformation, and coat.
  • Scissoring: plush appearance without scissor marks.
  • Hand stripping and carding: smooth natural appearance and proper technique.
  • Edges, such as cocker and poodle feet, removed, pattern created or followed, coat type, texture, quality, and quantity.
  • Camouflaging conformation faults and accentuating profile attributes.
Post Contest Photos
  • Post contest photos will be taken after technical evaluation has been completed.
  • The contestant should take their name tag and dog to the photo station and then return to their table and await further instruction.
Strictly Prohibited in Contest Ring
  • Standing on tables or chairs.
  • Beverages NOT in spill proof containers.
  • Coaching by anyone, at any time, during the competition time frame.
  • Visual or written instructions.
  • Smoking, flame devices.
  • Hair dryers.
  • Holding crates.
Grooming Equipment
  • Tables and grooming arms will be provided.
  • Contestants must provide all of their own equipment, including, but not limited to: grooming loops, scissors, clippers, blades, brushes, etc. 
  • All personal equipment must removed from arena after each class.
  • All grooming tools are permitted, such as snap on combs.
  • Flat irons and curling irons are permitted.
Professional Image, Conduct, Skill Application
  • Appropriate grooming attire and shoes should be worn at all times.
  • Open tie shoes are not permitted.
  • Contestants determined to be dressed inappropriately will not be permitted to compete.
  • Professional manner and attitude must be maintained at all times.
  • Contestants must maintain a safe styling station at all times.  Example: open scissors left on the table for the dog to step on would be considered an unsafe styling station.
  • Contestants must practice kind and safe handling techniques at all times.
  • Dogs must never be left unattended.
  • Contestants must apply technical skills with safety. 
  • Nicks, cuts, and clipper irritations are considered unsafe technical skill application and will be penalized.
  • Good sportsmanship must be displayed at all times.
  • Poor sportsmanship is displayed when a contestant shows disrespect to fellow competitors, judge, contest dog, staff, sponsors, and spectators.  
  • Professional conduct is also carried into the care and responsibility of your contest dog and the hotel grounds, rooms, and property. 
Disqualifications and Warnings
  • Contestants may receive warnings or notifications of disqualifications for rule infractions as described. 
  • Judging panel will determine if rule infraction(s) result in disqualification, depending upon severity and cause. 
  • Awards will not be withheld unless the judging panel determines there is a disqualifying factor.

Category Rules

Purebred

Poodle (all size)

No coat coloring is permitted

Acceptable Breeds: All sizes, natural colors of purebred Poodles.

  • 11″ and under – 1:30 (one hour and thirty minutes)
  • Over 11″ and up to and including 17″ – 1:45 (one hour and forty-five minutes)
  • Over 17″ and up to and including 23″ – 2:00 (two hours)
  • Over 23″ – 2:15 (two hours and fifteen minutes)
  •  

Styling:

  • Feet must be shaved.
  • Feet may be shaved prior to competition start time. NO extra time will be permitted if not completed prior to class start.
  • Face must be shaved during competition time frame, not before.
  • Scissored face styles, such as Bichon or scissored type faces are prohibited.
  • Show topknots may be pre-banded, including hair extensions, prior to the start of the class.
  • Spray up products are prohibited prior to the start of the class. 
All Other Purebred

No coat coloring is permitted

Styling:

  • Must be groomed to breed profile as presented in the conformation show ring
Wire Coat

Acceptable Breeds: Pure breeds with wire coat types that are hand stripped

No coat coloring is permitted

Styling:

  • Must be groomed to breed profile as presented in the conformation show ring.
  • Wire Coats must be hand stripped. Clippers are only permissible as presented in the conformation show ring 
Sporting

Acceptable Breeds: Spaniels and Setters

Time Frame: 2:00 (two hours)

No coat coloring is permitted

Styling:

  • Sporting coats must be carded and/or hand stripped. Clippers are only permissible as presented in the conformation show ring.

 

Mixed Salon/Freestyle

Acceptable Breeds
  • Any dog of mixed parentage or not recognized by AKC or FCI
  • Any AKC or FCI purebred dog CLEARLY NOT groomed to the breed profile style

Examples: Shih Tzu in a puppy trim, Poodle in a Bedlington trim, Old English Sheepdog in a teddy bear trim

  • Asian fusion styles
  • Poodle face and feet may not be shaved

Time Frame:

  • 17″ and under – 1:45 (one hour and forty-five minutes)
  • Over 17″ – 2:00 (two hours)
Product Application
  • Up to two bows are permitted
  • Colored hair extensions are permitted
  • Color enhancing is allowed on no more than 20% of the dog 
Judging Considerations
  • Balance, symmetry, and style.
  • Ability of groomer to create the best possible profile according the dog’s body type, coat, and structure.
  • Scissoring: plush appearance without scissor marks.
  • Hand stripping and carding: smooth natural appearance and proper technique.
  • Clipper lines: clean and free of irritation.
  • Difficulty: amount of coat removed, pattern created or followed, coat type, texture, quality, and quantity.

Model Dog

Acceptable Breeds

Model Dog grooming can be either purebred or freestyle.

Type of Model Dog and Wig

Must use a show wig or wrap wig for competition

Mr. Jiang Model Dogs and Wigs will be available for sale.  Please place your order in advance to be sure it will be available at the competition

Handling of Model Dog
  • Model dog must be handled in a professional manner
  • Removing wig on head, body, legs, and tail to trim is not permitted
  • Removing tail to scissor tail is not permitted
  • Tail must be styles on dog
  • Model dog must have at least two legs on the grooming table at all times
  • Only minimal coloring may be applied during the allotted time frame.  Cannot cover more than 25% of the body.  
Judging Considerations
  • Technical application and finish
  • Profile and expression
  • Degree of difficulty of trim style
  • Professionalism

Best In Show

Best in Show

The 1st place winners from the two divisions compete for group first. The 2nd place class winner from the winning division will then compete with remaining group contestants for group second.  The division which wins the group second will send forth the next class placement to compete for group 3rd.

Best in Show will be chosen from the 1st place winners from each of the Groups: Wire Coat, Salon Freestyle, Sporting, Poodles and All Other Purebred. The finalists will be determined in the Group competition, immediately following each class awards presentation.

The Group 1st place winners should remain in the arena with their dog, for evaluation by the Best in Show judge(s) and then return with their entry to the Best in Show Awards Presentation at designated time and place. Those winners not present for final Best in Show judging will not be eligible.

Best First Timer

All first time competitors will be evaluated at the end of each class.  Best First Timer will be chosen from the fist time competitors from each of the Groups: Wire Coat Class, Salon Freestyle, Sporting, Poodle, Model Dog, and All Other Purebred. The
finalists will be determined immediately following each class awards presentation.
The group first time winners should remain in the arena with their dog, for evaluation by the Best First Timer judge(s) and then return with their entry to the
Best in Show Awards Presentation at designated time and place. Those winners not present for final judging will not be eligible.

Creative Grooming

Basic Rules
  • This is a Pre-Groomed contest.  
  • An area will be set up specifically for Creative Styling competitors to prep before the contest, but electricity may be limited.  Bring extension cords.
  • Bathing and drying can be done at Shaggy Chic Pet Grooming and any other styling will be done at the World of Pets Expo in the designated area.  
  • All entries in this class must be completely groomed and finished before contest presentations start.
  • All products must be safe and non-toxic to the pet and stylist.  Glue must be water-soluble.
  • Placement of large and/or heavy objects on the pet is prohibited.
Acceptable Breeds
  • All purebred and mixed breed dogs are permitted.
  • NO live animals other than dogs are permitted for use as props are contest entries.
Judging Considerations

Technical Finish:

  • Precision and sharpness of the clipper lines
  • Quality of scissor finish
  • Overall decorative application
  • Overall color application, depth of color, separation of color and blending

Profile:

  • Concept easily recognizable
  • Intricacy balance
  • Originality of design
  • Original concept for previously executed design
  • Unique use of color, decorations, or applications

Difficulty:

  • Intricacy of design and color application
  • Color application 
Final Presentation
  • Not to exceed a 5’x5’ space.
  • Up to three people may assist in the presentation.
  • Competitors have a maximum of two minutes for their presentation.
  • Lights cannot be dimmed during the performance.
  • Smoke, confetti, streamers, or explosive items are strictly prohibited.
  • Competitors must title their designs. 
  • If desired, music may be used during the presentation.  Music used for presentation is the sole responsibility of the competitor.
  • DVD presentations are not permitted.

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January 28-30, 2022

Maryland State Fairgrounds
2200 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093