Competition Rules

Maryland State Fairgrounds
2200 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093

Bathing Area

  • There will be inside and outside access to the mobile vans for bathing. *Once the Rescue Groom-a-Thon begins, they will have priority to the inside bathing area* .

  • Mobile vans will be available Saturday May 1, 2021 from 7:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. ET and Sunday May 2, 2021 from 7:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M. ET

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

  • Please bring only one dog at a time for bathing and drying.

  • 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

  • Mobile facility users must clean up after themselves! 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 two hours 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.  

  • 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 prior to and during the competition time frame ends, however, reshaping with water or product application is prohibited. 

  • Poodles can be styled as presented in the confirmation show ring or in a pet trim, provided they respect the breed profile set forth by the standard. 

  • 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.

  • You are considered Pro if you have won Best in Show while handling for conformation, you have won Best in Show for any Freestyle, Hand Strip, or Hand Scissor in previous grooming competitions, or if you have placed first in three or more grooming competitions. Otherwise, you would be considered Novice.

Category Rules


Poodle/Hand Scissor

No coat coloring is permitted


  • 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. 

No coat coloring is permitted


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

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
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

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
Judging Considerations
  • Technical application and finish
  • Profile and expression
  • Degree of difficulty of trim style
  • Professionalism

Best In Show

Best in Show will be chosen from the first place winners from each class, separated by Novice and Pro


The first place winners from each category will be evaluated for Best in Show, taking place on Sunday May 2, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. ET

January 28-30, 2022

Maryland State Fairgrounds
2200 York Road
Timonium, MD 21093