The Data Revolution: Fable-Busting Canine Science

Canines are beloved worldwide and infrequently a favourite topic for story and fable. This isn’t stunning, as canines are our most historic inter-species relationship. Nevertheless, as science advances, a lot of what we thought we knew about canines seems to not be true. New data, typically much more fascinating and thrilling than the beforehand believed mythologies, challenges us to replace our practices and our pondering.

My husband and I liked to look at the previous tv present “MythBusters.” A group of expertise, starting from Hollywood stunt guys to intelligent and creative scientists and engineers, would take a look at out a brand new fable every week making an attempt to show or disprove it. It typically concerned entertaining explosions, cool robotics or scorching chemistry. 

It seems, the grooming occupation has some “myth-busting” of its personal to do. We’re in the midst of a big information revolution in grooming. For many of the final century, groomers have been working in silos—working alone, not speaking with one another and with no academic necessities. Groomers used to work primarily from their very own houses and with no web. We had been extra remoted and even secretive, feeling aggressive and proprietary with our personal abilities and knowledge. Fable-based practices abounded in these days. 

Nevertheless, as commerce reveals, competitions and, post-pandemic, extra on-line academic alternatives develop into obtainable, the information revolution in grooming started to succeed in extra individuals. We’re evolving into a way more collegial, academic and communicative trade. Throughout us, we’re seeing the myth-busting energy of latest data and the morphing of old-fashioned pondering in our trade. Product strains, instruments, gear, and our experience are getting higher and higher. And, our pet shoppers profit from this enlargement as nicely.

Whereas all this new data is more and more obtainable to extra groomers, our trade and the reception it has acquired stays uneven at greatest. As my grooming and instructing profession has spanned over 4 a long time, the explosion of latest data in our trade based mostly in science is really thrilling to see. However with many fields (not simply grooming), there’s nonetheless a really current angle of, “I do know what I do know, and it really works—don’t trouble me with that new stuff.” 

Transitions in data should not all the time simple or fast, and grooming experiences rising pains, as do many different professions. Some favor to cling to their acquainted practices and anecdotes, whereas others are excitedly lapping up any new data they’ll entry.  

Let’s check out only a few fascinating myths about canines and their grooming which have been “busted” by current advances in scientific data:

1. Fable: The canine is descended from the wolf.

Busted: The canine has all the time been mentioned to be descended from the wolf. It’s even on pet food commercials, so it have to be true! Latest discoveries of historic canine DNA and our higher potential to discover the small print of present DNA have confirmed the canine is not descended from the wolf in any respect! The canine is a cousin of the wolf, each having descended from a standard ancestor.1

The same widespread misunderstanding of evolutionary science consists of the old fashioned notion that people advanced from monkeys. We didn’t. Simply because the canine and the wolf got here from totally different strains of the Canidae household, people and different primates are cousins, descended from an extinct widespread ancestor.

As soon as the canine’s DNA was totally mapped and printed in 2003, numerous previous tales concerning the canine had been myth-busted. The mapping of the canine genome confirmed that the wolf and the canine had a standard ancestor as but undiscovered in fossils and archeology, however clearly there within the DNA. Some scientists are calling it “the ancestor wolf” or “proto-dog.” They’re working to seek out extra historic canine DNA to assist fill within the gaps.

Groups of scientists are nonetheless engaged on all this, debating single-origin or dual-origin theories. Canine evolutionary science has seen an explosion of discoveries in current a long time, together with migration patterns and the invention of 5 distinct and globally distributed gene swimming pools. As early as 11,000 years in the past, there have been already 5 distinct canine lineages that gave rise to canines within the Close to East, Northern Europe, Siberia, New Guinea and the Americas.2

2. Fable: People domesticated the canine.

Busted: Domesticated animals are species which might be long-controlled by people and who dwell and work with us solely. They now not dwell within the wild, nor can they. All domesticated mammals (together with people) share bodily options which might be comparable, and there’s some thrilling new science that explains why that occurs3—a extra concerned subject for one more day.

The story has lengthy been that the canine was the primary species domesticated by people. Due to the superb work in historic DNA, anthropology and archeology, we now know that the canine as a definite species is far older than as soon as thought (roughly 33,000 to 44,000 years previous). What science has revealed is that our two species are co-evolved and, subsequently, we share a relationship distinctive in all of the world.

However who domesticated whom? Which of our two species first tentatively approached the opposite, demonstrating the mutual good thing about a partnership? It might change your understanding of who we, as canine groomers, work with to study this!

What the evolutionary biologists now say, clearly indicated by the majority of the rising proof, is that the ancestor wolf or proto-dog approached us first. They got here to our camps to feed off our rubbish and we noticed the advantage of having them close to our camps. They stored away different predators and, over time, they helped us hunt extra efficiently. So, they get the evolutionary credit score. Canines are the primary domesticated mammals and canines domesticated us! Canines taught individuals the advantages of inter-species friendliness. Canines could even be chargeable for the very survival of the human species at a number of factors in our historical past.4,5,6 I discover it deepens the enjoyment and appreciation in my grooming to know this concerning the canines on my desk.

3. Fable: All canine coat varieties could be groomed the identical.

Busted: The identical shampoo; the identical shave down, irrespective of the breed or coat kind, has lengthy been a extensively accepted grooming trade apply. However fortunately, for the canines, that’s now altering with extra and higher details about coat genetics and dermatological science. The canines get the advantage of higher grooming as our trade innovators put out extra and higher merchandise, instruments, and methods based mostly on this higher science.

Once I started grooming within the early Eighties, there have been few selections in grooming merchandise and instruments, and every thing obtained shaved. Shampoos and conditioners at the moment are researched, manufactured and marketed with many extra choices for coat kind, pores and skin points, breeds and desired grooming outcomes. Instruments and gear are amazingly higher with extra numerous selections for each the groomer’s arms and the canine’s pores and skin and coat. 

Better of all, our understanding of canine coat genetics has significantly improved. We now have entry to electron microscopy and superior dermatology. We all know concerning the anagen, catagen and telogen phases of hair progress, and the variations between these cycles in main versus secondary hairs.  This entry to raised data leads us to an improved understanding of probably the most vital genetic distinction within the canine coat, which is what a few of us are calling “Fur vs. Hair,” or genetically pre-determined size (PDL) coat varieties (which aren’t to be clipped) vs. genetically undetermined size (UDL) coat varieties (which grown till minimize).

We additionally now know that on wire-coated breeds (additionally a Fur or PDL coat kind), the microscopic follicles are deeper and extra advanced and the hair shaft is bigger. This implies they received’t simply shed out naturally and have to be pulled or tugged on (hand-stripped) or carded. If they’re solely clipped, they’ll depart little bits of hair roots contained in the follicles, ultimately inflicting a few of the follicles to clog, develop into irritated and even die.7

This checklist is by no means unique of the myths that encompass canines and our occupation. There are lots of others to debate and take into account, and they’re all a part of our skilled progress as groomers. Fable-busting ought to be an on-going course of in any discipline as new science helps us re-evaluate our old-fashioned practices. 

As we purchase extra data and science about what we do and collectively bust extra myths, we assist our expert commerce trade develop increasingly right into a revered occupation. And as we rise in our potential to coach ourselves, we assist elevate our standing as expert tradespeople to knowledgeable degree and do issues higher for these great canines we serve.

Get pleasure from all of the thrilling new data on the market! ✂️



Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, MA, ICMG, PGC, CCE

Jennifer is the proprietor of Love Fur Canines in Glencoe, Illinois, and was named Greatest Groomer in Chicagoland by the Chicago Tribune in 2015. Jennifer is an award successful educator and has been a Grasp Groomer since 1985. Jennifer is a retired schoolteacher who has dabbled within the canine present world for forty years, the place she realized to groom. Jennifer based the Illinois Skilled Pet Groomers Affiliation. She is the writer of the acclaimed “Groomers Information To The 15 Coat Sorts” seminars, and a poster and e-book of the identical identify. Her academically wealthy webinars could be discovered by visiting her web site at

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