Canis Finest Dog Grooming

Witney, Oxfordshire

Dog Grooming and Groomer Training

About Us

Canis is a small family-run business located on the outskirts of Witney, Oxfordshire.  Dogs and grooming them is a passion for us - we always strive to do our best, and to give as much help to owners as we can.  

We provide a high-quality grooming experience for your best friend, and this is because we have outstanding facilities, equipment and products with which to work, ensuring safety and hygiene, and a quality groom.  The team of groomers are well-trained professionals and hold City & Guilds qualifications in grooming at level 2, level 3 certificate, level 3 diploma and level 4 Higher Diploma, along with Pet First Aid qualifications. We are a Pet Industry Federation quality-assured grooming salon, and members of the British Dog Grooming Association, and proud members of The Groomers' Spotlight.

Alongside our grooming studio, we run a small Pet Industry Federation accredited training school teaching adult learners how to groom dogs safely, as well as enabling them to achieve their City & Guilds qualifications - 7763-02 and 7863-03.

Check out our Events Page for details of Pet First Aid Courses which are taught by a veterinary surgeon - beginners and advanced - dates in June 2019; Also dates for City & Guilds 7763-03 Diploma Practical Exams and Pet Industry Higher Diploma Practical Exams held at Canis in 2019


A luxurious treat for your dog

Health Checking

Every dog groomed is checked to see if there are any health issues that might need veterinary treatment.

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We offer a wide range of services, from a full groom (clip and scissor, clip off, handstrip), through to a mini groom (bath and brush, feet, face and bottom), or just nail trimming, or ear pluck and clean.

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Mini Grooms & Nail Trims

If your dog is in need of refreshing, but is not quite ready for a full groom, then a mini groom is a good solution

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We are fussy about shampoos, and as far as we are concerned, if they aren't good enough for our dogs, then they aren't good enough for yours! Our shampoos are made by Tropiclean.

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A Typical Groom

Did you wonder what the components of a typical groom were?

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The right place for your pets

Friendly, Experienced, Careful, and Caring

Call Us Today: 01993 702558


City & Guilds Training and Qualification for aspiring professionals

Contact us

  • Osney Cottage, Osney Hill Farm, Witney Road, North Leigh, Witney, OX29 6PJ
  • We are located on the A4095 between Witney and North Leigh



Groomer and Tutor

A qualified groomer and trainer, and experienced dog owner

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Chloe is City & Guilds qualified at Level 3 Certificate and Diploma

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Jess is a City & Guilds qualified dog groomer at Level 2 and Level 3

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Grooming Assistant

Qualified with City & Guilds 7763-02 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants

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Centre Manager

When you phone us for an appointment, then you are most likely to speak to Nigel

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Grooming Techniques

General Advice for owners of Puppies that will require Trimming/Stripping:  when you get your puppy, don't delay starting daily brushing and regular bathing.  You will need a soft pin slicker and a combination comb as your basic equipment.  You will also require a good quality shampoo and conditioner like Tropiclean as this will clean the coat of mud but without stripping the natural oils in the dog's skin.  The process of teaching the dog to accept brushing is very important in building a relationship with you, which will also enable you to develop a better standard of training (which might prevent accidents or incidents), and it will make the experience your dog has with his groomer less stressful and more pleasurable.  When your dog goes for a walk and gets wet, then brush out the coat as it dries - if you leave the coat to dry before brushing then it is much more difficult to remove knots and tangles, and it will make the dog unhappy.  All your early grooming sessions should be of short duration, and should involve some tasty treats intermittently.  You will find it easier to work on a table using a rubber mat, and get someone to hold the dog gently so that you can work safely and efficiently.  The trimmed breeds need regular trips to a groomer in order to stay in healthy, matt-free condition - we would expect to see your dog at roughly every 8 weeks for a bath and trim, and possibly more often than that if you are struggling with the coat.  If you find brushing a bit of a chore, and you like the longer look, then book your dog in for an interim bath and brush - if this is done regularly, then you can leave all the brushing to us.   

Cockerpoos/Labradoodles/Poodle/Bichon-crosses - We see loads of Poodle crosses at Canis, so we feel that we can offer useful help and advice to owners with the care and maintenance of these coats.  The biggest single factor affecting the health and welfare of these dogs is their beautiful coats, which can be difficult for owners to manage if they have not come across them before or don't have the right equipment to care for them.  These coats need professional attention for a bath and trim at least every 8 weeks, and often sooner.  We do on occasion deal with seriously matted coats, and there is really only one sensible solution for this in the grooming salon, and that is to shave it off and start again, and teach our customers how to brush and care for the coat properly. When dogs are very matted, shaving a coat off is not an act of vandalism by a groomer, it is a humane response to a major welfare consideration for the dog - it can take hours to brush out matting, and for many dogs they are very sensitive and it hurts and upsets them.  If you have a a Doodle or Poo then don't be shy, even if it is matted - we can help you get the coat back into good condition and shape, and we can then direct you to suppliers of professional equipment that will make brushing your dog more of a pleasure than a chore for both parties.  We are here to help, and will do all that we can.

Handstripping - this is a traditional method of coat care and is suited to the wire-coated breeds like Border Terriers, and also to the silky-coated gun dogs like Spaniels.  These breeds have a double-structured coat (top coat and under coat) - wire coats, we are stripping the primary wire hair and leaving the undercoat, and with the silky coats, we are stripping the secondary hairs or undercoat to reveal a shorter, smooth and shiny top coat.   Handstripping is not always straightforward for us as groomers, or for you to know the right time, or suitability of your dog for this method.  Handstripping is a lengthy process during which the dog must be physically able to stand on our table.  For the majority of dogs, using the correct technique they are perfectly happy for us to pull the hair.  There are a number of factors that affect our ability to carry out this type of groom:

  • Temperament of your dog - there is no justification for us to strip the coat of a dog that finds it an unhappy experience, and there are some dogs that are touch-sensitive - we would need to assess the temperament to be sure that this grooming method is suited to your dog, and we feel sure that you would not want us to attempt to strip your dog, if the dog was telling us that the process was painful
  • Is the dog neutered, or going to be neutered?  If Yes, then it may make the strip more difficult or eventually impossible without hurting the dog (removal of sex organs changes the hormone balance and this affects hair growth cycles and the skin's ability to give up the hair).  If you want us to strip a neutered dog, then we would need to have an opportunity to assess the coat before we book an appointment for this kind of groom.  
  • Timing of the strip - in general terms dogs of the strippable breeds have hair with a lifespan of about 6 months and it is only when the coat is approaching the end of its life span that it is ready to be pulled (telogen phase), and to try to do this before the coat is ready will hurt the dog and upset it, and the finished result will be unsatisfactory in terms of the quality of groom. Typically pet Border Terriers are stripped every 6 months for this reason, and we often struggle when owners bring them back sooner as although the dog is scruffy, the hair is not ready to be pulled.  It is possible with some dogs to start a slightly different process of handstripping - known as Rolling the Coat - and this is where we manipulate the hair growth cycle by taking out about 20% of the wire hair at more regular appointments (roughly 4-6 weeks), and this enables us to build up layers of hair at different stages of growth.  This is the method used for show dogs to keep their coats always ready for the show ring.  If this method is of interest please talk to us about it.
  • Age of dog - unneutered dogs also have changes in their metabolisms as they age, and this will affect coat quality and the speed at which is regrows - with age the coat does seem to slow down.  For older dogs, there will come a point at which we feel it may be kinder to the animal to revert to clipping and this is due to the amount of time that the dog spends on the table - we will talk to you about this, so that we can plan the right approach for your dog
  • Nutrition - dogs with the best coat quality for handstripping are fed on a high quality diet

Other important factors with handstripping:

  • If your dog has a skin condition, or if at the date of the handstrip appointment, the dog has signs of skin irritation, then we should not attempt to strip your dog until the problem has resolved itself
  • A dirty coat (not matted), is easier for us to strip - we can grip the hair to pull it out and we always strip before a bath - preferably don't bath your dog in the week before the handstrip 
  • Removing hair from the follicles creates slight damage to the skin which takes time to recover making the dog's skin susceptible to infection - usually a week or so to recover - with Border Terriers, we generally don't bath them for this reason (though we do use a dry shampoo to freshen them), and because there is no handscissor work to be done, it is unnecessary.  For other breeds with furnishings (skirts and feathers) then they do need to be bathed before the trim.  When we bath stripped dogs we use Tropiclean Oxymed Shampoo as it is designed for dogs with sensitive skins.  We always rinse thoroughly with cool water.  The key point to be aware of is that this method of grooming carries risk of infection which we try to mitigate against through good hygiene, correct technique, and suitable products: we will carry out this method of groom on the understanding that you accept that there is a level of risk for your dog by you authorising us to carry out this technique.  Be watchful of the dog's skin health and overall behaviour of the dog in the first couple of days after the strip, and consult with your vet if the dog chews its skin or if there are any lesions apparent as this can rapidly lead to infection which is very serious.
  • Dogs that have been clipped in the past will be very difficult to handstrip, and in some cases it will be impossible to get the coat back to a strippable condition - if the coat is to be restored for stripping, then we will need to discuss with you a plan for remedial care
  • Your Aftercare of the Dog's Coat: the dog's skin will be sensitive for a week or possibly longer.  Don't apply topical flea products, bath the dog or use any other chemicals on the dog, and avoid air fresheners in your house/car.  Be aware that there are many essential oils in use that are actually toxic to dogs and cats, and should not be used in the pet's home environment - at worst these products can kill, but often they cause allergic reactions such as ongoing skin irritations and sensitivities


Upcoming Events

Title Date Location
Higher Level Diploma Practical Exams 17 Feb 2019 Canis, Oxfordshire
Pet First Aid Course with Sophie Bell, Vet 16 Jun 2019 Canis, Oxfordshire
Advanced Pet First Aid with Sophie Bell, Vet 16 Jun 2019 Canis, Oxfordshire
City & Guilds 7763-03 Practical Exams 04 Aug 2019 Canis, Oxfordshire

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility
Whilst we are a tiny business, we try to do our bit for our local community, and also for the environment:

  • Judy assesses dogs to join Canine Concern - therapy dogs working with the elderly and the very young.  For Canine Concern dogs about to go on a visit she provides a free bath and brush to ensure that they are presentable
  • We take young people for work experience to help them with their training in animal care, and have done this over many years
  • We employ young people, and we provide on the job training and qualification through a nationally recognised apprenticeship scheme; we also ensure that all our staff engage in training and we provide them with opportunities for further qualification
  • We have a number of elderly clients who are no longer able to drive, and we always go out of our way to help them by collecting and returning their dogs 
  • The products we use in the salon are made from organic ingredients which are good for the dogs, and better for the environment; the packaging is also biodegradable


Canine Concern - organisation providing therapy dogs
Groomers Spotlight - organisation highlighting professional dog groomers in UK
Canine Massage Guild - qualified canine massage therapy practitioners
Canine Massage Therapy Centre - training provider for accredited canine massage therapists
City & Guilds Institute of London - is an Ofqual-approved awarding body for UK-wide skills training including dog grooming; OCN is the only other Ofqual approved awarding body for level 3 dog grooming.
Pet Industry Federation - pet trade organisation provides representation for animal care industry to regulatory bodies/government, as well as training and qualification via City & Guilds


Sorry, but there are no vacancies at the present time

Work Experience Opportunities

If you are studying animal care or animal care management and are looking for a work experience opportunity, then please send us your CV: we may be able to offer you a placement during the Easter or Summer holidays