Should you bath before or after clipping?
Although you do not have to bath before you clip, if you DO bath and dry a dog before you clip, your blades and scissors will stay sharper much longer.
When you clip or scissor a dog before a bath, you're cutting through the coat, as well as through any grit, dirt, sand, oils and dander that have built up in the coat since the last bath.
When you consider a modern clipper runs so fast - up to 3,800 strokes per minute (SPM) - and a standard blade has about 40 teeth, that's like 40 tiny scissors each cutting 60+ times a second. Cutting through sand, grit, dirt etc is like cutting sandpaper, and at such high speeds, can blunt even a brand new, sharp blade within minutes.
If you always bath and dry right before you clip, a well cared for blade could stay sharp 3 to 6 months or longer for home use on one dog with an easy coat. Clipping or scissoring a coat before you bath can dull or blunt your blade or scissors much faster than normal.
Some coat types will also cause more wear on a blade faster than others. Cutting a knotted or matted coat is also best avoided when you can. For comparison, the same blade used to clip multiple dogs a day, multiple days a week, with a mix of easy and difficult coats, can require sharpening on average every 4 to 6 weeks.
So yes, you can clip before a bath, but unless you want to sharpen your blade a lot more often, it's highly recommended to only clip a freshly washed, 100% dry coat.
There are other factors that also cause a blade to become dull or blunt sooner than normal which you can read more about in our help section.