Help! How do I groom my poodle?

GroomArts tips to a fine poodle cut

Help! How do I groom my poodle?

Poodle haircuts. We’re all familiar with them; the poofy poodle cut you’ll see in a film about Paris, the brief craze for geometric dog cuts and even poodles dyed a faint pink to match their owner’s handbags. If you’re a regular viewer of Crufts, you’ll know that poodles have some of the most elaborately groomed coats amongst any other dogs. But it’s not just a trend to make show dogs look good.

It doesn’t matter what type of poodle you have; a phantom poodle, a toy poodle or standard poodle. One thing’s for sure; your poodle has to be trimmed. If you want your poodle shaved or even a lamb cut poodle, that’s your business, but if you don’t look after your poodle’s fur it will end up matted, dirty, and above all uncomfortable for your dog. And keeping your dog in good health is the most important thing.

The Poodle Coat

Poodle fur is unlike most other dog fur. It’s short and curly, and generally thick—so thick that when the coat sheds, the loose hairs are trapped in the other parts of the coat, which can form tight mats. Regular brushing from you will help ensure that your poodle’s coat is left untangled, but cutting your poodle’s coat means that brushing will be easier and a standard poodle haircut will also be less stress to maintain.

It’s not just purebred poodles with this type of coat. Poodle crosses like Yorkiepoos and Cockapoos also tend to have it. Poodles are crossed with so many other breeds because they’re calm, playful and clever—all great qualities for a dog to have. Cross them with other favourite breeds and you have a dog with some excellent characteristics, as well as a distinctive coat.

Poodle Grooming and Cut Styles

Poodle styles
These are some of the most popular poodle styles your qualified dog groomer can create if asked

Poodle haircuts are a wide and varied world, depending on whether you trim the dog yourself or if you hire professional groomers to do it. Professional groomers can often more easily design a look as they’re used to dealing with difficult poodle fur.

Topknots and tails

Poodle fur can be sculpted easily because it is so springy. Hair that’s grown of the top of the poodle’s head can be turned into a pompom on top of a poodle head, and likewise a poodle tail can be given a bouncy pompom that’s easy to keep neat, especially if the rest of the tail is shaved.

Shaving, clipping and scissoring

You may prefer a fluffier, bouncier look for your poodle, in which case many groomers offer hand scissoring options. This sculpts the poodle’s coat into a round shape that’s in proportion to their body. Lamb cuts feature these, along with a body that’s clipped short and tight, to emulate to look of lambswool.

A shaved poodle cut is typically only done if none of the fur can be saved, or only part of the poodle is shaved in preparation for a very fancy show clip.

Another clip owners like is a poodle puppy cut, where the poodle hair is hand-scissored to a comparable length all over the body. This looks neat but requires a lot of maintenance. The most basic cut is a poodle kennel clip, where the dog’s fur has been clipped to the same length all over with a single blade. This is also a very low-maintenance cut.

The rich, impressive cut you often think of as ‘the’ poodle haircut, with shaved hindquarters, poodle poms at the ankles and a full chest of curls, is known as a standard poodle continental clip. This is not the look for everyone, and is often used in dog shows.

An alternative to this look is the high-maintenance poodle retriever clip, where the coat on the legs are left full and high on the hip and shoulder but the body is clipped short and tight. If you enjoy the ritual of regular poodle brushing, and have the right kind of dog brush for poodles, you might like this clip. Regular brushing is needed to maintain the cut and stop any matting from forming, which would mean a whole clump of fur would have to be cut from the coat.

How to groom a poodle yourself

You can give poodle haircuts to your own poodle, but you might feel more comfortable leaving the poodle grooming to a professional. You probably won’t be as quick as a dog groomer, or be as technically advanced, but you might feel better being the one to give your dog a haircut. You don’t need much to do it; attach a leash to your dog to stop her running away when she’s bored, and get a pair of scissors or dog clippers.

Be sure to be very careful, especially when it comes to trimming the face, paws, and tail of your dog. For example, always clip or cut with the grain of the hair, make sure not to trim too much, and when trimming the face make sure to hold your dog’s muzzle. If you’re not, the dog could poke its tongue out and you could accidentally hurt your poodle.

Whichever you pick, remember that a groomed poodle is a happy poodle. Often poodles will feel lighter and more comfortable without excess fur making it hot for them, and might even be able to see better without fur in front of their face. Be aware, too, that curly or wavy fur can be irritating if it gets into eyes or ears, which is why it’s important to keep up to date with your poodle dog grooming.

What other breeds have poodle fur?

Poodle hair is one of the most distinctive kinds that a dog can have. Yorkiepoo haircuts, for example, and golden doodle grooming styles will borrow from poodle grooming looks. It’s important to know how different this coat can be from other crossbreeds, so you know how to handle it properly. Schnauzers have similar kinds of coat, and when they’re crossed with poodles, groomers deal with Schnoodle hair.

If you share our love for all pets and are considering enrolling in a grooming coursebook a visit or download our brochure for more information. If you've already set up your own business, see how GroomArts can assist your business.

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