Monday, May 14, 2012

Does A Poodle Have To Be Groomed Like A Poodle?

In all of the years that I have been grooming, the one comment that I have heard the most is...

"Don't make him/her look like a Poodle!"

One of the worst thinks about this comment is that not only do Poodles owners say this, but owners of just about every breed with long hair has said this to me.

Don't make your Schnauzer, Shih-tzu, Lhasa, ect. look like a Poodle?
I don't think that I could if I wanted to. lol

Yes...Poodles have a certain look to them.
A lot of that 'Poodle look' comes from the type of hair a Poodle has.

If you own a Doodle, Cock-a-poo, Schnoodle, Pekeapoo, or any other Poodle cross, there is a very good chance that your dog will have Poodle type hair.

Poodle hair is a single layer of a mixture of soft and wiry fur that curls.
Some Poodles coats curl tightly, some are curled loosely and wavy.
Poodle hair sheds very little.
Poodle hair does not shed out of the coat.
The shedding hair stays in the coat and twists around the curls causing matting if not brushed regularly.

Because Poodle hair is a single layer coat and curly, it will fluff out and become poofy when cleaned, brushed and blow dried.
The poofy, puffy look of a clean Poodles coat is necessary in the grooming process for a groomer to give the dog a nice even cut.

If you like your Poodle to 'look' like a Poodle, there are several basics of Poodle grooming that makes the Poodle look stand out.

Lets start with four basic parts of the basic Poodle trim that makes the Poodle cut different from every other breed cut.

The Feet:

The basic Poodle trim calls for the feet to be shaved clean on the top of the foot and between the toes.
 The foot is shaved up to the ankle joint.

  This Poodle foot has been clipped with a longer blade because the owner did not want them shaved, but she still wanted them very, very short and tight.

  The Face:

A Poodle face is typically shaved clean from the ears, down the side of the face, to the nose and chin.

  A mustache can also be left around the nose if an owner wishes.

The sides of the face and under the eyes are still shaved.

The Topknot:

The pompom on the top of a Poodles head.

The Tail:

The typical Poodle tail is a pompom on the end of the tail with the top of the tail being shaved.

Those are the four basics of a typical pet Poodle trim.
~Shaved feet.
~Shaved face.
~Pompom on the top of the head.
~Pompom Tail.

If you don't want your Poodles face to be shaved, there are other ways that the face of a Poodle can be clipped.

 The Poodle face short but not shaved.

If you like this look for your Poodles face, tell your groomer that you would like a Poodle type face clipped with a #4F blade and scissored to shape.

The owner of this Poodle wanted the face short, like a Poodle face, but she did not want the typical 'shaved' look.

This poodles face was clipped very short without shaving it.

 This Toy Phantom Poodles face has been hand scissored into a round shape.

  A full hand scissored face with peek-a-poo eyes.

 A Poodle with full round feet.

 If you don't want your Poodles feet shaved, they can be scissored in proportion with the body length.


If you don't like the Pompom on the tail...
A Poodle tail can also be clipped to match the length of hair on the body, with no pompom. 

If you don't like a pompom on the top of the head...

The top of the head can be scissored short and very tight.

 The topknot can also be scissored short into a dome shape.

Pet Poodle trims are named differently in different parts of the country.
Below is a collection of some pet Poodle trims.
The names of these cuts are what they are called in my shop.
This is a basic short Kennel clip.

This dogs body has been clipped the same length all over with a #4F blade.

This is a very easy clip for a busy owner to maintain.

Suggested professional grooming to maintain this clip is every 4 to 8 weeks.

This Poodle has a Lamb cut.

The body is clipped short and tight.

The legs are scissored slightly longer to keep the legs looking a little fuller.

Suggested professional grooming to maintain this cut is every 4 to 6 weeks.

This is considered a Puppy cut in my shop.

A 'Puppy cut' is an even length all over the body, hand scissored longer than a blade can cut.

A 'Puppy cut' can be anywhere from an inch or more hair left on the dog.

This is a high maintenance cut.
Regular brushing must be done at home between groomings to keep the coat from matting and having to be shaved off.

Recommend professional grooming is every four weeks to keep this cut maintained.
 The Retriever Clip.

The body is clipped very short and tight.
The legs are hand scissored full, and left high on the hip and shoulder.

This is a high maintenance cut.
Regular brushing must be done at home between groomings to keep the coat from matting and having to be shaved off.

Recommend professional grooming is every four weeks to keep this cut maintained.

The Town & Country cut.
(or Bikini, or Summer, or Pom-Pom)
Depends on the shop and what they call it.

The body is clipped short and tight leaving pompoms at the bottom of all four legs.

This clip is a fancier clip that is fairly easy for the pet owner to maintain.

The pet owner should keep the pompoms brushed out between groomings to keep them from matting up and having to be clipped off.
Recommended professional grooming is every 4-6 weeks.

Below are some Poodle mixes.

 A Labradoodle.

In a Lamb cut with full legs, full face, and full feet.

This dog can't help but look like a Poodle no matter how her hair is cut.

 A Schnoodle with a round face and head.

 A Yorkie-poo.

He doesn't look like a Poodle, does he?

 A Cock-a-poo.

He doesn't look like a Poodle either.

So, the answer to the question at the top of the post...

No, your poodle, or poodle mix does not have to be clipped like a Poodle, but they will always have a little of that Poodle look, no matter how their coat is clipped, because of the type of coat that they have, and because that is the breed that you own.

The closest you can get to making your Poodle not look like a Poodle, is to shave every bit of hair off of them.
Face, head, body, ears, and tail...all off.

Hopefully,this post will help  pet Poodle owners explain to their groomers  just how they would like their dog to be groomed.

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF


  1. Many dog owners do not realize how important it is that their dogs are kept well groomed while they are with their families. It is important in the summer, for dogs to have their fur coats, cared for so they do not get too hot during the hot months.

    Mississauga Dog Groomer

    1. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.. hair standing on end

  2. Wow, you do such a great job. I wish you were around here, Panama. I have a poodle and they have no idea how to clip them. He is a monster, but my monster, so it is very hard for me to groom him like this, otherwise I would try. lol I do brush him daily, and bathe him at least once a week, as I am very aware of the ticks and fleas here, so he needs to be kept up. He is very high maintenance, as he is white, and I try to keep his hair long, but he has that matty kind of hair. If I miss even one or forget two days brushing, forget it. lol I have tried different vets here, salons and they just dont get it. lol They all just want to shave him. I explain what I want and they say ok, but when I pick him up, he is shaved. They just dont know the "typical" poodle cut. So wish you were here.

  3. The one you call a town & country is actually a bikini or miami clip. A town and country is like a lamb clip, expect the legs are not blended in, (more of a obvious line).

  4. This is such a great post! I'd definitely share this to my client who want a cross breed of Schnauzer and Poodle - called Schnoodle if they really don't like them to look like a poodle. They're actually cute and require less trimming than other types of crossbred poodle. Nice post!

    Amey xoxox
    Ameys Puppies

  5. Why would you have a poodle and not want him to look like a poodle? Perhaps people who say that are thinking of the "show dog" look which to me really is over-done and unattractive. I keep my two in kennel cuts and have recently started grooming them myself. I think poodles are very regal looking dogs. . . .so distinctive and beautiful.

  6. You are awesome! Thanks for the info and the pics. We can take the pics and show to our groomers and say, "Hey, this is what I want." We do it for our hair; why not for our babies?

  7. interesting factor you have added in this blog, keep writing your interesting factor dog food recipes

  8. I like this type of post.I can see how beautifully they have groomed.
    Pet Grooming Schools

  9. I have difficulty getting that smooth, fluffy, poofy look , no matter how much I comb and brush after bath and dry. Curls keep winning out ! Help ??!

  10. Where is the French cut???? Just kidding. I have groomed over 30 years. Not only does different parts of country have different names but also different shops in the same area.I went to grooming school in Az moved to Ky. Big difference in grooming.

  11. Where is the French cut???? Just kidding. I have groomed over 30 years. Not only does different parts of country have different names but also different shops in the same area.I went to grooming school in Az moved to Ky. Big difference in grooming.

  12. Thanks! We have just adopted a foundling poodle whose owners we haven't been able to find and I had no idea what to do with her and now I know! THanks again!

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Awesome your Blog! You blog and pic very infomative for pet owners. Dog groomer supplies

  15. Amazing List of Grooms for poodles. thanks for collecting this information i have a pet website too, your website is very helpful can you check my website if it informative too like yours?

  16. The theme that I'm seeing here is that there are all different kinds of dogs with different shapes an hair types. It seems a lot like humans in that one hairstyle doesn't fit for every person, you have to find what looks best on you. Your picture of a labradoodle that can't help but look like a poodle no matter the cut is what made me think of this. You have to find a cut that looks good for your dog and matches their personality.

  17. Best guide for people who want a better understanding of poodle care and grooming. Thank you.

  18. Awesome. where are you located

  19. Love this blog.. However, the one you have labeled as a retriever clip is actually a Town and country (an unblended Lamb clip) and the one you have labeled as a Town and Country is a Miami Clip/Kennel clip w/bracelets, etc...

  20. It's always amazing to me when people say "Poodles are SO much work to groom!" I always answer that it's much less work than vacuuming and sweeping hair, washing hairy bedding, using the roller to rid hair on clothes....and I am always sure to tell people that "regular" dogs need grooming too! I do my own standard, and I think she looks pretty fabulous (bikini) after a few bad cuts. I think the key for making it easy is a proper grooming stand, tools and gentle but firm restraints. I groom her about once every three weeks, and bathe weekly. Thanks for putting all this up there.

  21. Help with the topknot! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Don

  22. Help with the topknot! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Don

  23. Thank you for this great blog post.

  24. Very good information is given in this blog...Everyone likes to have pets, if you want to keep it,
    then we are the best pet's shop and best breeders in Dehradun,Uttarakhand(India).

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. So my question is Why is there a picture of my dog in this? Was never told anything about this.

  27. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after
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  29. We really need to groom the poodle they are adorable and nice pet! i have a website discuss about dog breeds can you check it?

  30. Really good information about poodle puppies. I found another blog that has some valuable information about teacup dogs.

  31. Firstly, wanted to thank you for writing this blog. Having had a pug, poddle and a golden retriever previously, I know first hand how difficult and challenging it can be to keep them groomed. I'm sure the breeds we own are on the "very easy" list of breeds you deal with, so I appreciate the tips as it makes me appreciate the grooming tools we have. Thankfully, we have a team of good groomers for their professional cut and do the basics at home. Your team looks absolutely wonderful and I'm sure you have really happy clients based on your results.

    On a separate note, you or your readers ever swing by Western Canada, would be more than happy to help out with your dog grooming needs