Poodles are highly intelligent and excel at many canine sports. Originally bred to retrieve game from water – which is why many Poodle grooms tend to have thicker coat around the important organs. Poodles come in 3 sizes – Toy, Miniature and Standard. Only the Standard Poodle would have been used as a working dog, while the Miniature and Toy would only be companions.
Poodles only have a single curly, thick coat that is one solid colour. Their groom should always enhance their muscular back legs.
There are many different styles for a Poodle to be groomed. The correct grooming procedure would be to hand scissor the coat to shape it, however, a lot of pet owners opt to clipper trim the coat using a variety of comb guides to provide a longer coat. Without a doubt, whether the coat is hand-scissored or clipped – the coat will require daily maintenance to prevent matting.
Long / Curly OR Long / Corded
Hand Scissor & Clipper Trim
Pet Grooming Option
Clipper Trim & Minor Trimming
It’s important to understand the maintenance requirements for the various trims. Below are some of the more recognized/common pet styles
Kennel Cut / Retriever Trim
This style requires the least maintenance between grooms. One blade length (usually #7F – Shorter Comb Guides) is used over the whole body and legs. A shorter length is common for around the face, ears, neck and feet – although this is left to owner discretion. Tail and top-knot can be styled to owner preference.
The main body of the dog is trimmed with a #7F – Longer Comb Guide. Depending on the size of the dog and the length of coat left on the body, the legs are then hand-scissored / clipped using a longer comb guide, to be left longer than the body. It is also common for the muzzle, ears, neck and feet to be clipped clean/short – although it is left to owner discretion. Tail and top-knot can be styled to owners preference – but should be balanced with the rest of the trim.
A version of the Lamb Trim, but the neck is left fuller by hand-scissoring this area. The body can be hand-scissored or clipped with a Longer Comb Guide. This cut specifies that the top-knot should be tall and full and the feet shaved clean, however, the styling of the ears, muzzle and tail are left to the owner’s discretion – but should be in balance with the rest of the groom.
Another version of the Puppy and Lamb trims. What makes the Euro Trim unique is that the coat on the body is left fuller and the legs are left even fuller – usually by hand scissoring. The coat on the tail and ears should be clipped clean. The coat on the muzzle and feet is left to owner discretion.
Teddy Bear Cut
Follow the guidelines for the Puppy/Lamb trim for the body. The legs are left full and feet are scissored round to blend well with the full legs. The head and muzzle are scissored round and the ears are feathered but neat. The tail will usually be trimmed to match the length of the body. This grooming style has become particularly popular – but does require hand scissoring skill to achieve the ‘teddy bear’ face without visible scissor lines.
Single Banded Trim
For this trim follow the guidelines for the Puppy Trim. The neck is left full and hand-scissored, blending into the tall, full top-knot. One band, around the belly, is trimmed clean. The ears, muzzle, feet and tails are left to owners discretion – but should be well balanced with the rest of the groom.
Double Banded / New York Trim
There are two bands, one around the belly and one around the neck. The other sections of the main body coat are hand-scissored, leaving them long and full. The top-knot, muzzle, feet, tail and ears are left to the owner’s discretion – but should be balanced with the rest of the groom.
This trim is a variation of the Double Banded/New York Trim. There are two bands – one around the neck and one around the belly – trimmed clean. There is also the addition of a third line, down the spine, which is trimmed clean. The line down the spine can be wide or narrow – but should be straight and the same width all the way down. The top-knot, muzzle, feet, tail and ears are left to the owner’s discretion – but should be balanced with the rest of the groom.
Town & Country Trim
This trim is a variation of the Dutch Trim, however, the short areas (belly band and line down the spine) are wider and can be slightly longer than the clean-cut #10/#15 in reverse, using up to a #4F – although the clean trim is also accepted. The full coat should cover the shoulders and hips, styled into semi-circles. The top-knot, muzzle, feet, tail and ears are left to the owner’s discretion – but should be balanced with the rest of the groom.
This trim is a great alternative to the Retriever/Kennel Cut for those who want the dramatic flair of a poodle trim – while still having low day-to-day maintenance. The body is trimmed with a #4F – #10 (or longer for larger dogs). All legs are shaved in the same manner as the body down to the hock joint, from there they flair out into hand-scissored full balls/ovals (pom-poms). All four pom-poms should be the same height and density. It is customary for the feet to be shaved clean in this style. The top-knot, ears, muzzle and tail are left up to the owner’s discretion – but should be balanced with the overall style. Full ears and tail can be particularly fetching with this trim.
Prior To Bathing
- Pluck hair from the ear canal as necessary
- Brush out any serious tangles and/or matts from the longer coat or apply intensive conditioner
- Remove any excessive hair and set the desired pattern
Drying The Coat
Towel dry immediately after bathing, use a fresh towel each time one becomes saturated. Once there is little/no water being absorbed by a towel, use a high-velocity blaster to remove excess water. Work from the rump forwards. Keep one hand on the dog at all times to stabilise and comfort it. Avoid adding tangles to the coat by keeping the airflow in a downward direction. When no water is being sprayed from the coat, finish drying using a heated stand dryer while brushing the coat – brush only where the air is striking the coat. This will fluff the coat.
- Line brush the entire coat using a slicker brush and the ‘pat & pull’ technique. Start on lower rear legs, working up to the thigh. Repeat on each leg, before moving onto the body, neck, head, ears and tail. Double check your work with a wide-toothed comb. Pay close attention to the legs, armpits, collar area, ears and tail
- Once the coat is completely dry and you’re ready to start scissoring, use a scissoring spritz, volumising mousse or light holding spray to help keep the hair in place for scissoring
Grooming Tool Recommendations
- Nail Trimmers
- Hemostats (Forceps)
- Pin Brush
- Long Pinned Firm/Medium Slicker
- Dematting Slicker
- Wide Toothed / Poodle Comb
- De-Matting Tools
- Straight Scissors
- Curved Scissors
- Thinning Scissors
- Detailing/Safety Scissors
Other Health Recommendations
Clipper Blade Recommendations
For everyday use, mild/hypoallergenic shampoos are recommended. To add fullness and body to the coat a volumising protein shampoo is best. You don’t want to use a shampoo that is going to soften the coat. As there are often a lot of products used on the coat, especially on the run-up to a show, it can be good to use a clarifying shampoo to remove all this residue.
A concentrated conditioner can be useful to help particularly tangled/matted areas of the coat. With this coat type you don’t want to overly soften or weigh down the coat, so a lighter ‘rinse’ conditioner can be beneficial.
Coat Care Recommendations
- Fast Dry Spray
- Scissoring Spray
- Volumising Spray/Mousse
- Holding Spray
- Detangling/Brushing Aid
- Anti-Static Spray
- Conditioning Spray
Creative grooming is particularly popular for Poodles due to how styleable their coats are – the possibilities are endless! Colourful latex bands, bows, clips, sprays, glitter and stencils are just some of the kit you can have in your arsenal.
Please do take care and patch test any products at least 24 hours before using on the dog.