How to Clip a Curly-Haired Dog

Trimming helps keep a curly coat from tangling.

Trimming helps keep a curly coat from tangling.

Dogs with curly coats often do not shed, so clipping removes excess hair that would otherwise continue to grow and grow. Shearing your pooch for the first time can be intimidating, but with practice, both you and your pet will get the hang of it.

Clean and prep your pup before the haircut. After shampooing your pet, towel her coat to remove excess water. Next, blow-dry her fur (on low to avoid burns) or allow it to air-dry before you clip her. Finally, brush your pooch using a slicker brush. Work through any mats you encounter.

Hold back the dog's ear with one hand and grasp any long hairs growing inside the ear with your other hand. Pull to remove the hair from the ear. This isn't as painful as it sounds and prevents your pooch from experiencing hearing problems.

Clip your curly-haired pal's face first. Holding the skin tight so you don't nick it, move the clippers around the side of the face, from eye region to ears. Continue down the sides of the neck and around the dog's muzzle.

Buzz the clippers around your pet's paws lightly to remove excess fur from between the toes. Push the clippers up—against the direction of hair growth—and be gentle to avoid cutting into your curly-haired dog's paws.

Hold your pooch's tail still. Working from the base of the tail toward the tip, buzz off all that excess fur. For a bushy tail, leave the last three-quarters unclipped.

Clip your dog's legs and abdomen, pushing the clippers against the direction of fur growth. Hold up one leg at a time to access the underside of the legs. Clip the belly up to your pet's rib cage. For some curly haircuts—like the so-called lamb clip—you may want to leave the exterior leg unshorn. Otherwise, trim this fur using your clippers.

Shear the back from neck to tail, using your clippers. When you've done the back, work down the sides following your pal's natural shape. Stop when you meet the underside, which you've already groomed.

Step back and evaluate your work. If you've missed a spot, shear it for an even cut.

Items you will need

  • Dog shampoo
  • Towel
  • Hair dryer (optional)
  • Slicker brush
  • Pet clippers


  • Plan to clip your pooch about every six to eight weeks. You can let it slide in winter, when you friend may be happy to have more fur, and groom more often in hotter weather to keep your pal cool.

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  • Complete Dog Care Manual: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Caring for Your Dog; Dr. Bruce Fogle
  • Getting to Know Poodles: A Guide to Choosing and Owning a Poodle; Cathy Lambert
  • Ultimate Dog Grooming; Eileen Geeson et al.

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