Poodles have a good news, bad news kind of a coat. The good news is that many allergy sufferers aren’t allergic to poodles, but the bad news is that this hypoallergenic coat requires lots of attention. Keep him in a simple puppy cut for easy coat care with style.
Start with a clean, well-brushed dog. A good bath makes his coat easier to work with, plus your clippers will stay sharp longer. Feel his coat to make sure it’s dry all the way down to his skin before you start, or he’s likely to end up with lots of uneven places, and looking like you clipped him with a lawnmower.
Put a #10 blade on the clippers, the best blade for the close work you’ll be doing on your dog’s face, feet and tail. If your pal has sensitive skin, use a #15 blade instead, which will leave his hair a bit longer and make it less likely that he’ll end up with clipper burn, those troublesome patches of irritated, sometimes crusty, skin.
Clip his face and muzzle. Cut from the ears to the nose, then between the eyes and around under his chin. Remove the hair under the ears and down around the neck to just below his Adam’s apple. The object is to leave a thin layer of hair, not bare skin.
Trim the hair under his tail, including around his anus. This area is highly sensitive, as you can well imagine, so be gentle and make sure you don’t nick him with the clippers. Finish trimming the tail by removing the hair all the way around the base. Leave a pompom at the end of his tail.
Shave your dog’s feet, but don’t shave up his legs. Be sure not to miss the hair that’s between his toes and on the underside of his feet.
Fluff out the pompom on his tail, and use the scissors to carefully shape it into a ball. This bit of canine topiary helps keep your poodle looking balanced, so don’t make the pompom too small.
Comb his ears carefully and use scissors to trim around the bottom of both ears. You can either cut them straight across or round them so that the hair follows the natural shape of the ears. Poodles usually have long hair on their ears, but you can keep it just a bit longer than the ears themselves, if you want to avoid dealing with tangles and mats.
Brush the hair on his topknot, that little puff of hair on top of his head, so that it is all puffed out, then use scissors to round it off. Cut it shorter by his ears so that it blends neatly on both sides, but leave it longer on top of his head.
Brush his entire body and look for uneven places anywhere in his coat. The American Kennel Club specifies that a puppy cut should leave the dog’s coat long, but that it may be trimmed so that it looks neat. Cut off any odd bits of hair sticking out to give your buddy a nice, even, finished look.
- You can make life easier for both you and your poodle if you shorten the coat on his body and legs. Simply add a comb to the clippers and run the clippers over every part of him that has long hair. Cut in long, even strokes down his back, sides and legs, going with the lay of his hair. A 1-inch or 2-inch comb will leave him with enough hair to look stylish, but not so much that you have to worry about a lot of tangles.
- Clippers can heat up during use, and the blades may burn your dog. Check them often and turn off the clippers periodically to cool, or use a cooling and lubricating spray as necessary.