Poodles are widely known for their gorgeous, curly coats, but these coats require time and effort in order to keep them looking their best. Poodles are unlike most dogs because they have hair as opposed to fur. This means that instead of constantly shedding old fur and growing more, Poodles keep the same hair and it will continue growing until you cut it.
For this reason, Poodles do not shed as frequently, but they do require regular haircuts to keep from growing into a giant unkempt hairball. Similarly, when Poodles do shed, the hair they lose gets trapped within their other curls, so it is important to maintain a daily grooming schedule to avoid any buildup. Since Poodle grooming is so essential to keeping your pup’s coat under control in terms of length and tangles, it is important for dog owners to know how to groom a Poodle.
Poodle Grooming Styles
When one thinks of an iconic, picture-perfect Poodle, they often think of a fluffy French dog trotting with pom-poms around his ankles down a street in Paris. Although many people associate this look with the French and their fashion, the Poodle actually originated in Germany as a water retrieving dog. Poodles’ German roots led to their classic grooming style, which was used for practical reasons to keep their key organs and joints warm while cutting the rest of the coat short so they were not weighed down in the water.
This iconic cut is known as the continental clip, which features hair on the Poodle’s face and upper body, with closely shaved areas on the lower body, excluding puffs around the ankles, tail, and the top part of the lower back. A variation of this called the modified continental clip does not have the small patch of longer hair on the top of the lower back. Both of these Standard Poodle grooming styles are what people typically picture when they think of a Poodle.
Another cut that is similar to the continental clip is the English saddle cut. This haircut is one of the styles that is acceptable for dog shows. In this style, the hair is kept longer around the face, chest, and back on the upper part of their bodies.
The front legs and tails are closely shaven with poms like the continental clip, but the back legs are left slightly longer and shaved into three sections.
The puppy clip is acceptable for show dogs that are puppies, but it is also an extremely popular clip for Poodles of all ages. With the puppy cut, the hair is evenly cut over the whole body without exposing any of the skin except for very close to the bottom of the paws.
This cut is practical because it is easy to maintain and it also keeps your Poodle’s skin protected from the elements.
Although the only official Poodle haircut styles that are allowed in shows are the continental, modified continental, English saddle, and puppy cut (for puppies only), there are a variety of both creative and practical cuts that people give their Poodles. The bikini clip, also known as the Miami clip features short, closely shaven hair around the feet, face, and the base of the tail. The rest of the hair is left the same length, and most owners opt to keep it shorter for less maintenance.
The lamp clip is another cut Poodle owners often opt for. This hairstyle includes the face, feet, and tail closely shaven, with the hair left longer on the end of the tail and the topknot. The hair on the rest of the body is kept at an even length, which is up to the owner. With the lamp clip, it is typically a bit longer and when it is cut shorter this is called the kennel or utility clip.
Grooming a Poodle
Even if you’re having your Poodle cut regularly at a groomer or doing it yourself at home, it is still important to keep up with canine daily grooming between visits to avoid tangles, a buildup of dirt, or matting. A few minutes of daily brushing can eliminate bigger problems down the line.
Start by lightly misting your Poodle’s coat with a leave-in conditioner. This step is optional, but if your Poodle’s coat is tangled, this will help ease the process.
Adding a natural leave-in conditioner every once in awhile even if your pup’s coat is not tangled will help keep the hair healthy and protected.
Next, use a pin brush the lightly brush out your Poodle’s hair. While doing this, pay special attention to areas that seem tangled or matted.
Go over these areas a few times with your pin brush. Some groomers like to follow this step with a slicker brush, but if you do not feel it is necessary, feel free to skip this step.
Finally, use a comb and leave-in conditioner to work out any matted areas. If the area will not budge, try using a de-matting tool, available at pet stores. By staying on top of a regular grooming routine, you will be able to keep your dog’s coat healthy and looking good.