Poodles are one of the most popular breeds of dog, known for their character, intelligence and their signature look. First becoming a registered breed in 1887, they come in three sizes, Toy, Miniature and Standard. Although they’re a popular dog choice, one of the most important things to remember before owning a Poodle is the maintenance required to keep their coats looking at their absolute best. Grooming is an essential part of a Poodle’s daily routine, so it’s important that you have both time and resources to invest in grooming, before taking one on.
Poodles are a hypoallergenic dog breed, making them a perfect choice for those with pet hair and dander related allergies. Although they are virtually non-shedders, their dead hair grows out into their coats, where it can tangle up with their newly grown hair and lead to matting. Untreated matts and a neglected coat can lead to further, expensive skin problems, can cause pain or the need for the dog’s entire coat to be shaved to prevent further damage to their sensitive skin.
Extremely matted ears can lead to hematomas, this is where delicate blood vessels in the ear burst which can be extremely painful. Because of this and the fact that a Poodle’s coat grows continuously, it is recommended that they are groomed at least once every six weeks.
There are many popular grooming cuts for a Poodle, and the cut you choose for yours will ultimately depend on whether or not you plan to show your Poodle, personal preference and your dog’s lifestyle.
Here are the most popular cuts that groomers are often asked for when tasked with styling Toy, Miniature and Standard Poodles:
A traditional Poodle show cut is probably the one most closely associated with the stereotypical look of the breed. When Poodles were used for hunting, the topknot style meant that they could be constantly recognised during the pursuit, whilst their partially shaved bodies kept them lightweight and agile in water. Then, when the breed was adopted by French noblemen, they cut their Poodles’ hair to resemble their own pompadour styles. Whether hunter or poseur, the traditional Poodle show cut is mostly reserved for show dogs, with more practical styles being adopted for everyday Poodle pets. There are two acceptable grooming styles for show Poodles, the English Saddle and the Continental. Similar in style, the Continental cut sees the breed being more heavily shaved along the hind quarters.
For pet Poodles usually aged 12 months or younger, the puppy clip sees the hair scissor clipped evenly all over, with the face, feet and tail shaved. The puppy cut is a great way to maintain a young Poodle's soft, wavy coat before it transitions into curly adult hair.
The teddy bear cut leaves the Poodle looking like a classic teddy bear, ears are perfectly rounded to resemble a cute bear. The hair is evenly clipped throughout and the facial features cut short to emphasise that signature teddy bear look.
This lamb cut gives a lamb-like appearance and is one of the most popular cuts amongst poodles. It entails the dog’s fur being closely shaved throughout the middle of the body, including the back, chest, and tummy, while leaving all four legs, the tail, and the head and ears hairy and fluffy. Their faces are also shaven. The hair looks fuzzy and resembles a lamb’s coat.
For a miami cut, the hair is shaved on the Poodle's tail, face and feet and the remaining fur is trimmed down to a uniform length all over. It’s a stylish cut, always finished with tail poms, lower leg poms and a fluffy head which need to be groomed regularly and is relatively low maintenance between grooming sessions.
A cut perfect for warmer weather, the Utility clip (sometimes known as the Kennel or Summer clip) is short all over, with the hair slightly longer on the Poodle’s head and tail. Easy to manage and maintain, it’s the perfect choice for active Poodles that love to swim or explore the great outdoors.
When it comes to grooming your Poodle, there are some basic tools that you can keep at home to make sure that its coat is maintained in the best way possible. Even if you plan on taking your Poodle to the groomers regularly, it’s still worth having some basic supplies at home to keep on top of their brushing and essential coat care.
Not essential, but if you don’t have any counter space or an elevated area at home, a grooming table can also be useful for caring for your Poodle’s coat.
Remember that if your dog is new to being groomed, take time to get them used to the tools, rewarding good behaviour with treats to create positive association. It’s natural for dogs to be skittish, curious and sometimes fearful when they experience something new, so by taking the time in the beginning, your Poodle will be more relaxed and calm when they visit a grooming salon.
It is advised not to groom your poodle at home but maintaining their coat with essential maintenance and matt removal is important; your Poodle will be much happier and healthier as a result.