Poodles are a fascinating dog breed! These perfectly coiffed pups can look like decorative feather dusters, while other haircuts make them look like middle-aged moms from the 80’s with their bushy bangs and long “permed” ears! From the fuzzy-coated teacup Poodles to the plethora of styles the standard Poodles sport, let’s take a closer look at this breed’s unique coat color, texture and cut styles. We may find that the many clipping styles were more about functionality than fashion, or comfort rather than haute-couture.
Poodles are typically known for being black or white, however they can also come in blue, sable/brown, gray, brindled, cream, red, café-au-lait, and apricot. While show dogs are strictly one even color, some Poodles may have color variations, with large patches and spots, tuxedo markings, parti-Poodles (segmented color patches across large areas), phantom Poodle markings (blends of two colors disbursed throughout) and coat color tickling. Poodles have also been known to sport the rare corded coats, both long and shorthaired.
Poodle Cut: Most of us assume that the grooming designs for a Poodle coats were purposed only for the vanity of the owner. Though the trims and styles have certainly morphed over time, the original intention for the Poodle Cut was to help the dog perform his function as a hunting companion, and water retrieval dog. This trim leaves a heavy layer of dense hair around the shoulders, chest, neck, back and head. This was designed as insulation to protect the dog’s vital org
ans while immersed in icy water to retrieve prey. The legs and flanks are shaved neatly for rapid swimming strokes and paddling, while the puff of fur around the ankles and feet suggest added buoyancy, as well as additional warmth and protection for the working joints. Just as a surfer has a wetsuit and a whale has blubber, Poodles had their dense coats strategically clipped for maximal performance. While many other style cuts may be nothing more than fashionable choice, at least the Poodle Cut was created for a practical reason!
Bikini Clip (or Miami Clip and Summer Clip): This kind of trim is particularly advantageous for dogs with skin sensitivities and allergies who need medicated baths, and access to the surface of the skin. Most groomers will cut a fairly short shave on the majority of the dog’s body, face and tail, while leaving some thicker poms (round puffs of fur) at the feet. Body hair length will vary on preference, as some owners prefer to leave their dogs shaggier, and others like them sleek and as short as possible. The intention is to provide a clean cut best suited for the warmer seasons.
Continental Clip: The classic Continental might be considered one of the more popular styles for the breed. The face is shaved only on the nose, while the rest of the fair on the head, chest, belly and back is fanned out and combed thick. The body is shaved close to the skin, on the legs, hind quarters and flanks. The tail and legs have round poms at the tips and often a patch (or “rosette”) near the buttocks. (The Modified Continental has the same look, except without the rosettes.)
Kennel (or Utility) Clip: The Utility Cut is just that: practical and uncomplicated. The main body hair is cut evenly and short across the body, with the face, feet, and bottom of the tail shaved close to the skin. The top of the tail is left fluffy, along with the top of the head. |
English Saddle Clip: This style is like the Continental Clip, except the legs have not one pom but three on the back legs, and one large pom on the front legs. Only certain hygienic parts of the dog are shaved at the flank, by the feet and below the knees.
Lamb Clip (also known as the Pet Clip or the Puppy Clip): Like the Kennel/Utility coat, the Lamb Coat trims the hair consistently short throughout the body, sometimes leaving a greater amount of thickness around the “pants” of each leg. This cut gives the body an overall even appearance, and is one of the more low-maintenance grooming options, since the length is left to their owner’s preference. However, because of the long-growing/flowing hair on the ears and at the bushy part on top of the head –this is where the 1980’s mom-perm makes an appearance!
(*NOTE: in longer hair styles, the dog should always be given the sanitary shave, which keeps the fur minimal and tidy between the legs and under the tail.)
Lion Clip: This trim turns a Poodle into the fearsome king of the jungle, with a thick fur mane around his head. The face is trimmed shorter, while the head, ears, neck, back, chest and stomach are also to grow thick and fluffy. The forelegs are shaved closely from the front elbow to the feet, and the hind legs and base of the tail are shaved from the flanks to the poms at the feet. (When the Poodle is mixed with a Golden Retriever (giving the dog wider features), the lion cut can truly make this dog look like the great wild cat, as long as the face isn’t trimmed too short.)
Mouton Clip: Only the feet, face, and bottom of the tail are shaved short, while the rest of the body is cut evenly, leaving the tail, topknot and legs left with bushier hair.
Scandinavian (or Second Puppy) Clip: This look is popular in European Poodle shows, since the body maintains bulk without seeming unkempt. Routinely cut seven days before a show, the Poodle is trimmed only at the throat, face, underbelly, feet and bottom of the tail. His coat is shaped and the topknot on the Poodle’s head is often arranged in a band.
Town and Country Clip: Poodles with this cut usually look like a woman in a woolen sweat suit, since the legs and flanks are left bushy, along with the forelegs, chest and shoulders. A wide or narrow band of the back and underbelly are shaved close, and the nose is trimmed. The tail is shaved at the base, growing bushy at the tip, along with the top of the head. The rest of the body grows full and is shaped with scissors.