About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Poodle Look

Why is that the first thing out of the mouths of so many of my customers.
"Don't make him/her look like a Poodle!"
I can understand if they have a Poodle and don't want the clean feet and face, but  I get that comment on breeds that I couldn't make look like a Poodle if I tried.

I know that I am probably not the right person to talk about this.
I own 4 Poodles, and I love the Poodle look.

I think the problem is, that most people think of the show clips and the pom pom clip that they see Poodles in.

Or they have seen Poodles like this Model dog, with big puffy heads, and poms on their tails.

People don't understand, that if I was cutting their dog to look like this or like the picture above, it would cost them mega bucks.

 Today I had a Standard Poodle in that belongs to a long time customer.
This is her third dog.
I have groomed all three.
The first one was a short haired LabX that lived to be 18.
I only groomed her the last few years of her life.
Her second dog was a Shep/SpanX, with medium length hair that lived well into her teens.
She always had the Shep/SpanX's feathering scissored up tight to the body.

I was a little surprised when she rescued the St. poodle.
She would not be used to the high maintenance.
I blogged about this Poodle a while back.

 Her owner wanted her face to grow out, no poodle feet, no pom on the tail, and she wanted her coat curly.

The curly coat thing did not last.
The face grew out to about 3" before she started to ask for the face to be cut a little shorter.

I had a feeling that the feet would be shaved eventually.

This owner was very used to having dogs with very short, shaved type faces and feet on her Lab and Shepard mixes.

I have to say that I was surprised when she first got the dog and told me that she did not want the dog to look like a poodle.
Every groomer knows how frustrating it is to make a Poodle NOT look like a Poodle.
No matter how a Poodle is cut, it will always look like the breed it is!

Even  with this little guy, who I saw groomed at one of Groom Expo's competitions a few years ago, you can tell is a Poodle.

The many looks of a Poodle:

 The Pom Pom cut.
The Town & Country cut.
The Bikini cut.

Whatever you want to call it, I have heard it called all of these cuts.

Body/Legs:  #4f, #5f, 7f, #10 can be used on the body.
*Tip: If you are using a long blade on the body, go one blade length shorter on the legs to help define the pom poms. Kind of like a reverse lamb. Make sure to blend the two lengths.

Pom Poms: Hand scissor round

 The Pet German cut:

Body: because this is the pet version, the body and legs were done like a Lamb cut. 3/4 blade on the body and scissor the legs to the desired length.
Ears/Tail: This is what gives the cut the German look. Ears off with a #4f, #5f, 7f, or #10. The ears pictured were clipped with a #4f blade.  The Tail was scissored, and blended into the body, tapering at the end.

A competition German cut.

Hand scissored by a very skilled groomer.

 A Lamb cut.

Body: any blade length.
Legs: usually two to three blade lengths longer than the body. Can be left longer and fuller if desired. Blending the legs, smoothly into the body gives the lamb look.

(This Poodle also had the German head and tail.)

The Retriever cut.

Body: #5f, #7f, or #10 blade. The shorter the blade the better the pattern looks.
Legs: Hand scissored full legs with sharp lines. Pattern set high on the shoulders and hips.

A Kennel cut.

Body/Legs: This is an even all over cut. Any blade can be used on the body and legs.

*This cut is also considered, by some groomers,  a short puppy cut.
**For me, this cut turns into a Puppy cut when any blade longer than a #4f blade is used.

Face: shaved clean with a #10 blade against the grain.

A Poodle face, short but not shaved.

Face: clipped with a #4f blade, against the grain, and scissored.

Tight, round face.

Face: skimmed with a #4f blade, with the grain, and scissored to shape.

Full, round face.

Face: Hand scissored full and round, in proportion with the body.

Schnauzer type face.

Top of Head:  #5f blade. Clip the top of the head and down the side of the face, leaving eyebrows and the beard. Blend into the top of the ears. Scissor eyebrows and beard to the desired length.

Poodle with no topknot.

Topknot, ears, and face clipped with a #4f blade.

Today that long time customer asked to try the Poodle cut this time.
She said that the face and feet were growing too fast.
She was still a little hesitant about 'The Poodle Look'.
I don't know about you, but the dog looked like a Poodle to me even when she had the fuller face and full feet.

This is what she looked like when I was finished with her today.

I say again....I like 'The Poodle Look'.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Hi there I was wondeing what blades you used on the bodies of the Chocolate (lamb clip) and the black here at the bottom? I am trying to decide between picking up a couple 4Fs at petsmart ordering a 3/4. I know I like the 3/4 as I want a longer more plush look and am worried that a 4 will give me too tight a cut. But I like the looks of the above mentioned Poodles so if either of them where done with the 4F thats likely what I'll stick with... I suppose what I'm looking for is a blade that will give me a nice hand scissored plush look while I work on my actual hand scissoring. I like to keep my Standard Poodle in a nicely shaped lamb clip... Thankyou, I apologize for my wordyness!

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    The chocolate poodle gets a #4F blade on the body, with a clip comb skimmed on the legs than scissored to shape.
    A clip comb (19mm I think) was used on the black poodles back.
    The blade used greatly depends on the type of coat your poodle has. If your poodle has a very thick, thightly curled coat like the Chocolate Standard, the coat looks nice a with the 4F blade although it does leave the hair on the shorter side.
    The black standards coat is not quite as thick and tightly curled as the Chocolate one and looks better with the longer blade, like a clip comb attachment, or a 3 3/4F blade, or a 5/8HT blade.
    I own a white Standard that looks awful in a #4F blade because her coat is on the thinner side. I use either one of the longest clip comb attachments followed up with scissoring, or totally hand scissor her.
    A great way to play with different blade lengths, without buying a lot of blades, is to invest in one of the Wahl cordless clippers. The Moser, or Chromado, or Bravura. It comes with a 5 in 1 blade that is great for clipping face and feet. Then also invest in the Wahl 5 in 1 Stainless Steel Attachment Combs. The comb leanghts vary from a 7 blade length to an 1" cut. This way you could set the length you want, by using the longest comb attachment first and working your way down till you find the length you want. The clip combs leave a rougher finish that needs to be followed up with sissors. So this way you could set your length and than practice your scissoring by combing the hair up and smoothing out to finish.
    I hope this made sense and helps you. :)
    Lisa, MFF
    Oh, if using the 5 in 1 blade with the comb attachments, set your 5 in 1 blade on the #40 setting for the best results, and your dogs coat MUST be mat free before using the combs.

  3. Thank you, this was very helpful.
    - Sofi

  4. HI I always love meeting another Poodle lover. What I cant understand is why get a poodle if you dont want to make it look like one. My child hood pet was a white mini "Friskey". My mother would try clipping him sometimes to save some money. I even tried it too when I couldnt stand the terrible job she did. Didnt even look like a dog. I at least had made him looked like a poodle. I would try to do the Continental clip. I even had books. I even colored him afew times. I always did love though when she broke down though and finally would get it professionally done like around Holidays and what not. I loved him in this version of the lamb clip. The groomer would cut a little around his belly. It looked like he had a coat and pants on him and loved the bows
    but my brothers would take it off saying he looked like a faggot dog. Memories.... I wish I had gone into the business of clipping now. Im 50 now and deciding whether I should go back to school to do it.

    1. Hi Frank,
      It is never too late. There are many groomers out there that started grooming as a second career. I had a customer that went to grooming school after he retired. He opened a small one man shop and groomed for 15 years before he retired again. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  5. My silver poodle has a somewhat thin coat and she is dark around her eyes. Cut she looks something like a possum face (sounds very attractive, I know). I'm not sure if this is common with the silvers, or just her. She actually looks better when her hair grows out and her face has a round instead of the sharp pointy nose. I am trying to decide an alternative cut for her for the winter months when a longer coat will be more appropriate. I would like to keep her facial hair longer to have the cuter look instead of the possum face with the dark gray circled eyes. I know poodle cuts are traditions, but surely we can be creative in using different cuts for different looks for our poodles long coats.

  6. is the german style similar to the euro trim?
    i am doing a project on the euro trim and after a hour of research i have yet to find anything on the euro trim

    1. Hi,
      I have heard of a couple of euro trims. Here is a great website that is full of many beautiful picture of European grooming. Maybe it could help you.


      Lisa, MFF

  7. I had a beautiful standard and always wanted him to look like a Poodle, It was in the early days of Labradoodles and 80% of people used to say is that a Labradoodle?,mostly when his coat was grown. Those in the know always knew. So i don't understand people not wanting them to look as they should. I say why get a x/poodle if you want them to look like a poodle, get a poodle, they are the best ever dogs and look like nothing else when all freshly groomed. It must be the show image thing, my sons were not keen to walk a poodle thinking it was poofy!! I also loved to try my own hand at clipping and it makes you APPRECIATE your groomer big time. What an art. CLAIRE Sussex

  8. Hi,
    I think a lot of ppl would get a poodle for its wonderful qualities that don't include their appearance. I really want to get a Poodle because they are good for allergy sufferers (like my husband) and their intelligence, affection, and they are great with kids. However, I don't want to have the long hair to deal with (I grew up with Shelties and don't want to keep up with a long-haired coat), so I plan on keeping my future Poodle completely shaved down. I would make sure that I'm careful about the weather extremes, I live in a pretty moderate climate, so I'm curious as to why more ppl don't do this (who prefer short-haired dogs) and what most groomers might think about the practice of shaving them completely every month or so.

    1. Hi Kate,
      For me, I would not care if you kept your Poodle shaved short all of the time. I would much rather see any dog kept in a short cut rather than see their coat left ungroomed and badly matted.
      How short the hair is, or the fact that the dog is not clipped in a 'traditional cut' doesn't change the wonderful qualities of the breed. I wouldn't worry about what the groomer may think. You are paying them to groom your dog, you are the one who had to live with the dog. A groomer should give your dog whatever kind of clip you would like. (as long as it will not harm your dog)
      Lisa, MFF