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.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Makeover Monday #17....Short Pet Cocker Cut

Let me start this makeover by saying that there are a lot of different things with this cut that are not considered 'correct'.
Most of the 'pet' grooms that I do are groomed the way the customer wants, whether the cut is 'correct' or not.
I also determine my placement of pattern on the conformation of the dog.
Some dogs may look better with a higher, or lower skirt.
Some may have their ears clipped differently do to medical issues.
Legs on some patterns may be clipped or scissored short, or left long depending on the owners wishes.

I know from reading different grooming boards that a lot of grooms have strong opinions on how dogs should groomed.
There are many groomers who feel that all pure bred dogs should be groomed only in 'correct' patterns.
I have found that very few pet owners can, or even want to take care of the 'correct' patterns on their dogs.

How many of your customers want skirts off of Cockers, Schnauzers, or Westies?
How many want long ears on their Bichons?
How many don't want feet and faces shaved on their Poodles?
How many Wheaten owners do not want the fall on the dog and want to see the eyes?

What are you going to tell them?
No, I can't groom your dog the way you want it, I have to groom it 'by the book'.
I have had several new customers come in and tell me that the last groomer actually did say that to them, and would not clip their dog the way they wanted.

As far as I am concerned, as long as a customer does not ask me to do something that may hurt the dog I will groom it any way they want.
I am just happy that they are grooming their dog.

I know that some groomers would argue with me that "if you cut the hair right you can fix the bad conformation on the dog."
Well sure, as groomers you and I know this, but the average pet owner does not understand why you may have cut the hair short on one area of the leg but left another area of the leg longer so that that leg now looks straight.

In a day or two, when the hair is no longer fluffy, and the dog is getting wet from the morning dew outside, or from playing outside, you may get a call from the owner telling you that the cut on the legs is uneven, or choppy, or you missed clipping some hair.

You will come across some pet owners that do want the 'correct ' 'show' pattern, but I have found that most pet owners just want their pets clean, with a nice cute easy to take care of cut.

I started out grooming this Cocker the 'correct way' several years ago, but over the years the owner has asked for different things.

So here is a short version of a Cocker pattern.

 This guy is one of my favorite Cockers.

His owner has always had me do the Cocker pattern on him, but she likes it short.

I started out clipping his back with a #5F to try to make it look somewhat natural, but that soon changed to a #7F.

Now I clip his back with a the #15 blade setting on my cordless.

The owner really likes the back that short.

He is the only Cocker that I clip that short on the back.

Didn't I tell you he is one of my favorites?

He loves his belly rubs!

 His owner likes the ears long, back short, legs on the short side, skirt and apron long but scissored up to the chest and belly.

Bathed, blow dried, brushed and ready to clip.

  I start at the top of the head.

I like to clip all of my Cocker heads with either a #5F, or #7F against the grain. (mostly #7F)

I find that clipping against the grain with these two blades leaves a really nice smooth finish without making the head look skinned.

 I clip against the grain on the top and sides of the face.

If I use a #5F on the top of the head, I always clips the sides of the face with the #7F.

This Cockers owner does not want any crest above the eyes.

I also clip the chin and part of the neck with the #7F against the grain.

Depending on the thickness and type of hair the Cocker has on its muzzle, determines whether I use the #7F against the grain on it, or a #15 blade with the grain.

On this Cocker I use a #15 with the grain on the muzzle, blending it into what I clipped with the #7F.

After I finish clipping the face and head, I move on to the dogs back.

I start at the back of the head and blend the #15 blade into what I already clipped the head with the #7F against the grain.

This is very easy because the #7F against the grain is just about the same length as the #15 with the grain.

Normally, if I were clipping the back with a #4F, #5F, or #7F, I would clip with long strokes straight down the back and then slowly curving down towards the skirt to blend.

Because I am using a #15 blade, I like to clip the back slowly and in short strokes to avoid leaving any lines in the clipped coat.

As you get close to the skirt or apron, slowly ease up on your pressure and just skim lightly over the top of the skirt to blend.

For this Cockers ears, I clip farther down the ears than I normally would.

This Cocker has issues with his ears, so by clipping the top of the outside of the ear lower, and clipping the inside of the ears all of the way down to the end of the ear leather, the owner can still have long Cocker ears but a lot of weight has been removed to help with the ear issues.

I used a #15 blade to clip out the entire inside of the ear, stopping at the end of the ear and skimming off so as not to cut into the long hair on the end of the ear.

The pads of the feet are clipped with a #30 blade.

The legs are clipped with the yellow comb attachment for the 5in1 cordless clipper and scissored to finish.

Even though the owner wants the leg on the shorter side, she likes the feet full and round.

The chest is scissored tight.

The  skirt is scissored up to the underbelly.

I also round off the bottom edges of the skirt to make the edge look softer.

(Sorry about the picture. He was just starting to sit down as I took it.)

 A view from the back.

This clip may not be 'the correct by the book' clip, but it is exactly how the owner likes it. :)
It is also a nice 'pet' Cocker style, easy for the owner to maintain.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. First off let me say I love your blog! It's interesting to get the perspective on the other side of the clippers as it were. I have a 5 mo old mini schnauzer (Val) who just got his first groom & his groomer did an awesome job. She is the same groomer who does my sister's dog. He's a yorkie/shih tzu mix, the look of a shih tzu ( yorkie length snout) & a yorkie temperament.

    With Val I told her to do a schnauzer cut but make the beard more square & shorter. I had a photo of him from when I first got him (breeder had trimmed him up) with how I wanted the beard to look.

    But whenever we take CJ, we have a list on a 3x5 & a photo of CJ with how he looked right after the "perfect" haircut. But for some reason the groomer never does it correctly. She always leaves his ears waaay to long or doesn't shave his beard, just shaped it, or doesn't do a "lion" tail but leaves a waterfall tail. She never says anything about him being difficult, and all I can figure is that she feels he should look like a "traditional" shih tzu or something.

    I know from your posts that you don't mind mixing it up style wise but is it common for groomers to do this? How is a polite way to bring it up to her? I am usually the one dropping CJ off for his appointments & I always try to go over everything with her beforehand, but I am not picking him up in the afternoon someone else is.
    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Hi Luthe_N,

      I am a little stumped myself. If this groomer listened to you about your Schnauzer I don't really understand why she is not following your instructions with CJ.
      Unfortunately, there are groomers who like to groom dogs the way that THEY think the dog should look, not what the owner wants. But, if she is listening to your instructions and telling you "okay", I don't understand why she is not doing what you want. Your instructions seem very clear to me.
      Is she the one actually doing the grooming? Maybe the instructions are not being passed on to another groomer.
      As far as I am concerned, you are the one paying for the grooming so you should get what you ask for. I would ask very nicely (not in an accusing tone) why they are not cutting the dog the way you asked for. Let the groomer know that you really liked the way they groomed your Schnauzer, but you have noticed that they are not grooming CJ exactly how you want him. The person who picks up must look over the dog and say something. Like; "He looks really nice BUT we wanted the tail like a lion, and the ears shorter, and his beard shaved off. Is there a reason why you are not doing it?"
      If the groomer gives you attitude, or tells you that that is not the way the breed is supposed to look, it is time to find a groomer that WILL work with you. Good luck!
      Thanks for reading my blog!!
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I didn't know a Cocker could have that poof to their ears! Looks good!

  3. I'm with you, I'll do anything the owner wants (within reason). Heck, I do a goatee and mohawk on my Cockapoo - I wouldn't be caught dead doing a teddy bear head on him! So if you want clean feet on your Pom (just did that the other day), square Grinch feet, clean face on your Shih Tzu, or whatever, I will do it as long as they are not matted and it will not hurt the dog in some way.

    Oh, and I used to groom a Cocker where she wanted a #30 on his back! Sadly he passed during the holidays. :-(

    Anyway, thanks for another great post. I was taught to do a #10 backwards on Cocker heads, I think I might try the 7 or 5.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      A #30 on the back!!! Good grief. I would be curious to hear how you like the 7 against the grain. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. This reminds of how all the schnauzers I've done as far back as I can remember all get short eyebrows. I haven't done "correct" eyebrows in probably 15 years or more! People want to see their dogs eyes really well!

    1. Hi Michell,
      You are so right. All of my Schnauzer customers want to 'see the eyes'.
      I had one new schnauzer that came in that had great eyebrows and I was able to do the 'correct' eyebrows. The owner asked me to shorten them. :(
      Lisa, MFF

  5. It' not correct to cut the back like this, you've got to strip it with fingers :) Te bacj of the cocker should be silky not shaved

    1. Hi Mary,
      As I stated in the post. This is a post for a 'PET' Cocker cut. Most Cocker pet owners don't understand, or want to pay for the stripping of the coat. After 30 years of grooming, I have only had one pet owner ask for the back to be stripped. Also many of the 'pet' Cocker coats don't have the right type of coat for stripping. The owner of the Cocker in the above post wanted her Cockers back shaved as short as I could get it. She is the paying customer. She is the one living with her dog. I clipped her dog the way she wanted it. Many times, 'pet' grooming is very different from by-the-book grooming.
      Lisa, MFF