The Poodle’s coat is one of the most versatile and can be shaped into a variety of clip styles. The style you choose largely depends on how much time you are willing to spend grooming it, your lifestyle and if you plan on showing your Poodle or not.
If you are planning on showing your Poodle in the ring, there is only one official clip style allowed and that is the Traditional Lion Trim, which comes in four varieties:
Face, feet and base of tail are shaved closely. Body is left long and shaped to compliment the dogs form. The pack is shaped into the neck and top knot. The topknot is left long and pulled into a ponytail. This is an AKC/UKC approved clip style for poodles under one year.
The Face, front legs between poms and elbow, hind quarter to the pom area and with the exception of the hip rosettes, feet, and base of tail are all shaved very closely. The pack area is left very, very long and scissored into shape. The top knot is left very long and pulled into a ponytail. The tail is left long and scissored into a round ball. Poms on the legs are started just above the wrist and hock joints and end just above the feet. They are also scissored round. The hip rosettes are placed directly over the hip joint. They are only 1/2 - 1 inch apart (depending upon the variety of poodle). These are also scissored round. The pack ends 1/2 - 1 inch behind the last rib. There is only 1/2 inch between the end of the pack and the beginning of the hip rosettes. This is an AKC/UKC approved conformation clip style.
Modified Continental Clip
The only difference between this clip and the other continental clip is that there are no hip rosettes on this clip. AKC/UKC state that the hip rosettes in this clip are optional.
The Face, front leg between pom and pack, crescent on the flank, base of tail, separations between poms on rear legs and feet are all shaved closely. Pack is left very full and is scissored into shape. Top knot is left long and pulled into a pony tail. Poms on front legs are leg long and started above the wrist joint and ends above the feet. The area over the hips and flanks are scissored shorter into a smooth blanket. Pom on tail is left long and shaped round. The poms on back legs are shaped round and spaced evenly. The bottom is started just above the hock and ends above the feet. The other starts at the knee area and ends just 1-1/2 inch (depending upon size of poodle) above the bottom pom.
If you are not planning on showing your Poodle, there are a variety of clip styles to choose from. The trims with the coat left shorter are easier to care for and dry faster in the winter. The following clip styles are generally the best for companion Poodle owners:
Kennel or Utility Clip
Face, feet, and base of tail are shaved closely. Body hair is short all over and just scissored into shape. Top knot and tail are left longer than the body hair. This is a great clip for summer and is very easy to take care of. Length of body hair depends upon preference and what blade is used. Usually a 5 or 7 blade is used in this cut.
Face, feet and base of tail are shaved closely. Legs are left fluffy along with the tail and top knot. Body can be shaved with a larger blade or scissored to be shorter than the legs. Length of hair depends upon preference.
Summer, Miami of Bikini Clip
Face, feet, and base of tail are shaved closely. Body hair is left fluffy but not too long and then scissored into shape. The legs are shaped into a pom at the bottom starting just above the wrist and the hock ending just above the feet. Length of hair depends upon preference.
Town and Country Clip
Face, neck area, wide belly band, feet, and base of tail are shaved closely. Also there are narrow lines shaved closely between the withers along the spine into the belly band and also between the hips along the spine into the belly band. The rest of the hair is left fluffy and scissored into shape and the edges of the lines are curved. Length of body hair depends upon preference.
When deciding on one of the clip styles above, keep in mind that longer coats require more brushing to avoid getting mats. If you want your Poodle to purposely have mats, then you could consider keeping your Poodle's coat like that of a Corded Poodle. Keeping the face, feet and base of the tail clipped very short is better for hygiene and cleanliness. If you leave a moustache on your Poodle, food often gets trapped there, which can become rather smelly. Also, keeping the feet cut short helps prevent dirt and mud from tracking in your house.
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