This tutorial will focus on subtle changes you can make to an everyday pet trim to help accentuate the dog’s natural body and musculature, and really make your grooms stand out!
The dog used for this article is a poodle mix who has very soft, wavy hair and the owners like a low-maintenance style, but still want her to look her very best!
Fig 1) To begin this groom, use a #4 blade on the dog’s body, beginning at the shoulders and continuing back the topline to the tail.
Fig 2) Next, find the center of the dog and take the blade down in a semi-circle motion to set in a tuck-up. This area should be the highest part of the dog’s underline and help to split the dog into two equal halves from front to back.
Fig 3) Once the tuck-up line is set in, reverse the clippers up the center of the belly to achieve a small undercarriage. Stop just between the front legs.
Fig 4) On the rear legs, clip off the entire top muscle on the back leg, skimming off at the knee and natural bend of the dog’s leg. Leave the entire front of the back leg alone for now.
Fig 5) Next, take the same blade you used on the body and begin just under the ear to clip off the neck. Continue down until you reach the elbow and skim off at the elbow to blend the shorter shoulder coat into the longer leg coat.
Fig 6) Still using the same blade, clip the chest down into the area between the front legs.
Fig 7) Moving to the throat, reverse your blade and clip from the throat up into the hollow of the dog’s underjaw.
Fig 8) For this particular dog, a #1 snap-on comb was used on the legs to add style and flair to the trim. Begin at the front of the front leg and trim all the way down to the foot, as well as the inside and outside of the front leg. Do NOT trim the back of the front leg.
Fig 9) Moving to the rear leg, clip the outside thigh on the inside and outside of the leg, but not the front.
Fig 10) Begin your scissor work by trimming the feet. On the back foot, comb all hair down, pick the leg up and trim all of the hair off of the top of the back stopper pad.
Fig 11) Finish trimming the foot by placing it back on the table and trimming around the edge of the foot. Repeat on the other side.
Fig 12) Similarly, move to the front foot and scissor a rounded shape with the foot on the table. For the front feet, do not pick the foot up and trim the hair off the top of the stopper pad because if you cut that area too short, you lose the nice column leg appearance. Repeat on the other front foot.
Fig 13) For the body scissor work, comb all of the hair up and out from the skin and put a nice scissor finish on it.
Fig 14) To blend the shorter coat of the upper thigh with the longer coat of the knee and below, make sure all hair is standing straight out by combing and tip your scissors slightly toward the shorter coat and scissor straight down toward the table. Continue this on the inside of the leg as well.
Fig 15) Next, lightly scissor the tuck-up area to blend into the underline and the longer hair on the front of the back leg. You can also blend the longer hairs here by gently scissoring in a windshield wiper motion from front to back.
Fig 16) To create a crisp line on the front of the back leg, tip in the hair with a sharp straight shear.
Fig 17) Scissor the front legs into columns by combing the hair out and scissoring from the front of the toes to the elbow. Then comb all the hair to one side and scissor a nice straight line from toes to elbow. Do NOT trim the back of the front leg in this manner.
Fig 18) Moving to the chest, blend the shorter hair into the longer hair on the front leg by scissoring straight into the front leg and blending this area.
Fig 19) On this dog, a blending shear was used in the end to fine-detail and finish the scissor work due to its incredibly soft coat texture.
Fig 20) Begin trimming the face by cleaning up the longer hairs right in front of the eyes. For this coat texture, a blending shear was used, but you can also do this with a thinning shear or a #10 blade.
Fig 21) Next, comb all of the hair on top of the head forward and scissor a straight visor from the outside of one eye to the outside of the other.
Fig 22) To help make the eyes appear larger and enhance the shape of the face, take your shears and open up the outside corner of the eyes by trimming the outside edge and exposing the eye from the side view.
Fig 23) Then trim the bottom of the jaw in a straight line to set the desired length.
Fig 24) Comb the cheek hair down and trim from the bottom of the jaw where you set the length up and around the side of the cheek hair until you reach the opening of the ear. Repeat on the other side.
Fig 25) Follow that up with a blending shear to soften the harsh scissor lines. When viewed from the front, everything should be a straight line from the top of the head to the jaw, and from the side view, the face should have a nice rounded jaw.
Fig 26) Comb all of the hair on the muzzle forward and use a blending shear to take off any that sticks in front of the nose.
Fig 27) Finish the muzzle by using a small curved shear to clean up the edges of the muzzle all the way around.
Fig 28) Next, blend the head into the neck by combing all of the hair on the top of the head back and use a blending shear to trim up and around behind the ears and across the back of the skull.
Fig 29) Trim the ears to the desired length. A blending shear was used on this dog to help achieve a more natural look.
Fig 30) Finish out the groom by holding the tip of the tail straight out from the dog and scissoring flat from tip to base, gradually getting longer as you get closer to the dog.
Many of our clients want a low-maintenance haircut for their dogs, but there are still plenty of ways to complement each dog’s body structure to give them the best haircut that individual dog can possibly wear. Leaving a little extra hair in all the right places while taking off extra hair where it isn’t needed can really transform any dog from drab to fab! ✂️