Rockin' the Retro - Groomer to Groomer Magazine

Rockin’ the Retro

The Retro trim is a current-day version of the classic Dutch clip with some added-in modern flair and pizzaz to make it extreme and flashy. When I execute this clip, I think of the collectable antique ceramics and Steiff stuffed poodles from that era. 

Before you begin, start with a prepped dog, properly bathed and dried with ears cleaned and nails done. Clip the face, feet and sani areas to start. I usually do this with the second to closest blade setting on my clipper. 

You can use a variety of blade lengths to start the pattern, anywhere from a #7F to a #40, depending on how close you want it or how sensitive the dog’s skin is. I start just under the ear, going with the coat growth direction, and shave around the back of the neck, leaving a “V” shape at the back of the head. I bring the line down to just above the shoulder layback. If you want it really tight, you could go back against the coat growth direction afterwards.

Next, shave a strip the width of one blade down the dog’s back, continuing right up to the tip of the tail, using the spine as a guideline. Then shave the sides of the dog with the front line starting just after the last rib and the back line placed at the front of the back leg. This line may vary in width depending on the length of the dog’s loin, but will be about one to two blade widths. I round all edges with the clipper to soften them.


After setting your pattern, you want to edge-scissor all of the clippered areas and scissor or clipper-comb your jacket and hip areas, depending on how full or tight you want it. If using a clipper comb, I would go with a #1, #0 or an A. Use a #1 on the rear angulation, leaving hair for a shelf at the pin bone. Scissor in a nice rounded chest in the front and then scissor up your legs, leaving them full enough to balance the body.

When finished with the body, it is time to move on to the head. I start by shaving the ears with a #40, #15, #10 or #7F, depending on how extreme you want it and how dark the skin pigment is. Be careful not to nick when clipping around edges and folds of the ear leather. I usually hold it flat in my palm and clip out over the edge, going back with scissors later to do my final edging carefully. Finally, scissor up your head, leaving the highest point above the occiput to give you the most length of neck. Scissor a nice visor on the front and be sure to blend the “V” in the back of the head down into the neck.

Some variations on this trim may include tasseled or beveled ears and a pom-pom tail. 

Don’t be afraid to give this funky and flashy Retro trim a try—it is sure to turn heads and is a lot of fun to do! ✂️


Julie Wilkins

Julie Wilkins has been grooming since 1994 and owns Best In Show Pet Salon in Gloucester, MA. She has won Best in Show and Best All Around awards at grooming competitions, and was a Top 10 member of GroomTeam USA for many years. As an AKC Breeder of Meritt, Julie has finished many of her own Poodles from the bred-by class, as well as many Toy, Mini, and Standard Poodle Champions with multiple group wins and placements and Specialty Best In Show wins. She is a member and has held board positions in The Poodle Club of Massachusetts and North Shore Kennel Club, always striving to better the breed and educate the public on the purebred dog.

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