Stand Out with a Swirl - Groomer to Groomer

Elevate Your Grooming

Stand Out with a Swirl

The swirl trim is the perfect blend of whimsy and tradition that can be done on many different breeds. It brings fantasy, elegance and standards all to the same table. Add this special “twist” to your grooming that no one can resist!

Fig 1) I begin with the basics like shaving the feet, face and tail.

Fig 2) At first, I completely ignore the added swirl feature and simply trim the dog to a maintenance-length Modern Pet trim. In this case, I used a 3/8” guard comb over a #30 blade.  

Fig 3) For 90% of the pets I groom, whatever I do on the body, I do in reverse on the dog’s underline.  


Fig 4) I then begin to transition from short to long around my dog’s neck-shave pattern.

Fig 5) In the rear, from the point of rump to the deepest part of the knee bend, I take it very tight. In this case, I used a ¼” guard comb.

Fig 6) Now I switch to a ½” guard so I can begin to blend down the larger muscle groups like the shoulder and thigh.

Fig 7) You can see here, with a Poodle, it’s okay to come in front of their thigh a little to accentuate their waist.

Fig 8) Now for the swirl! It starts with a straight line down the dog’s back that will stop just behind the ribcage.  

Fig 9) Now I switch to a thinner “toe blade” and split my spine shave line into a “V” so that it creates a swirl on either side of the dog.

Fig 10) I find that doing this swirl without picking up your blade even once is the best way; one continuous line that begins to swirl just behind the withers, then curves again when it extends to level with the tuck-up, and then once more just before the last rib.  

Fig 11) Next I do my scissor work around my shave-line patterns, starting with the neck.

Fig 12) Since the swirl obviously has lots of curves, it’s easier to transition it with a curved scissor.

Fig 13) Then I fluff out the tail and scissor to shape.

Fig 14) Looking through the back legs while in the front of the dog allows me to trim hard-to-see hairs and complete a groom that looks good from every angle.

Fig 15) To finish, I scissor the front legs into columns.

Don’t be afraid to throw caution to the wind and add some spice to your regular clients. Setting patterns is hard the first time, but don’t give up! Watch the pattern grow out and then trim again until you’ve nailed it. ✂️


Blake Hernandez

With his crazy suits and outgoing personality, Blake Hernandez is the epitome of “Mr. Approachable,” making him a shot of energy and positivity for the industry. Blake is the 2020 Barkleigh Honors Seminar Speaker of the Year and co–creator of Groomsource, the dog grooming education hub. He also represents Foxy Roxy’s Supply Co., Ladybird Line smocks and GroomLoop, but is best known for his online persona and feature in episode four of Netflix “DOGS” documentary series. Blake manages a successful salon in San Diego, CA, grooming many breeds, with Poodles being his true passion. Find Blake on Instagram @blakemhernandez

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