The Havanese - Groomer to Groomer

Fast & Easy Pet Trims for the Salon

The Havanese

By Kathy Rose

The Havanese is the native dog of Cuba. Once known as the Havana Silk Dog or Spanish Silk Poodle, he has rapidly gained popularity in the AKC show ring since his Toy Group recognition. This sturdy little dog has an amicable temperament and sports a wavy, long, and non-shedding coat that comes in a variety of colors. With these endearing qualities, the Havanese is fast becoming a popular Bread & Butter client.

Breed standard dictates that for the AKC show ring, they are shown natural with only minimal trimming of the sanitary and the feet. For the B&B client, however, a shorter more manageable trim is usually requested.

The double coat requires thorough coat preparation with a quality pet shampoo and conditioner, followed by fluff drying. Customary prep work, such as ear cleaning, nail clipping, sanitary and pad trimming, should also be completed.

Fig. 1 Lift the beard coat and ears, and then trim, beginning just under the jaw with a “0” snap-on comb. Clip down the sides of the neck and chest and between the front legs.


Fig. 2 Lift the dog (providing he has a sound back) and trim the undercarriage.

Fig. 3 Stand to the rear of the dog and continue clipping from about two inches behind the occipital bone (rear part of skull) toward the tail and down the flank and loin, following the coat growth direction.

Clip over the rump, down the rear part of the back leg to just above the hock.

Fig. 4 While supporting the hips, gently lift the rear slightly and clip the undercarriage, trimming against the coat growth direction.

Fig. 5 Change the snap-on comb to a longer length (in this case, a “C”). Trim the legs following the coat growth direction.

Grasping the topline coat between your index and middle fingers, tidy to form a straight topline that rises slightly from the withers to the croup.

Fig. 6 Blend the coat at the croup and hips.

Round the rear feet by first trimming the sides of the foot and then across the front.

Fig. 7 If the dog is dancing, gently lift the rear leg while supporting his thigh, and trim with his leg elevated.

Use curved shears to bevel the back part of the rear foot.

Fig. 8 Shape the inner part of the rear legs with blenders or thinning shears so they appear parallel.

Tidy the stray hairs and smooth out the rear leg. Tidy the coat to form a slight bend in the stifle (knee).

Fig. 9 For tuck-up placement, lift the rear leg, bending at the knee naturally. The spot where the knee is positioned at the loin is where to place the tuck-up.

Fig. 10 With your curved shears inverted, trim the tuck-up. At a little more than mid-point, turn your shears so they curve the opposite way, and trim forward all the way between the front legs, curving upward as you reach the forechest.

Round the front feet, and then shape the legs to form parallel columns.

Fig. 11 Use blenders to shape the shoulder angulation so there is angulation from the upper arm onto the shoulder. This will help create the visual of the dog’s front assembly being placed well under him. Without this angulation, it will look as though his legs are sprouting from his neck instead of his shoulders.

Use thinning shears to trim the eye corners.

Fig. 12 With a #10 blade, trim the hair on the front of the lips.

Fig. 13 With curved shears held at a 45-degree angle, trim the bangs. Then use your thinning shears or blenders to blend back to the outside corner of the eyes. You should be able to see the eyes when viewed from the side.

Fig. 14 Lift the top knot coat up between your index and middle fingers, and then trim with blenders or thinning shears. Soften his expression with thinning shears, blending the lines.

Fig. 15 With blenders or thinning shears, trim the beard and ears to one length.

Finish your groom with a light spritzing of finishing spray, and then blend all of your lines and erase any scissor marks with your blenders.

The double coat of the Havanese will mat easily and requires diligent maintenance, even when trimmed shorter. Less coat will, however, keep him looking smart longer and provide you with yet another Bread & Butter client!

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