The Modified Continental Clip - Groomer to Groomer

The Modified Continental Clip

The Modified Continental Clip, or MCC, is also known as the Historically Correct Continental, or HCC. The tighter version to this trim would be the Hunt Clip. The MCC has been around for years but has recently become more popular in the AKC and grooming competition rings with more skilled groomers and handlers taking this once thought of “petsy” trim to the next level and making it more stylish and competitive with the big spray–ups. 

The way it was explained to me years ago is the MCC should have the same outline as a Continental and the head should taper down into the ears to frame the face the same way a spray–up would. There should be no visible bevel line over the ear.

To obtain this look, I start with a properly bathed and blown–dry dog, and the coat should be combed out and free of matts and tangles. Using anywhere from a #40 to a #10 blade (depending on the sensitivity and pigment of the dog’s skin), I start my clipper work with the face and feet. I find the 5–in–1–type clippers are easiest to use for this as they are nice and smooth and don’t tend to grab the skin or heat up. 

Fig 1) Next, I move on to the rear of the dog and clip in the base of the tail and set the line for the back of my rosettes measuring two fingers in front of the base of the tail. 


Fig 2) I make a line between the rosettes about half of a blade length following the spine. 

Fig 3) Using my clipper to edge, I sculpt in the rosettes nice and round, and then finish scissoring them with a smaller pair of curved shears.

Fig 4) The back of the jacket is set just behind the last rib, but may be tweaked depending on the dog’s length of back or loin. I use a straight shear to rough in the line all the way around the waist, then use the clipper to carve it in.

Fig 5) To set in my back bracelets, I start the backside of them two fingers above the hock and clip the top at a forward angle to create angulation, then the back leg is clipped up to the rosette against the grain. 

Fig 6) The rear bracelets are scissored in an almost upside down triangular shape to accentuate the angles of the leg. The top of the front bracelets should be level with the highest point of the back bracelets. 

Fig 7) Clip the leg against the grain up to the elbow using the clipper to edge in a nice crisp line. 

Fig 8) The front bracelets are scissored into an oval shape to create height (and more rounded on Toys and Minis where you may not want to necessarily accentuate height).

The underline of the jacket should come out from the elbow, it should not dip downward making the dog look sway backed. 

The chest should be a continuation of the underline coming out through the front legs and be rounded up into the neckline, neither making the dog look heavy in the front nor straight in the shoulder. I set in the neck with my curved shears in reverse rolling them into the side of the neck and jacket and blending it down into the chest. 

The side coat should be full and slightly rounded, never slab–sided.

The base of the jacket is scissored at a steep angle to create more length of neck—there should not be a hump! Use your curved shears in reverse to transition the topline up into the neck and then turn them back to go up over the top of the head. 

Fig 9) You want to make the area above the back of the occiput your highest point for maximum length of neck. Bevel your visor in above the eyes and scissor back to the front corner of the ear, then round the visor up into the topknot. 

Fig 10) Blend the sides of the topknot down into the top of the ears and then round up the bottoms.

Finally, I scissor the tail into a nice big oval. The size of the tail should be balanced with size of the head.

Happy grooming everyone! ✂️


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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