How to Give Your Dog a Puppy Cut

Easy
45 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

If your groomer rolls their eyes when you come in and ask for a puppy cut, here is why:  The term 'puppy cut' is not well-defined, and could mean anything from a short 1-inch to medium 2-inch or more all-over clip and any kind of grooming style applied to the face and head. So what's a groomer to do?  

Usually, a groomer will ask you lots of questions as to what you really mean when you say “puppy cut” so they understand what you want. Originally, the 'puppy cut' was a term used when young Poodles were given a short fluffy trim all over, before they were old enough and ready for a show ring clip. It has since been used to apply to a short, all-over clip, but there are numerous variations, including overall length and treatment of head, legs, and tail styles. Other terms that are more specific and define the type of cut often referred to as a 'puppy cut' are 'kennel cut', 'teddy bear trim', 'lamb trim' or 'summer cut'. 

You will need to make a decision on the length of puppy cut you want; 1 to 2 inches is common. This may be based on your dog’s type of hair, activity level, environment, and season.In the summer, dogs may be clipped shorter than in the winter. Check with a ruler and compare to your fingers so you can communicate length to your groomer or use your fingers as a guide while you puppy cut your dog yourself. Decide how you want the face, head, legs, and tail to be clipped. They can be left longer than the body, blended to the body, or clipped relatively short to match the rest of your dog. You can look at pictures of puppy cut styles to help you decide. Provide the picture to your groomer, or use it as a reference while you are giving your dog a puppy cut. 

A puppy cut gives your dog an easy to maintain haircut that is cool in hot summer months, or easy to clean if your dog will be getting dirty. Rural and farm dogs are often trimmed this way, so that mud, water and underbrush does not become a problem for their fur coat. A puppy cut can be used on various coats and breeds, is practical and looks cute, making it one of the most commonly asked for haircuts around.

Dog's Perspective

Most dogs take to having a puppy cut pretty well.  Your dog will feel lighter, cleaner and cooler, with a short all over cut, and because he looks great and smells better you will be much happier to give him cuddles and pets, which will also make your dog content with his new “do”.  Some dogs are nervous of the clippers and the puppy cut grooming process.  Working slowly and patiently with a dog that is nervous about being trimmed will usually alleviate his fears and get the dog comfortable with being clipped.

The Standard Puppy Cut Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Clipper
Step
1
Use clipper with guides
Use a professional dog trimmer with a long guard comb of the appropriate length to allow an allover cut of 1-2 inches. You will also need a blending blade to blend different lengths from head and legs.
Step
2
Clip towards back
Work from your dog’s neck backwards, holding your clippers parallel to your dog's body, with the guard on to clip hair to the desired length on back, sides and belly. There should not be any clipper marks left, the coat should be even.
Step
3
Shave backside
Shave the anal area very short. Be careful to ensure blades are not overheated, use spray coolant if needed.
Step
4
Trim legs and tail
Trim legs short, trim tail with scissors to desired length and blend into body with blending clippers
Step
5
Trim face and ears
Trim the face and head relatively short, trim ears with scissors to desired length. Blend head into body on the neck with blending clippers.
Recommend grooming method?

The Teddy Bear or Lamb Trim Method

Effective
0 Votes
Scissors
Clipper
Step
1
Use clipper with guard
Use a professional dog trimmer with a guard comb of the appropriate length to allow an all over cut of 1 inch. You will also need a blending blade to blend different lengths from head and legs as they will be left fuller and rounder and need to be blended into the body.
Step
2
Clip body short
Work from the neck backwards, holding your clippers parallel to your dog's body with the guard on, to clip hair to the desired length on back, sides and belly. There should not be any clipper marks left, the coat should be even.
Step
3
Shave backside
Shave the anal area very short, being careful to ensure the clipper blades are not too hot.
Step
4
Trim tail and legs long
Leave legs full and round. Use scissors or clippers to even out hair to a much longer length on these areas for a teddy bear cut, somewhat shorter for a lamb cut. Blend legs into body with blending clippers. Trim tail to neaten it.
Step
5
Trim face long
Leave face and head relatively long and full, trim with scissors, or trimers to desired length. Blend head into body on the neck with blending clippers.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Puppy cuts make your daily dog grooming relatively low-maintenance, but you will still need to groom your dog regularly to check for skin conditions and remove debris.
  • A puppy cut will need to be maintained every 4-8 weeks.
  • If you live in an inclement climate and your dog spends a lot of time outside, a short puppy cut may not be appropriate, as it does not provide adequate insulation or protection from the cold.
  • Clippers need to be checked frequently when doing a short puppy cut to ensure they are not overheating, which could cause a clipper or razor burn to your dog. Check often and use coolant on the blades or take breaks if necessary to let clippers cool.
  • Make sure you hold scissors and trimmers parallel to your dog's body so your dog is not injured.
  • Use restrains and non-slip footing while trimming to make sure your dog is not liable to move and become injured by cutting implements.

Conclusion

A puppy cut is a great cut to reduce daily grooming, as it makes your dog easy to clean and keeps him mat and tangle-free. Any dog, from a small apartment dog to a big farm dog, can benefit from a puppy cut that keeps him clean and cool. Remember that a puppy cut refers to a variety of lengths and styles for the legs and head. You will need to decide beforehand how long you want your dog's coat to be and what you want your dog's head, legs, and tail to look like.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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