Who would have thought that there are so many different haircuts and styles for your furry friend? What are the best hairstyles for dogs, you may ask? Many of them are dependent on the type of breed you have, but a lot of cuts can be done across the board regardless of breed.
Regular grooming and haircuts are important for keeping your dog’s mane healthy. Some people prefer taking care of this on their own. This requires a lot of time and attention. If you are like me, it is much easier, if my furbaby gets to visit the groomers on a consistent basis.
Since there are different interpretations of the variety of haircuts, make sure you are communicating with your groomer on exactly what you want.
The request for a “puppy cut” could be understood differently by you versus the groomer, depending on the groomer and what region you are in.
Sometimes simply showing them a picture will give them the guidance they need.
The following will provide some insight into the best dog haircuts:
The Puppy Cut
Arguably, this could be one of the most popular and requested cuts that groomers get. Yet, it creates the most confusion when requested.
The puppy cut started out being used on poodles (in dog shows) until they were one year or older, transitioning into the standard “poodle” cut.
Currently, the puppy cut can be used on virtually any breed of dog and is appealing to most dog owners due to its low maintenance and effectiveness. Plus, this cut will allow your dog to go longer between haircuts, think 6-8 weeks.
The standard puppy cut is basically one length of fur over the body, legs, head, and so forth. Usually, the length is between one to two inches all over. However, there is room for variance, depending on the owner’s preference. The fur should be left fluffy, soft, and plush, like that of a puppy.
Teddy Bear Cut
Do you want your pup to resemble a cuddly teddy bear instead? Just picture a stuffed teddy bear toy. There are no specifics as to the length of fur on the body, as it can vary from half an inch up to two inches, depending on your preference. The groomer will trim their fur to the desired length, leaving the hair around the face and legs full and round, resembling a teddy bear.
Some people use the terms “teddy bear” and “puppy cut” interchangeably, but they are different. If you are trying to communicate with your groomer, be sure you know the difference. Again, if all else fails in verbal communication, have a picture ready!
The teddy bear cut is a good, low-maintenance option as well.
The origin of the kennel cut came from the idea of keeping the fur short on dogs, in the offseason of showing or hunting. Hunting dogs are often kenneled when they are not hunting, therefore coining the term “kennel cut”. A kennel cut is also a good option for summer time when it’s warm outside.
There is no specific length related to the kennel cut, other than keeping the fur short over the entire body, with a cleaned-up face and tail. The reason behind having a shorter coat is for less maintenance and is easier to manage. For hunting dogs, they typically have longer fur during the hunting season, to protect their bodies from the cold elements.
For the busy dog owner with little time to put into grooming, this cut is the easiest to maintain.
Another popular style is the lamb cut. It started out in the 1930’s, used primarily on poodles. By shaving the face, feet, and tail, the rest of the body and head have the same length of fur. Sometimes, the fur on their legs is left longer to avoid looking like toothpicks.
The lamb cut now includes a variation where the hair on the body is shorter than the length of the hair on the legs, and the hair should flow evenly from the body to the legs. A lamb cut is a great option for fluffy or curly breeds such as the Bichon, Poodle, Schnauzer, and Shih Tzu.
This is also a low-maintenance style and is ideal for dogs in cool or warm climates.
Not just for Poodles anymore, this cut is being requested by owners of different breeds. However, it is best used on those breeds with lots of fur and fluff.
A poodle cut covers a wide variety of styles within that term. For the show dogs, a continental clip is a popular choice. Groomers shave some areas entirely, such as the legs, belly, and face at the feet, and leave a little pom of fur at their feet. The fur grows out in all other areas of the body.
With the bikini clip, otherwise known as the “Miami clip,” you shave the face, feet, and tail, but leave a pom on the tail. Hair is left on the rest of the body, at the length you desire.
For the most part, the styles that fall under the “poodle cut” category require more maintenance and frequent visits to the groomers, to uphold the desired look.
While these cuts may be cute and funny, they have a history of being very practical and used for functionality. In the 17th century, Portuguese Water Dogs were used to help fisherman retrieve lost nets and tackle. Being cut like a lion, allowed them to swim faster and be more agile in the water.
Poodles were also used as water retrievers in Germany. The lion cut provided warmth around vital organs in the body when dogs were swimming through cold waters. This is a popular cut for other pooches such as the Pomeranian, the Lowchen, and the Chow.
With this haircut, there is a possibility that the hair may not grow back properly after it has been shaved. It can also grow back patchy. This can especially hold true with Pomeranians. Your pooch might be at risk of developing sores around their legs from not having the cushioning hair to protect them when they lie down.
Cuteness aside, be sure to consider options and risk with any choice of haircut for your precious pup.
What if you want him to sport a longer mane? You can always grow out their fur, but trim down specific areas for sanitary reasons. A sanitary trim involves trimming down or shaving the areas around the belly, genitals, tail, and anus.
This will help with hygiene and keeping your dog clean. This trim is good for preventing body waste from clinging to the fur, which could lead to other issues such as skin rashes or infection. Maintenance becomes a lot easier as well.
Having a professional groomer handle this trim is a better option, as you must take great care in tending to these areas, so as not to cause any injury.
Choosing the Right Haircut
All in all, you want to consider what is best for your pup and you regarding haircuts. Some things to consider are the amount of time you can devote to brushing and grooming your dog per day, the condition of your dog’s skin, weather and climate, and outdoor elements.
For example, my dog is a mix of Shih Tzu and Bichon. This type of fur requires consistent daily brushing, even when he is sporting a puppy cut. However, having the shorter hair makes it a lot less time-consuming.
If you are not able to commit to at least ten minutes per day to brush through your dog’s mane and attend to his grooming needs, a shorter haircut would be the better option. A dog with long hair requires, daily brushing to ensure no mats have taken up residence in their fur. Some dogs are more susceptible to skin issues in general, and if your dog has sensitive skin, like mine, he would benefit from shorter fur as well. This alleviates the potential for hotspots on the skin.
Climate should be considered in your decision making. Are you in a primarily cool or warm climate? If it’s cooler most days and you have the time to brush out their mane, then longer fur could be a nice option. However, if you live in a warm climate and your dog is out often, rolling around in the dirt or running through thick weeds, this can make for a bad combination with a longer mane. Longer hair attracts more dirt and grime.
Choosing the right haircut for your dog is not just about the look you desire, but about keeping them happy and healthy as well. Do your research and talk with your groomer about cuts that would work well for your pup.
About the Author
Adam Conrad is a dad of 5 Shih Tzu pups. His passion for helping people in all aspects of dog care flows through in the coverage he provides about dog health issues like CDV (Canine Distemper Virus), pet containment systems, dog grooming, and best food for dogs. In his spare time he is an avid scuba diver.