Have you ever asked a groomer for a puppy haircut and got a strange look – or worse, a bad haircut? Would you be surprised if I told you that the term “puppy clipping” doesn’t actually give the groomer much information? What should you say to make your dog look perfect?
A puppy cut might look like this…
The term puppy cut originally referred to a fluffy trim given to Poodles for the show ring before they were old enough to get the classic show dog look, the Continental haircut. Somehow the term has entered pet care without a standard definition. Most groomers interpret the term “puppy cut” as one length across the entire body, but it does not specify how much length should be left or what should be done to the dog’s head, ears or tail. It can be as short as shaved to the skin or as long as 5 centimeters or more. No wonder there is so much confusion!
Before the appointment, you should have a pretty good idea of how much hair you want to leave on or remove from your dog. You can check a ruler and choose a length, use your fingers to represent a length, or show a photo of a moment when your dog looked perfect. You can even bring a photo of another dog that you think is cute, as long as it has a similar coat type to your dog. Make sure that when you say what length you are looking for, the groomer understands whether you mean you want that length on the body or taken off. Never assume that the groomer knows what you mean! Too much information is better than too little.
Once you’ve determined the hair length for the body, it’s time to decide how much hair you want to leave on your dog’s head, face, tail and ears. Do you like your dog’s long and flowing tail? Make sure you tell the groomer not to cut it. Do you want the ears super short? Name that. It’s the groomer’s job to get the cut you want on your dog (as long as it’s actually possible – they’re not magicians).
A typical facial style among many breeds is the teddy bear face. This term generally indicates a tight, round head. If you want the head longer or a different shape, please mention that. Again, photos are never a bad idea, especially if you can tell if the photo you want to be absolutely sure is the result of the current care.
…Or even this!
When in doubt: ask questions! Don’t leave your dog with the groomer until you are completely sure he understands what you are looking for. Many “bad” grooms are simply the result of poor communication between the client and the groomer.