How to choose a grooming style for your dog

With so many styles to choose from, what’s a dog owner to do?

You already know your dog needs to be groomed due to the numerous health benefits. But does that mean you know exactly what to ask for when you get there? 

The feeling of overwhelm might strike you at the exact moment your groomer asks how you want your dog styled. Too many options can make anyone’s head spin!

If you don’t have a good answer to that question, you will now! Here are the top 10 most popular dog grooming styles as well as what kinds of dogs they’re good for plus the benefits and disadvantages of each style. You’re welcome 🙂

Note: There are dog-breed specific styles that are popular as well to give that particular breed a classic look. This is the style used in dog shows and is meant to show the dog’s best attributes. But you’re not tied to it if you don’t love it. 

Let’s get to it!

  1. Puppy cut

Yes, the name is adorable! If you’re sold, you can stop reading here and just get the puppy cut! This is one of the most common grooming styles and works well for any dog breed with at least medium-length hair. It’s a simple cut with all the fur being an even length around the body, usually around one or two inches long. However, this is not a standardized dog cut, despite its popularity, and you may be better off telling the groomer you want a certain length all around the body.

This is a great, easy-care cut and looks good on almost any breed. The downside is that “puppy cut” can mean different things to different dog owners and groomers. Make sure to specify how long you want the fur.

A dog styled at the groomer's with a puppy cut
Puppy cut
  1. Teddy bear cut

Another cute name for another cute cut! Sometimes, this cut is used interchangeably with the puppy cut, so beware. The teddy bear cut also has an even length around the dog’s body. The only difference is that this cut is more suited for curly-haired dog breeds, especially doodles

Your best bet will be to communicate to the groomer exactly what length of fur you want because, just like its very close sibling to the puppy cut, the teddy bear cut isn’t standard. 

A dog styled by a groomer in a teddy bear cut
How cute is this teddy bear cut?
  1. Kennel cut

These first three cuts are batched together because they’re really similar to each other. This is the third, and we promise, last on our list of cuts that keeps the length of the hair the same throughout the body. The kennel cut is meant to be shorter than a teddy bear or puppy cut keeping the fur under ½”. 

This is an easy-to-maintain cut as it is shorter and will stay shorter longer and it’s another cut that can suit all breeds. 

  1. Shaved

This isn’t dog owners’ favorite option and isn’t necessarily the best option for your dog, either. But sometimes, there’s no choice. Your dog may need to be shaved if his fur it too matted to brush out. This can usually be prevented with regular upkeep, but it can happen and will need to be approached correctly. 

If you do need to shave your dog, remember that it will grow back and is usually only chosen if it can spare your dog extreme pain of trying to de-mat extremely tangled fur. The groomer can also only shave the areas where the fur is the most matted keeping as much fur on your dog as possible.

Note, do not ever shave your dog’s coat down to the skin as the fur acts to protect your dog. It insulates your dog in extreme heat and protects him from sunburn. 

A dog shaved down by the groomer
A shavedown
  1. Top knot

This style is used on long coated dogs who like to be fancy! It’s popular on breeds such as Shih-Tzus and Lhasa Apsos. It’s a cute and stylish way to keep your dog’s hair out of their face while still keeping it long. It’s basically a doggy ponytail on top of the head and is often finished off with a cute bow. 

The rest of the dog’s fur can be done in whatever style you please, but you may want it to be just as polished and high-maintenance as the top knot. 

There is another variation of the top knot where you don’t need to make an actual doggy bun. Instead, you would leave a fuzzy poof on the top of the dog’s head. Feel free to dig right into said poof and kiss your dog’s head (it’s a fuzzy poof, how could you resist?).

A dog styled by a groomer to have a top knot
A posh dog with a top knot
  1. Lion cut

If you have the right breed, such as a Portugues Water Dog, a poodle, or Pomeranian, you can go with this daring style! It entails shaving, or severely cutting, the body hair while leaving longer hair around the face, legs, and tail tip. As its name implies, your dog will leave resembling a wild cat. 

This cut is both cute and low-mainenance as the majority of your dog’s hair is shaved, leaving with you only a bit of fur to groom daily. It may leave your dog cold, however, because about 70% of your pup’s body is exposed, so consider doing this fun cut in the warmer months to give it the time it needs to grow back, around 8 weeks.

A dog groomed with a lion cut
We tried giving ourselves a lion cut, but it didn’t look the same
  1. Poodle cut

Don’t be fooled by the name. This cut isn’t exclusive to poodles, though it does look great on them. This style is for curly haired dogs. It entails keeping the body covered with short fur, but the top of the head and the area sound the neck are covered with more fur. 

This style takes more maintenance than some other Poodle haircuts. However, it keeps curls bouncy and fresh and prevents tangles. It’s best for owners who are willing to go to the groomer’s more regularly than with other styles. 

A dog styled with a poodle cut
Poodle cut
  1. Lamb cut

Another attractive choice for curly-haired dogs, the majority of the fur is left on the legs and the body is cut shorter. This is a great style for summer as the body is short, but also for winter as it keeps your dog’s limbs warm during the colder months. 

  1. Summer cut

A summer cut isn’t a particular style, but, in preparation for summer, it can help relieve dogs with heavy coats, such as Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards, who were bred to live in colder climates. This is a way to lighten the coat as a whole and remove some excess layers. However, as mentioned before, don’t entirely shave your dog as their fur is there for a reason.  

  1. Neaten

As implied, this cut is a little clean-up that’s simple but can make a big difference in how your dog looks. If you ask for a neaten, your groomer will remove excess fur from your dog’s feet, face, privates, and, if need be, his skirt.

Neaten isn’t just a cut, however, it’s an overall cleanup. Your dog will get a thorough combing, his ears will be cleaned, and his nails trimmed. 

A dog shown before being groomed
Before a neaten, also called a silhouette tidy
A dog groomed with a silhouette tidy/ neaten style
After a neaten/silhouette tidy

Conclusion

This was meant as a simple guide to help you choose a style for your dog. We can go all in on terminology to describe to your groomer exactly how you want your dog’s coat to look. Interested in more information? Let us know in the comments below! 

Ready for a killer hairstyle for your dog? If you’re in our area, book and appointment, we’d love to help make your dog the most stylish pup in the neighborhood. 

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