Poodle Haircuts – Miniature, Short & Standard Grooming Styles

Originally Poodles had functional haircuts to protect them from cold water when they were retrieving out in the field, but as their popularity increased, they become popular with the aristocracy and the poodle cut became fancier, reflecting their status in the royal courts.

These days we are all familiar with the shaved hind legs and fluffy manes popular in the show ring, but there are many other options for your pooch. In this article, we will look at some of the most popular Poodle haircuts and how to groom your Poodle at home.

We will also cover ;

  • The history of poodle grooming
  • Looking after a Poodle’s coat
  • What grooming tools you will need
  • How to get your pup used to grooming
  • A step by step guide to grooming your Poodle at home

What’s the Best Haircut for a Poodle?

Given that haircuts for poodles are among the dogs with the most haircut styles, it’s only natural to wonder which one is the best. 

However, the truth is that the best haircut for your poodle will entirely depend on a few things: 

  • First of all, the weather. As you can imagine, whether you live in a predominantly cold or mostly warm area will significantly influence the haircut that your poodle should have. It will determine whether or not they need more or less fur coverage. 
  • Secondly, your own personal taste. The best haircut for your poodle is one that you (naturally) want to look at!

History of Grooming Poodles

Initially, poodles were first groomed in spectacular styles back in the 16th century!

The idea was that shaving the bottom half of the poodle while leaving the top half unshaven would help them – as water breeds to float better in water. 

As the breed became increasingly popular in France, different styles evolved for the poodle. It was under the reign of Louis XVI when different haircuts for poodles were at an all-time high demand, keeping up with the extravagant styles of their masters. 

Nowadays, two of the most popular and required cuts (for dog shows) are the Continental cut and the English saddle cut. Let’s take a look at those, as well as some others.

Some of the Most Common Poodle Haircut Styles

English Saddle Cut

The cut creates a sort of bubble effect, creating three distinct bubbles around a dog’s behind, starting from the bottom of their backs, and continuing down their back legs.

There are two bubbles of fur, one on each front leg, below a closely shaven top half of the legs. Their front is very rounded and puffy, their faces are shaven, but their heads have a high, fluffy coif.

Continental/Lion Cut

The lion cut is very popular! The dog’s legs and feet are hairless, except for a bubble of fur at the bottom of each leg. The tail is rounded, and the chest, stomach, and head are hairy and fluffy, except the shaven face. It is one of the most well-known haircuts for poodles and is commonly used in dog shows.

Summer Cut

Poodles are some of the very few dogs that can actually benefit from being shaven during the summer. It can help them handle the heat and help their fur grow back evenly for more exciting cuts in the winter.

The summer or puppy cut simply means giving the poodle a close shave all over, leaving enough body hair so as not to see their skin and their ears relatively hairy and poofy. 

Lamb Cut

The lamb cut is one of the easiest poodle cuts to achieve and is therefore popular among professional groomers as well as general poodle owners. It is also easy to maintain and is natural-looking for both the dog and the owner.

It entails the dog’s fur being closely shaven throughout the middle of the body, including the back, chest, and tummy, while leaving all four legs, the tail, and the head and ears hairy and fluffy. Their face is also shaven.

Teddy Bear Cut

The teddy bear cut has become increasingly popular for poodles and entails the dog’s fur being cut to between one and two inches long, all over their body, including their face. The dog’s face will be shaven on some poodle cuts, but it is more commonly trimmed to perfection, with the ears absolutely rounded to produce the look of a teddy.

Due to the importance of the length and the precision required to get it right on their faces, professionals usually attempt this cut and it looks especially good on toy and miniature poodles.

Dutch Cut

The Dutch Cut is yet another very popular one in dog shows and competitions. Much like the teddy bear cut, the dog’s fur is the same length all over their bodies, including their faces.

The critical difference between the Dutch Cut and the teddy bear cut is that the Dutch cut ends with a pompom on the end of the tail. It’s also known as the Sports Cut, according to the UK Kennel Club.

Town and Country Cut

This is one of several haircuts for poodles which has become increasingly popular in the USA and with members of the American Kennel Club.

The Town and Country cut aka Miami clip requires for the dog’s hair to be cut almost evenly all over; however, being slightly more pronounced around the dog’s limbs, making them appear denser.

The legs are very hairy and give a practically cylindrical impression. The head, the ears, and the tail also have a rounded effect. 


The corded cut on a poodle gives a cord-like impression of the fur – and you’ll need to leave it to develop dreadlocks.

The poodle’s legs are shaven, leaving corded areas around their feet. Their faces are shaven, but their heads and ears are left corded, as is their tail and their bodies. This kind of cut needs a lot of attention, as it can take a long time and a lot of effort to achieve.

Scandanavian Clip

This poodle cut is actually not currently accepted in the American Kennel Club. It is also known as the Second Puppy Clip or Puppy Cut and involves a closer shave around the dog’s stomach and behind, without showing any skin, to better define their natural shape.

Their tail is rounded. The fur on their heads, ears, and legs are fluffed out and rounded around their chest.

Modern Cut

The modern cut is nearly identical to the Scandinavian cut, showing off the poodle’s natural shape while maintaining relatively thick, fluffy fur all around their bodies. This is an easy to achieve look that looks natural and is very easy to maintain.

Many professional dog groomers offer these haircuts for poodles as entry-level choices. Dog lovers who find the teddy bear clip daunting might opt for this style!

Top Knot

The top knot cut on a poodle is a very common styling for their heads. It entails leaving the top of their heads to grow enough to be fluffed or tied into a top knot.

Similar to the cupcake cut, it means leaving the hair on the ears to grow enough for them to be fluffed with the rest of the hair on the head. Some dog owners have even copied this style for themselves!

Miami Cut

The Miami cut is yet another trendy and much-requested clip for poodles in dog competitions. It entails the bottom of the legs being left to grow to be fluffed, for their tails to be put into a pompom form, and for the tops of their heads and ears to be fluffed, too. Their bodies and the tops of their legs are closely shaved to show off the shape of their bodies.

Taking Care of a Poodles Coat – Miniature, Toy and Standard

Did you know that poodle cut styles weren’t just fancy for fancy’s sake – right at the beginning? From cute miniature poodles and toy poodles to the majestic everyday poodle breed, your poodle’s hair is going to need regular attention. That’s regardless of whether you’re giving them a royal tail, puppy cut or entering them into shows.

Basic poodle hairstyle attention centres around mats. If you don’t brush your poodle multiple times a week, their hair will matt – not comfortable! It’s ideal to try and keep that curly coat short.

Suppose you are interested in putting your poodle into dog competitions. In that case, you will need to research a professional dog groomer capable and willing to do poodle haircuts that will be accepted and encouraged in professional dog competitions. It is important to note that not all poodle haircuts will be admissible in the UK Kennel Club. 

Once you have found the right groomer for you and your pup, you will need to have them regularly groomed, ideally between every six to eight weeks. 

What Essential Grooming Tools do you Need for a Poodle?

As poodles have a very particular type of fur, it is essential to have the right tools to do the job. Here is a list of a few of the essential grooming tools that you will need for your poodle:


The first thing that you will need is a good pair of clippers suitable. You will need to ensure that you have dog clippers designed for your poodle’s coat type. A good pair of clippers can be expensive, but they are worth the investment as you will be using them regularly.

Scissor Set

Investing in a good scissor set is something that will come in handy multiple times during your dog’s life. They will need to be sharp and slight enough to be used on your dog’s face. They can always be used on their paws and other sensitive areas, so not any old pair of scissors will do! To see the top dog grooming scissors we recommend it’s here.

De-tangling Comb

As poodles have particularly tricky fur that is naturally frizzy, curly, and easy to tangle, it is always best to have a detangling comb by your side. This will make the rest of the grooming far easier and become one of your go-to daily grooming tools. 

Slicker Brush

A slicker brush is a very common tool for dog owners to have on side. They are handy for all coat types to get out any matted, knotted, or debris-filled fur. They are also very inexpensive and can be easily found in any pet store or online. 

Dog Dryer

Human blow dryers are far too hot and severe for a dog’s sensitive skin, and they can easily burn and irritate them. There are plenty of inexpensive dog blow dryers to find online, and they will help to make your poodle’s fur nice and fluffy. How are you going to get the best lion cut for your miniature poodle with just a towel?

Conditioning Spray

A conditioning spray will help to make your brushing job far easier. It will soften the hair, making it easier to comb the knots, matted fur, and debris out of your dog’s coat. Again, conditioning shampoos are not that expensive and are essential for professional dog groomers and poodle owners.

Grooming Table

Although it may not seem necessary for at-home grooming, a good grooming table will make your life a lot easier. It will make it simpler for you to pay attention to every little detail and reach the more complex areas (which will be essential if your dog competes). See some of the top-rated dog grooming tables here. 

The Right Shampoo

Buying the right shampoo will help you and your toy, miniature or standard poodle on the route towards a brilliant modern cut – or otherwise! It is essential to always use dog shampoo on their skin, as again, it is very sensitive and will become irritated by the harsh chemicals in human shampoo. 

Getting your Poodle used to the Grooming Process

As all poodles are relatively high maintenance when it comes to their coats, it’s essential to get them used to the grooming process as early on as possible. This will make it far easier for you and more relaxing for them. 

You can start by using positive reinforcement. Giving your poodle a treat and letting them know that they are being good throughout the grooming process will help them to link to experience with rewards, making them happier and more relaxed time after time.

Even the best dog grooming equipment can still make most dog breeds a little nervy – be sure to support your pup!

Step by Step Guide to Grooming your Poodle

  1. Once you’ve taken a look at poodle cuts, start by carefully brushing your pup. Whether you have a standard poodle, a miniature poodle or otherwise, brushing and bathing is a must.
  2. Make sure to use a slicker brush – an asset to all poodle grooming! This will help you get any nasty mats out of your dog’s fur before it’s time to look at different dog hairstyles. Dog owners wonder if it’s worth using the slicker this early on – it absolutely is!
  3. Gently bathe your poodle in a dog formulated shampoo and conditioner before drying off. As mentioned above, one of the best ways to get a poodle’s tail, hind legs, head and torso dry is to invest in a dog blow dryer.
  4. You’ll also want to get to the paws and claws. Even a toy poodle can develop gnarly nails, meaning it may be time to grab for a top nail grinder or clippers. Gently attend to the nails with a branded tool.
  5. Take care to start trimming the hair on your dog from the neck and head first. Their face is likely to be the first port of call for any poodle cut. It’s here where you will need to be very gentle with scissors and short blade combs, especially around a poodle’s ears and eyes.
  6. Tackle the rest of the main body – whether you’re striving for uniform hair length or want something fancy like a cupcake cut or German trim, you need to head down the back, along the body, and then to the legs. Tackle the extremities of these curly coats last!
  7. In fact, you will want to take on the ears last of all. An experienced dog stylist may advise you to keep their ears out of the way for most of the process, such as by gentle tying. In any case – whether it’s a puppy haircut, a town and country cut or otherwise, the ears get attended to last.

6 Fun Facts about Poodles

1.Although they are commonly believed to be French dogs, poodles originated in Germany! Poodles indeed have a particular reputation for being French dogs.

In fact, they only reached France around the 16th Century. As it happens, poodles are originally German dogs, and they were commonly used as working water dogs before becoming style icons in Louis XVI’s court. 

2.They were initially used as hunting dogs. Indeed, poodles have a keen sense of smell, are very fast, and very loyal, making them perfect hunting dogs. Nowadays, they are still occasionally used as hunting dogs, but they are more seen as style dogs and fantastic family pets. 

3. The first popular poodle haircut was used for work, not style! The first popular poodle haircut originated in Germany, their home country. As stated earlier, they were used as water dogs, and it was believed that cutting their hair in a certain way would help them keep afloat. 

4. Poodles are among the dogs with the biggest variety of haircuts! As their hair is unique and can be stylised in so many different ways, poodles are thought to have more possible haircuts and styles than any other canine breed. There’s the summer cut, the puppy clip, the town and country cut, the cupcake cut, the German trim…

5. Poodles could outsmart the next dog! Poodles are indeed among the most intelligent dogs. They are very quick learners and were often used as circus dogs because of their ability to learn tricks; they need to be mentally stimulated in order to grow well and for their mental health. In fact, their mental stimulation is just as important as their physical stimulation. 

6. Poodles are amazingly hardy.  Poodles are very strong and are capable of doing a lot, but part of their strength lies in the fact that, compared to other species, they have very few common illnesses. Even purebreds tend to last longer and do better in this breed than they do in many others.


When should a poodle puppy get their first haircut?

Generally speaking, a poodle puppy can get their first haircut between eleven weeks old and sixteen weeks old. If you are unsure about your poodle, then do consult your vet for more information.

How often should a poodle be groomed?

Generally speaking, a poodle should be groomed between every six to eight weeks. Of course, this will depend on their size, coat type, health conditions, etc. if you are unsure, check with your vet.

What’s the best cut for a toy poodle?

The lion cut is one of the most common cuts for a toy poodle. They are also commonly seen with the teddy cut, kennel clip or teddy clip. However, the best cut for your toy poodle will depend on the weather, their size, and their health conditions. 

Should I take my poodle to a professional groomer?

Yes – if you are unsure how to achieve the best dog hairstyles for your pet or need help getting a poodle to relax, a groomer can help!

Final Thoughts

Not all dogs have the benefit of being so tough, so energetic and so glamorous as the perky poodle! A poodle’s curls might give you the impression that they are fairly wimpy – but they really do try hard for their owners!

The poodle’s haircut is easily its most identifiable feature. However, you can groom and clip your poodle’s coat and long hair in many different styles. The short-haired poodle look isn’t something many dog owners will recognise, but it’s out there – you’ll likely have seen the lion cut or puppy cut more frequently than most.

Haircuts for poodles can be tricky. Poodle cuts need to take place regularly, mainly thanks to this dog’s coat being more akin to hairy than furry. Like the Shih Tzu and many small dog breeds, this is one of several dog breeds that require regular grooming attention. That goes for your miniature poodle, your toy poodle, your standard poodle – they all need good grooming TLC.

If it’s your first time taking on a poodle cut, reach out to your vet, groomer, or even the British Kennel Club for advice! A poodle with short hair all over isn’t unheard of – but be sure to check out more than the standard poodle cut to really keep them looking fantastic.

Donna Hepburn

Published author, content writer and qualified dog behaviourist I have owned dogs all my life from Boxers, Rottweilers and Akitas, to Staffies and currently a very demanding Frenchie who is harder work than all the others put together.

I had a collar making business for over 10 years and am involved with several doggy charities. I currently live in the northeast and when I am not writing about dogs I enjoy, travelling, cooking and reading.

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