Types of Dog Grooming Styles & Haircuts By Breed

When it comes to grooming your dog’s coat, do you know the difference between a lamb cut and a kennel cut?

There are many types of dog grooming styles, some specific to certain breeds; most terriers, for example, need to be hand-stripped and most dogs with long coats need their fur trimmed regularly to avoid mats and tangles.

In this article, we are going to look at;

  • Ways to groom your dog whatever the coat type
  • How to trim a curly coat
  • How to finish off a smooth coat perfectly
  • What to do if your dog has a wiry coat
  • How to detangle the soft undercoat of a double-coated dog without damaging the top coat
  • Different types of cuts like the kennel cut and lamb trim

Whatever your dog’s coat type, they will need grooming to remove excess hair; a quick spray with the garden hose just isn’t enough; obviously, this needs to be done more often to prevent matted for long-haired dogs fur. This is also a great opportunity to trim your dog’s nails and check the condition of your dog’s skin.

You then need to decide on which cut you are going to go for. If you take your dog to a professional, they will know the basic cuts, but if you’re preening your pup at home, you will need to know the different types of grooming styles for dogs and how to tackle the coat, so let’s take a look.

Grooming a Short-Haired Dog

Short-haired dogs are the easiest to care for grooming wise, no mats or tangles here, but they still benefit from a regular grooming routine to remove loose hair.

If you decide a bath is needed, brush first to remove excess hair and debris, then bathe in warm water, taking care not to get water in your dog’s ears or around the facial area. Always use a good dog conditioner on smooth coated breeds, as dogs with short coats tend to have drier skin.

Some short-haired breeds just need a towel to dry their fur; however, if you use a dryer, make sure it’s on the lowest setting as dogs with smooth coats can be burnt more easily. You may choose to trim dog nails yourself at home or visit a salon and always make sure to keep the ears clean to prevent infections.

There are several different brushes for short-coated dogs; you can use a slicker brush, bristle brush, pin brush, or even a grooming glove that can be rubbed over the whole coat in a circular motion to increase blood circulation help distribute natural oils.

Tackling a Dense Double Coat

There are quite a few heavy shedding dogs on this list. Most double-coated breeds have a fluffier appearance with a soft undercoat and thick topcoat, but there are some sleek examples like the beagle and many of the wire-haired terriers also have a double coat.

  • Akita
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • German Shepherd
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Newfoundland
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Border Collie
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Corgi
  • Schnauzer
  • Havanese
  • Pomeranian
  • Shih Tzu

Coats help protect hunting or retrieving dog from getting too cold when swimming and keep your pet’s body warm in snow or rain. Many double-coated breeds originate from countries with extremely cold weather such as Huskies.

A Double coated dog should be brushed regularly with a de-shedding tool or slicker brush not only to prevent mats and overheating as the dead undercoat blocks airflow but also to prevent skin conditions as the thick matted hair traps moisture close to the skin underneath the coat, which can cause dermal infections or skin irritation.

There’s also the fact that some of these double-coated dogs blow their coat twice a year and literally cover your home with fur, so you may wish to use a FurMinator on your dog to get rid of the loose undercoat and keep the coat in prime condition.

Double coated dogs should never be shaved as the top coat will never grow back the same You may think an Akita would benefit from a crew cut, but the outer layer on a double coat keeps Fido cool as well as warm.

Wrangling with Wiry Dogs

Dogs that have a wire coat include breeds such as

  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Wirehaired Pointer

Wiry coats may seem easy to care for but still require regular grooming and either hand-stripping with a stripping knife or clipping. A wire coat is made up of a soft, dense undercoat and a wiry top layer. Wiry dog coats should be bathed every couple of months and brushed daily to remove the dead undercoat.

Hand stripping is the most common method to groom a wiry coat; this method plucks the hair from the root in the direction of the hair growth and is a time-consuming process that usually costs extra when done by professional groomers; you can find out how much does dog grooming cost in this article.

If you want to learn how to do this at home, this video has a handy guide to hand-stripping, but remember your dog’s comfort is important, so only attempt this if you are sure you won’t hurt them. It can take 2-3 hours to hand-strip, so you might want to break into sessions of 15-20 mins a day over the course of a week.

If you are not showing your dog, their coats can be clipped, but this will result in a duller coat over time.

Curly Coated Canines

Dogs with curly coats include the Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Curly coated Retriever, Poodle, and Labradoodle.

Whilst their coats may look very different, they have one thing in common; they have hair instead of fur, meaning they are often classed as hypoallergenic and tend not to shed. They still require regular grooming, though, as these long-coated dogs are prone to matting and usually, owners have them regularly trimmed by a professional groomer.

Brushing a curly dog or one with a woolly coat

Curly coated dogs need brushing daily to avoid tangles in their fur; you can use a rake to remove tangles before bathing, then a slicker brush afterwards whilst drying to keep the coat in tip-top condition. These breeds have coats that absorb a lot of moisture, so you will also need to use a dryer after drying with a super absorbent towel. Here are some reviews on the best dog blasters.

Once the dog’s fur is completely dry, you can decide what grooming styles you want, be it a kennel cut, breed style or something more complex.

How to Groom a Dog’s Coat if its Fine and Silky

Pups with longer coats that are fine and silky include breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier, Spaniels, Afghan Hounds and Setters; these coats tend to accumulate dust and dirt and need to be bathed more frequently alongside daily brushing.

First, use a pin brush to remove loose hair and debris from the coat; this is best achieved by brushing the hair in the opposite direction before using a bristle brush to help distribute the dog’s natural oils and smooth the coat.

If you are bathing the dog, use warm water, a good shampoo for sensitive skin and a detangling conditioner before blow-drying the coat with a slicker brush.

Not all silky coats need trimming, but many dogs have a regular hair trim every 8 weeks or so to keep the coat tidy and some pets get a kennel cut. This can be done by a professional, or you can do easily it at home. Check out the best dog grooming equipment if this is something you’d like to try.

Caring for Corded Coats

Different breeds have different coat types and none are more striking than corded coats. Poodles can have corded coats but the most common breeds with this type of hair are the Hungarian Komondor and Puli. Caring for this type of dog coat is not for the faint-hearted and takes a lot of work.

It’s a good idea not to bathe these pups once the coarser coat has grown in and the cords start to form, but sometimes it is unavoidable, especially if you own show dogs. When bathing, it’s important to use a natural shampoo and squeeze it into the cords rather than rub as this will cause matts and make sure this is rinsed thoroughly as you don’t want Fido scratching and pulling out cords.

Drying a corded coat takes a long time firstly, absorb as much moisture as possible by towel drying and gently squeezing the cords to remove excess water; you could invest in a couple of the best drying coats for this or place your dog in a crate padded with towels, blow-drying isn’t recommended. Still, if you do need to use a dryer, wait at least an hour so the coat has time to start to curl.

The best time to separate cords is when the dog is damp so you can see the natural cord divisions and split them, which removes the excess undercoat at the base of the cord.

It is important to trim the hair on the paw pads with these breeds as if it starts to matt, and they will find walking difficult and also spend some time on the ears.

Of course, if you are not showing your dog, you can omit the cords completely or keep them trimmed at around 3 to 4 inches, but whichever you choose, these pups are high maintenance when it comes to grooming.

Grooming a Puppy

Whatever breed of dog you choose, it’s worth getting them used to the grooming process as early as possible; this will ensure they associate clippers, brushes, nail trimmers etc., with a positive outcome.

The first step is to get your dog used to handle, run your hands over the puppy’s body, including legs etc. and reward them for being relaxed; getting them used to holding the face, legs and tail will take patience.

Get them used to the equipment.

The next step is to get them used to be restained once again reward with lots of praise and treats as you gently hold your dog and perhaps move the front legs back and forward, check ears and paws.

Finally, let them become accustomed to the equipment; let your dog sniff brushes, clippers etc., when they are not switched on, show the brush, feed a treat, then try brushing a few strokes. If your puppy doesn’t like it, stop and try again. Don’t rush them any puppy training takes patience and they will eventually come to accept grooming. If they still don’t like it then check out this guide on how to calm your dog at the groomers.

A Short History of Grooming

Grooming has been around for hundreds of years, although originally, it was only valuable hunting dogs and royal lap dogs that were kept preened.

Accounts mention grooming dogs as far back as Roman Times and in the court of Louis VX, where the poodle was popular rare books mention dog groomers. It isn’t known if these were part of the palace staff or if there were groomers in marketplaces.

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s, however, when the dog population exploded, that modern grooming salons could now be found on the high street. Modern inventions like clippers and dryers meant grooming became accessible to everyone, not just the rich.

Modern Day Grooming

Recently the popularity of small breeds like the Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, Pomeranian and Poodle mixes with their fluffy coats have seen the need for dog coat maintenance increase.

Different Types of Cuts

This video shows how to give your dog a basic haircut

Kennel Cut

Many owners who don’t show their dogs prefer the kennel cut as is it easy to manage the dog’s fur is cut short around 1″ all over and finished with scissors around the legs and face.

Teddy Bear

The teddy bear cut is one of the most common cuts requested at groomers, most often seen on breeds like the Bichon Frise and Lhasa Apso; this cut requires a shortish trim all over the dog with a lovely rounded face which is achieved with curved shears.

Breed Cut

Some breeds require a specific style, especially if they are show dogs; the most common ones we are used to seeing are the Cocker Spaniel, Schnauzer and Poodle. These can be rather complex, so it’s always a good idea to ask if your chosen groomer has experience with these cuts.

Fancy Show Styles

Show cuts are usually best performed by a professional groomer who has experience in the breed. Breeds that have specific show cuts include the Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Yorkshire Terrier and Maltese.

Poodle Cut

There are many different trims for this breed. Usually, poodles will have the face and feet clipped short; they can then be clipped into the saddle or continental shape, most often seen in the show ring.

For more on Poodle haircuts and styles, it’s here.

Lamb Cut

Like the name suggests, this trim makes your dog look like a lamb; the hair on the body is trimmed to the desired length whilst the front and back legs are left a little longer and blended in


How do I stop my Cockerpoo from getting matted?

The easiest way is to brush daily, use a pin brush or detangling comb to tackle any mats, then use a slicker brush to prevent a matted coat. You can also invest in a detangling spray to use on your dog before brushing.

What is the teddy bear cut?

As the name suggests, this cut leaves your pet’s coat looking like a teddy bear with short hair all over the body and a round fluffy face.

How often does my poodle need to be groomed?

Poodles need daily brushing and a visit to a professional grooming service every 6-8 weeks. Curly-haired dogs are prone to matting and even if you decide to keep your poodle’s hair short, it still needs regular maintenance.

Does grooming get rid of loose hair?

Yes, and it also prevents that loose hair from getting all over your soft furnishings, this can be achieved with daily brushing, but if you have a double-coated breed, you may benefit from a de-shedding tool to remove your dog’s fur.

What cut keeps the fur short on the dog’s body and fluffy around the head?

This style is called the teddy bear cut and is often seen in breeds like the Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise and Poodle.

Final Thoughts

Grooming your dog is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner; not only does it prevent matted fur, but it also ensures the coat feels smells and look fabulous and shows how much you care for them.

Here at Well Groomed Dogs, we’ve been breaking down everything you need to know about the grooming process, from how much you can expect to pay at the groomers to what’s the best dog grooming scissors or bristle brush.

If you don’t show your dog, an all-over trim may seem like the best option, but if you want something a bit fancier for your dog’s hair, why not opt for the teddy bear or lamb trim for a change.

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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