How to Clip Poodles


Poodles can be complicated dogs to maintain properly. Still, you can clip a poodle yourself, once you know some safety and maintenance tips and choose the right style of cut for your poodle's lifestyle.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric Clippers
  • Scissors
  • Nonslip Rubber Mat
  • A Sturdy Table or Cleared Area on the Ground

How to Clip a Poodle

  • Be aware of safety. Be sure to have properly functioning electric clippers, as well as an appropriately sized pair of scissors, depending on the size of the dog. Find a place where the poodle can be comfortably secured with a lead, preferably on sturdy table covered with a nonslip mat.

  • Choose the most appropriate style of cut. A poodle's coat is versatile, allowing for everything from a formal show cut to a "corded cut." The most common style for a poodle not being prepared for show is a "pet cut," which is a more casual style, dictated by the owner's preferences as opposed to the guidelines of formal styles. Two common show clips are the "English Saddle Clip," and the "Continental Clip," both utilizing a combination of shaved areas, unshaved areas, and "pom poms" on the legs.

  • Follow a few guidelines for general hygiene. Poodle coats are nonshedding and hypoallergenic but still need regular maintenance, on average every six to eight weeks. Some areas that should be more regularly addressed are clipping of the nails, monitoring the health of the eyes and teeth, and frequent brushing of the coat to prevent matting. During regular clippings, the areas that should be most carefully maintained are the feet, the muzzle, and the underside of the tail, in order to prevent the matting of dirt or food.

  • Watch a brief instructional video, or search the Internet for step-by-step guides and style descriptions if your goal is to clip your poodle at home with your own equipment and you do not have prior experience.

Tips & Warnings

  • With the proper equipment, home grooming of a poodle can be both safe and effective. If, however, you prefer to have your poodle professionally groomed, there are a number of options. Word of mouth is the best way to find a professional groomer. Keep an eye out for properly groomed poodles or poodles with the style you are most interested in, and ask where they go for grooming, or look on the Internet for reviews of local groomers. Another option is to find a mobile groomer near you, who can schedule a convenient time to come to your home. This can be both a stress-free and safe way to have your dog professionally groomed. One easy way to search is to look for "Mobile pet groomers" in your area on the web. Be sure to have a picture of the style you are interested in to send with your dog, preferably along with a list of specific requirements, especially if your goal is to get your poodle in the show ring.
  • Avoid using a raised table if your poodle is not used to being clipped, to avoid slips or accidents.
  • If your poodle is not used to being clipped, it would be safest to progress to a show style clip in stages, giving the dog rest time between steps.
  • If the poodle develops mats in its fur, it is best to carefully cut the mats out as opposed to brushing or untangling by hand. Cutting will prevent discomfort and stress for the dog.
  • Photo Credit standard poodle with ball image by MichMac from
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