How to Give Your Dog a Buzz Cut

A well-groomed dog stays cleaner and more comfortable.
A well-groomed dog stays cleaner and more comfortable. (Image: wild eyed shitzu dog image by Jeff Dalton from

Grooming your dog is very important in order to keep her clean, comfortable, healthy and attractive. Longer-haired breeds often require more maintenance in order to reduce knots and matting and prevent dirt and feces from sticking to their fur. Dogs of any breed—even short haired—sometimes need help in removing parasites from beneath the fur. Learning how to buzz-cut your dog can help you keep her clean and free of parasites and save you money on grooming expenses as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Clippers
  • Number ten blade
  • Blade lubricant
  • Dog brush

Grooming Your Dog at Home

Brush your dog. Before you give your dog a buzz cut you must thoroughly brush his coat and remove all knots, snarls and tangles. Trying to shave a dog that has knots and tangles in his fur can result in getting your clippers jammed in his fur, which can make the process uncomfortable for him and more difficult for you. Brushing him first can also ensure a more evenly groomed appearance.

Remove all knots from fur prior to clipping.
Remove all knots from fur prior to clipping. (Image: horse and hound brushes image by mark humphreys from

Shave around the eyes. Using a No. 10 blade, shave the hair from between your dog's eyes. Starting at the bridge of his nose, carefully shave towards the eyes to remove the fur between them and then away from the eyes to trim the corners, making sure not to poke his eyes with the clippers.

Take extreme precaution around the eyes.
Take extreme precaution around the eyes. (Image: dog eyes image by Vaidas Bucys from

Shave her ears. Using one hand to hold your dog's ear open and upward, carefully save around the inside edges of his ears to remove any overgrown or unkempt strands of hair. Flip his ear forward to expose the outer ear and gently move the clippers across the outer ears to remove the fur. Be sure to keep your blade flat and flush against the flesh as not to nick or cut his ears.

Clip the outer ears and inner edges.
Clip the outer ears and inner edges. (Image: doberman dog image by petar Ishmeriev from

Proceed to the armpit area. With your dog maintaining a standing position, gently lift one of his front legs and hold it upright in a position that is comfortable for him. Carefully run the clippers around his armpit area in several directions until all fur has been removed from the folds in the skin.

Lift his front paws to reach the armpits.
Lift his front paws to reach the armpits. (Image: eversna image by eversna from

Begin clipping the groin area. Shaving your dog in his groin area is referred to as a "sanitary cut" and is effective in keeping him clean and free of dirt and feces that can become caught in the fur near the rear end. With your dog in a a standing position, lift his leg--as if he were urinating--and gently clip the fur off moving the blade away from the groin. Repeat this process, lifting the opposite leg to complete the groin area and release the hind leg.

Keep dogs standing to shave groin areas.
Keep dogs standing to shave groin areas. (Image: dog image by Piotr Markowski from

Remove fur around the anus. To complete the sanitary cut portion of buzz cutting your dog, you must shave around his anus. While retaining the standing position, gently lift his tail in an upward position and use your clippers to shave away from the anus. Remembering to keep the blades flat, shave upward at the top, downward at the bottom and outward from the sides.

Shave around the anus for sanitary cuts.
Shave around the anus for sanitary cuts. (Image: dog image by Ergün Özsoy from

Begin clipping the remainder of the body. Once you have completed the most difficult areas--eyes, ears, armpits, groin and anus--you can complete your dogs buzz cut by trimming the fur from the bulk of his body. Carefully run your clippers across his back, sides, abdomen and the top of his head to remove any fur that is left.

Tips & Warnings

  • Older dogs who have never been buzz cut may not take kindly to the clippers. Start buzz cutting his hair early in life---as a puppy when possible---to ensure that will not be resistant to the procedure.
  • Some dogs are disturbed by the sound of the clippers. Try to find clippers that have quiet or muffled motors to reduce noise and prevent scaring your pet.
  • Fur acts as an insulation against heat. If you give your dog a buzz cut, be sure to monitor his exposure to the sun and intense heat as a precaution against sunburn and skin irritations.
  • Clipper blades can sometimes become heated when in constant use. Be sure to check your blades frequently during use as not to burn your dog's skin. If your blade feels hot to the touch, you can allow it to cool before proceeding, replace it with a cool blade or use a blade lubricant to keep them cool.

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