How to Trim a Standard Poodle

Written by elyse james
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How to Trim a Standard Poodle
Standard Poodles require grooming every four to six weeks. (Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images)

Unlike most animals which are covered in a layer of fur and dander, the Standard Poodle is a breed that grows hair. Because of this, these dogs hair grows constantly, just like a human's, and requires regular clipping to keep it in check. If you are planning to show your Standard Poodle in competitions, there are two cuts that you will have to master: the Continental Clip and the English Saddle Trim. However, many poodle owners opt to trim their dogs with a more natural cut. As part of your poodle's regular cosmetic maintenance routine, do a basic clip of his face, legs, tail and body to keep his hair at a manageable length, without all the poofs and frills of a show cut.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Electric clipper set (for grooming purposes)

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    Body and Legs

  1. 1

    Turn on your clippers and begin clipping the sides of the dog. Keep the clippers at a 45-degree angle to ensure that the hair is cut evenly. The setting you choose on the clippers depends on how long (or short) you want the dog's hair to be. The lower the setting, the shorter the hair will be trimmed.

  2. 2

    Clip both sides of the dog's body until the hair is the desired length. Continue clipping on the undersides of the dog as well, so that you can trim the hair on the belly area.

  3. 3

    Clip the dog's legs in the same manner --- you might want to set your blade to cut the hair on the legs a little shorter than the rest of the body, to make the poodle look more natural as the hair on a dog's legs tends to be a bit shorter than on its body.


  1. 1

    Clip the feet of the poodle by grasping one paw and holding it steady. Use your clippers to clip gently between the large pad on the bottom of the foot towards the toes on both sides. Use a scooping motion to do this. Your clipper should be set to a short setting, like you used for the dog's legs.

  2. 2

    Spread the toes apart to gain access between them and clip the hair in between the toes. Clip between the toes, towards the large pad. Don't clip above the "wrist" bone of the dog, which is the bone that protrudes on the underside of the paw, where a wrist would be located on a human. This area may be sensitive for the dog, so you should avoid trimming it.

  3. 3

    Repeat this procedure on the other three feet until the dog's hair no longer sticks up between its toes.

    Face and Neck

  1. 1

    Pull back the dog's right ear and clip the hair using a backwards motion, from the eye to the dog's inner ear --- don't go inside the ear, stop just where the ear opens. To create tension on the skin for clipping, open the ear by folding it inside out and hold it backwards as you clip. Use a shorter clipper setting, as you did for the dog's legs.

  2. 2

    Clip the hair under the dog's eye with a gentle, slight, upward motion. Clip the neck by clipping down from the ear to the point on the neck where you wish to stop.

  3. 3

    Stretch the skin on the dog's mouth and lip area backwards and gently clip in the direction of the nose. Run the clipper down the side of the dog's muzzle to clip the snout.

  4. 4

    Repeat on the other side of the face, using the same settings to achieve the same length


  1. 1

    Pull the dog's tail upwards to reveal the underside and clip away from the dog's anus, in the direction of the hair growth. Use the same clipper setting you used on the body of the dog.

  2. 2

    Allow the tail to fall back down and clip a "V" shape on top of the tail. This is for aesthetic purposes --- skip this step if you would like.

  3. 3

    Keep clipping over the "V" shape once the lines have been established in step two. Do this on both sides of the tail. This is only for aesthetic purposes and can be skipped if you wish.

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