Grooming Your Poodle

With their dense, curly coats, poodles are truly beautiful. Let a poodle go ungroomed, however, and it can turn into a disgraceful, shaggy mess. One of the first important decisions in poodle care is deciding which clip you want your poodle to sport.

Puppy Clip

For the first year, your dog will probably wear an easy to care for puppy clip. In a puppy clip the base face, feet, and base of the tail are clipped. The rest of the fur is left long. Puppy clips, like every other poodle clip, do require some home care. The dense fur must be brushed every day to remove dirt, mats, and tangles. If you can’t afford to take your puppy to a groomer every few weeks, you can easily spruce up a puppy clip yourself.

Continental Clip

If you are going to show your dog, the AKC (American Kennel Club) requires that a poodle over a year old be shown in either a Continental Clip or an English Saddle Clip. A Continental Clip involves shaving the hindquarters (leaving optional pompoms on the hips). The face, feet, legs, and tail are also clipped. Fur remaining includes a thick coat on the animals chest and upper back, a “bracelet” of fur on each hind leg, a puff on each foreleg, and a pompom on the tail. Since poodle fur grows quickly, a poodle with a Continental Clip will require professional grooming about every six to eight weeks.

English Saddle Clip

The second clip allowed by the AKC, the English Saddle Clip involves leaving the hindquarters covered with short hair, aside from a shaved curved area along the flank (making the dog look as if it is wearing a saddle, hence the name). The hind legs each sport two shaved bands. The face, tail, and forelegs are shaved, leaving puffs on each foreleg and a pompom at the end of the tail. The rest of the body (e.g., chest and upper back) is left with a long, curly coat.

Kennel or Sporting Clip

If you will not be showing your poodle, there is another option available: The Kennel or Sporting Clip. This resembles a puppy clip, except the fur is trimmed closer to the body and the fur around the neck and legs is thinned out some. This clip not only looks appealing, but it requires far less brushing and maintenance than the Continental Clip or the English Saddle Clip.

No matter how you have your poodle’s fur clipped, however, you will have to take responsibility for grooming your dog at home. The next article examines what you need to groom your poodle.

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