Which Poodle Haircut is the Best?

Last Updated on April 21, 2023

Known for their lush, soft, curly coats, the Poodle can accommodate a variety of hairstyles.

Their hypoallergenic and non-shedding fur is loved by owners the world over, while their intelligent and loving natures mean they are on the world’s most popular dogs.

A side by side grooming portrait image of Poodles
Side by side grooming portrait image of Poodles

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular Poodle haircuts around and how you can keep your Poodle’s coat looking gorgeous and glamorous!

What are the Different Poodle Cuts?

There are so many different Poodle haircuts designed to match distinct personalities, lifestyles, and even budget.

When it comes to showing your dog at popular shows, like the Westminster Dog Show, only specific clips are accepted. 

Out of the show ring, many people love to experiment with their dog’s look with new and fun hairstyles.

Have a look at the different Poodle haircuts below so that you can better understand which one is right for you and your dog.

1. Lion Cut or Continental Cut

A white Poodle showing off the Lion Cut / Continental Cut
A white Poodle showing off the Lion Cut / Continental Cut

The Continental Clip is one of only two acceptable Poodle haircuts accepted by the American Kennel Club for the show ring.

It is that iconic Poodle cut that most people associate with the breed and is typically seen on Standard Poodles.

However, the style is dwindling as new regulations prescribe dogs must have 0.5-1.5 inches of hair on their skin. 

This cut features shaved limbs and tail, as well as shaved shoulders and a shaved muzzle. The head, stomach, chest, and rump are left fluffy, while pompoms are also found on the tail and feet.

Originally a working cut, hunters chose to trim their dogs in this style to keep their fur from weighing them down the water while providing insulation around their vital organs.

The Modified Continental Clip is also seen in which the fur on the rear end is removed. Either way, this style takes a lot of skill and experience to achieve and daily brushing to keep looking good.

2. Poodle Puppy Cut (Teddy Bear Cut)

A brown Poodle wearing an orange bow tie after having a Teddy Bear Cut
Source: @itzaclip / IG

An easy, tidy cut, the Puppy Cut is a natural-looking style in which the hair is the same length all over. Poodles under one year old can be shown in this style, provided they have a pompom on the end of the tail.

The pompom is often removed for companion animals sporting this style. This style is also often seen on other breeds such as the Yorkie or various Doodles.

3. Poodle Bikini Clip (AKA Miami Clip)

The Bikini Clip is great for owners looking to add a bit of flair to their dog while still having a coat that is easy to maintain. In this look, the face, feet, and tail are shaved while the rest of the hair is cut relatively short.

Pompoms are left on the ankles and the tail.

This style is also an excellent choice for allergy-prone dogs as the short coat allows easier access to the skin for applying for the medicine. 

Take a closer look at the retro Miami Clip in this video:

4. Poodle Kennel Clip (Summer Cut)

The Kennel Clip is a good choice for summer and for doggies that reside in hot climates as it removes most of the dense, warm fur.

This style features short hair all over with a little extra length on the top of the head and the tail. This is very easy to manage cut and is perfect for very active dogs. 

A gray Standard Poodle groomed and had a Kennel Clip Cut
Source: @jojo.grooming / IG

While popular on Standard poodles, the sporting trim can be seen on all sizes of Poodle.

5. Poodle Modern Cut

A black Poodle, groomed and had a Modern Clip Cut
Source: @daiana_dogtrainer / IG

The Modern Cut is a glamorous cut, designed to accentuate a Poodle’s features without being as voluminous as the Continental Clip. In this hairstyle, the topknot is fluffy and round, blending into the neck and shoulders.

The chest is also rounded with straight front legs. The hind legs are cut slightly shorter to show off the shape. This Poodle cut also requires good grooming skills

6. English Saddle Cut

A gray Miniature Poodle standing after having an English Saddle Cut
Source: @sleeksnoutsgrooming / IG

The English Saddle Cut is the only other accepted haircut for AKC dog shows for Poodles over the age of one. It is similar to the Lion Cut but with longer fur on the dog’s back and without so many fancy pompoms.

This cut was trendy in the 1950s and 60s; however, it fell out of favor with groomers who said that it didn’t adequately show off the dog’s lines. 

7. Poodle Cupcake Cut

The Cupcake Cut is a rare Poodle haircut that is often confused with the Puppy Clip. This style’s main distinguishing feature is the rounded ears with the head and ears sculptured into a cupcake-like appearance.

This cut is most commonly seen on Miniature and Toy Poodles

8. Dutch or Sporting Cut

A white Poodle wearing polka dot red bow tie sitting
Source: @sleeksnoutsgrooming / IG

Known as the Sporting Cut by the UK Kennel Club, this is the most popular cut for show dogs in the Stud-Dog or Brood-Bitch classifications in the United Kingdom.

This Poodle hairstyle features a uniform length coat all over the dog, from the body to the limbs. This is one cut that is popular among all three size variations of Poodle.

9. Poodle Lamb Cut

A Lamb Cut on a Standard Poodle

The Lamb Cut is a modern style in which the coat is cut into a smooth style with no rectangular or harsh lines. This versatile cut is also often seen on other dog breeds.

It is popular because it is simple to achieve at home and is low maintenance.

10. Town and Country Cut

A Town and Country Cut on a Miniature Poodle
Source: @thealphaphemale / IG

Another modern style, Poodles cut in the Town and Country style, should have cylinder-shaped legs and a rounded head and ears. The rest of the body should be natural. 

11. Poodle T Cut (Scandinavian Clip)

An on-going T Cut / Scandinavian Clip to a Poodle
Source: @dongseok_yoo / IG

A very regal and grand Poodle haircut, the T Cut features an angular, short-trimmed face with fluff everywhere else, except on the feet and tail base.

Although not as common in the United States, this cut is trendy in Europe and is primarily used for adolescent dogs who are not quite ready for a show cut.

12. Corded Poodle Coat

If left ungroomed, a Poodle’s coat will naturally mat or cord. However, dog owners who want to achieve the corded Poodle look will need to dreadlock the coat much the same as you would do with human hair.

A portrait image of a Corded Poodle Coat

Allowing the fur to cord and mat naturally can cause irritation and pain for your dog. 

Also, corded Poodles are very difficult to wash, so you should be prepared for a smelly dog if this is the look you want. While popular in the 1950s and 60s, today, it is quite rare to see a Corded Poodle.

13. Poodle Short Cut

A choco Poodle in a Short Cut sitting
Source: @yuna_the_choco_poodle / IG

It is not all that common to see a Poodle in a Short Cut. This option is best suited to dogs who live in hot climates and Poodle owners that want to avoid any tangles, mats, and dirt.

Dogs with a Short Cut will need a jacket in colder weather to prevent illness. 

14. Poodle Ponytails

A brown Poodle wearing a ponytail in a dog park
Source: @doloresparkdogs / IG

Owners who want to give their Poodle Ponytails typically trim the dog’s hair on the face short and let it grow out very long on the ears. These long, fluffy ears are then styled using bows and clips.

15. German Trim

A white Poodle who had a German Trim
Source: @_groomer_has_it / IG

With the German Trim, the Poodle’s ears are shaved short, while the body is also cut short, the legs are left long, and the tail does not have a pompom.

Hand-scissors are used when grooming a dog in this style to create sharp angles. Due to the shaved ears, this is a good choice for dogs that are prone to ear infections or like to swim.

Frequently Asked Questions about Poodle Haircuts (FAQs)

Do Poodles need haircuts?

Poodle haircuts were initially developed to protect parts of their bodies from the cold while serving as duck retrievers. From there, the AKC formalized their styles. Today, it’s all about personal taste and practicality.

However, as a Poodle’s coat doesn’t naturally shed, these dogs need to be trimmed and groomed regularly to keep their coat looking and feeling soft and shiny and free of mats and tangles.

Is it okay to shave a Poodle?

A red Miniature Poodle being professionally groomed

Shaving is sometimes necessary, especially if you live somewhere warm, or mats and tangles have to be dealt with.

For Poodles, shaving doesn’t cause any long-term problems to their coat or skin because they’re not double-coated.

When should a Poodle puppy get its first haircut?

Around 16 weeks is good. It’ll be easier to do the task if a Poodle was taught how to get a haircut.

You don’t want to take a dog younger than ten weeks to the groomer as these dogs haven’t yet had all their vaccinations and can be susceptible to disease.

Try not to wait too long before you take her to the groomers the first time. Dogs over six months old can already be set in their ways, which can make grooming a challenge and cause anxiety and fear in your dog.

How much does it cost to groom a Miniature Poodle?

A white Poodle puppy being combed in a grooming salon

Professional dog groomers will cost between $40 and $80. The average price for a Toy Poodle is $50, and Miniature Poodles will set you back around $55, while Standard Poodles cost around $80. 

For dogs that are afraid of going to the parlor, mobile or home grooming service may be better suited for you, costing around $75 per dog.

Some cities also offer self-service grooming facilities where you can expect to pay between $11 and $23, depending on your dog’s size.

What happens if you don’t groom a Poodle?

Poodles that are neglected have corded and matted coats that are not only uncomfortable but also painful.

To prevent this matting, you always need to be sure to brush down to your dog’s skin. Once tangles develop into mats and cords, these will need to be removed through shaving the dog. 

Taking care of your Poodle’s gorgeous coat

Poodles need to be groomed at least every six weeks, while any long hair and fluffier parts of the coat should be brushed weekly or daily.

Always introduce a dog to a brush slowly and take a lot of time, allowing your Poodle to make friends with the tool first. You can then lightly touch your dog with the brush before moving on to gently brushing the dog.

It is a good idea to include treats in this process, initially alternating strokes with treats until your dog is used to the brush. 

A gray Standard Poodle groomed and had Puppy Clip
Source: @velvetpoodlediary / IG

The right dog grooming tools and kits for the best dog hairstyles

You will need a good pair of thinning shears, hand-scissors, and quality dog clippers. For home grooming, you will want to invest in several different shears.

If you are unsure about grooming styles and clipping your dog, it is always advisable to take your dog to a professional to get their haircut. 

Shears with a beveled blade edge help cut tough and curly coats, while ones with a semi-convex edge are good for everyday use and maintain a cut performed by a professional groomer.

At home, you will also want a finishing shear with a convex edge for that fine detailing work. 

How Can I find the Best Poodle Groomer in My Area? 

Always look for a groomer who has experience working with Poodles as the coat of this dog requires an adequate level of skill and experience.

Good groomers also never see too many dogs at one time and don’t use medication or pills to keep dogs still. 

A good groomer will also be able to show you how best to maintain your dog’s coat at home and give some grooming tips to keep your dog looking their best.

Which Poodle Haircut Best Match For Your Poodle Lifestyle?

Silver Standard Poodle smiling with Chrysanthemum and Watercress background
Source: @reikochyan / IG

Poodle haircut styles are a fantastic way to express the personality of both yourself and your pooch.

If you aren’t planning to show your dog, you can avoid the more exotic and fluffy cuts and opt for more low-maintenance, active style look. Ultimately the choices are pretty endless!

Dog lovers, how do you cut your Poodle? Let us know in the comments below.

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