Poodle Grooming Styles

Many people love Poodles, of all varieties, but they are put off by their fancy grooming styles. Poodle grooming styles are varied and the style you choose for your dog will depend on whether you intend to show your dog or simply enjoy him as a pet. Your lifestyle and how much time you want to spend grooming your dog will also determine which style you should choose.

No matter what variety of Poodle you have (Toy, Miniature, or Standard), you can choose one of several pet clips for your dog. If you will be showing your dog, then your choices are more limited.

Poodle Show Trims: The Lion Trim

Only one clip is officially allowed if you are showing your dog. However, it comes in four versions:

Puppy Clip for Show

The Puppy Clip for Show can be used for Poodles who are under a year of age. It is approved by the AKC and UKC. In this clip the dog’s face, paws, and base of tail are shaved closely. The body coat is left long and shaped to compliment the dog’s form. this is shaped at the neck and the dog’s top knot. The top knot (at the top of the dog’s head) remains long and it is pulled into a pony tail.

Continental Clip

This clip is popular in the show ring and is approved by the AKC and UKC. The dog’s face, front legs between the poms and the elbows, and the hindquarters to the pom area (with the exception of the hip rosettes), the paws, and the base of the tail are all shaved very closely. The pack area between the body and the head is left very long and scissored into shape. The top knot is also left long and scissored into a round ball. The poms on the legs start just above the dog’s wrists and hock joints and end just above the paws. The poms are scissored to be round. The hip rosettes are placed right over the hip joints. They are only 1/2 to 1 inch apart from each other, depending on the Poodle variety. They are also scissored to be round. The dog’s pack ends 1/2 to 1 inch behind the last rib. there is only half an inch between the end of the pack and the beginning of the hip rosettes.

Modified Continental Clip

This clip is also approved by the AKC/UKC for conformation shows. The difference between this clip and the Continental Clip is that there are no hip rosettes.

English Saddle Clip

In the English Saddle Clip the dog’s face, front legs between the pom and the pack, a crescent on the flank, the base of the tail, and separations between poms on the rear legs and the rear paws are all closely shaved. The dog’s pack is left very full and is scissored into shape. The top knot is also left long and pulled into a pony tail. the poms on the front legs are left long and they begin just above the dog’s wrist joint and end just above the paws. The area over the dog’s hips and flanks are scissored shorter into a smooth blanket. The pom on the tail is also left long and shaped round. the poms on the dog’s back legs are shaped round and spaced evenly. the bottom starts just above the hock and ends above the back paws. the other starts at the knee area and ends just 1 to 1/2 inch above the bottom pom, depending on the size of the Poodle.

Pet Clips

There are also a variety of pet clips for Poodles. These styles are shorter and make it easier to care for your Poodle’s coat. Some of the styles include the Kennel or Utility Clip, the Lamb Clip, the Summer, Miami or Bikini Clip, and the Town and Country Clip. All of these pet clips feature a short trim over the body, though some have small poms around the wrists or a pom on the tail.

Many pet owners prefer to take their Poodle to a professional pet groomer and simply have their dog clipped the same length all over, including the legs and tail. This usually needs to be done about every 6 to 8 weeks.


There are many Poodle grooming styles. You should choose one that you are comfortable with for your dog, both in looks and for your lifestyle.