Updated - Oct 13th, 2022
After long days spent chasing squirrels, barking at strangers, catching crumbs under the kitchen table, or playing with toys, our pups deserve a little pampering. That can mean a lot of things – including a date with the groomer.
Different grooming styles fit the needs of different dog breeds, and the type of cut an owner chooses can make all the difference in how their dog looks and feels. Maintaining a dog’s coat with regular grooming is necessary to avoid tangles, control shedding, and keep fur shiny and healthy, all of which improve the overall health and hygiene of our canine friends.
To find a hairstyle that will have your dog feeling like a million bucks, check out this list of the most common dog haircuts, which breeds they work best on, and which benefits you get with each style.
1. Puppy cut
Although the name suggests this cut is specifically for young pups, dogs of any age can get a puppy cut. It’s a simple trim that leaves dogs with an even coat, typically one to two inches in length all around the body. It’s one of the most common types of grooming styles because it can be done on any dog breed with medium to long hair, and it’s perfect for keeping fur from getting matted. Yet despite its popularity, this style is not standardized and is open to interpretation. If you know what you want your puppy cut to look like, make sure you tell your groomer so they know exactly what to do.
Teddy bear cuts are similar to puppy cuts in that they involve an even cut around the whole body. The only difference is that they’re geared more towards curly-haired dogs like Poodles, Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, and any other -oodle you can think of! Dogs with curly fur are more prone to tangles, so regularly trimming these curls to keep them healthy and neat should be a priority for pet parents. This hairstyle is low-maintenance compared to some other haircuts that are given to dogs with curly fur – that explains why it’s so popular among Poodle and Poodle-mix owners. Professional groomers recommend getting a teddy bear cut once a month to keep it in tip-top shape, but cuts every six to eight weeks will suffice if you don’t care about a messy hair day every now and then!
3. Top knot
The top knot is a dog hairstyle most suitable for posh pooches like Shih-Tzus, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, and Lhasa Apsos. It involves forming a ponytail at the top of a dog’s head that’s often held in place with a cute bow or stylish barrette. Top knots keep these breeds’ long, flowing hair off their eyes and keeps their fur free of moisture or debris while they’re eating, drinking, or playing. As for the rest of the dog’s fur, it really depends on the breed, but since this is a very clean and polished look, it’s definitely kept very neat and even. You might even see some pups rocking this look in dog shows!
4. Kennel cut
Kennel cuts are universal and can be done on pretty much any dog that requires grooming. Like puppy cuts and teddy bear cuts, the length of the hair is kept the same throughout the body, but kennel cuts tend to be shorter than the other two. It’s perfect for busy owners because it’s easy to maintain and lasts longer than most other cuts. No dog is the same, and no groomer is the same, so kennel cuts will look different depending on the breed and the person doing the cut. As with most dog hairstyles, if you have a preference when it comes to how the cut is done, be sure to express that to your groomer.
5. Lamb cut
Another adorable option for dogs with curly fur is the lamb cut. This type of hairstyle involves cutting shorter hair around the torso and chest, leaving most of the fur on the legs, and trimming the hair around the chin. It’s a great year-round option for curly-haired dogs, especially Airedale Terriers and Poodles. During the summer months, dogs with lamb cuts will need to shed some fur to stay cool, and during the colder months, the extra fur on their legs helps keep their limbs warm – just add a stylish winter coat to keep the rest of their body nice and toasty.
6. Lion cut
Lion cuts are a unique type of hairstyle that only certain dog breeds can pull off, like the dog equivalent of bangs – unless you have the right face for it, it might look funny! It involves shaving, or significantly trimming, body hair and leaving the hair around the face, legs, and tip of the tail furry. Most professional groomers can execute this cut really well – some even specialize in it! This hairstyle was popularized way back during the 17th century, when Portuguese Water Dogs were given these trims so they could be more functional in the water. They’re still one of the most common breeds who get lion cuts, along with Lowchens, Pomeranians, and Poodles.
7. Poodle cut
This haircut is ideal for dogs with curly hair – like, well, Poodles! Don’t be fooled by the name though, because it isn’t exclusive to their breed. This style keeps fur short along the dog’s body and leaves more fur at the top of the head and around the neck. It’s perfect for keeping curls looking bouncy and fresh without becoming tangled, but it does require more upkeep than some other Poodle haircuts. It’s ideal for owners who are willing and able to keep their curly canine’s fur looking fresh on the regular.
8. Summer cut
While humans spend the months leading up to summer getting ready to hit the beach, all dogs need to do is trim up their fur to prepare for the heat. Summer cuts look different depending on the dog breed because every type of fur has unique needs. While dogs are able to stay cool by panting, sweating, and shedding extra fur, their fur acts as insulation, which can overheat your dog in warm weather. Dogs with heavy, thick fur – like Goldendoodles, Poodles, Newfoundlands, and Saint Bernards – can benefit from a good shave or trim to stay comfortable and cool. Summer cuts should never involve completely shaving a dog – instead, just get rid of some extra layers and make the coat lighter overall.
This type of cut requires very little effort but can make a huge difference in a dog’s appearance. When owners ask for a neaten, groomers will bathe the dog and then use clippers to clean up the fur around the feet, face, privates, and – for longer-haired dogs – their skirts. If requested, they’ll also clip their nails, clean their ears, and give their fur a good brushing. Dogs like Schnauzers – who have beards that need regular clean up and medium-length fur that often needs a good trim – can benefit from some neatening up, but this cut isn’t exclusive to any one breed. Since the neaten is so simple and common, it can help dogs of any breed look and feel refreshed.
Dogs need their coats for several reasons, so shaving is rarely the best option when it comes to choosing a dog haircut. In some cases, small-scale shaving has to be done to get rid of specific areas of matted fur when there’s no other solution, but owners should avoid shaving their dog’s entire body at all costs. Partial shaves are also acceptable for long-haired dogs – like Golden Retrievers – who may be more comfortable in hot weather with shorter fur. Just make sure you never shave all the way down to your dog’s skin. s
Let’s face it – dogs are cute no matter what their hair looks like. But just as with humans, not every hairstyle looks good on every dog, and regular grooming is a necessary part of their overall care. Whether you choose to go with a simple kennel cut, an extravagant lion cut, or a trendy top knot, your dog will thank you for keeping them clean and cute!