Have you ever asked a groomer for a puppy cut and been given a strange look – or, worse, a bad haircut? Would you be surprised if I told you the term “puppy cut” actually doesn’t give the groomer very much information? What should you say to make sure your dog looks perfect?
A puppy cut could look like this…
The term puppy cut originally referred to a fluffy trim given to Poodles for the show ring before they were old enough to get the classic show dog look, the Continental haircut. Somehow the term has entered pet grooming without a standard definition. Most groomers interpret the term “puppy cut” to mean one length all over on the body, but it doesn’t specify how much length should be left or what to do with the dog’s head, ears, or tail. It could be as short as shaved to the skin or as long as 2 inches or more. No wonder there’s so much confusion!
Before the appointment, you should have a pretty good idea of how much hair you would like left on or taken off your dog. You can check a ruler and pick a length, use your fingers to show a length, or show a picture of a time when your dog looked perfect. You could even bring a picture of another dog you think looks cute, as long as it has a similar coat type to your dog. Make sure when you say what length you are looking for that the groomer understands whether you mean you want that length left on the body or taken off. Never assume the groomer will know what you mean! Too much information is better than not enough.
Once you’ve decided on a length of hair for the body, it’s time to decide how much hair you want left on your dog’s head, face, tail, and ears. Love your dog’s tail long and flowing? Be sure to tell the groomer not to trim it. Want the ears super short? Mention that. It’s the groomer’s job to do the cut that you want on your dog (as long as it’s actually possible – they aren’t magicians).
A typical face style on many breeds is the teddy bear face. This term generally indicates a tight, rounded head. If you’d like the head longer or a different shape, mention that. Again, pictures are never a bad idea, especially if you can say what about the picture you absolutely want to make sure is the result of the current grooming.
…Or even this!
When in doubt, ask questions! Don’t leave your dog with the groomer until you are completely satisfied that they understand what you are looking for. Many “bad” grooms are simply the result of poor communication between the client and the groomer.