The Scandinavian Trim

A stylish Poodle cut that is popular in Europe, the Scandinavian trim provides a distinctive shape without exposing any skin. 


As a member of GroomTeam USA, I am one of 10 competitive grooming stylists that represent the United States at World Team Competitions. Being selected for the team is an honor that is based on points accumulated at various GroomTeam-sanctioned contests held throughout the country over a two-year period. In years past, those sanctioned competitions included a salon freestyle class, where I used my Toy Poodle, Nikki, in a non-breed-specific haircut.  However, the rules have changed, and the salon freestyle class no longer earns GroomTeam points.  With that in mind, I have decided to put Nikki back into a Poodle trim.  

Specifically, I’m going to start a Scandinavian trim on her.  Many professional groomers may think they would never need to do this trim—believe me, I thought the same thing not too long ago—but you never know when you might need it, as I’ve learned.  

The basics of Poodle grooming are still the same, no matter the trim.  One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing Poodles with incorrect lines on their face, feet and tail.  With Nikki, I choose to do all clipping after the bath, as I find clean hair is better for my blades. However, the feet and face can be done prior to bathing. 


Step 1: Bathe

I give Nikki a bath and condition in Sasha Riess shampoo.

Step 2: Force Dry
Force dry until the dog is 90 percent dry and straight.

Step 3: Fluff Dry & Detangle
Use a slicker brush and warm air to fluff dry, making the coat straight and tangle free.

Step 4: Clip Feet
Using a #30 or #40 blade, clip the feet clean. As a general rule, I clip to just below the anklebone. However, if the dog has short legs, don’t clip as far up as you would if it had long legs. Also, don’t clip high up if the dog has less attractive feet.

Step 5: Trim Nails
This can be done before the bath, if desired.

Step 6: Reset Tail
Reset the tail by shaving with a #10 blade against the grain.  The shaved part of the tail should be one-third the length of the tail itself.  I prefer to give an inverted V at the base of the tail. The size of the V will depend on the dog’s tail set.

Step 7: Clip Face
I use a #10 blade against the grain to shave Nikki’s face, as it has been a long time since she has had it shaved. Also, light colored dogs can get clipper burn more easily.  Clip from the outside corner of the eyes to the ear and down the throat to a V.

Step 8: Set the Top Line 
Set the top line level. The jacket starts at the last rib, so only trim the top line to that point.

Step 9: Trim Rear Cuffs
Trim around the cuffs of the rear feet, keeping your shears parallel with the table.

Step 10: Set the Rear

Set the rear angulation. The shortest part is where the knee bends, and the hock hair starts to extend out from there.

Step 11: Set Inside of Rear Legs
Set the inside of the rear legs so they appear parallel.

Step 12: Finish Rear Legs
Scissor forward from the rear into where the tuck-up falls at the last rib. Then, starting at the cuff, scissor the outside of the rear leg, moving up on the leg. This also sets the front of the rear leg and bend of the knee without cutting the knee off.

Step 13: Trim Front Cuffs
Trim around the cuffs of the front feet.

Step 14: Trim Neck
Trim the hair on either side of the V on the neck, blending the hair from the clipped part.

Step 15: Set Chest
Set the chest, remembering to also set the front legs under the dog.

Step 16: Set Front Legs
Set the top of the front legs. Stand in front of the dog to set the length of the legs. 

Step 17: Finish Front Legs 
Trim the front legs into parallel columns.

Step 18: Finish Body
Trim the jacket, from the front leg back to the last rib.  Then trim the underline from the tuck into the chest.

Step 19: Finish Head
Nikki’s topknot hair and neck need to grow into a spray up, so I don’t touch any of that hair.


Professional groomer Anne Francis is a grooming competitor and speaker. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass.

Is there a breed or cut that you’d like to see featured in the Grooming Table? Send your suggestions to abrewer@petbusiness.com.


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