Portuguese Water Dog Haircut

A haircut that can be completed quickly and easily, yet still offers groomers the flexibility to adjust to clients’ preferences, will provide a great competitive advantage.


This is Java, a six-year-old Portuguese Water Dog. She comes in for a haircut about every six weeks. Her haircut is done using a #0 snap-on comb on the body and a size-A snap-on comb on the legs. The lengths can be adjusted to suit a client’s needs, but the technique is still the same. This is a quick and easy haircut that still has style and will set groomers above their competition.




Step 1: Bathe
While some groomers prefer to prep their dogs first, since Java is a regular client, I send her straight to the tub to get washed. Java gets washed in a deep-cleaning shampoo and light conditioner.


Step 2: Force Dry
Use a force dryer until the dog is 90 percent dry.


Step 3: Remove Tangles
Using a stand dryer and slicker brush, move methodically through the coat, drying and removing any tangles.


Step 4: Nails & Ears
Clip and dremel the nails, and clean the ears.


Step 5: Clip Pads
Clip the pads of the feet using a #30 blade.


Step 6: Sanitary Trim
Clip the sanitary areas with a #10 blade.


Step 7: Clip Body
Using a #0 snap-on comb, clip the entire trunk of the body. Skim off at the elbow and the hips. Make sure to clip under the chin tight to the jaw line.


Step 8: Clip Rear Legs
Using a size-A snap-on comb, clip the rear legs.


Step 9: Clip Front Legs
Using the size-A snap-on comb, clip the back, inside and outside of the front legs.


Step 10: Clip Ears
Clip the ears using the #0 snap-on comb.


Step 11: Set Tail
Using the #0 snap-on comb, clip two-thirds of the tail. An easy way to set the tail is by holding it up over the back; the clipped part should stop at the bend.


Step 12: Finish Rear Feet & Legs
Round the rear feet by placing each on the table and using curved shears. Pick up each foot, comb all the hair toward the pads, and trim any hair hanging over. The length of the hair on the legs was set earlier with the snap-on comb. Comb the hair up and out, trimming any stray hairs that stick out. Blend the hip where the longer hair transitions to the body.


Step 13: Finish Front Feet & Legs
Round the front feet the same way as the rear. The front legs are stovepipe shaped. I do not run the snap-on comb down the front of the leg, so as to avoid giving the leg a boot at the bottom. To get that nice, perpendicular tube shape, more scissoring is required on the front legs than the rear.


Step 14: Finish Head
Edge the ears with shears. Using thinned shears, clean the corners of the eyes. Comb the hair above the eyes forward and trim a visor. Comb the hair on the top of the head up, and trim it into a dome shape. Comb the hair of the muzzle down, and trim the jaw line. Make sure to trim any hair that hangs beyond the nose. Also, use the thinning shears to shape the muzzle.




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 jboncy@petbusiness.com.


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