The German Trim on a Standard Poodle
The German Trim can be the perfect low-maintenance option for Standard Poodles whose owners are looking for a bit more style than can be provided by a complete shave down.
Frank is my eight-year-old Standard Poodle. For years, he was kept in a full competition-style haircut, but now that he is retired from grooming competitions, I keep him in a low-maintenance, minimal-scissoring haircut called a German Trim.
This is a practical cut for active dogs and busy shops, where time is money. The use of snap-on combs minimizes scissoring and saves time—not to mention your hands. And it provides more style than shaving the dog down completely.
Step 1: Bathe
I prefer to go right into the tub from the beginning, where I use a cleansing shampoo and a light conditioner.
Step 2: Force Dry
Force dry the entire dog until it is as dry as possible.
Step 3: Clean Ears
Frank does not get his ear hair plucked.
Step 4: Trim Nails
Clip and file the nails.
Step 5: Pre-Clip
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people dry hair that is only going to get cut off. Before fluff drying, it is best to cut off as much hair as possible.
Rough in the pattern using a #1 snap-on comb. Start at the shoulders and clip the entire body, leaving two fingers worth of hair in front of the tail. Rough in the shaved face and feet as well. I typically use a #40 blade on the feet and a #10, against the grain, on the face. I leave Frank a goatee to give him some extra character. I clip to the canine teeth for the goatee. I clip the sanitary areas as well.
Step 6: Finish Drying
Using a slicker brush and stand dryer, methodically move through the coat, straightening and removing any tangles.
Step 7: Trim Ears
I shave the ears with a #7f blade on the outside, and a #10 on the inside.
Step 8: Set Tail
Set the tail using the #7f blade as well. Remember, you want the ears and tail length to match. Clip the entire back of the tail, both sides and the top third of the tail.
Step 9: Re-Clip Body
Re-clip the body with a #1 snap-on comb. Clip the top of the rear legs, the back of the rear legs to the hock and the outside of the rear leg, making a Schnauzer-like pattern. Also clip out the armpits with the #1 snap-on comb.
Step 10: Clip Front Legs
Use a size-E snap-on comb to clip the entire front leg. Also use the size-E snap-on comb up the front leg against the grain. You may need to comb and re-clip the leg to get it as smooth as possible.
Step 11: Clip Rear Legs
Using the size-E snap-on comb, clip the front of the rear leg down to the foot, the remaining outside of the rear leg down to the foot, and the complete inside of the rear leg. The only part I do not clip with the snap-on comb is the hair on the hock.
Step 12: Clean Up Face & Feet
Go over shaving the feet and face to make sure they are clipped clean.
Step 13: Finish Rear Legs
Edge the cuff on the rear legs. Comb the hair on the rear legs up and out, then tidy up the legs to the length that has already been set with the snap-on combs. The only part that needs to be scissored in is the hock.
Step 14: Finish Front Legs
Edge the cuff on the front legs. Comb the hair up on the front legs and tidy it up with scissors, making the legs into parallel columns.
Step 15: Finish Tail
Scissor the tail to transition into the body.
Step 16: Finish Ears
Edge the ears.
Step 17: Finish Face
Use a #4 to blend the clipped face and neckline.
Step 18: Finish Head
Trim a visor. Tilting your shears at a 45-degree angle, trim the line from the outside corner of the eye to the ear. Scissor the front of the cheek up to the top of the head. I leave a small mane and blend that into the body and work my way to the top of the head. Finally, trim the top of the head round.
Professional groomer Anne Francis is a grooming competitor and speaker. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass.
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