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Discussion Starter #1
My husband and I live a very casual lifestyle and envision our miniature poodle sharing that - visits to the yard, walks in the park, hikes, and mostly chilling with us. We're happy with his puppy cut, but we know that coat change looms in the early summer.

What are our best cut options? We've been thinking that we would go super short for coat change then go to a retriever trim or sporting cut. I'm assuming that those would be relatively easy to clean when he goes messy dog.

The groomer comes about every 5 weeks and will be here this coming Tuesday. What's fair to her and Normie? We'd rather not do a shaved face but I'm worried that getting through coat change without it may be a mess. And if we're going shaved later, I assume that we need to start now.

Samatha the groomer is super agreeable and I don't want to take advantage of her good nature. So I'm asking for advice.
 

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How old is Normie? A poodle puppy clip usually has clean face, feet, and sanitary.

If there's even a chance you'll want to do a clean face at some point, I agree you should start at soon as possible. You can always let it grow in, but at least get him accustomed to it.

I've also found clean feet and sanitary area (including base of tail) to be real game changers when it comes to ease of clean-up after outdoor activities.

The belly also attracts a lot of muck, so our next step is to take Peggy's body down quite short too. Maybe her tail, as well, though I love it fluffy.

Shes's going through coat change and her ears got horribly matted. Again, I love them fluffy. But it's not practical at the moment, so they were clipped short at her last appointment. She's almost in a German clip at the moment.

Normie would look cute in something like this:

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Practical, too, for coat change, if you can stay on top of the ear matting.
 

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Normie's avocation is digging, so getting the feet done may not be a choice.
I'll be honest - those naked feet creeped me out at first! But it's so practical. I love them now.

Great for spotting injuries or potential irritants, too. Fluffy poodle paws love picking up burs and thorny debris!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like we should at least try FFT with a short cut. The puppy equivalent of shorts and a T-shirt?
 

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The feet were the first thing I trimmed on Raffi, within a week I saw how much dirt and gravel he was tracking in.
I agree with Peggy, the belly, sanitary, and base of tail nice and short also helps in keeping clean.
Since you like a longer face, what about asking your groomer to shave his face with a longer blade like a 4f? That would still be relatively fluffy but also get Normie used to having his face groomed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The feet were the first thing I trimmed on Raffi, within a week I saw how much dirt and gravel he was tracking in.
I agree with Peggy, the belly, sanitary, and base of tail nice and short also helps in keeping clean.
Since you like a longer face, what about asking your groomer to shave his face with a longer blade like a 4f? That would still be relatively fluffy but also get Normie used to having his face groomed.
Great. Just what I needed to know.
 

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I kept Misha in a cute cut like this for a while. It may appeal to you. I also recommend the shaved feet and face. You may be surprised how much you love them after you try. The feet are so much cleaner and I love being able to see a dog's face. I think there's also an element of touch involved. The dogs can feel so much more with shaved feet and face. I don't think I'm done with coat change yet, but I would recommend either a short or mid length cut and brushing every day without fail. Also make sure you have a good coat spray to help keep him mat free.
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Discussion Starter #9
I don't know anything about coat sprays. Any recommendations?

I'm sold on trying the shaved feet and tail area with a really short face and shorter hair all over.

I love Misha's look.

All the responses have been very helpful.
 

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Poodles generally look best when their legs are not completely shaved down. If a dog is in a very short cut often the leg hair will be slightly (or a lot) longer than the body hair. This is pleasing to the eye, creating a balanced look, avoiding a toothpick-leg look. The photo posted by PeggyTP shows a dog in a pants-and-jacket style groom where the legs are longer, and the longer style extends up into the shoulders/hips. In the photo this is quite subtle, but it creates a sense of style that is pleasing and quite poodle-y. This pants/jacket style can be more exaggerated as well by leaving the longer parts longer than what you see in the photo.

Also, poodles need a bit of fluff on top of their heads for their best look and as a kiss-receiver :). A poodle looks very weird with very short head hair and longer ears. Some people enjoy the traditional cut line between a poodle's top knot and their ear hair (such as is seen in the traditional kennel cut). A newer fashion does away with the cut line leaving a rounded line from top knot to ears, as is nicely shown by the stunning Misha in Raindrops' photo.

One way of thinking about the perfect groom for your poodle is to break down the different parts of a groom and choose separately, like an ala carte menu. Feet, face, sanitary, legs, neck, topknot, ears, body can all be considered separately. Clean shaven feet and sanitary are very practical for active pet owners. Legs on the shorter side are also practical. Whether to have the legs/body be the same length or slightly different is a style choice (and probably impacts groom pricing, all the same length is easier to do). In the olden days poodles more frequently had their necks shaved (see the Dutch style) but now the fashion is to either have the neck hair the same length as the back or slightly longer (example lamb trim). A clean face frequently involves a portion of the front of the upper neck to be shaved as well, this helps with placement of a collar/lead especially if the dog has long back-of-the-neck hair and just helps balance the look. Ears can be long, medium, tasseled, shaved. One cute look for girl dogs with fluffy heads is to grow the ear hair so long that the tips can be braided (have to be willing to do frequent ear grooming).

Only you can know what you will like and can maintain. While your dog is young there are training considerations, such as acclimating your dog to accept clippers on all body parts to ensure you are able to provide for a lifetime of grooming needs (old dogs can get arthritis but still need grooming to prevent mats, so much easier to be able to run a clipper over the dog and be done in 20 minutes if the dog has been trained as a puppy that clippers are a normal part of life).

Whew, what a long post! All this to say, this is my groom recommendation for you: FFT shaved, body ½ inch, legs ¾ inch, top knot rounded like Misha's but with ears left a little longer for a more girly look.

Remember, it is just hair. If you ever have a groom you don't prefer you will be able to change it in a few weeks or months. It's fun to try new things!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a picture of your dog that you let me copy a few weeks ago to show the groomer, that and the suggestions should do the trick. I'm obviously a novice but as you said, hair will grow back. I've certainly had enough disastrous cuts myself to know.
 
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