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After seeing many comments on spoos tails being shaved too high, I am now wondering what is the correct way to shave a spoos tail?
 

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Typically 2 finger widths from the base of the tail to where the hair starts. You can kind of eyeball it by lifting it up because some dogs have different tailsets that won't always work.
 

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The tail should only be shaved only 1-2 inches from the base, if I'm remembering correctly. It's not a very large or very short shaved area. If your spoo has a long tail, you don't shave up to the very tip and leave a little tuft, that gives them a little "lion" tail and it's very unflattering to poodles, makes 'em look scrawny and their tail looks too long. If your spoo has a short tail, you don't just shave a little sliver, that makes their tail look really short and frumpy. The shaved area should be a balanced few inches regardless of the actual tail's length, unless the tail is unreasonably short or curled. Desmond has a REALLY short little tail, and really bad fur on the end of it, so we can't grow a pom pom out to make it look longer or correctly docked, so we keep it in a carrot shape. This is a very nice alternative to the pom pom if that doesn't suit your dog.

Here's an excellent page with a step by step "how to" on correctly shaving the tail base.
Clipping The Tail

I'd love for a proper groomer to chime in and properly articulate what I'm trying to say LOL! I'm no pro or anything, so I probably have my facts a little wrong. This is my understanding of shaving the tail, though.
 

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Lay The spine of a combn at the bottom of the bum hole:
Bend the tail down over the comb and look at where the comb is. THAT is precisely where the hairn begins to grow...don't judge by 1-2 inches. Set is by physical landmarks
 

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A smidge more than the width of a clipper blade is pretty how much I take off.... It equals about an inch or two, yup. If the tail is low-set I'll often do a little more (it then puts the top of the 'stalk' at the right point in relation to their topline!)

The main 'wrong' thing that's done usually is shaving 6+ inches and leaving a tuft on the end like a paint brush!

ETA: It makes no real difference if the tail is a big full tail, or a half dock. It ONLY makes a difference if it's a really little 'chicken nugget' tail.
It does make somewhat of a difference on toys, but it is a minimal difference as it's all relative...
 

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The last time I had Harry groomed by a groomer here in town she left his tail like that and his is docked 3/4 so it looked ridiculous. It took almost a year to get it where it is now which is almost a round ball that balances his body. Needless to say I never went back to that groomer.
 

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The main 'wrong' thing that's done usually is shaving 6+ inches and leaving a tuft on the end like a paint brush!
I cannot stand this look! Why do people do this anyway?

Also when you have a chicken nugget tail, your left with minimum choices so WHY make a pretty tail look like a paint brush:doh:
 

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I hesitate to use a specific measurement when describing a groom, because different sized dogs require different measurements. For instance, 2" on my giant boy's tail looks great, but many smaller poodles don't even have two inches of tail!

My basic rule of thumb is that the underside of the tail should be shaved as far as the bottom of the anus (when the dog's tail is down). Ring it around the top so everything's level, and it usually looks about right.

Some adjustment will have to be made for each dog, since many are incorrectly docked. If I get a dog with a very short tail, I do shave a small ring to define the tail. Otherwise you end up with a bunny butt! On dogs with short tails or low tailsets, you can shave an inverted "v" at the top of the tail to create the illusion of a longer, higher set tail. Be careful, though-- clipping the v too far up won't look good at all.
 

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Lay The spine of a combn at the bottom of the bum hole:
Bend the tail down over the comb and look at where the comb is. THAT is precisely where the hairn begins to grow...don't judge by 1-2 inches. Set is by physical landmarks
I didn't see your post, you described this better than I did!
 
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