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I have been doing some research online but am having trouble finding a consensus. Do poodles need to have a short haircut for the summer?
I've read that shorter hair will put them at higher risk for sunburn, but I've also read that you should trim their hair to help them cool off.
Rory is only outside while supervised by me on walks and potty breaks throughout the day as we don't have a fenced in yard. Where we live it will get up to triple digits during the summer.
I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter!
 

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I personally go short simply for ease of maintenance. Getting Pogo dry again after he's gone swimming takes an hour if his hair is long. He hates it. I hate it. Buzz cut for the win.

Regarding long- No well groomed poodle in one of the classic adult clips has long hair over the entire body. The traditional poodle clips, like the continental, were originally meant to be a compromise for the health and comfort of the dog. Parts of the throat, midriff, and/or haunches are trimmed close even if the saddle area is left long. (Same thing with the traditional lion cut worn by the Portuguese water dog. ) So no, I wouldn't leave the dog woolley like a sheep, but by all means have fun with a traditional clip

Regarding short- A solid colored dog should have pigmented skin. Sunburn shouldn't be an issue as long as you increase your sun time slowly enough to allow his skin to adapt to a short haircut. Parti dogs have pink skin under the white. I've never had a problem with Pogo getting sunburned under his white spots, but I always let him have free access to shade.

Regarding temperature in general- humans handle heat better than almost any other mammal; we have amazing cooling systems. It doesn't matter what haircut your dog has; he will always be in more danger from heat than you are. I had a dog go into a heat seizure once after a very normal late
afternoon walk one warm summer day. We weren't having a newsworthy heat wave or anything. I was comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt. It was just too hot for him.
 

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I think it depends on a lot of factors. But I do know that we keep our house at 76-78 F and Misha quickly overheats when snuggling if he has even an inch of coat on him. He can't snuggle more than a few minutes before he has to get off and stretch out on the tile. He is instantly much more snuggly when I take him down with a 9 blade. So I do think it makes a difference, though a thick coat may also be an insulator in the sun.
 

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I like my dogs with a short coat in summer. It’s so much easier to maintain. I leave Merlin’s coat a little longer, since his hair isn’t as dense and he has pink skin.
 

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I'm in the Midwest, in the Kansas City metro area, so summers are hot, humid, and seemingly forever. I used to have my girls kept pretty short for summer but now that I'm doing the clipping on my boys, and doing it more frequently, I'm probably going to stick with the 1/4" long look for warmer weather and a bit longer in cooler/cold weather.

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There do seem to be two schools of thought - one that a full coat traps heat, the other that it insulates against excessive heat. We rarely get very hot summers here, but I know that Poppy is very uncomfortable with too much fluff as the weather warms up. I take her down to about 3/8" on her body and a little more on her legs, and shave her tummy rather closer. That is enough to give some protection from sun while enabling her to cool down on grass etc. Even then I try to walk early in the day while it is cooler - she finds anything much over 20C/68F Too Hot! There again, under 15C/60F is Too Cold, which makes for a rather narrow Goldilocks band... Sophy has her own way of coping with heat - she runs ahead to the nearest patch of shade and sprawls on her tummy till we catch up, waits a bit, then makes a dash for the next patch.
 

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I have a black dog with white skin and very thick hair. She definitely needs a summer cut, but also hair left on as insulation/sun protection. A #7 is a bit too short, but grows back quickly. I just trimmed her with a 7 again, and she is definitely more chilly.

Dogs dont sweat, so on hikes on hot days I often put a wet bandana around her neck, with the triangle lying on her back, or occasionally dress her in a damp white tshirt. That definitely helps keep her cool.
 
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