Do you think pampering and fancy hairstyles are just for show dogs? Think again!
All dogs need proper grooming, including haircuts, to help them stay healthy and hygienic. However, not every hairstyle is appropriate for every dog.
While some breeds are simpler to maintain than others, all doggy haircuts should be approached with informed, thoughtful choices, not just for aesthetic purposes but for practical ones as well.
Today, Spot Pet Insurance is here to help you find the best haircut for your dog. Whether you’re wondering what kind of summer look best suits your dog or prepping for family reunions in the fall and winter, we’ve got the most popular and practical styles laid out for you.
We’re going to break things down into three categories: standard styles, styles for curly-haired dogs, and styles for dogs with long or thick coats.
How to choose a haircut for your dog
Before we look at the styles on display today, let’s briefly discuss the best way to approach your choice.
Haircuts should be aesthetic, bringing out the best in your pup’s looks. However, the most important part of a haircut is that it protects your dog’s health and hygiene.
You should carefully consider the needs of your dog’s breed. If they are built to handle warm weather, for example, they can rock longer coats during the summer. On the other hand, some breeds with thick coats built for winter may need to be trimmed back during hot months.
Dogs with excess hair around their face, feet, and rear end may also need unique cuts to keep those areas clean from debris. Additionally, your dog’s fur is an essential part of protecting their skin, so talk to your vet before going too short or letting it get too long.
Some dogs also require consistent brushing to maintain their coat quality, which could influence the kind of cut you choose. A long coat neglected from brushing could be uncomfortable and increase the risk of parasites going unnoticed.
Personal preference & groomer interpretations
Even for the most popular styles, the details aren’t always the same every time. A few core aspects define most styles, but the details are often left to the discretion of the groomer and parents.
It’s good to trust your groomer and let them interpret what may look best on your dog! Remember that they are trained professionals who work closely with many different dogs to make them look and feel their best. Groomers should also be well versed in what types of cuts help dogs stay clean, hygienic, and happy.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to voice your personal preferences, and always lay out any specific practical concerns noted by your veterinarian as well. With the right approach, you’ll have a happy and handsome dog in no time!
Now let’s look at some specific styles that make great choices:
Standard dog haircuts
Styles in this category are the simplest and most common. Any groomer worth their salt should be more than capable of pulling off these styles, making them very flexible for dog owners who travel a lot and may not be able to consistently see the same groomer.
Many of these styles are less specific than those in other categories, which does leave room for interpretation and custom details. If you’re on the pickier side, consider these choices before you get to the salon, or consult your groomer for their professional opinion!
Perhaps the most common cut across all breeds is the kennel cut. This universal style is a short, even-trim similar to other popular styles like puppy cuts and teddy bear cuts.
Most kennel cuts are ½ inch or shorter in length. The ears are typically given a bit more length to highlight the face, where those puppy eyes and a button nose do the work to draw the “oohs” and “awws.” Otherwise, the length should be even across the entire body, giving a clean and well-groomed look to your pup.
Despite the name, the puppy cut is appropriate for dogs of all ages! It also spans just about all breeds, although some are more suited than others. Despite being a standard style, as opposed to a curly-haired exclusive, this cut originated with poodles being trimmed as show dogs.
The puppy cut is extremely similar to the kennel cut. Like that popular style, the puppy cut is very much open to interpretation. The main difference between the puppy cut and kennel cut is that the puppy cut is usually longer: around one to two inches in length.
These cuts are often ideal for medium and long-haired breeds. Depending on how fast your dog’s hair grows, consider that this cut might need some maintenance.
Neaten or trim
Perhaps the most basic style, a “neaten” cut, is essentially geared towards cleaning up a dog’s appearance. Despite being the most minimal cut your dog could get, it can make a significant difference in how they look and feel.
Neatening is a stylistic choice, sure, but the practical benefits are where it shines. This style focuses on the extremities: feet, face, and around the rear end. This helps keep debris and impairment at a minimum around these vital yet vulnerable areas.
Curly hair dog haircuts
Some of the most popular breeds in the world today, most notably the poodle, sport cute, curly coats. These coats are notoriously high-maintenance, yet the rewards are definitely worth it!
Here are some cuts to help keep these coats in check:
The most popular curly haircut may be the teddy bear. Another evenly trimmed style, it’s designed specifically for keeping curly hair from getting out of hand. Depending on your dog, this style may only need to be revisited every four to eight weeks at the groomers (but be sure to brush regularly).
This memorable style goes short around the torso, chest, and face but leaves some long hair around the legs. The result may resemble a trimmed lamb and is exceptionally adorable but not necessarily suited to all seasons. Extreme warmth or cold could pose a problem since half your dog is exposed while the other half has a thick layer of fur.
Not just for poodles, this popular look keeps the fur short around the body but long around the head and neck. While it’s a highly appealing look, it is also high maintenance, so be prepared for lots of brushing and potentially frequent salon stops.
Long hair dog haircuts
Breeds with long or thick fur often have unique needs in terms of their haircuts.
Here are the best styles for handling them:
As the name implies, this cut is defined by a ponytail-esque knot tying up the hair at the top of your dog’s face above their forehead. Cute but practical, the main purpose behind this style is to keep your dog’s eyes uncovered without having to trim all the hair around their face.
This style is perfect for dogs with long, straight hair, such as Shih-Tzus, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers.
Not feeling the top knot? An alternative is to go for a clean cut around the face. This brings your pup’s eyes, nose, and smile into full view and highlights their beautiful features while maintaining high-quality hygiene.
Dogs with thick fur, especially in a double or triple coat, often need summer cuts to make it through the hot months. These coats are built for cold weather, which is a great benefit until summer rolls around.
We often raise our dogs in environments they aren’t exactly native to, so we need to ensure we can provide what they need to adapt. This is where the summer haircut comes in, helping protect our furry friends from overheating.
This trim is certainly cute, but it’s ultimately a practical look, which means it can differ from dog to dog in terms of the details.
Expect a layer or two to be shaved off, but don’t make the mistake of losing all your dog’s fur. Dogs still need their hair in the summer! Sunburn is a real risk. Shaved cuts are typically done for medical reasons after consultation with a professional veterinarian.
Be mindful of dogs with double coats. Double-coated dogs like the corgi should never be shaved unless there is a significant medical reason.
We hope this guide has helped give you some food for thought and inspiration when it comes to your dog’s next haircut! As always, our Blogbowl is full of helpful resources, so check it out for all your pet parent needs.