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What is a Puppy Cut: History & Grooming Tips

A puppy cut is a single-length full body haircut that’s easy to maintain for many busy dog parents and active dogs, but it’s not the right cut for every dog breed. Dogster’s professional groomer explains why.

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

What is a Puppy Cut: History & Grooming Tips

asian chinese female pet groomer with apron grooming a brown color toy poodle dog

A puppy cut is when the hair is trimmed short all over the dog’s body. While the dog’s parents and the groomer determine the actual length of hair for their dog, depending on activity levels and outside temperatures, the hair length typically ranges from a shave to several inches of hair.

The History of the Puppy Cut

The term puppy cut comes from the dog show world to describe how to care for and maintain a Poodle puppy’s coat to prepare for competing in dog shows. Anyone who has seen a striking Standard Poodle in a dog show can guess that much work goes into developing and nurturing the coat.

Maintaining a Poodle puppy’s coat during their first year is essential because it affects how the adult coat will look. The term puppy cut is used universally as a general description of a low-maintenance, simple, single-length cut.

Are Puppy Cuts Just for Puppies?

Any dog can get a puppy cut style; it simply refers to a consistent, shorter haircut. This versatile cut can be adjusted to your dog’s age and activity level. A longer version of this grooming style in the cold winter months can keep an older, less active dog cozy, while a shorter version of the puppy cut in the warmer summer months gives a young, energetic pup the freedom to enjoy the lake or pool swims without ruining their hairstyle.

Should My Dog Get a Puppy Cut?

A puppy cut is ideal for dog breeds who do not shed a lot, so the hair grows evenly. Here, Dogster writer and former dog groomer Claudia Cesarotti works on a dog’s puppy cut. © Claudia Cesarotti

It depends on your dog’s fur. The puppy clip is unsuitable for double-coated breeds since it can affect their ability to regulate their body temperature. These dogs also typically have furnishings, or longer hair around the back legs and rear, under the stomach and chest and behind the front legs.

When a breed with furnishings is trimmed down to all one length, they don’t look the same!

Breeds who should steer clear from puppy cuts include:

A few breeds who can get puppy cuts include:

Puppy Cut Grooming Maintenance

To keep the puppy’s hairdo clean, mat-free, and trimmed to the universal length, take them to the groomer every 6 to 8 weeks. Depending on your dog’s hair length, earlier than 6 weeks or later than 8 weeks may be appropriate. Your groomer can determine the appropriate time frame between cuts.

When Should My Puppy Get a First Groom?

Veterinary and humane society professionals recommend that puppies be 12 to 14 weeks old before they get their first grooming. Before this age, a puppy is not fully up-to-date on their first vaccinations and risks exposure to viruses and ailments an adult dog can quickly shake off. Even though the definition of a puppy cut can vary by length, what matters is how cute your dog looks! For more grooming tips, read our article on choosing the best dog brush based on coat type.

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