Character Trim for Mixed-Breed

This Chihuahua/Poodle mix named Gus provides a great example of how mixed-breed dogs give professional groomers an opportunity to get creative and bring out the personalities of our canine clients.



Mixed-breeds are some of my favorite dogs to groom because they give me a chance to get creative and bring out the personality of the dog. There is an incredibly cute four-year-old chihuahua/poodle mix named Gus who regularly comes into our salon to be groomed by my coworker, Kat Rosenquist, that’s a perfect example of what I mean.

Gus always reminds me of an Ewok. Since Gus is a regular, he goes right in the tub. He is washed in a good general cleansing shampoo and conditioner. When we catch up with Kat and Gus, he has already been high-velocity dried and is ready to be finished.  PB




Step 1: Remove Tangles
Using a stand or hand-held dryer and slicker brush, move methodically through the coat, simultaneously drying and removing any tangles.


Step 2: Clip Feet
Using a #30 blade, clip the hair from the pads of the foot.


Step 3: Trim Nails
Clip and file the nails.


Step 4: Clean Ears
Swab the ears clean.


Step 5: Clip Sanitary Areas
Using a #10 blade, shave the sanitary areas.


Step 6: Clip Top of Ears
Using the #10 blade, clip the top third of the ears, both inside and out.


Step 7: Clip Body, Rear Legs & Belly
Using a size A snap-on comb (this can be modified to suit the pet you are grooming), clip the entire body from the back of the skull. Clip the rear leg in a Schnauzer type leg, exposing the thigh muscle. Clip against the grain on the belly and under the chin.




Step 8: Finish Clipping Legs
Switching to a size C snap-on comb, which is the next size longer, clip the remaining hair on the legs. This sets the length and shape of the legs.


Step 9: Clip Head
Staying with the size C snap-on comb, clip from the back of the skull forward towards the eyes. Then clip the cheeks, starting at the neck and moving against the grain to the top of the head.


Step 10: Trim Tail
Using thinning shear, trim about two inches at the underside base of the tail. Then trim the tail to the desired length.


Step 11: Trim Around Feet
Comb the hair on the rear legs toward the pads and trim any hair hanging over.


Step 12: Finish Rear Feet
Place each foot back on the table, comb the hair around the foot and trim round.


Step 13: Finish Rear Legs
Following the length and pattern set by the snap-on comb, fluff out the hair on the rear legs. Trim any that stick out of the pattern and blend any lines left from the snap on comb.


Step 14: Finish Front Feet & Legs
Repeat the steps above to trim the front feet. Comb the hair up and out and trim into columns.


Step 15: Edge Ears
Edge the top third of each ear, protecting them with your thumb.


Step 16: Trim Eye Corners
Use thinning shear to clean out the inside corners of the eyes, creating an inverted V between them.


Step 17: Trim Visor
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim a visor. Trim the outside corners of the eyes about a half-inch past the corner to open up the eyes and capture more expression


Step 18: Finish Head
We want a roundish head with ear tips peeking out, so use the shaved part of the ear as a guide—no hair should go past that point. Trim from the clipped area down to the jaw line round. Then trim from the chin to the cheek, following the jaw line. Next, comb the hair on the chin down and connect the cheeks. Comb the mustache forward and round off the corners. Finally, comb the head out and use thinning shears to blend anything out of place.





Professional groomer Annie Francis, CMG, is a grooming competitor, speaker and Andis educator. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass. Is there a breed or cut that you’d like to see featured in the Grooming Table? Send your suggestions to


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