Setting the German Trim on a Toy Poodle

While most of your Poodle clients can be kept in any number of cuts, this German trim is perfect for pets and competitions alike.




My eight-year-old Toy Poodle Nikki has been in numerous trims over the years.  These days, she is usually kept in a mixed breed trim, but she is going to be a model at an upcoming grooming competition, which requires her to be in a standardized Poodle cut. To start off, I shave her face roughly before bathing her, so I don’t have to spend extra time drying fur that is no longer needed.



Step 1: Bathe
Wash in a clarifying shampoo and use a highly diluted re-moisturizer as a conditioner.



Step 2: Dry 
Use a high-velocity dryer to blow out as much water as possible. Nikki is used to this process and allows me to get her 90 percent dry.



Step 3: Straighten & Detangle Coat 
Using a slicker brush and stand or handheld dryer with heat, methodically move through the coat, drying, straightening and removing any knots.



Step 4: Clip Face
Clip the face clean of hair from the outside corner of the eyes to the inside of the ear. Starting at the inside corner of the eye, clip the entire muzzle from inside the ear to roughly two fingers above the breast bone, creating a V on the throat. For most pets, I use a #10 blade against the grain; however, show dogs and dogs that are used to it are shaved with #15, #30 or #40 blade.



Step 5: Shave Pads of Feet
Most pets’ feet are shaved with a #30 blade, but Nikki is used to having her feet shaved with a #40 blade. She is also short on leg, so I take care not to shave too far up.



Step 6: Sanitary Trim
Clip the sanitary areas.



Step 7: Trim & File Nails 
Clip the nails and dremel smooth.


Step 8: Clean Ears
Pluck and swab the ears clean.



Step 9: Set Top Line
Set a level top line, starting a bit behind the shoulders and leaving hair in front of the tail.  Extend the top line out to start the bum.



Step 10: Set the Chest
Edge the clipped throat and set the chest. I recommend trimming the chest from a side view. Notch in the top of the front leg, setting it under the dog.



Step 11: Set Shoulders & Front Legs
Scissor the shoulder lay back, but do not touch the neck hair yet. Scissor the top of the front leg. Do this by standing in front of the dog, as you do not want have the dog look elbow out.



Step 12: Set Rear Legs 
Set the rear angulation of the back legs. The shortest part of the back of the rear leg should be at the knee then start to come out into the top of the hock.



Step 13: Trim Feet 
Edge the bevels of the clean feet into the legs. I find that combing all the hair down toward the foot then holding my shears horizontal to the table and trimming the bevel while the foot is on the table is the easiest for me. Of course, there are other techniques, so find what works best for you.



Step 14: Trim Inside Rear Legs
Comb the hair out and trim the hair on the inside of the rear legs in a parallel line.



Step 15: Set Waist
Scissor over the hips, setting the top of the rear legs. Continue scissoring into the body, creating a waist over the tuck up, which falls at the last rib.



Step 16: Trim Outside of Rear Legs 
Comb the hair on the outside of the rear legs and, starting from the bevel, scissor up into the hips. Do not trim the front of the rear legs yet.


Step 17: Trim Front Legs
Trim the bevels of the front legs, the same as the rear bevels.



Step 18: Finish Front Legs 
Comb the hair up and out and scissor the front legs into two parallel columns.



Step 19: Set Underline 
Set the underline by working from the front into the tuck-up, which is at the last rib, and work into the front of the rear leg.



Step 20: Finish Rear Leg 
Scissor the front of the rear leg by going from the bend to the tuck-up, creating the knee.



Step 21: Trim Sides of Body
Scissor from the shoulder lay back to the waist, leaving a spring of rib.



Step 22: Trim Tail
Use a 5f blade to clip the sides and bottom of the tail. Scissor the “fill” of hair in front of the tail, blending into the top line. Scissor the tail into a more stylized carrot shape.



Step 23: Trim Ears 
Shave the ears with a 5f blade. I like to match the ears and tail blade lengths for a more balanced look. Edge the ears with shears.



Step 24: Trim Sides of Head
Using straight shears, edge the clipper line from the outside eye corner to the ear. Continue the line over the ear.



Step 25: Trim Above Eyes
Comb the hair forward over the eyes. Hold your shears at a 45-degree angle, trim over the eyes. The topknot should have a slight brim or bubble over the eyes.



Step 26: Trim Sides of Topknot 
Comb the hair to one side and trim any hair extending over the line you set on the side of the head; repeat on the opposite side.


Step 27: Finish Topknot
Comb the hair up and out on top of the head and finish shaping the topknot round.



Step 28: Finish Neck
Trim the neck from the side view, scissoring from the toppling up and to the topknot, blending into the shoulders.



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