Sassy is a 13-year-old Toy Poodle owned by my good friend and co-worker Eric Chassey. Sassy came to us when a longtime friend and mentor passed away. Sassy has had numerous hair styles over the years, but as she gets older, a short, easy haircut is best.
This haircut can be altered to desired length by using different blades and snap-on combs. As dogs get older, we may have to alter their haircuts to adjust to their needs. Sassy has a hard time standing for long periods, so we use snap-on combs on her legs to cut down how long she is on the table. PB
Step 1: Bathe
Bathe in a general, good-cleaning shampoo.
Step 2: Dry
Using a high-velocity (HV) dryer, blow out as much water as possible. Ideally, you want the dog to be 99 percent dry, but you want to keep a particularly close eye on elderly dogs to make sure they are OK with the HV dryer.
Step 3: Detangle
Using a slicker brush and a warm dryer, move methodically through the coat, drying, straightening and removing any tangles. Notice that Eric is using both hands—this method will give the best results in fluff drying, which will result in a better haircut.
Step 4: Clip Bottom of Feet
Trim the paw pads with a #30 blade.
Step 5: Sanitary Trim
Using a #10 blade, clip the sanitary areas. On pets, we trim a larger area to keep it clear until their next appointment.
Step 6: Trim Nails
Clip the nails.
Step 7: Clip Body
Using a #2 or dark blue snap-on comb and starting at the back of the neck, clip the entire truck of the body.
Step 8: Clip Rear Legs
Sticking with the #2 snap-on comb, clip the back of the rear leg down to the hock. Also clip the thigh muscle (think Schnauzer pattern).
Step 9: Clip Chin
Using the #2 snap-on comb, clip the chin down into the neck. (Pro tip: do all the clipping that needs to be done before switching snap-ons as a time saver).
Step 10: Strip Legs
Switch to a #0 or yellow snap-on comb and strip the front and back legs completely.
Step 11: Trim Rear Feet
Pick up each foot, comb the hair down and trim any hair hanging over the pads. Then place the foot back on the table and trim round.
Step 12: Trim Rear Legs
The shape and length on the rear legs has been set by the snap-on comb, so minimal trimming needs to be done. Comb the hair up and out and, using curved shears, trim any hair that is out of place.
Step 13: Trim Front Feet
Start the front legs the same way you did the rear legs—by picking up each foot and trimming any hair that falls over the pads. Then place the foot back on the table and trim round.
Step 14: Trim Front Legs
Comb the hair on the front legs up and out, then trim the hair into even columns.
Step 15: Trim Tail
Trim the tail into a round plume.
Step 16: Clean Up Eyes
Trim the eye corners with thinning shears or clipper.
Step 17: Trim End of Snout
Using a #30 blade, trim right under the nose, making sure to watch for the tongue.
Step 18: Trim Cheeks
Using curved chunkers, blend the cheeks round into the chin.
Step 19: Trim Head
Trim the top of the head round. We chose not to leave any neck hair for transition.
Step 20: Finish Muzzle
Comb the hair on the muzzle up and out and trim into an oval.
Step 21: Finish Head
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim the desired visor length. For Sassy, we trim it short because she has a hard time seeing these days.
Step 22: Finish Ears
Trim the ears to the desired length, making sure the ear leather is protected with your fingers when trimming.
Professional groomer Anne 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 email@example.com.