What is a Puppy Cut?

A puppy cut is a dog’s haircut that is one, consistent, typically short length 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, 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 her 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 her first year is essential because it determines what kind of coat she will end up with — this can make or break her career in the show ring.

Now, 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?

No! 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 his lake or pool swims without ruining his ‘do!

Should my dog get a puppy cut?

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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 dog breeds who are double coated and shed, which makes a smooth, single length cut difficult to maintain. 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 dog breed with furnishings is trimmed down to all one length, she doesn’t look like her breed anymore!

Dog breeds who should steer clear from puppy cuts include:

A few dog breeds who are conducive to the puppy cut style are:

Puppy cut grooming maintenance

To keep the puppy cut hairdo clean, mat-free and trimmed to the universal length, take her to the groomer every six to eight weeks.

Depending on your dog’s length of hair, earlier than six weeks or later than eight weeks may be appropriate. Your dog groomer can help determine the appropriate time frame between cuts.

When should my puppy get a first groom?

Veterinary and humane society professionals recommend puppies are 12-to-14 weeks old before they get their first grooming.

Before this age, a puppy is not fully up-to-date on 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 really 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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