Dog Haircuts: A Dog Grooming Styles Guide

gray cat and black and white dog
By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 5/14/20242-4 minutes
A close-up of a small white dog getting his hair brushed

For some pet owners, curating your dog’s appearance is an expression of love. Perhaps the best example of this is a haircut. Regular grooming keeps your pet clean and healthy, of course, but a dog haircut can add style to their appearance and emphasize their personality.

From the teddy bear cut to the lion cut, there are many types of dog haircuts. The right choice is the one that best suits your pet.

To help you navigate your options, we created a dog haircut styles guide. Read on to learn about different types of haircuts for dogs and how they might refresh your pet’s overall look. 

What Are the Main Types of Dog Haircut Styles? 

Dog hairstyles can range from adorable to dramatic (and many options in between). A professional groomer can advise you on which styles might look best for your pet, but here are some options to consider.

Kennel Cut

If you’re looking for a dog haircut that’s easy to maintain, the kennel cut is a good choice. Hair is kept short around your dog’s body, including the face. Typically, it’s shorter than other cuts, which can make it an ideal option for busy pet owners or pets who don’t love the experience of getting a haircut.

Teddy Bear Cut

Want to make your curly-haired dog look extra cuddly? The teddy bear cut is ideal for Poodles, Goldendoodles and Labradoodles, and keeps hair even and short (about one to two inches) around their body.

However, unlike traditional haircuts for these dogs, which include shaving hair on the face close to the skin, the teddy bear cut leaves the fur a little longer. This creates a softer appearance that resembles—you guessed it—a teddy bear. The style is fairly low maintenance for pet owners. 

Top Knot

The dog top knot is a style suited for longhaired breeds, such as Shih-Tzus. Hair is formed into a ponytail on top of your pet’s head and held in place with a bow or barrette (the accessories give you another opportunity to highlight your dog’s style).

The top knot is practical as well, as it keeps your pet’s hair out of their eyes. The look is clean and posh.

Lamb Cut

In addition to the teddy bear cut, your curly-haired canine may look good with a lamb cut. With this dog grooming style, hair on your pet’s torso and chest is cut short, while the fur on their legs is kept longer. You might have seen this look on Poodles and Airedale Terriers

Lion Cut

The lion cut on a dog is a bold look. Hair is shaved or cut very short around the body except for the legs, face and tip of the tail, which are kept furry. It’s usually reserved for canines with specific body and facial features. Portuguese Water Dogs are good candidates for this cut.

Poodle Cut

As you might expect, the poodle cut looks good on Poodles, but it can be adapted for other breeds as well. The haircut style involves cutting your dog’s hair short on their body while allowing more length around their neck and head. If you have a curly-haired dog, the style lets their hair bounce as they move. To avoid tangles, though, it does require upkeep.

Summer Cut

With a summer cut, dogs’ hair is trimmed short to keep them cool in the warmer months. The exact look varies from breed to breed, but it’s a useful style for double coat and longhaired breeds. Note this shorter style isn’t the same as shaving your dog. Rather, a summer cut removes some excess hair to keep your pet comfortable while retaining their fur’s natural look.

Shaved

It is not recommended to completely shave your canine companion due to several potential drawbacks and risks:  

  • Dog fur serves as insulation, helping to regulate body temperature in both cold and hot weather. 
  • Completely shaving your pet can put them at risk of sunburn and hypothermia.  
  • Shaving can increase the risk of skin problems, such as rashes, cuts and infections.  
  • The skin is more vulnerable to environmental elements, like dirt and insects.

However, sometimes shaving areas of the coat is necessary if they become so tangled that there are no other options. Additionally, it may be okay to shave sections of fur to keep your longhaired pet comfortable when it’s hot. Ask your professional groomer for guidance.

What is a Puppy Cut?

Despite what the name suggests, puppy cuts aren’t just for puppies. This dog grooming style can be adapted to canines of any age. 

With a puppy cut, hair is typically cut to one length around your pet’s body, although your groomer may suggest different lengths for different body parts, depending on breed and your personal preference. The style can be adapted for the seasons, which may be nice for dogs with thick fur.

Do Different Dog Breeds Need Different Grooming Styles?

If you have a purebred dog, your groomer may recommend following breed standards for their haircut. These standards are set by breed clubs and are meant to compliment your pet’s coat type and length, as well as their physique.

If your pet isn’t a show dog, however, you have more flexibility in choosing their haircut. Generally, it’s a good idea to opt for a flattering hair style that supports their well-being.

Haircuts for Dogs With Long Hair

When choosing a haircut for a longhaired dog, consider factors such as upkeep (long coats require more frequent brushing) and your pet’s comfort. Breeds, such as Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Golden Retrievers, may benefit from the puppy cut or, depending on the season, the summer cut. 

Whether you’re looking for small dog haircut ideas or options for a bigger canine, long hair can present some challenges, as well as opportunities, for styling. 

How Often Do Dogs Need Haircuts?

If you’re wondering how often your dog needs a haircut, consider these factors: 

  • Hair length. Long hair needs to be cut more often. Aim for a cadence of every six to eight weeks, depending on the dog. 
  • Hair style. Some grooming styles require regular maintenance.  
  • Coat thickness. Seasons and temperature can affect how often dogs with double coats or thick hair need haircuts.  
  • Your personal preference. If you prefer short and low-maintenance hair styles, your pet can be groomed less often. 
  • Grooming schedule. Many pet owners include a haircut as part of their dog’s overall grooming routine. Ask your groomer for a recommendation for your canine companion.

For more expert tips on grooming your dog, explore our other routine care articles. 

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