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The 2nd Puppy Trim (or puppy lion)

Easy to follow steps

I did these pics for a friend of mine a while ago when she was having trouble with her young dog's trim. She found the pics and my attached comments very useful in adjusting the lines of her puppy and I was encouraged to put them on my website in case others might find them useful.

The tips are mainly for show trims for newbies to showing, or for people who want to keep their pet in a more glamourous hairstyle.

I dont consider myself an expert, but these are things I picked up from watching some very talented groomers at work and hints they've given me through the years. I am just passing on the information along with some sketches to help clear the confusion that often comes with grooming... 'what do I do with this bit?'

I hope my tips help! The first photo is the original photo and subsequent photos go with my suggestions on how and where to adjust the trim to balance the dog and present it to its best advantage in the ring.

Step 1

First is the original photo. If your dog has nice feet, show them off. That doesn't mean to trim the hair as high as people used to do it in the 60s, but round off the hair just above the feet high enough so that the feet are visible. Dogs with nice arched toes look great when they show them off. When a dog has flat feet you often see groomers leave the hair a lot longer so it hides the feet.

Step 2

Dont hesitate to cut the chest tight in front. Always trim that part in an upwards motion. Heavy fronts make dogs look dumpy. Trim from where the legs join the chest in a softly rounded upwards motion. The effect you want is to show that the dog has chest but keep it tight and tailored. I've noticed good groomers cut back the front of the chest so close it was almost clipped back in parts yet still manage to keep that rounded look. Just do a bit at a time, going upwards, rounding it as you go off till the front doesn't hang.

One way to achieve a nicely rounded front is to hold up the dog's ears and look at the shaved 'v' on his neck from the front. Trim the hair on the edge of the shaved bits so that it blends in well - ie cut the hair right on the edge of the shaved 'v' so its really close to the skin, then less as it blends into the neck hair. Do not cut this so far back that you lose half your neck hair (I've seen it done!). Once you've blended in the bits under the ears so that it looks really plush, do the same at the bottom of the V down to the chest. Then trim up from the bottom to blend it in.

Remember to round up the front as you look at the dog from the side as well as from the front. I mean you want the 'ball' you create to be round from all views. Be careful not to flatten the sides of the 'ball' or you'll make your dog look slab sided. The effect you want is a very well rounded, plush, full but tailored 'ball'.

Step 3

Take it down really tight on the top of the dog's rump. Close enough that you can almost see skin. In the original photo the dog looks like he has a very low tailset, which he doesn't. Place the scissors flat against the top of his rump from the back end towards the head. Hold his tail down out of the way so that you can snip off that extra hair. Then blend it in down to his legs. The effect you want when looking at him from behind is a tight fitting pair of bellbottoms - tight at the top around his hips and opening gradually and smoothly out at the bottom. Trim them on the outside as well as the inside to get that effect. Its a smooth line, not a sudden line as I've seen on occasion. ie. From the close cropped rump down to the hips and slowly getting longer as it goes down.

Step 4

Cut all that hair off from behind his rear. It makes him look longer than he is. Show off his angulation by cutting the hair really close right under the tail and down to about the middle of the back leg above the hock. Let the hair on the back of the hock grow. You will only need to blend that in, not cut it a lot. Also let the hair at the front of the back legs grow so that you can achieve that full round curve which will also accentuate angulation

Step 5

Always take the hair up close underneath the chest. Hair hanging down low underneath will make a dog look heavy, short in leg, etc. Again cutting in a round motion, trim that hair right back to the level of his elbows. If your dog lacks depth of chest you can create the appearance of a deeper chest by trimming the coat a bit longer underneath so it reaches the elbows. The coat under the chest and the front of the chest should blend in together to create the continuation of the 'ball' look.

Step 6

The neck coat or mane... This dog has enough there to make him look great. He's missing a tiny bit of neck coat length, but he's still very young and it will come. All you need to do is move the dividing line forward a bit to make the mane look rounder and fuller. The secret to a full mane is trimming and tipping. Take off the scraggly hair and uneven ends and you end up with a plush dense look. Scissor flat against the rump to somewhere approximately near the last rib (and in front of the tuckup). Then comb the mane back towards his tail and scissor it off in a rounding fashion towards the front...

By that I mean, comb the mane back so that it sticks out over the closely cut bits. There will be scraggly and messy bits hanging out over the closely cropped area. First, take the scissors and hold them at a right angle to where the line is and cut off anything that hangs over that line. Next, comb the coat back over and take the 'corner' off what you just cut. The idea is to round that line off so that when the dog shakes it all falls back into a line that slowly rounds up towards the mane. To achieve this you'll have to brush it back, trim it, fluff it up, trim again and round it as you go till it looks right.

When a dog moves its hair on its back will move stick out in places you didn't expect. Trust me on this. When I'm grooming a dog I take 'shake breaks' to let them shake the coat into its natural position and I put where I can see them from a different angle and re-trim the mane. By doing this I manage to create a rounder look from all angles.

Step 7

Last is an exaggerated Photoshop fantasy of what the dog would look like if you followed my steps (and he grows a bit of coat where he's missing it.)


Continental Trim

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