12 Best Poodle Cuts and Hairstyles [From The 1950s To Now]

Historically, Poodles have come in many different shapes, sizes and colors.

Because of their bloodlines, standard working Poodles all had purely functional cuts. I’m sure at some point or another we have all seen the traditional haircut for poodles.

When this gun dog was first bred, they used to swim and fetch prey. Their dense, curly coats would get soaked and weigh them down.

Consequently, their owners would shave on their whole bodies (apart from on their joints to encourage insulation). These trims slowly worked their way from the working line (i.e. traditional gun dogs) to the fashion ring.

Over time, Poodle cuts have become a fashion trend amongst high-society and famous-owners. They have been clipped in ways so that their coats match fashion trends during that era.

Here are twelve of the most popular haircuts for poodles from 1950 to 2020.

12. Lion Cut / Continental Cut

Lion Cut

The Lion Cut is what most people think of when they think of this dog! The Poodle is shaved everywhere apart from their face, ears, shoulders, paws and tail. This is to create “pompoms” of fur.

According to the American Kennel Club, this is officially known as the Continental Cut and is one of the two acceptable poodle haircuts for show-lines.

Continental clips can also be seen in a variant called the Modified Continental Clip, whereby the circle of fur on the rear end of the dog is removed too.

Modified Continental Clip
The Modified Continental Clip is a variation of the traditional Lion Cut

This is the style most often seen in the show ring on standard-sized poodles as opposed to miniature or toy variants.

This pattern has started to go out of fashion in show rings due to new regulations that stipulate a dog cannot be shaved to the skin but must have a minimum of 0.5-1.5 inches of hair depending on their size.

Many owners now feel that, because of the new regulations, they cannot get the best coat definition and consequently this trim has become almost redundant.

In general, this style takes a lot of time, effort and experience to get right. If you are a novice, perhaps leave this cut to a professional groomer.

11. English Saddle Cut

English Saddle Cut

Very similar to the previously mentioned Lion Cut, the key difference between the two is the longer fur on the back end of the dog, and the extra stylized pompoms in the Continental Cut.

This appearance was particularly popular in the 1950s and 1960s, however due to a large proportion of groomers arguing that it becomes difficult to see the lines of the dog when there is more fur, it became less common.

This is the only other acceptable hairstyle for show-line poodles over the age of one.

10. Summer Cut

Summer Cut

Often known by groomers as the Kennel / Utility cut, the Summer clip is one of the more functional poodle cuts.

As you can imagine, the origin of this appearance is to remove their dense, warm coat during the summer months, allowing them to be cooler outdoors.

Easily identifiable by the short coat all over (apart from on the head and the tail), this trim is more popular in standard-sized variations but can be seen in all variants.

It should be noted that while the summer coat is a popular and effective hairstyle, it is not suitable for all dog breeds. If you would like this appearance on a different breed, talk to a groomer for advice first.

9. Cupcake Cut

Cupcake Cut

One of the rarer poodle hairstyles, the clue of the cupcake is in the name. This style aims to sculpt the head and ears of the Poodle into a delicious looking cupcake.

Often confused with the teddy bear cut (which we review below), the cupcake is distinguishable by the rounding of the ears.

As with the lion and English saddle clip, this is another one that can be difficult for novices to get right. For that reason, it always best to locate an experienced and well-recommended groomer to do it for you.

Generally speaking, the cupcake cut is predominantly seen in miniature and toy poodles.

8. Lamb Cut

Lamb Cut

This poodle cut is a much more modern style when compared to some of the classics we have discussed above. The distinguishing feature of this haircut is the continual smoothness of the coat with no harsh lines.

Previously, this trim was not acceptable in show rings because it was considered to be boring and, therefore, not prizeworthy.

Unlike other cuts and hairstyles on this list, the Lamb appearance is very versatile and is consequently not just seen on Poodle but many other breeds too!

It is growing rapidly in popularity because it is very low maintenance and simple.

7. Puppy / Teddy Bear Cut

Puppy Cut

Exactly what it sounds like, this clip is designed to make poodles look like puppies!

Almost indistinguishable from the Teddy Bear clip, this a soft appearance where the fur is kept clean, tidy and the same longer-length all over.

While it is advised that novices go to the groomer for the first few clips, the braver or more experienced dog owners are able to maintain this coat at home.

If you are wishing to show your poodle, providing they are under the age of 1, this is an acceptable style and adheres to the American Kennel Club show rules. Although they stipulate you will need a pompom on the tail, but, this not necessary for a day-to-day puppy clip.

6. Dutch / Sporting Cut

Dutch Cut

Another appearance which is relatively easy to spot, they have shorter hair on the body with a pompom on the tail.

This poodle hairstyle is noted by groomers for its uniform hair length across the whole of the dog (not just the body). It is uniquely popular with all three classes of Poodle: standard, toy and miniature.

The Dutch is also known as a Sporting Cut by the UK Kennel Club and is the most popular of all the coats for show-line dogs suitable for the Stud-Dog or Brood-Bitch classifications.

Although it is strongly recommended that you ask a groomer to clip the Dutch appearance, it is possible to maintain this appearance at home.

5. Miami Cut

Miami Cut

Often called the Bikini cut, the Miami clip is a great match for owners who are looking to give their dog a little bit of style whilst still maintaining a simple appearance.

Also, a good match for poodles with skin sensitivities, because the shorter coat allows easy-access to their skin for the application of medication and/or medicated baths.

The Miami Clip is similar to the Dutch because the dog is shaved short all over, minus a Pompom on the dog’s legs and tail.

4. Town and Country Cut

Town and Country Cut

One of the more modern clips, the Town and Country is ever-growing in popularity. Beyond this, not a lot is known about the origin of this appearance.

The key identifying feature, regardless of coat length, is the trimming of the legs to look like cylinders! The top of the head and ears and rounded, but beyond this, the coat should appear natural.

Occasionally, the Town and Country is referred to as the Pom-Pom cut, but this is incorrect.

3. T Cut / Scandinavian Clip

T Cut

One of the most regal and grand clips, the T-Clip can be spotted from many miles away!

Identifiable by a short-trimmed face, feet and base of the tail, and fluffy everything else!

Due to its origins, this appearance is often called the Scandinavian Clip and is sometimes referred to as the Scandinavian Puppy cut.

Although not as popular in America, this poodle clip is very common in Europe. However, it is becoming ever more popular as groomers start offering this clip more readily.

Fans often describe this poodle cut as a “second puppy clip” whereby it is used for dogs in adolescence who are not quite ready for full trims yet.

2. Corded Poodle Coat

Corded Poodle Coat
Poodles with a corded coat will require very little grooming.

It may seem hard to imagine, but if left unkept, the poodle’s coat will grow out and naturally mat into ropes or cords.

Although initially popular throughout the 1950s and 60s, this lack of trim has massively fallen out of style. In 2020, it is very rare to see a poodle with a corded coat. Despite this, they are very popular with other breeds, including the Komondor.

To achieve this unique style, owners would need to dreadlock their dog’s coat, much like you would dreadlock human hair. It is important that this is done with care, as allowing the coat to mat naturally can cause considerable discomfort.

Dogs with this coat become increasingly difficult to bathe, and as a result owners should be prepared for their dog to be a little smellier than your average canine!

1. Modern Cut

Modern Cut

As the name suggests, this modern hairstyle is designed to accentuate the Poodle’s natural features whilst also giving owners a style that is easy to maintain.

The style is not meant to be as voluminous as the Lion or English Saddle, but is still impressive while having an easy–maintenance.

As with almost all the clips on this list, it is not advised to try to style this cut at home unless you have previous experience with grooming.

Which Is The Best Hairstyle?!

Despite the Poodle being just one breed, there is a lot of variance in how to groom a poodle and their appearance.

These iconic clips are a great way to express both yours and your poodle’s personality:

  • Are you better suited to the unmistakable and high maintenance Lion cut?
  • Or are you a better match to the sleek and low maintenance summer coat?

Despite their commonality on standard-sized poodles, these cuts are suitable for poodles of all shapes and sizes, including toy and miniatures.

Make sure to let us know how you cut your Poodle in the box below.

John Woods Headshot
John Woods is the Founder of All Things Dogs and leads our editorial team as our Editor in Chief. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, he has been a dog lover since he was 13 years old. John is parent to Nala, a working lab retriever. John has also volunteered at multiple animal shelters, where he gained firsthand experience of rehabilitation and force-free positive reinforcement training methods.

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