About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I want Poodle Feet & Face...but DON't shave!

When I first started grooming years ago, this statement would have brought me to tears.
"DON'T shave?"
Well of course you SHAVE Poodle feet and Poodle faces!
"What do mean you want poodle feet and face, but you don't want me to shave them?!"
I would have stood there looking at the dog, not knowing what to do.

That is how I was taught in Grooming School.
The problem was, that Grooming School didn't prepare you for all of the strange requests that owners would come up with.
Like the most famous of all statements...
' I want him short, BUT not shaved.'

If only I had a dollar for every time an owner said that to me.

What does that statement mean?
I have found that it means you need to ask a lot more questions...
 Pick that hair up on the back and make them physically show you how much they want off their dog.

I have had A LOT of strange requests in 26 years.

Today I groomed 'Buddy', a beautiful retired show Standard Poodle.
His new owner adopted him late last year.
I used to groom their other Standard before he pasted away a couple of years ago.
They came back to have me groom 'Buddy'.
When I first saw 'Buddy', the breeder had shaved everything off for some reason.
'Buddy' was just growing back in.
His first couple of grooms were just bath and trims.
When we finally got around to a full grooming, his Mom wanted the Poodle look, along with Poodle feet and face.
BUT, she did not want his face or feet shaved.
She liked his face a little fuzzy, and he licked his feet when they were shaved, so don't shave.

Ooook. Here is what I did.

 After 'Buddy was bathed and dried, I brushed and fluffed up his feet.

I took a # 7F blade and clipped the sides and top of his feet against the grain.
Do not go between the toes or into the webbing with the #7F.
( I do not recommend using a skip tooth #7. I feel a skip tooth, any number blade, is too dangerous to use. )

I lightly cleaned out his pads with my trusty Wahl cordless Chromado, set on the #30 setting.

 I then separate the toes and very lightly skim the #30 to get any long airs between the toes.

Next, I lightly skim off the stray hairs around the nails.
This is also done with the Chromado set on the #30 setting.

Lastly, I lightly brush the hair against the grain on the foot and neaten up with scissors.

This type of foot take less time to do then shaving.

His foot still looks like a poodle foot, but it is not shaved.
His Mom also reports that he no longer licks his feet.

 Now on to the face.

'Buddy' gets a Lamb #4F, so I also use the #4F on his face.
I clip his face with the #4F blade against the grain.
Be very careful around the lip line.

After clipping the face, I comb the hair up and scissor the face to give it a nice neat finish.

After I finish scissoring, I use the Wahl cordless to lightly scoop out around the corner of the eyes.
I also neaten up the stop a little, going with the grain.
Blend in with scissors if needed.

This is 'Buddies' fuzzy poodle face.
His Mom loves it.

I think 'Buddy likes it too!
What a doll.
I love this dog.

Buddy's Grooming: 
Body: #4F blade
Legs: 3/4 blade and scissor
Feet: #7F blade against the grain on top and sides of feet. #30 lightly between pads and scissor to neaten up
Face: poodle face with #4F against the grain and scissor
Ears: 3/4 blade and scissor to shape
Head: Tight poodle topknot, scissored
Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Absolutely gorgeous!!! What shampoo/conditioner/sprays do you use? I wish my poodle coats looked like that when I finish them!

  2. thank you so much. This is such GREAT information. I love how you are very specific on your blade numbers and type. I have 2 toy poodles and one teacup and have recently had to start grooming them myself instead of monthly trips to the groomer. I have to admit I really enjoy spending the one-on-one time with them. It has taken a lot of practice (and I still need lots more) but I'm getting better at it. I find I really like my teacup's face fluffy so she looks like a teddy bear and am trying to figure out how to accomplish that without her looking "scraggly." Thanks again for the wonderful information and Buddy is absolutely adorable!

  3. Why do you shave poodle feet? Are there health reasons? No one has ever told me to shave my 3 yr old miniature poodle's feet. We normally get a puppy cut, not a poodle cut so that may be why...Am I doing her a disservice by not shaving her feet?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Poodle feet do NOT have to be shaved. It is just part of the 'Poodle look'. It was most likely started by hunters to help keep their poodles feet clean while hunting in muddy areas. The look has stuck for many, many years and is considered part of a Poodle's grooming. Shaving the feet does help to keep them clean, but scissored round feet on a Poodle are very cute too. I have done both with my Poodles.
      If your Poodle is 3 years old, I personally would not bother having them shaved. Your Poodle is not used to the buzz of the clippers between her toes. Most Poodles are taught at a very young age (as early as eight weeks old) to accept the clipper around their toes. It may upset your Poodle to try shaving the feet now.
      Lisa, MFF