Dog grooming style guide: the top 10 cuts and trims

May 18, 2023

There are many practical reasons for grooming dogs: it ensures that they keep clean and healthy, and don’t get too hot in the warmer months, to name but two. But for many owners, it’s just as important to have a dog that’s stylish, which is why fashionable haircuts are as popular among dogs as they are among people.

If you’re currently learning about how to become a dog groomer, understanding the most common or popular haircuts that owners like is absolutely essential, especially if you’re trying to build your own profitable business. To help, we’ve developed this dog grooming style guide, which details ten of the most sought-after cuts that owners love.

Kennel cut

One of the most versatile cuts around, kennel cuts are suitable for just about any breed of dog you can think of. This is a very short, all-over cut that maximises the amount of time between cuts, making it especially popular with owners who want to keep the time and cost of maintaining their dog to the minimum. A good kennel cut length will vary from breed to breed, so it’s always wise to ask the owner if they have any preferences.

Lamb cut

Dogs are sensitive to temperature, and some cuts that might help them keep cool in summer won’t help them keep warm in winter. A lamb cut gives them the best of both worlds: short hair around the torso while keeping it longer around the legs. This means they’re able to shed summer fur to cool down, and while the length of the leg hair maintains some warmth in the winter, putting on a doggy coat can help them keep their core temperature up.

If dogs have had their nails clipped from a very young age and are used to the process, then they will be far more amenable to it. But in any case, a softly-softly approach pays dividends. We recommend starting with a very small clip of one nail, followed by some positive words and a treat for the dog. As you repeat this process, the dog should feel more at ease with the trimmer.

Lion cut

This is quite a specialised cut that only really suits certain types of dog – Pomeranians and Poodles are particularly well-suited to it. In order to give a dog a lion-type look, most of the hair around the body is trimmed to a very short length (and sometimes even shaved), while the face, the legs and the end of the tail are left with long hair.


This is probably the canine equivalent of a man going into the barbers and asking for a trim – or putting a car in for an annual service! It involves giving a dog a good bath, and then clipping specific areas, namely the face, around the paws, skirts (for longer dogs), and around the genitals. This often will come alongside nail-clipping, a comprehensive brushing of fur, and cleaning out the dog’s ears.

Poodle cut

While this cut is most naturally suited to Poodles, it’s also appropriate for a number of other breeds that also have curly hair. Body hair is kept short, while more length is left around the head and the neck. This cut is better for owners who want to keep their dog looking in tip-top condition with untangled hair, and are therefore willing to invest in getting the hair cut regularly.

Puppy cut

Although the name might suggest that this cut is only for puppies, it can be applied to dogs of any age. It’s one of the most straightforward trims on this list, cutting hair to a length of between one and two inches across the body, although there is room for flexibility. It’s especially popular with dogs with longer hair as it’s a great way to prevent matting.


An all-over shave is very rarely a good idea for any type of dog. However, applying a shaver in localised areas can be useful in removing heavily matted fur, especially if all other means of getting rid of it have failed. There are a few breeds like Golden Retrievers where some shaving is helpful, as short fur is especially beneficial to them in hot weather, but don’t take it too far.

Summer cut

Trimming a coat so that a dog can cope with hotter temperatures is critically important, so you’ll be likely to get more business from owners for these from spring onwards. However, what this represents depends on the nature of the dog: some with thicker fur will need more trimming than others in order to stay cool.

Teddy bear cut

Teddy bear cuts are similar to the puppy cuts mentioned above, as hair is cut to a short, even length across the body. The difference here is that this cut is designed for dogs with curly hair, and as there are so many varieties of curly-haired dogs, there can be more discretion around the length of the cut. How often this should be done depends on the owner, but for those who want to keep their dogs especially tidy-looking, once a month is normally about right.

Top knot

Top knots might be fashionable among some men at the moment, but there’s a much more practical reason to use them for a dog. If you have a breed with longer hair – think Shih-Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers, for example – then a top knot helps keep the hair out of their eyes. Not only does this obviously help them see better, but it also ensures that the hair doesn’t get unnecessarily wet or dirty when the dog is out and about, or eating and drinking.

Get dog grooming insurance with Protectivity

Whichever haircuts you apply to a dog, it’s natural that mistakes can and will happen. Unfortunately, when owners are paying for a quality haircut, this can lead to some financial consequences that can seriously affect your business. That’s why taking out dog grooming insurance is so important.

Protectivity provides comprehensive, affordable dog grooming cover for professionals just like you, whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience. Our policies encompass Public Liability that covers injuries or property damage; Care, Custody and Control cover of up to £100,000 in case a dog gets ill or injured, and up to £30,000 of specialist cover for your equipment.

With our insurance, available through flexible payment plans, you can groom dogs with confidence that an accidental error won’t hit you in the pocket. Find out more on our dog grooming policy here.