Teddy Bear Dog Cut

If you want to be a successful dog groomer, you’re going to need to know the Teddy Bear Cut. But if you’re new to this haircut style, don’t worry! QC Pet Studies alumnus, April Costigan, is here to break down everything you need to know to get started!

Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Short Haircut:

  • You have less than 10 minutes per day to brush out your pets hair, every day.
  • Your yard has many stickers, leaves, shrubs, bare dirt, or other issues.
  • Your dog has a skin condition that would benefit from getting lots of exposure to air.
  • Your dog constantly defeats your brushing efforts with excessive rolling and digging.
  • Its hot outside, and short hair is really the only humane option.
  • If his hair hasnt been brushed well in the recent past and hes covered in mats, it may be a long and painful process to try and brush them out. It would be better to just shave the matted hair off.
  • Defining Groomer Speak: Cute but Confusing Terms

    When I worked as a pet groomer, I learned how to speak grooming language and how to interpret my clients needs and desires. Not all groomers can translate dog owners wishes into great haircuts, however. I sympathize with pet owners and groomers who have a hard time understanding each other. There are various terms in grooming, and groomers use words that are unique to their trade.

    I have defined here some of the terminology of the dog grooming world to help facilitate effective communication on both sides! Better communication can make it easier for dog owners to get a more unique haircut for their dogs.

    There is a big difference between dropping your dog off for a generic haircut and bath and bringing them in for a beautiful, made-to-order, fancy haircut. You won’t get the cut you want if you don’t know how to communicate what you want to your groomer. Sometimes there is confusion and disappointment when pet owners ask for certain types of cuts and it doesnt come out the way they wanted.

    It’s a good idea to build a relationship with your dog groomer; talk to them and ask questions so you both understand what you would like your pet to look like.

    Heres a sneak peek of the topics this article covers:

  • Teddy bear and puppy cuts
  • Kennel cuts
  • Breed cuts
  • Shaving between the feet
  • Grooming a poodle to be show-ready
  • How to cut around the butt
  • Maternity cuts
  • Pros and cons of long and short hair
  • Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Shihtzu with a teddy bear cut using an #A comb.

    Teddy bear and puppy cuts are essentially the same thing.

  • This type of cut generally means one length all over the body and legs.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it does not mean any particular coat length, and there may be quite a bit of variance in opinion from groomer to groomer.
  • A puppy or teddy bear cut really only implies that the pet should look cute and cuddly with hair of a length similar to when they were a puppy. This can mean anything from 1/2 inch to over one inch long!
  • Puppy cut also refers to the fact that very young puppies are often taken to the groomer to have their faces, feet, and sanitary area done without touching the rest of the coat. Again, this means that the coat could be any length but does generally infer a longish cut.
  • Do you see in the pictures how I labeled one a puppy cut and the other a teddy bear cut? They look the same and are the same. In fact, the difference between a 3-3/4 blade and the #A comb is less than half an inch. Only the faces are different and that is only due to the owners preference.

    This poodle mixs mommy knows how to communicate, and he gets this same custom cut every time: a #5 kennel clip with poodle feet, poodle face, with a short pier-type mustache. Never shorten the tail!

    The kennel cut has its origin in the idea that when not showing or otherwise using your dog in the capacity for which he is bred, you would keep his coat very short.

    Short coats are easy to manage and less maintenance can be desirable in the “offseason.” Most hunting dogs, for example, are “kenneled” in the “offseason.” Thats how the expression “kennel cut” was born. It actually does not indicate a particular length, except for short. In my book, that is 1/16th of an inch (#10) up to about 1/3 of an inch (#5).

    This type of cut is very practical for dog owners with animals that have profuse amounts of coat that they need while hunting to protect their bodies, for instance, but which requires too much up-keep when the hair is not needed.

    I put up two pics of kennel cuts so you could see that it is a short cut on the body with lots of options for the head and tail.

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Cocker cut. Sorry not a good pic of the body, but the head detail is excellent.

    Breed cuts obviously vary greatly from breed to breed. Most groomers can give your dog their proper breed cut if that is what you are looking for.

    Don’t assume that you can accomplish the pattern yourself. The proper breed haircut is established by the AKC (the American Kennel Club), and there are many good breed pattern books on the market. They are not hard to do if you know the correct techniques, but if you are looking for perfection, you must start with an almost perfectly bred, show-quality animal.

    As for show grooming, there are few groomers who will attempt to do show-quality grooming for you. For most of us, it is not cost-effective to put in the time and effort.

    If you need a show-quality groom, please seek out a groomer that advertises this and has years of experience in the show arena. They may want to keep your dog for a few days and will charge four to five times what a pet groomer will charge, but your pet will be show-ring ready at the end of the process.

    This refers to shaving between the toes and over the entire foot so that it is bald or has barely any hair left.

  • This technique is great for keeping the feet clean during muddy seasons and keeping foxtails away from the feet.
  • It does require patience and a willing pet. Not only can it be time-consuming, but if the dog is ticklish or sensitive, they may not allow the groomer to do it at all.
  • This is one area where I give pets a lot of room. If the groomer is not gentle enough, or if there is a problem with the dogs feet that you are unaware of (like a foxtail in the skin between toes), the process of doing a poodle feet cut can be painful. So use caution, and check the feet carefully when shaving that area.
  • Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    Teddy Bear Dog Cut

    This means shaving the face, cheeks, and muzzle to a nearly bald length, just like poodle feet.

  • This is a great cut for animals that tend to have dirty faces, drool a lot, or have leaky eyes. It gives a very fresh, neat appearance.
  • It is done with poodles to show off the delicate and beautiful quality of the bones in their faces.
  • Arguments for Long and Short Haircuts

    To help you mentally prepare for your pets haircut and decide which style to ask for, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there anything about my dogs current haircut that looks uncomfortable for him? Are there mats on his legs or behind his ears? Is the hair hanging in his eyes? Is poop stuck to his butt?
  • Is his hairstyle practical for our lifestyle, our house/yard, and my available maintenance time?
  • In regards to the second question, check to see if the following applies.


    What is the difference between a puppy cut and a teddy bear cut?

    A teddy bear trim or teddy bear head usually describes a rounded, fluffy shape to the top of the head or entire face, so tends to be less confusing, although that also varies in style and length to suit the dog’s size, head shape and coat, and how you want the ears to be.

    How do you ask for a teddy bear cut?

    Teddy bear cuts are similar to puppy cuts in that they involve an even cut around the whole body. The only difference is that they’re geared more towards curly-haired dogs like Poodles, Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, and any other -oodle you can think of!

    How do you cut a teddy bear puppy hair?

    If you are wanting the teddy bear hair style ask for the following:
    1. Small notch shaved between the eyes.
    2. Short hair trim around the ears and eyes.
    3. Have the groomer use round scissors around the dogs muzzle.
    4. Use blending shears to help blend the hair evenly around the face and ears.