Poodle Groomers: Continental Clips and Trim

Many owners ask professional groomers to give their dog a Poodle Continental Cut. You’ll be surprised with how much history this type of haircut style has in the breed throughout the years. It wasn’t originally for appearances of their distinctive coats, that’s for sure!

How Does the Poodle Continental Cut Look Like?

The Continental Cut is one of the clips accepted in dog shows for any Poodle variety at least one-year-old.

The Poodle’s face, front legs between elbows and poms, and the hindquarter are closely shaved, except for the feet, hip rosettes, and tail base. Poms on a Poodle’s legs start above their wrists and hock joints, ending to the area right above their feet, scissored into a round shape.

Hip rosettes are also placed over the hip joints, up to an inch apart, depending on the Poodle variety. Like other poms, this area is scissored into shape.

Pack areas are left very long, only scissored to create a shape, ending about an inch behind the Poodle’s last rib. There will only be half an inch between the start of the hip rosettes and the end of the pack.

Poodles with this cut sport. A long topknot pulled up into a ponytail. The tail will also have a large pompom at the end.

You can find other acceptable haircuts, dog shows, such as they changed Continental Clip and English Saddle.

  • Changed Continental Clip is only slightly different from the Continental Cut. The only difference is that there aren’t hip rosettes.
  • English Saddle is also similar to the Continental Cut, except that the front legs between poms and packs, crescent on the flank, and the separations between the poms on the rear legs and paws are shaved closely. They scissored the part over the flanks and hips sorter, creating a smooth blanket.

The Origins of the Poodle Continental Cut

While many people still debate the origins of the Continental Cut, we believe that people created the clip in Germany during the latter part of the 16th century. Others believe that the Continental Clip originated in Egypt, where people found animals resembling Poodles with hair looking like a lion’s mane in Roman tombs, coins, and monuments.

Because Poodles are water dogs working as waterfowl retrievers, left unshavenare at risk of sinking in bodies of water because of their thick body coat. As a result, owners shaved their pet’s top half, leaving the bottom half unshaven for the dog to float more efficiently while swimming.

Owners also left hair around the joints and chest to prevent injuries and keep the Poodle’s organs warm from the cold water. They left hair around their ankles to prevent rheumatism and discomfort!

People shaved the hair around the eyes and mouth so Poodles could see as they retrieved waterfowl, and the hair knot on their heads kept their hair away from the eyes for improved sight.

Once the Poodle was introduced around Europe, particularly France, elaborate styles and cuts evolved. The fancy styles and experimental clips started during the reign of Louis XVI. It was when people trimmed dogs in rather decorative ways to match 18th-century French nobility and their extravagance.

And that is where the Continental Trim or Clip was officially named and born, which also became a standard cut for competitions and dog shows. 

The Poodle Clip Today

Beyond the three style of cuts mentioned above, more hairstyles owners can have done for their dog.

The elaborately coifed style of cuts are still a norm, but more owners are also deciding to leave their pet’s coat uncut with a shorter trim or uniform length. The main focus is to find a cut more suitable for the pet and owner’s lifestyle and personal taste. Here are some of the different Poodle cuts:

How to Do the Poodle Continental Cut

While we highly recommend that you take your pet to a professional groomer to perform the hairstyle you’d like on your pet, you can also do it yourself.

Just make sure you have the tools, such as a high-quality blade and blade lengths. You may check out this helpful guide by Redhill Dog Trainer for the proper steps to groom your pet in a Continental Cut. Alternatively, you can refer to online tutorials and videos from experts.