Disclaimer: This article is not geared towards double coated dogs (Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds etc.) unless there is a medical condition and a discussion of all involved.

SHAVE! A five letter word with a four letter connotation.

What exactly does the term shave mean in the grooming world?

Shaving is a technique that groomers do with their clippers and blades to cut your dog’s hair to the desired length YOU’VE chosen (with the exception of a matted coat*). Groomers usually have a dog hair length chart for you to visualise what will remain on your dog’s coat after it’s been clipped.

Using scissors to try and completely do the haircut on a dog breed in the poodle family would take hours upon hours, cost you more than a car payment and be painful for all involved(I’m not kidding).

To safely cut a dog’s coat: SHAVING (CLIPPING) them is how it’s done. Yes, with a set of clippers, a blade on the clippers and sometimes a guard comb attachment over the blade itself. Scissor work is also involved but mainly towards the end and polish the desired look.

But I don’t want them shaved(shaved down)!

If you are visualising or have had an experience where your dog’s coat had to be shaved completely to almost if not to their skin, please consider the following:

That type of shave was for your dog’s health and safety.

Who is to be held accountable for that? Not the Groomer and certainly not your pup.

What your Groomer did there (most if not all groomers have a matting policy), was advocate and put your pup's health and safety first.

Shaving them to that degree was not to insult, upset or ignore your request(s). What your groomer did there was to humanely assist in the reduction of your pup’s discomfort, help YOU start fresh and uncover potential health issues hidden by the matted coat that would require medical attention.

Daily (Sometimes multiple times depending on your dog’s level of activity and coat) Combing+Brushing (with the correct tools) will help reduce matting. Brushing them out once a week, once a month, the day before/day of their groom won’t do a thing in your favour to keep them longer.

I want them short for the summer but not shaved!

That’s like saying I want to be outside in the rain with no rain gear for coverag and not get wet. It cannot be done.

What you may consider using instead of the word shaved is “clipped”. Yes it’s semantics but it also gives your groomer a clearer indication that while you’d like your pup shorter looking you’re not going for the G.I. Jane experience.

It always helps to have a picture on hand or previous grooming notes too, especially if you are new to that salon. Groomers (At least I speak for myself) are very visual and photos of the look you’re going for for your pup will help me help you.

You can always ask a groomer to show you the haircut charts. Yes there are two kinds (at least I have two kinds). I call them the “Ross” and “The Rachel” charts.

“The Ross” chart shows the cut using the blade directly to the fur which will give a tighter more defined clip (picture early episodes of Ross’ hair on Friends. All that hair gel keeping it in place). “The Rachel” chart shows more of a flowy almost choppy look (Think of the iconic haircut of 1995).

As different dogs have different coat types (i.e. Not every Poodle, Shitzu, Doodle, have the expected coat type we all picture) sometimes there’s not much of a choice to have the Ross over the Rachel or the Rachel over the Ross. Either way, they were not on a break but I digress.

SHAVE, SHAVING, CLIPPED don’t have to be scary anymore though they may have been in the past. Ask your groomer to explain, to help you understand the process and provide you with information and techniques for you to follow at home. Groomers are here to help you but first and foremost we are here to put the health and safety of your pets above anything else.

The Ross (Sleeker)

The Rachel Circa 1995 (Choppier)