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Shihtzu puppy portrait on a white background

What Is a Puppy Cut?

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While a fancy, breed-specific haircut (like those for poodles, shih tzus, or malteses) might look great on your dog, these cuts can be more trouble than they’re worth for young puppies. If you want a low-maintenance, easy-care style for your long-haired puppy, a puppy cut might be exactly what you’re looking for.


A puppy cut, unlike the traditional grooming that pets normally are given according to their breed, is a haircut that is shorter so that the hair is all one length. In a puppy cut, the hair is shorter than the breed standard for grooming, but the overall length can vary according to preference. These cuts are also known as kennel cuts, since kennels give them to very young puppies because they are more manageable and easier to maintain.


Some pets like to be groomed, while others can’t stand being touched and cleaned by human hands. One advantage of a puppy cut is that it makes the amount of groomings a puppy needs much less frequent. Instead of maintaining pom-poms, long hair, special shaving details, and other signature styles, you can keep the puppy cut simple and easy. There will be no marks or bands to keep putting on your dog, nor will you have to worry about a top knot. Some owners with older dogs continue to give them puppy cuts just to make life easier – and to make the life of the dog less stressful if they do not like to be groomed.


If you want to try getting a puppy cut for your dog, you should know what to tell the groomer. Traditionally, puppy cuts mean that the body, legs, tail, ears, face, and top of the head will all have fur or hair that is the same length. If you have any special directions or requests for these areas, make sure to specify this to the groomer. You can also ask for advice about what works best for your particular dog. They can also tell you how often you’ll need to come in to maintain whichever cut you choose.

Even if you plan to maintain a breed-specific cut later, consider a puppy cut when your dog is small as a way to make life easier on both you and your dog. A nice short haircut means your puppy will look groomed without all the fuss.

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