How to Groom a Toy Poodle

Toy poodles are a popular breed of small dog with great personalities. Other than their smaller size, they’re very similar to standard poodles. Like their larger counterparts, they’ll shed minimally but still need lots of grooming attention. This is especially the case if you want to give them a stylish look like the Continental cut. Regular grooming includes brushing your poodle’s hair and teeth, and bathing it. If you’re ready to trim your pup’s hair yourself, there are several classic styles to choose from. With a little bit of time, your poodle will not only be taken care of, it will look great!


Providing Regular Care

  1. Brush your dog daily. Use a quality dog brush and go over your dog’s body from front to back. Poodles have long, curly fur that is prone to matting, so it’s important to brush regularly. Pay special attention to the neck and chest, since these are the areas most likely to become matted.[1]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 1.jpg
    • For the legs, brush from the body down to the feet.
    • Brush your poodle’s middle section from the shoulders toward the hind legs.
    • Be gentle when brushing your pet’s ears, head, and chest, since these areas are sensitive.
  2. Clean out your poodle’s ears weekly. Take a cotton ball and dab it in a cleaner approved by your vet. Gently wipe it on the underside of your dog’s ears to remove any wax or grime. Don’t stick anything into the inner ear, however.[2]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 2.jpg
    • Vinegar and/or rubbing alcohol may be appropriate cleaners, but always ask your vet first.
  3. Brush your pet’s teeth daily. Go over your poodle’s teeth with a soft brush. Use only products approved for dogs–never human toothpaste.[3]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 3.jpg
    • Small breeds like poodles are prone to dental problems, so it’s important to brush their teeth regularly.
    • It’s best to start brushing dogs’ teeth when they’re young so they get used to it. If you’re brushing an older dog’s teeth for the first time, let them sniff the toothpaste and brush first. Start slowly, only brushing a few teeth at a time. Once they’re used to it, you can give them a full brushing.
    • Some brushes slip over the end of your finger, making the process a little easier.
  4. Trim their nails regularly. Your vet can help you select a trimmer that is safe and painless for your dog. If you don’t feel like you can trim your poodle’s nails on your own, you can pay to have a groomer or vet do it for you.[4]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 4.jpg
    • If your dog spends significant time outside, their nails may wear down naturally so that regular trimming is not necessary.
    • Only use approved dog nail clippers.
    • Clip nails at a 45 degree angle, and take off just a tiny bit at a time–less than you might think. It’s important to only trim a small amount to avoid cutting the quick, which can be very painful to your pooch.
    • Use a nail file to file down your dog’s nails if you’re having a hard time using clippers.
    • Give your poodle lots of treats before, during, and after clipping its nails.

Bathing Your Poodle

  1. Place your poodle in a bathtub. You should bathe your poodle monthly, or whenever it becomes dirty. Start by setting a folded towel in the bottom of the bathtub to keep your dog from slipping. Place your dog in the empty tub, and don’t turn the water on yet. Just pet the dog and help it feel comfortable.[5]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 5.jpg
  2. Spray your puppy with warm water. Use a flexible spray attachment if your tub has one. Otherwise, let warm water run in the unplugged tub, and use a cup to carefully pour some on your dog.[6]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 6.jpg
    • Talk gently to your pet and pet it when you start to put water on it, especially if it seems scared.
    • Give your pooch plenty of treats to help make bath time a better experience.
  3. Rub dog shampoo into your poodle’s fur. Put just a small amount on a sponge. Work the sponge through your dog’s fur, from front to back. Make sure to keep the shampoo out of your pup’s eyes.[7]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 7.jpg
    • Use only shampoo approved for dogs. Human shampoo can irritate a dog’s skin.
    • Be extra careful when washing sensitive areas, like your puppy’s face and underside. If possible, clean these areas with water only, since even dog soap may irritate them.
  4. Rinse your poodle with warm water. Use the spray attachment or cup to rinse all of the shampoo away with warm water. Dab your poodle with a towel to remove the excess water. Turn a blow dryer on the low setting and use it to finish drying off your pup.[8]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 8.jpg
    • Brush your poodle as you dry its hair to keep it from tangling.

Trimming Your Poodle’s Fur

  1. Cut in the Teddy Bear style for a simple look. Use a dog trimmer and choose a blade guard that will cut your puppy’s hair to the length you want. Cut the hair the same length all over its body, except for its face and feet.[9]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 9.jpg
    • The Teddy Bear look cuts all hair to basically the same length, for a simple look that shows off your pet’s features.
    • As long as you’re using a quality dog trimmer with a blade guard, just carefully run it over the poodle’s body.
    • Clear hair away from the blade guard if it starts to get clogged.
    • You’ll cut the face and feet after trimming the rest of the body.
  2. Go with the Lamb cut for a stylish ‘do. Cut your poodle’s fur so that it is short in the back and becomes gradually longer as you go toward the neck. You can switch blade guards several times to give this effect. Use the shortest guard on the poodle’s hindquarters, the next size up for its back and sides, and the next size up for its shoulder area.[10]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 10.jpg
  3. Create a Continental cut for a classic look. Shave the sides, legs, and back of your poodle very short. Leave a “bracelet” around each ankle and a “pom-pom” on the tail uncut — the hair should be a few inches longer in each spot. Shave your poodle’s face very short, but leave a poof of long hair on the top of its head, running from behind its ears to its forehead.[11]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 11.jpg
  4. Trim the hair over your poodle’s eyes. Whatever style cut you go with, you’ll need to use curved shears to carefully trim away the long hair from your poodle’s eyes. Take the shears and also trim the longest hair from its head to help it fade into the neckline.[12]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 12.jpg
    • Lift the long hair up between two of your fingers.
    • Trim its ends with your shears.
    • Make sure the cut is rounded to help the long hair fade into the rest of the fur.
  5. Cut the hair from your poodle’s feet. Trim the excess hair from around its feet and whatever sticks out below its foot pads. Otherwise, your pup’s paws will be prone to matting. Whatever style ‘do you give your poodle’s body, a pass with a short blade guard on your trimmer should do the trick.[13]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 13.jpg
    • Be careful trimming around your dog’s foot pads, since they can be very sensitive.
  6. Trim your poodle’s fur every 3 weeks. A poodle’s hair can grow quite quickly. Even if you like your pup’s to be long, you’ll need to trim it regularly so it won’t get tangled or matted.[14]
    Groom a Toy Poodle Step 14.jpg


  • If your poodle becomes anxious while you’re grooming it, talk softly and pet it to calm it down.


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